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Heroes: Us or Them

Earth, Present Time

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a part of Heroes: Us or Them, by Aufeis.

None

Aufeis holds sovereignty over Earth, Present Time, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

556 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

http://heroeswiki.com/main_page

Setting

Default Location for Heroes: Us or Them
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Minimap

Earth, Present Time is a part of Heroes: Us or Them.

8 Characters Here

Jay's Charactahs!!! [2] Raquel Teixeira
Purge Database [2] Classified!
Shini's chars [0] Read em, love em
Sebastian Black [0] Then you just get dragged into it all.
Magix's Characters [0] Just read em.
Characters to SM [0] Past and New Characters
Aufeis' Chars [0] (Subject To Change)
Florian Verdrief [0] "They're the weak, we're the strong. They're the many, we're the few. They cheat, we play fair. They're evil, we're evil; it's the only similarity and the biggest difference is simple: we're better than them."

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#, as written by Aufeis
((The First section of this post is a summary of the past two arcs and tell of current standings in the world, the next sections are intros for my characters.))

TV's everywhere were tuned in to the news. The mysterious leader of the new group supposedly tasked with watching specials was now giving a press conference. The voice came out distorted, making it impossible to tell whether it was a man or a woman, how old or how young. There was no person behind the podium standing before the press, but instead a set of speakers and a computer, carried in by a short and round man of about thirty. The voice spoke:

"Today I would like to discuss with you, the American people, a looming threat that has been in the works for the past few years; a terror inside not only our own borders, but presumably every country in the world. What I want to discuss with you today, are specials. Otherwise normal humans with extraordinary abilities: flying, running at incredible speeds, invulnerability, and far, far more. What should we do with these men and women, and why are they a problem, you might ask. Clearly letting them attempt to coexist among us, the normal people of the world, isn’t working. Let me begin by addressing one of the worst causes of problems and work our way up, shall we?

The first major threat I would like to talk about is a company known as Pinehearst. The Biotechnology Company, you might ask? The very same. Pinehearst has been an agency bent on disorder and chaos since the beginning. While much of their original data was destroyed in an explosion involving a fight between Pinehearst agents and an outside group of specials, we have deemed that Arthur’s master plan was to give the populace abilities. Initially this doesn’t sound so bad, right? Imagine a world where every crook and murderer can use any number of super-human abilities. Where anyone can do whatever they want, whenever they want. Pinehearst was also involved in many other incidents, including multiple attacks the School, leading the march on DC, and even the bombing of the Presidents press conference. After ultimately failing at giving everyone abilities, Pinehearst changed hands after Arthur’s apparent ‘death’. Michael, the new leader of Pinehearst, would go on to attempt to complete his predecessor’s plan, and almost succeed. They also collaborated in the Chinese Invasion, aiding the Chinese specials to bolter their numbers. Pinehearst’s overall intentions in this regard remain sketchy. We do know it would send its leader, Michael Henderson, to superstar status, both among Specials and Normals. After Pinehearst was apparently disbanded, several of its members, including Michael Henderson, attempted to revive the late Arthur Petrelli, and ultimately succeeded, though Arthur was soon killed again by another group of specials consisting of the serial killer Sylar, Peter Petrelli, and Michael Henderson, presumably for good. Afterwards, Pinehearst was disbanded for good, and has remained as such indefinitely.

The School for Specials, a project and a show of good faith initially sponsored by the US Government, was an attempt to help specials to control their abilities to help them live normal lives. The School was destroyed multiple times, relocated twice, and even used in an assault against Washington DC, mainly by Arthur Petrelli and Pinehearst. We’ve seen what can happen with a special that can control their abilities: Mass murder, chaos, and destruction; not only that, but now they can hide it.

The march on DC was provoked initially by Arthur Petrelli, who implemented mind control on the then head of the Special School, Special Agent of the FBI David Braeburn. Braeburn has since been relieved of all charges of terrorism, although the details under which that relief came are insubstantial at best. While we cannot pinpoint Pinehearsts objective in the attack, we believe it may have been to undermine the integrity of the School, as well as show the world exactly how dangerous the school was. They succeeded in one objective.

The Carnival, run by Samuel Sullivan, has secretly been a safe haven for specials for years. As of late, trouble has seen the carnival on many occasions. Not only has the Carnival been known to harbor dangerous criminals, but also assist them in committing crimes as well. Moving around the country and using specials in their acts to ‘enhance’ the entertainment value of the carnival, Sullivan’s has been the source of many special related troubles, the first of which (on record) being a small insurrection involving a Emmet Baehrens, a dangerous serial killer and known psychopath who worked for Pinehearst at the time, and a man carrying an armed weapon. This fight was eventually entered by Arthur Petrelli to capture his son, Peter Petrelli. While law enforcement officers were unable to detain the provocateurs of this insurrection on this particular occasion, it was later found that Pinehearst was attempting to insert its agent of the time, Baehrens, into the Carnival’s employ. The Carnival is also known for harboring Jessica Spayde, another dangerous and psychopathic individual with special abilities, who has been connected to attacks on government agencies and agents in Sullivan’s name.

After the incident, Sullivan took his people away from the site, only to be attacked by Pinehearst once more. This time, however, the intent was much darker. After a catastrophic battle, the death count was left at about a dozen, and the number of wounded was triple that, almost all of which were innocent bystanders. After this, Sullivan’s went into hiding. Satellite imaging reports that the Carnival relocated to the Bermuda Islands and was then attacked by an armed force of Haitian soldiers in response to the volcanic eruption which had killed many Haitian people. While Sullivan does have terrakinesis, we have connected the attacks on Haiti to one Jonathan Arya, a special with the ability of Volcanikinesis. As of now, Sullivan and his carnival are in hiding, using the very earth itself to mask its presence.

The Chinese invasion was an event I’m sure many of you still remember today. Chinese specials coming in by the droves, with one man setting out to stop them…A very, very romantic sounding ploy, yes? Unfortunately, that’s not how everything happened. Michael Henderson, the so called hero of the Chinese invasion, was not its hero, but its conductor. The rogue Chinese specials would never have been able to bolster their forces, let alone build an army of that magnitude, if not for the efforts of Michael Henderson. With Pinehearst’s formula, a serum that somehow gives special abilities to otherwise normal humans, the Chinese were able to bolster their forces, becoming an unstoppable army…or so we thought; then enters the hero of the story, basking in the light of the defeated Chinese commander…Michael…Henderson. But all things are meant to end, Mister Henderson. Of that, I assure you.

New York’s Destruction and Revival is another seemingly disastrous and equally miraculous occurrence. There is nothing biblical or divine about this event. The wave that would wipe out the city has been linked, once again, to specials. While we cannot be certain which batch of terrorists is behind the cities destruction, but we do know what brought it back. Everyone’s favorite special, Peter Petrelli. We can’t begin to imagine how the now deceased Peter Petrelli managed to bring back the entirety of New York. We just know that it must have taken a severely powerful individual to do this.

Terracorp is an organization that delves into the research behind specials. It is a sort of research and development, if you will. However, as of late, the usefulness of the American branch of Terracorp has been seriously undercut by the rise of a mysterious woman by the name of Martha Karsol, who we later found had been instated by the late Arthur Petrelli, and had been using Terracorp to fulfill Pinehearsts intentions. We’re not entirely sure when Pinehearst instated its corrupt special, but needless to say that the company’s deviation from the norm was met with somewhat disastrous results. Anthony Matthews, an experimental special that had been created by the corrupted Terracorp, used his newfound abilities to escape, and would later return with Emmet Baehrens and Gabriel Gray AKA Sylar, to destroy the building as well as every single one of its inhabitant, as well as slaughtering a battalion of police and national guardsman. If not for Pinehearsts interference in the company, this slaughter could have been avoided, and valuable research could also have been saved. However, this is not the only time Terracorp would be involved.

At the Pinehearst headquarters in America, Martha had her own plans. Hoping to use her ability, the manipulation of viruses, she wanted to wipe out the human race as a whole. However, there was a veritable bloodbath, once more incited by Anthony and ending in the destruction of all of Terracorp’s workers. All because of Martha and Pinehearst.

The Company is something we like to think of as our predecessors. Very much like my organization, The Company was founded to control or eliminate dangerous specials, even if they did dabble in a bit of cover ups when it came to special related incidents. We have learned much from their files; about their missions, specials, and ways of subduing them. Where they failed, we shall not.

Building 26 is another of our predecessors, although I use that word with certain hesitance here. The origins of Building 26 are from the first ‘hunts’, a time when Specials were hunted like the terrorists they are, and was originally organized by the government. Instead of valuing stealth, security, and certain…elegances, Building 26 went about their business like a man with his ass on fire. Recklessly. While it shames me to say so, this Building 26 was not nearly as effective as it could have been. Again, where they failed, we shall not.

Purge is an organization that is similar to our own, only run and worked by specials. Obviously one can see that certain biases may affect the outcomes of this organization’s activities, but the worst of it all is that it is run by none other than the second leader of Pinehearst, Michael Henderson; ironic that the name should come up once again. We have seen little of Purge’s efforts, as it is…relatively new to the game. We shall see.

Some of you might remember the attack on the president of the United States, the one that resulted in the deaths of several high officials, and many more innocent bystanders, not to mention the president along with his family. Once again the work of specials. The specials quite literally turned the President into a walking time-bomb, without his knowledge. If they can get that close to the most powerful man in the country, what is to stop them from going to the next country, and doing the same? For someone who can walk through walls or turn invisible, our more sophisticated security systems might as well be a mouse trap.

The fight between Arthur Petrelli and his son, Peter Petrelli, is one that many witnessed on national television. These are two of the most powerful specials in the world, possibly, showing us their raw power, and inability to restrain themselves from using their abilities in the most destructive means possible. Millions of dollars worth of damage came from this fight, and while there were no casualties, thanks to the evacuation, there would have been if not for our military’s quick thinking and selfless efforts.

Do you see, dear people, why these so called specials are a problem? Why they must be contained?"

--------------------

Sierra was sitting on the couch, rocking Diana slightly as the baby suckled at her breast, "Yeah, I see. Because we're monsters. We're a danger to everyone and everything...Christ, you would think that people would be smarter than this..."

Peter sighed. He had been standing behind the couch after Sierra had called him in, and now he was simply standing with his arms crossed and a look of distaste on his face, "People are ignorant, Sierra. That's all there is to it." He muttered, looking down at his wife and daughter. Diana had been sleeping for most of the day, so he could only smile at her, "Well, hey there sleeping beauty. How're you?" Diana simply continued to suckle, seemingly ignoring her father's words, "Yeah, that's what I thought." He put his hand on her back and rubbed slightly, and Sierra smiled up at him.

"You don't really think the hunts will start again...do you?" She asked, looking up at him.

Peter sighed, "I...really don't know. I mean, my brother isn't around to instigate like last time, but with Jessica and the others, plus this Salvation joker, we might have a serious problem on our hands..."

Sierra nodded, looking down at her daughter and running her hand over her head lightly, careful not to interrupt the baby's meal, "I don't want this to involve her."

"I know. I don't want it to either. I hope sometimes that she'll get lucky...maybe she won't have powers, you know?"

Sierra nodded solemnly, "Yeah..."

Peter frowned a little, hugging his wife and daughter from behind, "But come on...they can't be stupid enough to do it again. And even if they do, they have no reason to suspect you." He joked, "After all, you're a miracle doctor."

Sierra smiled and turned her head enough to kiss Peter, but her smile didn't stay long, "And that's why they'll come after me. We can't have good intentions, Peter, you should know that..." She ended with a sigh.

Peter shook his head, "Sierra, come on. You're the nicest person I know."

"You really think that matters once they start hunting us down? We're all the same to them; animals to be caged."

Peter nodded, sighing, "I hope not. You still gonna go in for the night shift, Miracle Doctor?"

Sierra waited for Diana to finish before handing her to Peter, who promptly put the girl on his shoulder to burp, "Yeah...I guess I better get going. You know it'd help if you got a job too." She teased.

"Yes, well, I'm dead, remember?" He joked back, making a gurgling sound and using his free hand to imitate a noose.

Sierra smiled, but shook her head, "You really shouldn't joke about that, Peter. Take care of her, okay? And call me if she gets hungry." She said, kissing him lightly on the cheek before buttoning up her shirt, getting her coat, and tying her shoes, "I'll be back in a couple of hours."

"We'll be here." He said, and Diana burped loudly in response, to which both her parents laughed.

********************

Jessica had her arms crossed, looking down over the city. More specifically, she was watching the news broadcast being played in the display case on the TV's. So they were going to try another series of hunts. She smirked. Those had been some fun times, actually. Free to roam, with people always chasing you, like some huge game of hide and go seek. She had won then, she would win again. Of course, the game dynamics had changed a little. She frowned at this prospect. She had her family to look after now. She felt the wind pick up, her hair and jacket swaying slightly as she stood, completely unfazed by the twenty mile per hour winds. She tipped her sunglasses a little as she looked towards the setting sun. Still a few hours before it got really dark out. A few more hours of contemplation, then. She closed her eyes, a silent gargoyle of flesh. She knew they could protect themselves, but they had children too. And then there was Kaeira...she sighed and ran a hand through her hair. This wouldn't be a problem if she were still alone...but there was no way she was leaving her children. And then there was Jack...

Something didn't sit right with her about that. Jessica didn't believe the universe had just suddenly started being nice to her. Not after her childhood. First finding not one, but both her sons, having her daughter be born happy and healthy, her relatives agreeing to let bygones be bygones, and then her long lost boyfriend showing up out of the blue? Not likely. There was no way all of this happening without some sort of shitstorm coming up to balance it out. Jessica Spayde didn't have stints of good luck unless she relied on herself to make that luck. Something was fishy about Jack showing up now. She didn't know what, but she wouldn't let on that she knew. Not yet, anyway. Just because he had answered all of Gabriel's questions truthfully didn't mean he wasn't still hiding something. She just needed to find out what. She opened her eyes. Time had passed, though how much she didn't know. It was dark now. She grinned as she spread her arms and jumped, increasing the density of her body until she hit the ground, landing with a low rumble that caused nearby buildings to shake. The alleyway was perfect cover, assuming nobody was in it. Luckily for her, there was. The couple was speechless, confused by what exactly they were seeing. Jessica strode over, a long blade of bone morphing out of her arm. The couple quickly realized what was going on and turned to run. She was almost instantaneously in front of them. They were trapped now, and they knew it. The young man offered up his wallet, babbling pleas of mercy and such. Jessica smirked as she slapped the wallet aside, instead leaning forward and sinking her teeth into the man's arm. This forced a yelp of pain from his lips, and the girl screamed. Jessica silenced her with one swing, severing both her carotid and her and jugular, leaving her head hanging from a thread. Even her spinal column had been severed straight through. This caused her boyfriend to grow some balls. He drew a switchblade and jabbed it into Jessica's chest. The blade snapped off and Jessica simply looked down at the rip in her shirt with a frown, "Do I look like I can sew to you?"

The young man backed up against the wall, his eyes wide with fear, his hands in front of him as if they would save him. She smiled as she took them off at the wrists, "I asked you a question. I expect an answer."

The young man was now looking at the stubs of his wrists with disbelief and horror. Blood spurted out and onto Jessica's front, but she didn't even seem to notice. She drew her arm back and jammed it through him and the wall, pinning him to it. Snapping the bone off at the wrist, she crossed her arms and paced in front of the young man, "I have two sons about your age, you know. I know, hard to believe, isn't it? Time travel makes things tricky." She said with a shrug. The boy simply gurgled, blood coming up over his lips. She tisked a few times before slicing his throat as well, "Kids these days. So arrogant. So disrespectful." She was quiet a moment before a savage grin appeared on her face, "Makes hunting too easy." She stooped and picked the two up with ease. In seconds, she was pushing the doors of the Meyer Mansion open, wondering if anyone was here, "Emmet? Godric? Kaeira? Gabriel? ANYONE HOME?! I brought dinner!"

At her mother's call, Kaeira came bouncing along the second floor corridor before jumping at the top of the stairs, lightly floating down until she landed on the floor, rushing over to her mother and giving her a hug, "How was your trip, Mama?"

Jessica grinned a little despite herself and knelt down beside her daughter, "Eventful. Are your brothers around?"

Kaeira shrugged, "I 'unno. Fran had me down in the labs for a while so's I could study." She took a bite of the young woman's leg as it hung off her mother's shoulder, blood trickling down her chin.

Jessica laughed and ruffled her daughter's hair, "Alright, well, come on, kiddo. Let's go see if we can find them."

**********************

Jaime sat back against the couch, his hand on his chin. This honestly didn't surprise him, what with the shit that had been happening the past two or three years. He sighed, getting up and turning the TV off. He wrung his hands for a moment before getting up, checking to make sure the house alarm was set, and then going to his room. Cindy was waiting for him, book in hand, "Anything interesting on TV?"

Jaime scoffed, "Aside from the fact that they might be hunting us down like animals any day now, not really."

Cindy looked at him with a worried expression, "What happens if they do?"

Jaime laughed, "We get Hiro to send us back to our time and say to hell with this bullshit." She glared at him and his laughter stopped, "I don't know. Go into hiding, I guess. Travis did it once, we can do it again. With our combined abilities, we could make ourselves a damn home under the ocean if we needed to." He was partially joking, but it was an idea. Travis had kids, a big reason to hide instead of staying and fighting like he was sure Peter would want to do, "Point is, I think I've done enough fighting for one lifetime. I'm sick of almost dying every time I step out the door to have a beer with my friends." Cindy didn't say anything, instead trying to get back into her book. He sighed and put his arm around her, "Maybe I'll ask him about it tomorrow."

Cindy shook her head, "Why were we taken from one war to be put in a bigger one?"

Jaime shrugged, “Well, I mean, I can’t exactly complain. It did save my life, after all.”

Cindy stayed quiet, before clicking the lamp off and putting her book down. She was done reading for the night anyway. Jaime sighed and rolled over so he could hold her as he nodded off.

**********************

Nicole hated homework. And they always gave it to her in bulk too. She couldn’t exactly have Nate help her with it either…he was better at solving practical problems more so than the square root of x times b equals y or some such thing. She kinda wished her mother was there. Maybe Sophie could help her with the homework. Or Fran. She bet Fran could do homework like this with her eyes closed. She sighed and looked out the window. It was dark, and rainy too. Perfect for the way she was feeling. Finally, after contemplating things for a few minutes, she stood up and went to her door, “Dad! Dad, are you there? I need help with my homework!” She called down. She had learned on more than one occasion that it was best to hear her Dad’s voice before going to find them and interrupting something. Despite the fact that Uncle Kendrick wasn’t actually blood, it still gave her weird feelings in the pit of her stomach to see them together like that. Maybe it was the fact that somewhere in there, Kendrick could still be Redrum. Her Dad’s other flings into sexual ambiguity hadn’t bothered her, so she knew that wasn’t that. Maybe she was just mad that Kendrick was blocking her hopes of her father and mother getting back together. Whatever the reason, she didn’t like Kendrick. Sure, she acted fine around him, but deep down she didn’t like him. She’d do what she had to for her father’s sake, but she wouldn’t like it. Regardless, she didn’t want to walk in during their foreplay. She’d done it once and it nearly made her throw up.

Homework in hand, she ventured forth into the family home. Not as luxurious as Grandpa Greg’s mansion, but still a pretty damn good house. She went to the banisters, “Dad? Daaaad? Are you even here?”

**********************

Bridge smiled as she walked. Few new pieces of canvas filled, and she was sure Zane would love it. After all, it was meant for his eyes only. She smirked at that part. She still had trouble remembering she was twenty now, instead of seventeen, but she didn’t regret her decision in the slightest, and by Zane’s behavior, she would bet that he didn’t either. Still…she wasn’t looking forward to going back to Meyer Mansion. She really wished she could get Zane to move out already, but she didn’t want to push the issue. Just…all the blood on people’s hands in there…it was a little stifling. As she got back, she heard Jessica calling from inside. She shuddered a little. That woman, out of everyone else, freaked her the fudge out. And judging by her words, she’d killed someone and brought them home, “Dang it, if she gets caught, we’re all going to be on the hook for accessory.” Bridge muttered to nobody in particular as the winds carried her up to their window, “Zane? White Knight? You here? I’ve got a surprise for you…” She called with a somewhat flirtatious tone.

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Travis swore. He placed his head in his hands. Whoever the speaker was of that speech.......why?
Travis had been searching for this normal life for years. And now.....things were getting harder. And thething was......now he was a father.
He and Krystina had been parents now for almost a year. His son and daughter, Layne and Roselina, or Rose for short, were born in July of 2010.
Krystina sat next to him and turned off the television. "Travis.....what's on your mind?"
Travis sighed and shook his head. "You know,, for a moment before, I thought we had found it. A life were we wouldn't have to put up with this. A life where this kind of bullshit-"
Krystina gave him that look. Swearing in front of the kids look.
Travis composed. "Sorry, "A life where this......nonsense wouldn't happen."
"Travis, I understand your frustration, but you need to relax."
"Relax? That man just called this family a family of monsters. He called the Taylors, monsters." Travis sat down losing his thought and rubbed his head.
Krystina rubbed his back. "Travis, we've survived hardships like this before. We'll survive it again. You okay?"
Travis breathed. Sat back, still rubbing his head. "Another headache."
Krystina looked at him. "You should probably have that looked at, Travis. That's the third time this week, you've been getting these headaches. Do you think it has something to do with your ability?"
"I don't have a tumor if that's what you're implying. It's not a pressure pain. It's just.....pain. Sometimes throbbing or even twitching. It's......just bothering me sometimes."
Travis sighed and continued massaging his head. An alarm on his watch sounded. He sighed. He now had one hour to take an injection or he'd have a hard time breathing above the surface of water.
Krystina smiled and gave him the comforting look. "We're going to be fine, Travis. I have full faith that this will be over sooner than we think."
"You think so?" Travis asked, reaching behind the couch for a silver briefcase which held his medicine.
"Travis, as I've said, we've survived hard times before. We'll live through this, no matter how hard."
Travis injected the blue substance into him. "I love you..." he said smiling at her., and giving her a kiss.

--------------

Jonathan helped lift a steel beam, with the man who helped him get this job. The guy's name was Thomas Weiss. Jonathan was a little nervous. Thomas hadn't said a thing to him that day. They were decent friends in life. But Thomas was giving him strange looks and looked deep in thought.
Finally, after one last look, Jon finally said, "Thomas, what is on your mind?"
"Nothing." he said.
"Thomas, don't bullshit me. What's on your mind?"
Thomas looked at him and sat down. "Earlier today, there was an address on live TV. I swear......."
"The one about......."
"Specials......yes. Jonathan........they mentioned your name."
Jon sat down. He folded his hands nervously. "Y-you're.....you're not going to tell anyone are you?"
Thomas looked at him. "You.....you caused Haiti?"
"Look, I was a different person back then! I was angry, and confused. I'm trying to seek normal life. I like to think that even I can find redemption, Thomas, please-"
Thomas finally put a hand up. "Jon, settle down. Or they will hear you."
Jon gave him a weird look. "They?"
"Government officials, anyone else.....Jon, this is gonna be hard for you to believe.....but watch that aluminum can over there..."
Jon looked to what Jon was talking about. There was a small popping sound and the can fell over from a shockwave. Jon looked back to Thomas. Thomas's right hand was extended. Thomas looked back to Jon. "We're not all that different, Jon. And, well...I know a guy who helped me out once before, and he gave me a call again earlier today. Perhaps you would be interested in meeting him..."

-----------------

David puffed a cigarette, a phone number in his hands. The room was dark. With the earlier broadcast...things were indeed going to be.....harder. The last time this happened, he had not turn his back to his own kind. And he would not do so here. He was calling everyone he knew from the old team. He would start again for the sake of their future.....his son's future.....everyone's future.....
He picked up his phone and dialed the number.
The phone rang. Once. Twice.
"Hello?" a voice answered.
"Melissa?""I was wondering when you'd be calling."
"It was gonna be soon." the man said puffing his cigarette.
"You still smoking those things? You really need to stop that."
"Melissa, let me worry about myself. We obviously can't be talking on this line long. All I need to know is your answer. Are you in?"
Melissa on the other end gave a scoff. "Think I have anything better to do? I just hop you know what you're planning."
"I hope so too..."
"See you soon David."
"I'll try and call Miguel. Perhaps you can pick him up."
"I'll do what I can. No promises."
"Very well. See you soon."

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Washington D.C.

Within a dimly sunlit office, an African American man seated himself at a messy desk full of random documents and empty folders. Once he was settled in his seat, a light sigh escaped him. Michael Henderson had been working diligently for past few weeks, and when the news broke out of some network service announcement that seemed to reveal some new organization, Michael couldn’t help but feel the pressure. He knew it would be long until the phone rang.

When it did, he picked it up, knowing it was it was none other than his good friend and business partner, Patricia Banks.

“I take it you just heard that bold broadcast.” Patricia said. Michael knew she was smiling as she said this.

“It doesn’t matter. The only thing I’m cautious about is their information. They’ve gathered lots intelligence on not only me, but everything I’ve been keeping tabs on.”

“Don’t worry about it. Like you said, ‘it doesn’t matter.’ We’re working for the government, so we’re in the clear. Besides, who would become enemies with organization of specials. A well run organization at that. Managing to combine the ideas of that school in California, Building 26, and Pinehearst… You created the best thing for specials.”

“I guess so, but things aren’t fully solved. There are still dangerous people out there, and it’s hard to keep things under control with so little power.” Michael said as he remembered the power he held once before. There were few that could fight with him on equal footing, and his cunning made his power just more fun to use.

“Yeah, things were a lot easier when you were basically a living, breathing god.” Patricia joked before moving on. “You’re making up for it with that team right?”

“Yeah, they’re actually on an assignment right now. Taking out that shapeshifting guy.”

“The serial killer?! I thought you said you would handle that alone?” Patricia questioned frantically. The man was named Oliver Jones, and he possessed a very interesting version of shapeshifting. “You’re team isn’t even complete.”

“I was eager to give them a test run. The three of them have a pretty good handle on their abilities.”

“If they die…

“They won’t Patricia… Just focus on what you’re gonna wear on your date with Slovok tonight.” Michael said with smirk.

“Wait!” Patricia yelled as she heard the sound of the line going dead. Michael hung up before he could get bombarded with questions. With Patricia and Alexander Slovok helping him run both Purge and Pinehearst, Michael felt less stress than he had when first becoming the head honcho. Looking down at his desk, he spotted two files. So far, his team had very useful abilities within it, but he knew he’d need physical strength to back it up. After doing a bit of paperwork and making a few phone calls, Michael left Purge headquarters to go home and relax for a change.
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Nashville, Tennessee


“I just don’t get it. Why is Eli going in alone?” A young teen groaned as he stood beside an older man. The man gave an unsure look before shrugging, which only made the boy scowl before looking across the street at nasty looking motel. Well motels were pretty unsanitary, but this possibly the worst. “So he went in saying he had checked in the day before and was looking for his wallet he had left behind? What BS.” The boy commented as it was the only thing he felt he could do as he waited for this man named Eli.

“Be patient Chris… The action may come to us.”

“Seriously Mao, I really don’t see that happening if Eli just puts a bullet in this guy’s head… Or maybe this guy will take Eli out like everyone else that has come after him.” Chris said with a glimmer of hope in his eyes. He’d been itching to use his powers on a real assignment, and would take any chance to show off. A smile nearly came to the boy’s face before a gunshot was heard. “Damn!” Then a second one followed suit. “Shit!” Chris yelled again before hearing a third gunshot. “I think the show off needs our help.” Chris said before running across the street. Mao stayed behind, watching the frantic people leave the motel and crowd around the area. Chris looked toward the motel window when a body came flying through it. He recognized it as Eli, but didn’t do much to aid the man.

“Getting beat up?” Chris asked as he looked down at Eli who had a disgruntled look on his face. Then, from the broken window, a very pale man climbed out. His hair was long and jet black like the clothes he wore. Chris just pegged him as a wannabe comic book villain and nearly shrugged until he saw the man’s right hand shape into a large axe. Eli got up with little ease before keeping his eyes on the man.

“Bullets don’t work on Jones. He made his skin dense.” Eli informed, but he didn’t urgent about it. Chris nodded at the advice as his body was covered in a very thin red aura.

“I’m too young for guns…” Chris said before moving quickly in front of the man kicking him in the gut. Chris’ speed caused the man to fly back through the window. “Powers are better.” Chris added. Eli looked through the window and tackled Chris to the ground as two long sharp tendrils shot out the window.

“Where’s Mao? He can take this guy out easy.” Eli said as the two got up and focused on Oliver Jones.

“He’s standing around somewhere… Yo Oliver! Come fight us like you mean it!” Chris said before Oliver jumped through the window and used his tendril-like arms to attack both Eli and Chris. Chris used his speed to avoid oncoming attacks, while Eli seemed to use his reflexes to dodge and evade anything coming at him. When Oliver found his attacks ineffective he charged forward toward Eli with an axe for a hand.

“Chris now!” Mao yelled from the center of the street where there seemed to be no one around him. Though Chris wanted to have some more fun with this guy, he wanted to get things done as quickly and clean as possible. It’s what Michael had taught them. Eli looked at Olver seriously before dodging the man’s first swing at him and then suddenly transformed into a hawk that flew overhead. Chris then created a sliver aura around himself. This aura caused Oliver to be pulled toward him Oliver took advantage of this and changed his hand into a spike to stab his enemy with. Mao had also been pulled though. As the three met in one spot, Mao swiftly took a hold of the man’s unarmed hand. The spiked hand managed to stab Chris’ shoulder causing him scream out in pain, but it was a good thing it would be the only pin he’d feel from this assignment. Oliver’s body seemed to shut off after Mao’s touch and was then pushed away and to the ground by Chris’ ability. Chris wore pained look on his face, while Mao held a calm expression. Upon Landing, Eli shifted back into his human form and gave look to Chris’ wound.

“You think you can handle the chopper ride back, kid?” Eli asked.

“Fuck you! I got this!” Chris groaned before tears welled up in his eyes. “Let’s just go!”

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Gabriel frowned as he read the newspaper. Scanning every article and what he saw was no better then what they were airing on TV. Things weren’t good, everyday specials more and more things were spoken. Painting them all off as dangerous monster, he laughed darkly, and he had done nothing to turn them away from this notion, same with the rest of his family. He folded the paper and sat it down, his visions of the future were stronger now and everything he saw was horrific. What exactly the government was planning to do, he didn’t know, but he had to do something, the hunts would start again, worse then last time. None of them would be able to shrug it off like nothing they would run or fight. Gabriel’s attention averted to his son, Alucard sitting in his high chair right across the table. Emmet was changing Cassandra’s diaper in their room, so it was just the two of them. Gabriel smiled “Hey little guy “

Alucard just starred back at him and again Gabriel had an odd feeling that the boy didn’t like him. The way he was starring just wasn’t something that belonged on the face of an infant, it was too aware. Fran had told them that Alucard was special, for an infant, but she couldn’t pinpoint exactly why. Every test she’d run had come out normal, except for a blip everysooften that disappeared as quickly as it showed up. Emmet just said it was all in his head and that both his children adored him. Cassandra was as normal a baby if ever there was one. But Alucard, he never cried, never made a sound. Somehow, they just knew when he wanted something, hungry, needed a diaper change, or wanted attention. Generally, his hunger coincided with Cassandra’s so they were always fed together.

Gabriel stood up and walked over to him. He reached down, intending to pick the boy up, but suddenly he stood straight up and looked around, momentarily confused. He’d intended to pick the babe up and hold him, but now…he didn’t know.

Emmet walked into the kitchen, Cassandra in hand “Gabey, what are you doing?

Gabriel blinked “Oh, just reading the newspaper “he gestured and the paper appeared in his hands “It’s still all the same “

Emmet shrugged as he went and placed Cassandra in the high chair next to Alucard’s “They still want to come after us? You’d think they would have learned their lesson from the first time. They can’t stop us, though it’ll be interesting to see them try “he grinned maliciously he went to heat up some bottles.

Gabriel wished he shared Emmet’s confidence, but he just wasn’t so sure.

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Sampson Gray wheezed and coughed, hacking up phlegm and blood. Beads of sweat poured down the old mans face and veins popped out “Come on, just a little further “he closed his eyes and concentrated. It had been months ago when he’d been looking over his life. Everything that he had done, all in the name of power, slipped through his fingers. All by this damned virus known as old age. His mind was going out and his body ravaged by illness. His days were numbered it would seem and now there was nothing to show for it. He’d laughed bitterly as he imaged Gabriel, his son, out in the world, immortal and eternally youthful. Free to do the things he’d never been able to do and obtain absolute power. It made him sick to his stomach, then his mind had turned to Lauren, that bastards mother and from there he remembered it, that it didn’t have to end there, all thanks to Laurens “ sacrifice “.

Now here he was, slowly but surely ridding his body of the cancer, it was almost gone and once that was finished he could work on other things, this disgusting body had to go, he wanted to be back in his prime again and he once that was accomplished, he would pay little Gabriel a visit.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kendrick was leaning on the banister when he heard Nicole’s voice calling for her father. Nate was out at the moment with Sophie and he was trying not to let that get to him. Everything seemed to be happening so fast. His new relationship with Nate, moving in with him and Nicole, Nicole’s mother moving in as well. It wasn’t like he felt cluttered or anything. Growing up in a large mansion with multiple siblings, Nates place wasn’t half the size of Sparta’s but it was a nice size and gave one plenty of privacy if they needed it. He cared about Nate deeply, more deeply then he ever thought he could about a person. So maybe it was normal to feel strange whenever he and Sophie were around each other or went off alone. True they were always inviting him along, but he felt like he should give them some time to catch up and someone should keep an eye on Nicole.

He walked over to the girl “He and Sophie went to catch a movie I believe, do you need help with something? “

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rose bit her fingernails, an old habit she’d given on ridding herself of, her attention focused on the game of chess she was playing with Greg. It had been a fierce game and both were down to their queens. It had been two hours since she’d made a move, still trying to come up a strategy, she’d never won a game of chess against her father, but she hoped to change that today. Greg was sipping some ice tea and smiling, his face that of good humor. Greg wasn’t a competitive person when it came to games with his children, it was simply a game. Which made it all the more vexing when he won said games.

“How have you been lately “he asked lightly?

Rose shrugged “Decent, have you seen the news “

“Yes, the latest little speech was most interesting, monsters “

“Mhmm, I feel so strange “

“Because you don’t have your mother’s guidance and now what awaits us is the unknown. Don’t worry, you’re the spitting image of her, Rose “

Rose reached out and made her move “Isn’t that something a father says to all of his children “

Greg took another sip “Yes, it is, but more so then Mary or Nathaniel, you have her will “

Rose smiled bitterly when he mentioned her deceased older sister, but after making amends with Jessica, she’d let some of her anger go “I’ll take your word on that “

Greg smiled broadly “Excellent, oh and check mate “

Rose swore

----------------------------------------------------------

Godric and Cyrus were outside, working on his garden. Godric felt happy, genuinely happy to have Cyrus with him right then. He felt like he’d changed so much in the last year, nothing truly extreme or anything. But just that he had a lover now, he was a brother, a brother in law, a son, and an uncle. So many titles made him feel like there were more so of him now. It wasn’t as empty as it had been, it was more full and he like the cluttered feeling.

“What you thinking about? “ Cyrus asked amused as he watered some roses.

“I’m thinking about all the changes that have happened in my life this past year and how it feels good, like I’m more then I was before all of this, an uncle, son, brother, lover “

Cyrus grinned, trying not to laugh. Godric was so literally straight up with himself. He saw no reason to lie or hide anything, everything was just out there. Even as his face was blank as stone and his voice monotonous, it just so sweet. Cyrus leaned over and kissed him softly on the lips. He was rewarded by a deep blush creeping across Godric’s pale skin, his entire body seemed to light up and make him look like a lobster “How about we take a break and head back to the mansion? “

Godric nodded and stood up. The two of them walked back, the son shining overhead. As soon as they entered the house, they ran into Jessica and Kaeira. The former supporting a dead young man over her shoulders. The sight made Godric’s stomach rumble in intense hunger “Hello mother, sister “Cyrus nodded and said hello, ignoring the dead guy. It had freaked him out a little at first, how dead and corpses seemed to the common norm with these people. But over time he just stopped caring, maybe it was another sign that he wasn’t human anymore.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Who am I?

Where am I?

What am I?

All these question’s swirled around in his mind as he floated through the endless space. He couldn’t tell anymore, fiction or reality, they were slipping through the cracks and going further from his reach. Everything was distorted and his senses were spinning, he heard voices that weren’t there. Smelled things that teetered between lovely and foul. He felt transparent like he was fading away; he could taste his madness and his death.

Kurt Prackner…..the name echoed, was that his name, was that him?

He just didn’t know anymore.


--------------------------------------------------------

Elle rocked back and forth in her little chair, Daemon sucking on her breast. She smiled at the little chubby baby in her arms. She loved him so much, more then she’d ever loved anyone, more then her father. She felt blessed, for the first time in her life. She had her little baby and she had Keith. But she wasn’t blind to the rest of the world and its doings. She’d been dead when the hunts had happened, but she’d heard things and the thought of someone coming after Daemon or Keith made her blood boil. She quickly squashed her anger though, in fear of shocking Daemon, which she never wanted to do.

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#, as written by Jaybt9
Las Vegas, Nevada

The city of lights was quite active during the day. Everyone went to perform their own personal deeds and hobbies. Sheridan Street was no different. A group of people were in line at a hot dog stand. Instantly, a sudden brush of wind pushed through the crowd of people into the alley. Newspapers, loose clothing, and other objects flowed like a current towards that direction.

In the alley was an ethnic woman, sitting on the dirty concrete with her back against the brick wall. She reminisced about the day where everything had changed in her life. The day at the wedding. She remembered a man in a business suit yelling her name out of anger:

"Raquel!"

Raquel was physically weak from the amount of starvation that she was suffering for weeks. She couldn't even resort to using her primitive abilities as well as she normally could, besides using her chameleon abilities to steal food. It wasn't in her character to steal food, but there are times when desperation causes someone to do those type of things, especially since she had no one to turn to whenever she was down and out. She had no way to have physical contact with her mother, who was still in Brazil.

With her cool-colored dress still stained in blood and her hair in slight disarray, she had to evade pedestrians and others as they may have caused some suspicion, leading them to believe that she may have either witnessed a murder, or committed one. In reality, she was the latter than the former. Hopefully, no one else caught sight of the murder.

Raquel still felt mixed emotions about everything. Just everything within the United States. With Darry trying to use her for sex, and unfaithful Michael still in her head, Raquel didn't know what kind of resolution that she needed to achieve. She figured that standing on her own two feet would be best for her.

Raquel reached a card out of her small purse that she still carried since the wedding. She quickly observed it; the Purge, located in Washington D.C. Sadly she didn't even know where she was. After the wedding, she just walked to whatever direction was leading her to. She figured that one solution could be to call the Purge and have them pick her up.

With the little amount of change she had, she went to search for a payphone around the neighborhood. Her chameleon ability was still activated, so nearby pedestrians wouldn't catch sight of her. With a little bit of difficulty, she eventually found a payphone that wasn't occupied, hurrying to it. After putting the change in the payphone service, she waited for the dial tone. Dialing the numbers to the Purge Headquarters, she awaited for a response on the other line.

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#, as written by Aufeis
Meyer Mansion

As Cyrus and Godric came inside and greeted them, Jessica gave a mock salute before hugging her son, “Hey, kiddo, your brother around today? Never know when he’s going to show up.” She said, stepping back and hefting the corpse up a bit. The woman’s corpse, whom she and Kaeira had snacked on off and on, lay in the hallway, abandoned for the moment to bleed on the carpet. This action had gotten her reprimanded once or twice before by Fran, but she generally ignored the warnings whenever the girl wasn’t around. Fran had also advised against murdering people, but dinner always tasted better when it was still warm and bleeding. With a bloody grin, she began moving towards the dining room to set the corpse down.

Kaeira took Godric’s hand in her own, smiling up at him with a bloody grin almost identical to their mother’s, “Mama brought home dinner, God! There’s a lady back there too, she’s tasty! Are you gonna have some food this time too, Mr. Cyrus?” She asked, looking up at him with big, curious eyes. Despite the fact that she had been told to just say ‘Cyrus’, she saw the man as an important part of her brother’s life, and therefore gave him the proper title to emphasize that importance. Before Cyrus could answer her, she went back to talking to Godric, “How come Mr. Cyrus doesn’t eat Mama’s dinner?”

*****************

Nate’s Home

As Kendrick spoke of Nate and Sophie being out, that ever prevalent spark of hope a child gets lit under her heart. Maybe things still could work out? She knew it was stupid to think like that, but she couldn’t help it, “Oh…No, I’m fine. I just needed to ask Dad a question is all. It’s fine, really.” She said, backing up before Kendrick could reach her and closed her door, leaning against it once she was inside. Dammit! She hated being alone with Kendrick. Why couldn’t he take a hint and just leave? She sighed as she looked down to her hand. She’d managed to drop one of her papers. Double damn. She’d have to venture out later to see if she could rescue it. No doubt Kendrick would find the paper, and it wasn’t like she could lock him out, (her door didn’t have a lock anyway), so if he REALLY wanted to, he could pursue the matter, though she really, really hoped he didn’t. She sighed and went back to her desk, sitting down with a thump. She picked up her phone and looked at it for a moment, trailing through the contacts listed there. It was weird having twice the numbers under the “Family” tab than she used to, but it also made her smile a little. She scrolled down to Fran’s name, pushing the call button. Maybe Fran could still help her, so long as she wasn’t knee deep in some weird experiment or other.

*****************

Hanford, California

Brendan (Shultz? Prackner? He didn’t know what to call himself anymore) looked over his life. It’d been a couple weeks since Kurt had disappeared, although he wasn’t really sure he cared. With Magix and Claire going into reclusion, Kurt disappearing, and his life continuing to be borderline at best, he felt himself dipping into a depression. The school had people like him, with powers, but he still didn’t feel like they understood him. He felt alone. Alone in a crowd. It was hard to describe. Even the trips into the fictional worlds didn’t help, and that used to be his answer for everything, even before his powers. He put his hands to his head and just sat there. Why did this always happen to him?

*****************

Stockton, California

Angela leaned against the glass as the limo pulled up against the curb. It was early in the morning, but she felt charged. Her sleep the previous night had been fraught with foreboding dreams. The world was heading in a bad direction; the reports on TV were further proof. They were being painted as monsters and for the most part, it wasn’t difficult to see why. Leo and Thomas got out of the car and went around to open the door for her “Thank you boys; sorry for having you get up so early.”

“Oh, that’s ok Mrs. Petrelli; we don’t mind at all,” Thomas smiled as he adjusted his eye patch. Leo smiled too, though at the same time he was thinking, ‘Speak for yourself.’ He enjoyed nothing else then sleeping in. But when Angela had asked the night before who had wanted to accompany her, Thomas hastily volunteered both of them. He couldn’t say he was too bothered though, something about Thomas just did it for him, even though he was in a weird ass relationship with that pyro guy Flint.

Angela walked over to the front of the limo where Lucifer was at the wheel, sipping a steaming cup of coffee and watching a movie on the portable DVD player “I trust you’ll keep a good guard for us?”

Lucifer nodded as he swallowed “No problem.”

Angela gestured for the boys to follow and walked the front door of her son and daughter in law. She rapped at the door swift and firmly.

Peter was rocking Diana quietly as the knock came on the door. He looked over at Sierra who was still in bed, “Sierra, can you get the door?”

Sierra groaned and rolled over, “Peter, I’m exhausted…Just leave it…”

Peter sighed and put Diana on his shoulder, going to see who it was. They very rarely got visitors, and those that did come calling were generally people looking for Sierra’s ‘miracle’ touch. He looked out the peep hole and his face flashed with surprise. He looked out the window for a moment before opening the door, “Ma? What’re you going here?”

Diana’s eyes regarded her grandmother for a moment before she grabbed hold of her father’s hair, causing him to laugh as he attempted to part it from her grip.

Angela smiled as Peter answered the door. She was as far from being religious as a person could get, but if her son was standing here before her alive, when he should have surely been dead, then she would accept the miracle. “Good morning Peter, Diana,” she stroked her granddaughter’s cheek before turning back to her son “I apologize for coming to you so early. There are things that are better discussed sooner, rather than later, may we come in?”

“Uh, yeah, no problem. Just uh…just try to keep it quiet if you can, Sierra volunteered for the graveyard shift last night, so she’s still sleeping.” He said, taking a few steps backwards to let her in, “I assume this is about the news report last night, right?”

Angela nodded “We’ll be as quiet as mice.” she stepped into the house, flanked by Thomas and Leo who followed her inside “You remember Leo Jackson and Thomas Ortega.” Once she was seated on the couch, she turned to Peter “I’m afraid it is, I’m sure you’ve noticed the tension in the air, talk of the hunts and even worse. I’m afraid my dreams tell me no different.”

Peter nodded at Leo and Thomas, but said nothing to either of them, “You don’t really think they’ll start the hunts again, do you? I mean, it ended horribly last time, they wouldn’t chance doing it again, would they?” He asked, and Diana cooed gently as she reached out for her grandmother. Peter smiled a little and raised his eyebrow before offering up his daughter to his mother.

Angela smiled as she reached to take her granddaughter. Cradling the baby carefully in her arms, Angela continued "I'm afraid it looks like they are. Humans learn from their mistakes, Peter, sometimes. They are going to take all the information they gathered from that hunt and use it to make this one to their advantage," Leo and Thomas shivered as Angela spoke. Neither of them had been involved in the last hunt. Thomas's power hadn’t manifested yet and Leo's area was too riddled with gang warfare for people to assume specials were there. They knew that they wouldn’t be so lucky this time around.

Peter put his hand to his chin and sighed, “I really hope you’re wrong, Ma. The last thing we need is another hunt. I don’t want Diana involved in this; ever.” He said, putting his hand down on the table which caused Diana to jump a little and sniffle. Peter sighed, “I just don’t know what to do. It’s bad enough I have to play dead and make Sierra do all the work outside the house, but if shit goes public…I don’t know if we’ll be strong enough to fight back this time.”

Angela rocked Diana a little to calm her from Peter’s outburst “I hope I am wrong as well, but wishful thinking will accomplish nothing. We need to plan this out as if the chance is 100%. In the times to come, we may need to rally our allies and enemies alike if we hope to make it through.”

“Easier said than done.” Peter muttered, sitting back, “Where do we even start? Everyone’s split up since we put Dad down again, and it won’t exactly be easy to round them all up again.” He rubbed his eyes a little.

Angela nodded, “Not easy, but not impossible either. Believe me, Peter, in the times to come, it will be better to have others at our backs; no one can stand alone against this. Even those who won’t see it as their problem in the beginning will realize what we’re up against. So, let’s start with the closest ones, who do you imagine will be the easiest to get in touch with?”

Peter thought for a moment, “I guess Hiro and Parkman ought to be pretty easy to get into contact with. The Carnival should be too; Sierra can always get into contact with them. Possibly Travis, but he’s got his family to worry about, same with Swiss. There’s always Michael, but…” He let the sentence trail for a moment.

Angela nodded as Peter listed off people. Hiro Nakamura she agreed with, Matt Parkman would be good as well, but she felt a sense of foreboding around him, but she couldn’t pinpoint why “Hmm, Michael, I share your feelings. He is one who was so under Arthur’s thumb. His new organization, Purge, is getting much attention. When things begin getting bad, he will be one of the first they go after. Better to add him now so we can make use of his resources.”

Peter didn’t like it, but if what his mother said was true, they’d need all the allies they could get, “We’ve had a few run ins with him. Nice enough guy, I suppose, but I wouldn’t exactly say he’s a friend. More an acquaintance, if anything. I suppose if we-”

The sound of shuffling drew Peter’s attention, “Peter, where are you? Who was at the-?” Sierra froze as she shuffled into the room, looking about as tired as she sounded. Her hair was messed up, and she had a bathrobe pulled around her tightly, “Oh, Angela. Peter hadn’t told me you were stopping by.” She immediately perked up, straightening her hair with her hands hurriedly.

Angela chuckled a little, “I didn’t exactly tell him either, how are you?”

Sierra smiled, “Tired, but I’m alright. I’ve been trying to pull more hours than I probably should be lately, especially with this whole ‘Salvation’ scare going on. But I feel like I have to do it. I dunno, like I owe it to the people.” She said, sitting beside Peter.

“I keep telling her she’s already done so much for people, but she won’t listen.” Peter said with a grin, kissing her lightly. Sierra looked at Diana, who was looking up at her grandmother with huge eyes as she played with Angela’s necklace and made incoherent sounds. She couldn’t help but smile. This was what she had always wanted; a man to love her and a family to be there for her, a child to love. A few tears almost came to her eyes, but she pushed them aside when Peter spoke again, “So, Ma, how have you been?”

Angela noted the conversation had changed and continued on “I have been well. It’s so nice living in a house with so much life in it; it is refreshing.” Thomas and Leo smiled, they agreed. Everyone living in the mansion with all its inhabitants; it felt like they were one big, dysfunctional, and happy family.

Peter smiled, “I’m glad you’re not lonely at least. And I imagine you’ve been keeping busy?” He asked, before standing up and walking to the small kitchen, “Anyone hungry? Might as well get some coffee going at the very least.”

Sierra grinned, “I’ll take the whole pot, if you don’t mind.”

Peter laughed in response, “Caffeine is bad for Diana. Everything you drink, you pass on to her, remember?”

Sierra shook her head, though she was smiling broadly, “Hey, who’s the fully trained doctor here, Mr. Petrelli?”

Leo shifted slightly in his seat; he was sitting on Angela’s left while Thomas was at her right. Aside from discussing the hunts, the conversation wasn’t really interesting to him; for the most part he was staring at Thomas, out the corner of his eye. Even with the eye patch he was still pretty cute. Hard to believe the dude was basically a nuke in human form, he had yet to see Thomas actually use his power, but he’d heard things. Like the reason he wore the eye patch was to keep his mother from possessing him. Weird as fuck, but stranger things had happened. He declined Peter’s offer, coffee made his power go wonky for some reason, “No thank you, but if you have any orange juice I’d appreciate it.”

“I wouldn’t mind a cup.” Thomas spoke up. He’d been slightly more interested in the conversation then Leo, and Martha much more then either. Thomas could feel his mother’s maternal feelings, her desire to protect her son and decimate anything and everything that she perceived as a danger to him. He mentally fought to wrestle her down.

Angela handed Diana back to her mother and stood up “I’ll help, your coffee making has always….needed a little help.”

Peter laughed at his mother’s comment, “I don’t normally drink it, but it helps with Sierra’s metabolism.” Now that they were out of Sierra’s general earshot, Peter continued where they had left off, “Thanks for not continuing. Sierra’s got enough on her plate; she doesn’t need to be worrying about this too. I know she’d freak if Diana somehow got involved with these new hunts.” He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, “I dunno what we’re going to do, Ma. I really don’t.”

Sierra took Diana with delicate hands, rocking her child as she regarded the two boys. The one boy with the eye patch, something seemed…familiar about him, though she couldn’t put her finger on what it was, exactly. She did, however, feel the need to inquire about the accessory, “I hope you don’t take offense to my asking, but what happened to your eye? I’m a doctor, I could fix it for you if you’re hurt. Free of charge.” She said with a friendly smile.

Angela reached into the cupboard and pulled out the coffee beans, “All we can do is try. I don’t know how much time we have, whether they start tomorrow or this very second. But for the time we do have, it must not be wasted. I will do everything in my power to ensure the safety of my loved ones. I know you won’t like it, but we’ll have to work with Gabriel on this; he has insight into the future as I do, possibly more.”

Thomas snapped back to reality in time to hear Sierra’s question. He blushed a little as he wondered how to answer her, “Um, it’s kinda complicated, my eye is still there I just have to keep it covered up or…..” his speech fell and his expression grew slack. Suddenly he reached out and removed his eye patch, his stigma shining for a moment. His expression wasn’t one of raging madness, but maternal concern, “That’s an improper way to hold a child; you need to add more support for her head. Oh and forgive me for being so brazen in your home, a mother’s habit.” Thomas’s voice was higher pitched and his expression seemed more feminine. Leo’s eye brow shot up as Thomas took his eye patch off and spoke.

Peter shook his head, “You’re right. I like it about as much as trusting Dad. Sierra will like it even less, because that means…” Angela knew about Jessica and Sierra. They’d told her everything they could at the time, though Peter had the weird feeling she already knew bits and pieces of it.

As Martha took control of Thomas’ body and the Stigma showed itself, Sierra was immediately on her feet, her one arm shielding Diana and the other held in front of her defensively, claws sharp and ready to defend herself and her baby. When ‘she’ spoke, Sierra’s eyes narrowed for a moment, keeping herself between Diana and Martha, “You’re one of them.” Not an accusation, but a simple statement. She knew that there was something familiar about that boy. Jessica had spoken of them having the ‘Stigma’. That’s what this was, and she knew it. So this boy was related to her in some way. Small world, it seemed.

Martha shrugged “As are you it seems, an Oskin. Based on your reaction you’re aware of what this eye means. I can assure you, I won’t do any rampaging, unless it becomes necessary. My name is Martha, I am Thomas’s mother. Due to some events that happened, I exist as a second personality inside him, without me he would be an uncontrollable monster, even by Oskin standards, so I keep him in check and take care of him.” She crossed her legs and leaned back, getting comfortable. She didn’t intend to stay in control long, but it was nice to get some air once in awhile “You don’t seem to know much about your family, not that I blame you, buggers the lot of them.”

Angela nodded, she was more then aware of Jessica and Sierra’s relationship “Yes, but I believe he will have similar reasons to yours for not wanting this to reach home. That alone will be a reason for him and the others to cooperate.”

Peter raised an eyebrow for a moment, but wouldn’t push the issue. Honestly, he wanted to know as little about those psychopaths as possible. He’d done what he could to help Gabriel live a better life; it was his choice from then on. He’d chosen to continue his old ways, of his own choice, not the hunger’s. Peter sighed a little, “I’ll have to take your word on that, Ma. I still don’t like it, but…I suppose we have no choice.”

Sierra glared at Martha for a moment, but as the woman spoke, she felt an odd feeling of kinship with her. To go so far to protect her child…it was admirable, “I don’t need to know anything about them, aside from the fact that they are monsters, each and every one. My sister isn’t any different. I gave up my Stigma, and that’s what makes me different.” She said, though her voice fell to a whisper. She had her suspicions that the Stigma was not truly gone. Simply removing the eye was too simple a solution. Someone would have figured it out by then if it were so simple. Regardless, her attention shifted back to Diana (and subconsciously she had followed the woman’s instructions; she was usually better about holding Diana, but she was so damn tired…), “I’m going to kill my sister…to repent for everything she’s done…and if need be, I’ll kill anyone who stands in my way.”

Martha’s mouth twisted into a smile; she liked this one, and that was saying something as she despised everyone in her family. But this one seemed different, Martha didn’t comment on Sierra “removing” her stigma. That was an impossible feat, simply removing the eye did nothing and in some cases…..she’d seen some pretty gruesome things. Even someone who attempted to remove it from their genes, she shuddered involuntarily but quickly composed herself, “Hmm, how noble of you; you won’t see any obstruction from me, as long as Thomas isn’t put in danger. I don’t care for my family; if you off your sister, good for you; if you can take out any more along the way, well all the better.” She slung the eyepatch around her head, but before covering the eye, she locked it with Sierra’s.

“I will say this, though: tread lightly young one. The Oskins hold many secrets in the depths of hell, dark and terrible things. As you venture on the road to redemption, they will begin to come up. I’m probably one of the only Oskin’s that actually knows so much and I took the steps that my son would know them as well. Just remember, a monster fighting a monster is the same as a snake biting its own tail. What kills a monster is man; we will speak again.” and with that, the patch covered the eye and Thomas returned. He looked around jumpily, “I’m sorry, she slipped around my control; nobody’s hurt are they?” he looked around; the house was still intact, a good sign.

Angela just nodded, she didn’t want to tell Peter how connected she was to that group, not yet, “We’ll leave that conversation for later and focus on closer ones. I believe I can get in touch with Hiro Nakamura and Matthew Parkman; I’ll leave the others to you.”

Sierra said nothing as she listened to Martha, but her words of monsters fighting monsters brought up an old memory. Jessica, blood coating her naked body, ‘It’s funny how the monsters we create come back to get us in the end…Isn’t that right, Seesee?’ She blinked and shook her head as Martha disappeared and Thomas emerged. She took a few irregular breaths before speaking, “Your mother and I simply had a chat. Nobody is hurt. Nothing is destroyed. She seems like a good mother.” She spoke, though whether or not she was lying, even she couldn’t tell.

Peter nodded as Angela divided their future allies up, “Travis really isn’t going to like this. But I’ll do what I can. I guess we’ll just see what happens when it happens. Ready to go back in there and pretend like nothing’s wrong?” He asked, grinning a little as he poured the coffee into cups.

Thomas was relived that everything was fine. He never knew what to think when his mother came out, though thankfully it was a seldom occurrence. Leo just sat back quietly taking everything in. Thomas didn’t seem to retain any consciousness whenever his mother appeared. He wondered what the woman had meant about the secrets of the Oskin family. He supposed if he wanted answers he could talk to that Greg guy he’d met during Emmet and Gabriel’s wedding, question was, did he really wanna know?

Angela nodded and smiled, “Of course,” she poured some orange juice for Leo and headed back into the living room. Sierra seemed a little shaken by something, Thomas was adjusting his eye patch again, and Leo was lost in thought, “Alright everyone, coffee’s ready.”

Peter saw what his mother saw, and as quickly as he could, went to Sierra’s side. She smiled weakly at him, but said nothing of the encounter with her deceased relative. She instead took her coffee and drank it, completely disregarding the steam still coming off of it. It always worried Peter, she knew, but right now she just needed it in her system. The nerves in and along the line to her stomach off, the burning coffee barely affected her, and what did get scalded was almost instantly healed. When she exhaled, steam came out along with her breath, “You took your sweet time.”

Peter smiled a little, but he hated watching Sierra do things like that to herself. Sure, she could heal and stuff, but it didn’t make that almost masochistic ease any less unsettling, “Ma was showing me just how to make the coffee. She never liked the way I made it, now she has all the more excuse to show me.”

Thomas blew on his cup a little before taking a light sip, it tasted delicious, Angela always made the best coffee, which always surprised him. A woman as rich as her could easily have someone else do it, but she always said she never trusted anyone to make the coffee right. Leo was taken aback by Sierra chugging her steaming cup so quickly but then remembered she was a special, though he didn’t know what her ability was, he assumed it was healing based on her offering to fix Thomas’s eye.

Angela drank her coffee briskly, “Nothing like a fresh cup to start the day off.”

Sierra nodded a little before looking back at Diana. She leaned down and blew lightly on her child’s face. Diana recoiled, shook her head, and her eyes went huge. She coughed a few times and put her tiny hand over Sierra’s mouth which caused both Sierra and Peter to laugh, “We finally found someone who doesn’t like your coffee, Ma.” Peter joked, petting Diana’s hair a little.

Time flowed forward smoothly as everyone conversed. Soon Angela announced it was time to leave. As Thomas and Leo headed for the car, Angela pulled Peter close and hugged him. Leaning towards his ear, she whispered briskly, “I wanted to save this for last, as it holds the most…..personal weight, something has stuck out to me in my dreams of late and I wanted to confirm it more before I mentioned it to you. Nathan’s life may be in danger. I don’t know how exactly, but the way things are going, and his status, it’s possible the most influential of us will be assassinated and Nathan will be at the top of the list,” She stepped away, her smile sad, “Good-bye Peter.”

Peter didn’t say anything as his mother relayed her last message. He had already thought of that, but the fact that his mother was mentioning it worried him all the more. He returned his mother’s smile, though his face was more composed. He had to be.

Sierra gave a wave, and had Diana do the same, waving her tiny hand after her grandmother, “Feel free to come around any time, Angela! Your granddaughter is always happy for company.”

When the door was closed, Peter went to the phone with a sigh as Sierra shuffled back towards their bedroom with Diana. The little girl would never get back to sleep after all the excitement, but Sierra would probably crash after the caffeine rush. He chuckled a little at the thought as he punched in Travis’ number. He could already imagine Travis’ voice telling him how he wanted nothing to do with fighting, blah blah blah. The problem was, did they have a choice?

*****************

Just outside of Washington, DC

“Finally… A day off from everything.” Michael said in relief as he sat comfortably on the couch in his living room. Michael had just gotten home and was watching the news to see if anything exciting would come up. It was kind of sad that it was how he was starting off his day off, but there wasn’t much to do. After breaking up with Amber and Gabe’s wedding, nothing too dramatic happened in his life. All he had been doing was endlessly working.

The man took his first bite out of his microwave breakfast sandwich with somewhat of a frown.

Blitz crouched by the window, the face mask of her nanosuit glinting slightly as she peered at her target, her intangible body shimmering just out of view of the human eye, “Target verification.” She murmured, the mechanical voice of the nanosuit whispered over the link.

“Processing, Blitz. That’s the target alright. He’s dangerous, Blitz, but do your job right, quick and easy, and it won’t be a problem. Over and out, Lieutenant.” The voice over the ear link said, and Blitz nodded. Like a ghost, she crept up to the window, triggering the small EMP on the door to knock out whatever standardized alarm systems the house might have. While that was down, she carefully slid the window open and slipped inside, unsheathing her ballistic knives. As if to make sure, she glanced down at her wrist, where her suit’s energy and her overall health was displayed, as invisible as she was. Fully charged. She smirked. This would be easy.

Michael took another bite of his sandwich before grabbing the remote on the small table in front of him and flipped through a few channels before stopping on the Food Network. There were commercials playing, so he took the chance to get a something to drink. He set his sandwich on a small plate on the table, and then made his way into his kitchen, “I’m about to learn how to cook something wild.” Michael said, a little more enthusiastic than he was a few minutes ago. He opened up the refrigerator and grabbed a carton of orange juice. After placing it on the counter, he poured some into a glass. “Good ol’ OJ.” Michael said, knowing he was quoting some show or movie. After putting the carton away, he reentered the living room sipping his orange juice. “Damn commercials.” Michael said as he saw that they were still on. He placed his glass down on the table before sitting down. Unfortunately, one of his feet bumped the table and the glass toppled and fell off the table, spilling the juice all over the floor. “Great.” Michael said sarcastically.

As the target went about his routine, Blitz crept closer, each footstep silent. The trained Spetznaz soldier knew stealth. It should have been as simple as get the freak of nature as he sat down. But the guy knocked his juice over. As it pooled on the ground, two distinct impressions formed, the nanosuit’s cloaking device unable to hide the fact that she was standing in the puddle of orange juice. The time for stealth was over then, it seemed. The nanosuit flickered back into existence as she lunged forward her knives in front of her and coming across, ready to stab forward and end this special’s life. She likely wouldn’t even need to use up any of her energy. A quick stab ought to do it.

At this moment, Mike missed the power he had lost a couple of months ago, even if they weren’t his own in the first place. His eyes were about to look for the roll of paper towels he set around in random spots in the house, but his eyes found something else. The flickering of the suit made him raise an eyebrow in confusion, until he quickly connected all the dots. An intruder with knives and some kind of armor… Yeah, that was enough. He didn’t have time to even say anything as the armored intruder lunged forward. Fortunately for Michael, accessing his ability was faster than him questioning this person. His body converted into metal, allowing him to endure the attack before grabbing intruder and tossing her into his television, “Who the fuck are you?” Michael asked with not so happy face.

Blitz hit metal, which surprised her, but wasn’t completely unaccounted for. She knew the guy’s power was substance mimicry, but she hadn’t expected him to react so fast. Just before she crashed down into the TV, the nanosuit shifted to armor mode, cushioning most of the blow. She did manage to let out breath of pain, though it was filtered through the face mask. She was definitely compromised now. She shifted to strength mode and pushed herself to her feet quickly, bringing her shoulder in hard against Michael’s metal body. With any luck, his higher mass would make him easier to throw off balance. As the nanosuit went to work on the throbbing pain in her back and shoulder, administering a small dose of morphine, she herself staggered back, trying to think of something to use against her metallic opponent. Her eyes came to rest on the TV she had just been thrown into, the remains sparking every so often. Might as well give it a try.

Michael wasn’t expecting his opponent to get up so quickly after being thrown into the television. He didn’t expect the person to be strong enough to knock him down either. He fell onto is back, surprised by who he was up against. The person hadn’t answered his question, so he assumed there was no talking with them. Michael would try his best not to harm the person too much though. He needed to get a few things out of whoever this person was, “I don’t know who you are, but you better have more than…” Michael stopped shit-talking when he saw the intruder eyeing the television. “It’s broken enough! No!” Michael said before charging forward to tackle the intruder.

Blitz saw him lunge, and spread herself open, intending to use his own momentum against him. Still in strength mode, she sidestepped him and used her enhanced strength to shove him, trying to change the directionality of his charge to end up in the TV. With any luck, he would shock himself and be incapacitated long enough for her to at least try to think of how to get rid of him, “You had best have something better than this, durak!” She said, the voice filter again emitting the monotone, almost robotic voice.

Mike’s eyes widened as his body was redirected toward the television. He stumbled forward before muttering something profane. His body fell onto the television, but as it did, his body converted into electricity. He raised himself from off the floor and gave the intruder a disapproving look. The television was shattered into many pieces on the ground, which was something Michael tried to avoid. He shot a streak of electricity at the intruder, “You really don’t know who you’re messing with.”

Blitz grit her teeth as her plan more or less failed. He seemed only to get stronger from that, and she only cursed herself for not thinking her plan through all the way. As he sent electricity at her, she switched to speed mode and attempted to dive out of the way, but the electricity clipped her, sending a rather painful shock through her body. Not only that, but her heads up display on her wrist now signified some malfunctions with the suit calibration. Cloaking was offline, as was her face mask. She grit her teeth at the prospect as she got back to her feet hastily, turning to face Michael. How was she supposed to fight pure electricity? She let her eyes glance around the room behind her visor, all the while keeping her face pointed at Michael. While she was sure she ran the risk of making him stronger each time she counteracted a state change, she had to do something. She made a dash for the kitchen, her body moving quickly across the room, but she didn’t know if his reflexes as well as reaction time would be heightened by the change to electricity.

It was hard for Michael not to smirk at the person’s persistence. He really wanted to leave the person conscious. When the intruder darted for the kitchen, he noticed the increase in their speed. Was this person a mimic? With the various talents the person performed, Michael felt his guess wasn’t that far off. He had a feeling the suit was helping as well. In a blur, Michael had pursued the intruder before slamming right into her back, “Can you just stop? I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I think you brought you brought knives to a gun fight.” Michael said making light of the intruder’s weapon of choice.

Blitz was sent sprawling by Michael’s slamming into her back, which answered her question as to whether or not he was quicker thanks to his being made of electricity. After a painful jolt, she slammed up against the counter and cursed loudly, her voice finally coming out as it should have, her Russian accent evident but not overpowering. She grabbed the nozzle of the sink before flipping the water on and spraying it at Michael, hoping to short out the man made of electricity, “Eat shit and die!”

When Michael heard the intruder’s voice, he was a little shocked that it was a woman he was attacking the whole time. He didn’t really fight women… Well he fought Mishi, but that was staged. He kind of felt a little bad, until she sprayed water at him and told him to ‘eat shit and die’. The water was quickly shortening out the electricity that made up his body, which forced him to shift into another composition. Michael scowled at the woman as he stood there as his normal self. He didn’t like getting wet, but it was better than being killed by his own faucet, “Okay, one last time. Who are you? And why are you to kill my ass?!” Michael demanded.

Blitz smirked behind her mask. He was back to his original self, which meant he was vulnerable to her knives. There was still a good amount of distance between them, so he likely wouldn’t expect what she had next in store. She retrieved one of the ballistic knives sheathed at her belt and leveled it at Michael, “Sometimes a knife is all you need.” She remarked on his usage of the old saying. The spring-loaded knife ejected itself from the handle, sailing across the room in a crash course for Michael’s chest.

There was no way Michael was going to get out this without taking a hit. Michael’s body suddenly disappeared while the knife’s trajectory seemed to change before hitting the ground. Drops of blood hit the floor and stained the knife, indicating the slight succession of Blitz’s attack. He was honestly getting tired of this whole scenario, and quickly sought a way to end it. Michael’s body converted to electricity behind the suited woman, and wrapped his arms around her. He kept his voltage and amperage a little higher than a taser.

Blitz smirked again as the knife drew blood, but it quickly faded as she felt arms wrap around her. She quickly swapped to armor mode, but the transition wasn’t fast enough. The electricity ripped through her, her body visibly spasming as the muscles were affected by the taser-like volt of electricity. She was Spetznaz, though. She’d been hit by worse before. She forced herself to stay conscious, although her body did go limp in Michael’s arms as the muscles were shot for the moment. She was completely incapacitated. She grit her…wait, no, actually, she didn’t. She couldn’t. She could barely move her eyes, let alone grit her teeth. She WOULD have grit her teeth, had she been able to. The suit was flashing “Malfunction” across the wrist. It was designed to handle going through electricity no problem, but at such close proximity and constantly taking a hit, well…it WAS just a prototype suit, after all. It would fix itself in a bit, but for now, she was on her own. Feeling gradually came back to her face, but her extremities were still shot, “You will get nothing out of me, ublyudok. Do you worst.”

Michael was pleased that he had finally stopped whoever this woman was from moving anymore. He shifted himself back into metal again, not wanting to get pierced by a knife again. He had a pain in his chest, but his elemental shifting was helping him deal with it. Without too much effort, Michael hoisted the intruder over his shoulder, “I’m happy to hear you’re speaking to me, but I think it’s a little too early to start giving pet names. Especially ugly ones like that one.” Michael commented before seating Blitz in a chair in the living room. He then grabbed as many bed sheets he could get his hands on, before warping them around both Blitz and the chair. “Watch this.” Michael said with a smirk as his hands made contact with the sheets. His hands seemed to fuse with the sheets before they converted to gold. He then separated his hands from the gold restraint. He took a step back, looking impressed by his work before spotting his breakfast sandwich which had survived on the table. “Perfect.” Michael said as he grabbed it and bit into it. “Do you want anything to eat? I have more in the freezer. Or do you want to tell me why you’re here trying to kill me?”

Blitz glared at Michael from behind her restraints. It would take more than gold to hold her back…when her suit came back online. All she had to do now was wait, “Aleksandra Barsukov, Alapaevsk Russia.” She said resolutely. For a moment, she feared he may strip her of her nanosuit, but he didn’t, and she was glad about that. She hoped that he was happy with that response, because that was all he was going to get out of her.

Michael raised an eyebrow and smirked when she spoke what he believed to be the intruder’s name and her homeland. So that was Russian she was speaking earlier? Michael felt a little stupid for not catching onto that earlier. He was curious to see what this Aleksandra looked like underneath that helmet. He took another bite out of the sandwich which was almost gone, “Hmm. I don’t think I’ve been to Russia before. I like your vodka though. Best thing that came out of Russia.” Michael said mildly joking. “You sure you’re not hungry? I promise I won’t poison you, and it’s pretty good for microwave food.” Michael asked as he pulled a chair up beside her, continuing to eat his breakfast.

She wondered how long this charade of false hospitality would go on before he would get violent, “Aleksandra Barsukov, Alapaevsk Russia.” She repeated, mentally steeling herself. This wasn’t some trained army interrogator or foreign jailor. It was a man…with every element at his fingertips. He could do anything he wanted to her, and probably wouldn’t even have to get up from his chair to do it. She flexed her numb fingers a little. It wasn’t much, but it was something. She wondered whether or not he would break and kill her out of frustration before she broke and gave him something other than her name and home city.

Michael sighed at Aleksandra’s answer. She was a tough cookie, and loyal to whomever she was doing this for. He took one last bite of his sandwich before staring at her helmet from the side again. Michael was trying to see if he could peer through the visor, but there was no luck, “You’re not fun at all, Aleksandra.” His hand reached to grab her helmet, but when he touched it, it dissipated into air after his hand momentarily fused with it. “Great to see that the person trying to kill me is easy on the eyes.” Michael joked again as his hand shifted back into metal. Michael wondered in the back of his mind, why people always sent women after him, but brushed the thought off. He pulled out his phone, thinking about something. He went on Facebook with his phone and started typing her name, but stopped at the first e. “Can you spell your name for me?” Michael asked. He smirked at her. “I’ll give you a shot of vodka if you do.” Michael said motioning his head toward the kitchen.

As Michael removed her helmet, she could only glare at him, “This is expensive equipment you know.” She said angrily. Where she would get a new helmet was beyond her. The fact that she had compromised herself to this magnitude was disappointing. Her squad was going to make fun of her until the day she died for this. When he pulled out his phone, she could only assume what he was going to do, “I will not, though even if I did, your search would be fruitless. As for drink, I would drink nothing but water from an enemy, and only if it were prepared before me. Now quit your stall tactics. Do your worst already, you freak. Isn’t that what you people do? Or am I mistaken, Mr. Henderson, temporary head of the Pinehearst group in the stead of Arthur Petrelli?” She spat angrily, glaring at him still. He was going to bore her to death at this rate. She knew far more about him than he could ever find out about her.

Michael leaned back a little as Aleksandra seemed to become angered. Michael kept a straight face, but it showed a bit of hurt feelings beneath it. A more uncaring expression soon formed on his face before he finished the last of his sandwich, “Okay, I see you know a lot more about me than I thought, but not enough to anticipate my actions…” Michael grabbed his chair and scooted it so he was staring Aleksandra in the face. “I’m not going to kill you. Normal people just don’t have the capacity to do that just because they have some stupid ability, so try not to put a big label on specials because one just happened to be psychotic enough to ruin your life.” Michael said scowling at the woman before standing up and looking down at his phone as he took a seat on the couch. “If I wanted you dead, I would have electrocuted you in the kitchen. Just tell me why you were sent here, so I can let you go.” Michael as if she was becoming a burden to him.

Aleksandra actually laughed, though it was a bitter and spiteful laugh, “You think that just because I tried to kill you, a special ruined my life? Don’t throw me in with the revenge ilk. You think your antics have gone unnoticed by everyone, don’t you? You and your Pinehearst. We know a lot about you, Mr. Henderson. If I don’t kill you, someone else will. And they won’t misjudge you like I did. As for information, what guarantees my life? You get the information you want, I become expendable. What exactly do you take me for, a fool?”

Michael let out a scoff at his phone before looking at Aleksandra as if she wasn’t serious. “Kill me? I’m not even going to talk about the ex-serial killer that would massacre anyone who actually got lucky enough to off me.” Michael said as he was playing Words with Friends on his iPhone. He was down by a few points, but he believed he could find a word to get ahead end the game. “You are right, about not wanting to be expendable. Especially if you know everything there is to know about me… Wait a second. Don’t tell me you knew about my sex addiction and didn’t try to use that as a way to kill me.” Michael chuckled. “Just messing with you, but onto more interesting topics… hmm... What made you want to get into your line of work? I just want to know the reason.” Michael asked as he submitted a word that he didn’t know existed.

Aleksandra scoffed, “What do you take me for, a cheap whore? If it wasn’t for your orange juice accident, I would have slit your throat and been gone, and nobody would have been the wiser. You’re no superman, Mr. Henderson, you’re a man with powers, but those powers don’t render you immortal. You are a man. You bleed like a man, and one day, you will die; like a man should.” She was puzzled by his deviation from the original topic, aka why she was trying to kill him or who she worked for. Considering the fact that one of them would end up dead on the way out of here, she supposed it wouldn’t hurt to talk about things not pertaining to the pertinent information, “The Russian Spetznaz is good for many things. Other lines of work, however, are not among them.”
Michael tried his best to hold back his smirk, but he was fruitless in his effort. Instead, he just kept his eyes on his phone. He really was starting to find her interesting once she started talking, even when she was feisty. “Thanks for putting me in my place. I need that sometimes.” Michael said with a grin. “Spetnaz. I’ve only really heard of them in war videogames, but that sounds pretty legit. Do you think I could be one of the Spetnaz? All I need is some orange juice, and I think I could get in.” Michael joked before putting his phone down, giving Aleksandra most of his attention.

Aleksandra smirked a little herself, “You do not have the discipline. The trainers in our army would make you weep like a small child. They are merciless, and for that, we are strong. But there are those among us who are stronger, and those who are weaker. I am stronger. But you need no concern yourself with Russia or the Spetznaz. They are not the ones who sent me. What about you. What made you grow up to run an organization bent on creating general disorder and murder innocent civilians?”

Michael always enjoyed accents, and could hardly keep his himself from ignoring the pronunciation of the words spoken by a person who had one different than his own. He hadn’t even noticed how much he was getting Aleksandra to speak, as he found her interesting. Michael was taken back though, when he was asked a question. Michael was quiet for a second, his grin fading into a solemn look. “It was for the greater good. At least that’s what I was told. I was stupid and naïve to think that way. To believe the ends always justified the means.” Michael admitted. “I want redemption though, and even if I don’t receive it, I’d be glad to know that I at least tried. I’m not proud to say that life has misled me many times, but I’ve always managed to get back on track.”

Aleksandra tilted her head in curiosity, “You did not think to question your so called boss? Did it ever occur to you that perhaps you were being mislead?” She asked. Not interrogatingly, but honestly. The agency had a lot of information, but maybe it only had half-truths. Any man could be mislead by those they thought to be great; a soldier by a political leader, a common office worker by a boss. Humans are creatures of naivety after all, “Do you regret what you did? Those that you killed? What would you do to earn redemption, Michael Henderson?”

Michael didn’t know why he was expecting a rude comment, but he was surprised when it didn’t come. His phone vibrated indicating that it was his turn on the game, but he ignored it. “I regret many things that I allowed myself to be swayed to do when working under Arthur Petrelli... but I would never go back to do things differently. I feel like I wouldn’t be the man I am now if it everything hadn’t happened the way it had. I’m able to be my own man.” Michael said as a subtle smile shown on his face. “As for redemption, I’ve already started. I’m helping specials within the country to control their abilities and try to employ them if they are unable to work. I also have groups of trained specials preventing things like Sylar. There’s still more that I need to do, but I’m willing to do anything in order to look at my reflection and not think of what a monster I had been.

Aleksandra sat for a moment longer in silence after Michael stopped speaking, reflecting on what he had said, “There is a difference between men and monsters. Monsters do not feel pain. Remorse. Regret. They feed on blood without a moment’s hesitation. Men can take upon the guise of monsters, but so long as they regret, they are not monsters.” She replied, “It is not inhuman to kill. Bringing death to another is not unheard of. Sometimes it is necessary. Never should it be relished, though. When you enjoy killing, then you truly are a monster. Do you enjoy killing Mr. Henderson?” She sat like that for another moment, not expecting an answer. She could see his remorse, “You can release me, Mr. Henderson. We are done here. I must report back. I think our information might be flawed.”

Michael listened to Aleksandra’s words for thought. She seemed like she had seen much more than he has in his life from her wisdom. When she asked if he enjoyed killing, he shook his head. “No. I guess your right whe-“ Michael stopped speaking when Aleksandra continued. He raised an eyebrow at what she said, being slightly confused. He looked at her for a long moment before standing up walking toward the chair. “You still haven’t told me who you’re working for.” Michael placed his hands on the gold sheets, before reverting them back to their normal composition. “You can go though.” He said as he pulled the sheets from her body. “Oh, and do you need your helmet?”

Aleksandra nodded, “Would be most helpful in contacting my…employers. As for whom we are…consider us the fallback plan if you fuck up. And it’s not a pleasant fallback plan.” She said, taking a small radio from her belt. While it was true her helmet was her best bet, she had other ways in case the helmet were to get damaged in the line of duty. “Blitz, reporting in, sir.”

The voice over the mic crackled, “Have you terminated the subject?”

“Not exactly. I think our information is wrong, sir. He’s not a threat.” She replied back.

There was silence on the other end of the line, “You better be right about this. Lieutenant. He’s your problem now. You’re on surveillance duty.”

Aleksandra’s eyes widened as the words echoed in the room. Removed from field duty. Surveillance. With the man she just tried to murder two seconds ago. It was going to be a long week, “Yessir.”

Michael was curious as to who was running this entire operation. Whoever they were, they possibly had the most elite and trained soldiers around the globe. When Michael heard surveillance duty, he could see tell by the look on Aleksandra’s face, that it wasn’t the lottery. “Surveillance? What’s that suppose to mean?” Michael asked.

Aleksandra sighed, “More or less, it means I get to babysit you and make sure you don’t go out of your way to slaughter puppies and eat fluffy kittens. That sort of thing.” She replied, an air of depression looming around her, “Great. Just great.” She muttered, leaning up against the wall and beginning to begin the removal process of the nanosuit. She thought for a moment and the nanosuit began to repeal from itself, until it was neatly folded into a small and easy to carry packet, about as big as a cell phone. She slipped it into her pocket and looked up at Michael, irritably twirling a knife in her hand. Under the suit, she was wearing a gray tank top and a close fitting pair of blue jeans, coupled with boots. She shook her head and let her black hair breath a little, letting it down out of the tight bun she had it wrapped in. Without the standardized silhouette of the suit, you could see that she was very fit, with curves in all the right places. She closed her eyes for a moment before turning them back on Michael, their brown tint akin to chestnuts, “Whelp. I am going to go find a nice hotel to bunk for however long this assignment lasts. Don’t burn down any orphanages, dah?”

Michael frowned a bit at the news. He was going to be monitored as if he was on probation. Aleksandra didn’t seem to like the whole idea either, but he guessed it was necessary if he was to be prevented from causing any trouble. He was ready to sigh before hearing Aleksandra’s nanosuit repeal from her body. Michael watched, almost in awe as the suit unraveled a very attractive woman. He almost stared blankly into her eyes, before pretending to rub them to break the eye contact. “You could always stay here. I have plenty of food and an extra room. I never have any guests, so the room should be untouched.” Michael suggested before converting his body back to its normal composition. He had been too comfortable as the tin man.

Aleksandra laughed, “Oh, really? You would house the woman who just moments before tried to kill you?” She asked, “A bold move, Mr. Henderson. A bold move indeed. But I supposed I could always keep you under observation easier if I lived here. If this is to be the case, however, there will be ground rules. One. While I am showering, I want no shenanigans. Two. You will stay out of my room unless invited inside it. Three. I am a highly trained officer of the Russian Military. Not some cheap whore off the streets, and I demand to be treated as such. Are we clear, Mr. Sex Addict?” She asked, smirking a little to show that she was kidding for the most part, “If I find out you are spying on me or something, though, I will break your fingers.”

Michael felt a little threatened by Aleksandra’s words, and even though she seemed like she was joking, Michael didn’t want to prove how serious she was. The way she pointed out the flaws of his choices would annoy most, but he found it humorous how carefully and precise she thought things through. Perhaps he was too lax. With a soft chuckle, he sat back onto his couch.

“Rules in my house? Great, but don’t flatter yourself. You’re not that hot.” Michael lied, but there was no way he was going to have Aleksandra walk around with a big head. “Now, for my rules, or rule if you make it simple… Just take it easy.” Michael said before grabbing his phone from off the couch and getting back up to enter the kitchen. He had a mess to clean up, and he was going to start with the orange juice.

Aleksandra stood for a moment, took off her boots, and sat down on the couch for a moment before sighing and following Michael into the kitchen, “I did manage to smash your TV with my ass. Is there anything I can do to help clean it up?” She asked sincerely.

Michael grabbed a mop and a pail before turning to Aleksandra. He made an unsure look, but she really did seem like it was her fault the TV was shattered in the living room. “You could start cleaning it up. Don’t blame yourself though. I was the one who threw you into the TV in the first place.” Michael said, not really in the mood for cleaning up, even if it was just a spill of orange juice. It took him only about a minute to mop up the juice. While mopping though, he winced from the pain he from the knife slitting into his chest. The cut wasn’t deep, but it was bothersome.

Aleksandra nodded and began cleaning up the shattered glass of the TV. As she did, she nicked her finger, drawing blood, “Dammit. Oh well, no big deal.” She muttered, waving her hand. That made her think of the wound she had inflicted on Michael, “After we finish up here, let me patch up your wound. I did inflict it after all, so it’s the least I can do. I don’t know how bad I nicked you, but I can sew it up if it’s deep.” She said. She knew field medicine, and that was enough for most wounds she suffered.

Michael looks up from wringing out the mop upon hearing Aleksandra. He smirked a little at how funny this scene was. They had just been fighting moments ago, and now they were helping each other clean up the mess they made. “If you want to see me shirtless, you could have just asked.” Michael joked as he set the mop back in the kitchen and headed toward the shattered television set on the floor. “Go wash your hands. I have the rest of this.” Michael said as he stared at the mess for a few seconds.

Aleksandra rolled her eyes, “Or not. You could just bleed for all I care.” She said, though there wasn’t much barb to it, “I’m fine, I’ve suffered much worse before. You’d be surprised what that nanosuit can do for wounds.” She watched as he stared at the floor, “Giving it a stern look isn’t going to make it clean itself up, you know.”

Michael only faced Aleksandra for a second before looking back at the mess again. “I’m just thinking about something.” Michael said before walking toward the mess and vanishing. Slowly but surely, pieced of the broken TV began to vanish from the floor as well. When a majority of the pieces a soft sigh could be heard. Even with his ability, he hated cleaning. Michael’s body soon reappeared with something very familiar to Aleksandra in his hands. He set the helmet in his hands on the small table before walking past her and into the kitchen. “Just let me sweep the rest of it up, and then I can enjoy the caress of your hands on my chest.” Michael said, mocking an old love movie before snickering to himself. He stopped in the middle of the kitchen before turning to the fridge. Michael had changed his mind about sweeping, and was now in the mood to drink again. He poured himself another glass of orange juice and began drinking when re-entering the living room. He set his glass on the small table and took a seat on the couch. Michael removed his black t-shirt and placed it beside him. The cut wasn’t too deep, but it had the chance of getting infected if not treated. “I’m ready, nurse.” Michael said with a smile.

Once again, Aleksandra rolled her eyes at the touching his chest comment. She waited for him to come back with the broom, but instead he came back with a glass of orange juice, “Did you get lost, or just forget what you were looking for?” She asked jokingly as he stripped off his shirt. He was well toned, but she had seen her fair share of muscle-bound jarheads; most of which she could match in hand-to-hand combat. She let the thought go without saying anything and stood in front of him, leaning close to inspect the wound. It wasn’t deep…no stitching was required, but it was still a nice gash. Standing straight again, she nodded to herself and disappeared, “Stay here. I’ll be right back.” She walked through the house, grabbing various supplies for her first aid needs. When she came back, she had a large bowl of water, a rag doused in soap, some big Band-Aids, and some antiseptic spray. She took the chair that Michael had been sitting in to ‘interrogate’ her and sat it in front of him now, placing the bowl of water on the table (on a coaster) and leaned close, “Oh, by the way. I hope you like it rough.” She said, playing on the obvious as she began to scrub the wound out with the rag.

Michael chuckled a little before falling silent as Aleksandra took a look at his wound. When she had asked him to stay where he was, he took the time to play with his phone. He cursed inwardly as he saw that he had been challenged yet again in Words with Friends. Patricia had to be the most difficult and resilient opponent he had so far. Letting out a grunt he quit the game, turning in the towel on the addicting game. When Aleksandra returned with her supplies that she scavenged from around the house, he smiled. “Nah, I like it sss...” Michael winced and grunted as she rubbed the rag against his chest. He kept his eyes narrowed as he stared at Aleksandra. “I bet you’re enjoying this, and not in a good way either.” Michael said as his right hand tightened and loosened while changing into numerous solid compositions. “So you don’t have any kind of ability?”

Aleksandra shrugged her shoulders, “Maybe I am. Just a little.” She said with a smirk, though she was taken aback by his asking if she had an ability, “Not if you don’t count the suit, I don’t. Why?” She asked, genuinely curious. She finished scrubbing the wound and dabbed the antiseptic cream on it, using a much softer touch than she had with the rag. When she finished with that, she began to apply the bandages. When she finished that, she sat back, inspecting the job she did. Not too shabby. It wouldn’t get infected or anything at least.

Michael endured the rag, wincing, before Aleksandra began to rub the antiseptic and then bandage him up. Michael took a deep breath before answering her question. “Just curious. I thought it could be something to talk about, but your suit enhances your performance. That sounds a little out of our time period. It’s not impossible though. If I remember, I fought a few cartoon characters a couple of months ago.” Michael said with a smirk before slipping his shirt back on. “Thanks.” He said placing a hand on Aleksandra’s shoulder and starting for the stairs.

Aleksandra sat back and watched him go, “You can call me Aleksi, or Leksi if you like, by the way. Since we’re going to be living together, I guess.” She said, starting to sit down on the couch. She wondered vaguely if Michael had any books worth reading. She wasn’t about to ask about the stuff that had taken place months ago, whether it was the fight with the cartoon characters or what not. She knew enough about all that, even if she didn’t necessarily believe all of it. She got up and moved over to her helmet. Didn’t look any different, and when the nanobots rejoined the ones previously in her pocket, they didn’t seem any different.

Michael headed upstairs and into his room to get dressed for today. He wanted to go driving around and see some sights in D.C., and he was glad that he might not have to do it alone. As he slipped on his white polo shirt and jeans, he wondered if seeing sights would even be fun. Isn’t that what old people did? Michael made a face in the mirror, questioning his plans for today, before a smile crept up on his face as an idea came to mind. He was still twenty years old, and there was no way he was going to spend his only day off looking at old shit. “Hey Aleksi! Do you want to go out somewhere with me?” Michael asked loudly from his room. He put a pair of white sneakers on to match his polo before spraying on a little bit of cologne. “Perfect.” He said to himself as he straightened out his collar in the mirror before heading back down the steps. “I think I like Leksi better, it’s a little um… smoother.” Michael said using safe words.

Leksi raised an eyebrow at Michael for a moment as he came back downstairs. Smelling of cologne. She frowned for a moment but didn’t let him see it, “Where do you plan on going?” She asked, turning from a picture on the wall that had caught her attention. She turned back to Michael, who looked somewhat dressed up, “Are we going someplace fancy? I don’t have any clothes, you know. Well, aside from what I’m wearing. Unless you’d rather be seen in public with a Russian ninja thing.”

Michael chuckled at Aleksandra’s questions, before checking his phone. “You’re fine just the way you are. I just have a lot of nice clothing.” Michael said putting his phone into his pocket after seeing no notifications. “Besides, if you dress up too nice, the media will think you’re my new girlfriend that I’m taking out on a date or something. I don’t think you want that… Then again, what woman wouldn’t want to be faintly highlighted in the media?” Michael grabbed his car keys before giving Aleksandra one look. “You coming?”

Leksi crossed her arms, “Covert operations don’t mean much to you, do they?” She asked jokingly, before following him outside, “You go through a lot of women, don’t you? Have you ever actually cared about the women you sleep with, or have they all just been sex toys? A matter of curiosity, if you don’t mind my asking, roomy.” She was genuinely curious, though she figured she knew the answer already. The files showed that Michael had been with a few women in the past few months, the latest one being another member of Pinehearst, “And what of your new girl? Patricia, or something like that. What will she say if she sees you with me, given your past…history, with women?”

Michael was ready to grab the door knob to go outside, until he heard the peculiar things that came from out of Aleksandra’s mouth. It made him stop in his spot before turning to her with an almost expressionless face. He didn’t know what to think at first, until he managed to smirk. Michael just remained by the door.

“Allow me to… break this down for you.” Michael said trying to choose the right words. “I’ve only had sex with three women in my entire life. Take that in for a moment, because you probably can’t believe it. Out of those three women, I only shared feelings for two. The other was just a woman I was just messing around with to finish Arthur Petrelli’s great plan.” Michael almost scowled, but refrained before continuing. “I don’t let myself become sucked into my addiction, Leksi. I’ve fought it every time, and I’m happy that it’s gone… As for Patricia…” Michael tried to keep his composure before smirking. “Patricia is only a good friend of mine. I’ve never even kissed the woman, so I don’t know what past history thing you’ve got going there, all I know is that it’s probably wrong.” Michael said, turning back to the door. Upon turning the doorknob, he stopped once again, but on his own accord. “Why so curious Leksi?” Michael asked seriously.

Leksi’s face softened as Michael spoke, “The last was simply speculation on my part. But I’m sorry nonetheless. It was out of line.” She said, until he turned back to her again. She laughed a little, “Oh no, you’ve figured me out! I’ve been smitten by my charge, and now I want to have copious amounts of love making on the spot!” She said, sarcasm heavy on her voice. She put her hands on her hips and tilted her head with a smirk, looking him in the face, “I was curious. We’ve got love life for the past few months on you, but that’s it. It showed you a bit of a widower, if you will. The love them and leave them type. My brother was that kind of sleaze ball. I wanted a chance for you to explain yourself for yourself, instead of trusting everything out of a file we’ve already proved is wrong. Now. I think I’m done with interrogating you. We can go now, if you have no more questions as well.”

Michael just stared at Leksi with a grin. He felt bad for momentarily snapping, forgetting that she had only been going off the data she had looked over. “You know, if you keep that pose up for a little longer, you might get what you want... Come on, we’re leaving.” Michael said before opening up the front door and looking at his car parked in the driveway. It was a black Mercedes. “Be ready for the flashing lights today.” Michael finally said to Leksi as he opened up the door driver’s side and taking a seat.

Leksi removed her hands from her hips, but gave him a perplexed look, “Flashing lights?” She asked as she got into the passenger seat. She overlooked the comment about ‘getting what she wanted’ and shook her head, “You still haven’t told me where we’re going. Is it supposed to be some sort of wondrous surprise? I hope it isn’t burning down an orphanage. I might have to terminate you if you do.” She said the last part jokingly, though there was a cold seriousness behind the joke. She did have a ballistic knife on her person at the moment, but that was all. Going out into public with a knife belt and tomahawk was generally frowned upon and seen as weird.

Michael smiled as he started up the car and drove onto the street. “Damn, you mean we can’t burn down the orphanage down the block? That’s where I was going to take you for your first date.” Michael said before chuckling. He figured he’d make a joke to get around him saying where they were headed. “And the flashing lights are cameras… I’m like a celebrity to the people who don’t know me like you do.” Michael said, trying to sound realistic rather than cocky for the statement.

Leksi just sort of scoffed at his joke, “Indeed. You really must be killer with the ladies if that’s your idea of a good first date. I can think of so many women who would love the sound of burning children in…an orphanage…” Her voice fell from her originally humorous voice to one that was far away. Her face became distant as she stared out the windshield. Smoke. Fire. Screams. Her brother calling to her, telling her it would be okay. She shook her head, and the image faded. She cleared her throat, and turned her head to look out the window. She looked down at her hands for a moment, the faint remnants of the burns from so long ago still there. She shook her head again to clear the mood, “Right. Cameras. Of course.”

Michael looked at Aleksandra from the corner of his eye when she had added onto his joke. The mood in her voice seemed to have gone down when making the joke about him burning orphanages. He figured he could easily change the subject if he talked about a subject he knew Aleksandra would give a smart comment to. “So what are we gonna do after the date? You a good kisser?” Michael asked almost seriously, until a smirk fought its way to his face.

Leksi almost didn’t catch his joke, but she frowned when she did, “I wouldn’t know. The only kiss I’ve ever given another person was to my brother, and that was simply on the cheek. But I guess we’ll never know, will we?” The barb of the original tone was still in the sentence, but the bite of her voice simply wasn’t there. The sentence sounded empty, even to her. She sighed and leaned on the window, pressing her forehead to the cool glass.

Michael could only frown a bit and turn his face to the left in order to hide it as he drove. When he was able to put on a more neutral expression, he looked straight ahead for a moment, before looking at Leksi from the corner of his eye. She seemed down all of a sudden and he couldn’t really figure out why on his own. “I’m sorry for asking a personal question like that…” Michael wanted to cheer her up a bit, even if was just a smile for a few seconds. He never liked seeing people this way. He’d seen it many times, and it always pulled him in to want to help it. “And you shouldn’t say that. You’re beautiful. I could… No, nevermind. What I’m trying to say is, someone really special to you will give you everything you’ve been missing, and you’ll love them for it.” Michael said with a smile.

“I have never sought companionship. That was why I was so good at my job. When nobody knows you’re missing, it’s easy to make you into a ghost.” She said, not solemnly, but with an almost twinge of regret, “My brother is probably too drugged up to even notice I’m missing. What’s it matter though? I prefer to work alone anyway. It’s not you. It’s just some old memories come to stir. You needn’t worry about it, I’m fine.” She said. It was something she’d had to cope with for a long time. She wasn’t about to go to pieces in front of her charge.

Michael listened to Leksi speak of her life, explaining why she had never experienced companionship. It was strange, but Michael was starting to admire her a bit. Mike was sure anyone else would be depressed by what she had just said and brushed aside like any other piece of old news. Michael wasn’t done yet though. He looked at Leksi with a smirk. “If you’re fine, then can you at least flash me that smirk you’re always giving when you make a smart comment..? Please.” Michael asked with an almost flirtatious approach.

When Michael asked her to smirk, she smiled a little and even chuckled, “You gonna tell me I have a pretty smile and that it brightens your day to see it?” She asked, her tone removed from the sarcasm of before but to a more joking attitude. She scoffed a little, “So. You still haven’t told me where we’re going. But I suppose if you’ve managed to dodge the question this many times, it must be a hell of a surprise.”

Michael chuckled a little at Leksi’s response. He was honestly happy to see her smile, letting him know that he had accomplished what he wanted. “You know you can’t just spoil the rest of my smooth talk like that. It makes me have to work harder.” Michael said jokingly. “Why do you want to know where we’re going so badly? It shouldn’t matter where we’re going for our date. It should matter who you’re with on the date.” Michael said before laughing, obviously not being as he wanted to be when saying these things. “Besides, we’re here.” Michael said as he passed a ‘Welcome to Six Flags’ sign. He drove through the parking lot, and made sure to remember where he had parked before exiting the car. He didn’t know how she would feel about an amusement park, but he was sure they would find some sort of fun here.

As they passed the sign, Leksi smiled to herself. He kept calling it a date…she scoffed mentally, “An amusement park? I’ve never been to one. It was one of the things my brother always said we’d do when we got older, but…” She let the sentence trail for a moment before exiting the car herself, gazing over the menagerie of rides and other buildings. The rides looked like they might be intimidating to some, but they also looked like they’d be loads of fun, “This isn’t where you were planning on going until after I showed up, hmm?” She couldn’t see someone going to a place like this alone, after all. She stretched a little and motioned for him to take the lead.

“Sadly, you’re right. I was just going to go driving around to check out some sights and landmarks.” Michael said as held his arm to lock with hers. He was mildly joking, and really wanted to see what she would do. “And what about your brother?” Michael said, going back to what she had been saying in the car. He wondered what had happened in her life as he noticed her mood go down a little whenever she recalled something.

She looked at his arm for a moment, before smirking and interlacing it with her own, “I’ll humor you this once.” She said, more to reassure herself than him. She shook her head and waved his comment about her brother off, “He’s a no good, sleazy, doped up drunk who barely has the cognitive capability to function every day, let alone live a ‘normal’ life. But still, he is my brother. I worry from time to time about him, you know? Is he still alive, even, or did he manage to overdose himself and now he’s lying dead in a ditch somewhere.” She fell silent again before trying to put on another smile, “But come on. We are supposed to be amused, dah? Not melancholy.”

When Leksi interlocked arms with Michael, he smirked bigger than he had in a while. “Humor me? We both know you don’t have to make any excuses.” Michael said before speaking again. “And there’s no rush. I like talking to you.” Michael admitted as the two of them approached the ticket booth. Michael already had his free hand on his wallet, and was ready to pay any fee they could throw at him.

One of the things Michael enjoyed about his life, was the fact that he could go places he thought he would never go to, and do things he thought he would never experience. Perhaps his new outlook on life is the only thing he can thank the Petrelli’s for. They passed by through the ticket booth without any hassle, but someone was waiting for them as they entered the park. It was a photographer, holding his camera with a huge smile on his face. Michael almost scowled at the man thinking he was paparazzi, but the photographer’s uniform kept him from shooing the photographer away. Michael nudged Leksi and smiled at the camera. “Say cheese.” Michael said before there was a bright flash.

As they got through the check line, Leksi saw a man with a camera and Michael nudged her, her hand dropped to the ballistic knife at her belt, but when he said to smile, she dropped the best smile she could give, though where she had thought she would be faking it, she found that the smile was actually genuine. As the camera flashed and the man told them they could pick it up later for five dollars, she watched him run off to go take more pictures, “What a sad life of monotony, taking pictures of other people’s happiness.” She mused, letting the spots in her eyes subside before looking around again, “You know, not many people give a shit about your life when you’re a soldier. So, if it means anything, I do enjoy talking to you as well. It’s nice to just…I dunno, maybe be normal for a change? That must sound silly to you, given your…situation.”

“Normal? No one on this planet can achieve that. Anyone who’s normal obviously doesn’t live a life worth existing.” Michael said as he led Leksi toward the entrance of a rollercoaster. They were obviously tall enough to get on, and Michael had paid a little extra to get an express pass, so the two of them were moving toward the ride quicker than others. “Besides, I like almost getting assassinated by an attractive ex-Spetsnaz Russian woman, only to take her out on a date afterward.” Michael joked ignoring the people giving him looks of awe. He heard his name within the long line of people and just waved and smiled toward them. His fame wasn’t as crazy as a few months ago, but having a movie after saving the nation would make it impossible for him not to be recognized across the country.

Leksi laughed a little as Michael spoke, listening to his complement, “Yeah…You don’t need to say things like that. Attractive, I mean. I’m nothing special.” She said, almost absentmindedly as she looked at all the girls who were ogling Michael, and giving her looks of jealousy and envy. Did they honestly think the two of them were together? He was famous, a true star. Who was she? A ghost. She literally was nobody. She didn’t exist. She frowned for a moment before looking toward the ride, dropping Michael’s hand and pushing her own into her pocket, “You should stop calling it a date. After this assignment is over, I’ll be gone and you won’t have to worry about the government anymore.”

Michael felt like things were going smoothly, until Leksi suddenly removed her arm from his and stuck her hand in her pocket. The things she had said were just as bitter as her actions. Michael stopped where he was, before grabbing Leksi’s arm to stop her so she could face him. “Leksi… Never mind.” Michael said as he let go and continued up a flight of stairs leading to the rollercoaster. “We’re just here to have fun, and I like hanging out with you, so I’ll even blow up a DMV just to stay in touch.” Michael said going from serious to joking again. It was probably one of his worst and best traits. “You’d even get a second chance to kill me… or hold my hand.” Michael said smoothly before the two were directed to the front seats of the ride. Mike took a seat and held his hand out with a smile.

Leksi was taken by surprise as Michael grabbed her arm, turning her to face him. For a second, she thought he was going to say something, but he instead let her go after a nevermind and continued up the stairs. She hung back for a moment longer before continuing as well. Her lips arced up ever so slightly as he mentioned blowing up a DMV to stay in touch, but it didn’t change her mood. She took her seat without looking at Michael or acknowledging his outstretched hand, “You’re a good guy, Michael, despite what you’ve done. But you have to know that we…we could never work out. Even if it were just friendship, you’d never see me because I’m supposed to be a ghost. Nobody is supposed to know I exist, even. You’re the first person to even learn my real name since…well, pretty much ever. Most people just call me Blitz, or Lieutenant. Even my squad mates don’t know my name.”

Michael looked down at his empty hand as the rollercoaster started up. The track led the rollercoaster out of the loading station and up a mildly steep incline. Michael could only fall silent before saying softly, “So.” He didn’t know if Leksi would hear him over the clicking of the track. “You’re saying never to the wrong man Leksi. I really don’t see why we couldn’t just use the time we have to bond. I will see you again. Trust me. You should already know how persistent I am.” Michael said with a smirk as he looked down at his still empty hand. The rollercoaster had just reached the top. “Too late for a comeback.” Michael said as the rollercoaster dropped down.

Leksi was silent as the rollercoaster went down the hill, but she did manage to give Michael a surprised, almost confused look as the drop began. Why was he so persistent in wanting to see her? Even as the course of the rollercoaster took them up and over, under and around, she stayed silent, her face clouded with thought. As the rollercoaster came to a stop, finally, she got off just as silent as she had been during the ride. When the two of them were relatively alone from the crowds (people just seemed to jump out of his way like he was royalty), she turned her head just enough so he could hear her, “Michael. Please. Even if you were to do something huge to attract our attention, there’s no telling who’d they’d send after you. After I compromised myself to you, I do know they’d never send me again. Once I leave…you will probably never see me again.”

Michael hadn’t really enjoyed the rollercoaster as much as he could have due to issues he and Leksi were having at the moment. He didn’t want to trouble her, so he respected her silence. When she spoke once again, Michael walked alongside her for a moment before stopping. He gazed at her with an almost speechless look. “I guess you have me beat…” Michael looked to a bench before walking over and taking seat. “So what do we do then?” He asked. He was intending on being snarky, but he really wanted her to answer his question. Michael’s expression displayed an almost defeated look, except it wasn’t so solemn.

Leksi took an apprehensive breath as Michael seemed to give up. When he asked her what now, she only looked at the ground, “Well…I guess if you wanna repeal your offer to house me, I can accept that. I know this isn’t what you were hoping for, and I’m sorry. If it’s any consolation, I really did enjoy just talking with someone, though. And it’s nice to know that…even after I leave, I’ll have existed for just a little while. And I’ll always consider you a friend, even if I don’t ever see you again.” She said with a genuine smile as she sat down next to him. She gave him a light kiss on the cheek and sat back a little, “You really are a good guy, Michael. I’m sure you’ll find someone who’s right for you one day. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea, dah?”

Michael had been waiting for a moment where he could just stop Leksi from speaking and tell her that ‘never’ wasn’t a word he could ever believe in. He had faced cartoon heroes, seen other dimensions, and watched men come from the dead. As she spoke though, Michael could hear that she really wasn’t just being stubborn as he had previously thought. Leksi honestly believed that they would never meet again. She had never been close to someone like him, and he forgot to truly take that into account. As he realized where he was wrong, he felt a light kiss on his cheek. “Fish? I only like attractive ex-Spetsnaz Russian women that have tried to assassinate me. Even if we don’t have a lot of time to spend together like you said. We should make the most of what time we spend together.” Michael said, before taking Leksi by surprise and giving her a tender kiss on the lips.

Leksi wanted to say something when he said who exactly he was attracted to, but her breath hitched in her throat as she felt his lips close over hers in a kiss. Her face lit up like a Christmas tree as she blushed, but she didn’t pull back from it either. For a moment, she didn’t know what to do. She actually felt the sting of tears at her eyes for a moment. When the kiss broke, she shook her head and looked at him, her face plastered with a hurt expression, “Don’t do this, Michael.” She whispered, almost pleading, “Don’t make our parting any more difficult.” She said, but it was weak. False. She had failed her job as a ghost. Would they even want her back? She was beginning to wonder if…maybe…there was opportunity here. She felt herself almost drawn back into him as she looked at him, and before she knew it, she was kissing him again.

Michael didn’t really know where his heart was taking him with the kiss, but he hoped things wouldn’t make a turn for the worst. Leksi seemed to have accepted the kiss at first, but when he pulled away, he could see the distress in her face. She looked as if she had to make a life changing decision, but didn’t know what to choose. Michael tried to guess something else though. He was ready to apologize for his advance as he heard her plea. “Leksi, I’m sor...” Michael then found himself speechless as Leksi kissed him. Michael hadn’t even anticipated that from her at all, but he didn’t let himself be taken back too much. He kissed her, matching every movement her lips made against his, before breaking away. “Shit! We’re in an amusement park…” Michael seemed to point out a little too late. It was almost funny how shocked he was by all of this.

Leksi brushed a few strands of hair out of her face and blushed profusely as she looked at Michael with an unsure expression. She knew this was what he wanted, that was all clear enough. But was this really what she wanted? She had worked hard getting to where she was now. Did she really want to throw it all away for a man she barely knew? She bit her lip and looked away, not sure of what she should do or say. He actually cared about what she thought and felt. It was the first time for a long time that someone had thought of her as a human being instead of a weapon. Sure she had fun with her squad, but deep down, they all knew what they really were. Weapons. But Michael saw something different in her. In a way, it was something she didn’t even see in herself. She finally looked back at him, a smile on her face as she stood up and nodded, “Dah. And we should take advantage of that, shouldn’t we?”

Michael had been taking in what had happened in the last minute, barely believing it before his eyes met Leksi’s again. Though she was still blushing, there was a smile on her face. It sort of let him know that everything wasn’t just fine, but great. What she said after the short silence caused him to smile as he stood up as well. “Exactly. Now you get to pick the next attraction… and I like that smile much better than your smirk.

Leksi smiled again as Michael mentioned her smirk not being quite as pleasurable as her smile, although she did try and stifle it a bit. The idea for the next attraction came as she looked around the park before pointing to a rollercoaster which had loops and spins, and mounted atop the biggest loop was a statue of Superman, “It’s funny, you know? I don’t think anyone ever anticipates meeting a real live Superman. So I think that ride is most appropriate, don’t you think?” She said, taking her hand from her pocket and holding it out to him, though her face fell from the cheery demeanor as she did, “If we’re going to do this, Michael, you have to be ready for the consequences. I am what’s called a Ghost. I hide behind a wall of anonymity. That anonymity comes from my employer. If you want us to work…I can’t go back. I will lose that anonymity. And I will become vulnerable to a great many people. And my employer won’t take my word of your innocence. I don’t doubt there will be more like me. I need to know you’re ready for this. Because if that isn’t what you want, we should end it right here, right now. I’ll move to an apartment, complete my assignment, and we don’t ever see each other again.”

When Leksi pointed at the Superman rollercoaster, Michael could only grin at her taste in rides. He hadn’t expected Leksi to decide on the larger more thrilling attractions to start off with. He chuckled at her superman comment, and went to grab her hand which she held out, but stopped as she seemed to go from cheerful to serious. He didn’t know what to say about what she explained at first, but it was mostly because it wasn’t too clear to him. His expression matched hers as he took her hand and held it firmly. “I’m ready for anything. You need to explain more though. They’re still gonna come after me? And there are people after you too?”

Leksi nodded, “You have to understand that some of the things I’ve done…not all of them are entirely legal. I’ve never like trafficked drugs or anything, but…we’ve acquired information not entirely legally, and probably angered a lot of the criminal underworld. Nobody has information on me in specifics but my employers, but…they are a business like any other. I can’t guarantee that they will or won’t sell off information to my enemies about me. Once I leave their employ, they don’t have any reason to protect me anymore. Hell, if anything, I become a liability. And if you’re with me, they might use you to get at me. And if I don’t report back, which I don’t intend to if we’re going to do this, then I can’t promise more people like me won’t come after you. And even if I did report back, they could believe me compromised if I quit on the dot.” She said, her eyes slightly losing the serious tone and going to a somewhat pleading but understanding look, “If the risk sounds too great…”

Michael listened to Leksi explain the risks of her walking away from her employer. They would have to rely on each other to get through this, and he was more than willing to do that. He saw the pleading look she was giving, and put his index finger against her lips, quieting her with an assuring smile. “The risks are worth it. Now let’s worry about this stuff later. We have a superman ride to get onto, Dah?”

Leksi nodded, leaning into Michael a little and pecking him on the cheek. She was a little shorter than him, but that was alright; she didn’t mind having to stand on her toes and lean on him. She smiled and said, “Believe it or not, I was hoping you would say that.” With that she noticed that quite a few of the paparazzi had been watching their little emotional scene, and she was glad that she had kept her voice down. The last thing they needed was for the news papers and such reporting who they were and what exactly the two were doing together. With the more emotional part of the day put behind them she straightened her back and took a few steps toward the rollercoaster, “Let’s see if you’re faster than a bullet, then, shall we?” She asked, making to run off if he agreed.

If someone were to write Michael’s day out to him and hand him the script of it when he had woken up this morning, he might have chuckled at how crazy things happened. He could tell Leksi was getting comfortable, which was something he was proud of. It was funny when he thought back to when all she told him was her name, and now she was giving him pecks in front of the paparazzi.

Michael had always found the paparazzi annoying, but he figured if you gave them more than what they wanted, it became more fun for you. As Leksi ran forth, Michael just shook his head as he smiled. “Watch this if you can!” Michael said to both the paparazzi and Leksi. His body converted into light with his form still showing his smirk. Michael decided that he wouldn’t go too fast, because of what he planned to do. With a bright flash, Michael had easily caught up to Leksi. He grabbed her in his arms, and then carried her to the line of the superman ride. He converted back, and kept his eyes on Leksi as he put her down. “A speeding bullet has nothing on me.”

Leksi wasn’t expecting to be carried to the line, let alone brought to it by a man made of light. When they got there, she looked around in amazement and disbelief before giving him a smirk, “Now you’re just showing off.” She said as she got out of his arms. She looked up for a moment and saw the clouds beginning to darken slightly, but she wrote it off. It took mere minutes for them to join the rest of the fast passers at the front of the ride, and even sooner, they were sitting on the ride. And this time, she was going to enjoy it.

Michael chuckled to Leksi’s comment as they made their way to the front of the line. When Michael took his seat, he couldn’t help but reach his hand out toward Leksi’s with a grin. “I heard this one takes pictures.” Michael said as the rollercoaster started up.

Leksi was surprised for a moment and even let out a small breath of surprise as Michael took her hand in his own, but her body eased into it and she flashed him a small smile, although her eyes kept going up to the sky at the darkening clouds, “It looks like it might rain later.” She murmured to no-one in particular. While to most it might sound like just a passing comment, there was a small hint of not necessarily fear, but unease.

When the rollercoaster went down and through all of its loops and turns, Michael couldn’t help but to tighten his grip on Leksi’s hand a little. Upon going onto the biggest loop Michael tried his absolute best to give Leksi a peck on the cheek for the picture, but failed miserably as the force of the rollercoaster pulled him back. The flashing lights made him smile at how bad the picture would come out. He didn’t think Leksi even noticed his failed feat, which would make looking at the picture even more hysterical than it could have been.

“Whoo!” Michael let out when the rollercoaster came to a stop. “That was much better than the first, don’t you agree?” Michael said as he let go of Leksi’s hand to un-strap himself.

When leaving the line, the two went to the place where you could see your photos from the ride. Michael looked at his and Leksi with a smile. The picture showed Michael being pulled away from almost kissing her. His eyes were wide and his lips were puckered up for the picture. His smile then faded into a frown. “I guess I have to buy this one.” Michael said as he went purchase the picture. He decided to get photos for their wallets. He handed Leksi her own photo, before looking up into the sky upon hearing a low rumble. “Time’s up?” Michael said as he gave Lekis a look to make the decision.

Leksi had to agree as they got off the ride, “Much better than the first.” She replied as they went to go look at pictures. She had had intense gravity training with the Spetsnaz for jumping out of planes, but she enjoyed the rollercoaster nonetheless. When they went for pics, she smiled as she saw gravity owning Michael and his kiss attempt and laughed a little. When the thunder let out its roar, her face became somewhat fearful, “Yeah, I think we should go.” Not moments later the rain began to fall, catching them in the middle of it as they tried to get back to the car. Leksi, who had been holding Michael’s hand as they jogged, now wrenched her hand away and looked around hastily, “Would you please get me one of those novelty hats I’ve been seeing around the place? They’re really funny looking.” She lied, and not very well before sprinting off towards the restrooms without waiting for Michael’s reaction.

Michael didn’t think much of the rainfall, knowing that the two could probably make their way to the car without getting too soaked. Though, when Leksi pulled her hand away from his hold, he was taken aback. He stopped with her and waited for what she had to say, only to be more confused than he was. Michael just stood in the rain, watching Leksi run toward the restrooms before going over to one of the booths and paying for a hat. He just guessed that maybe it was a makeup or hair issue, but Leksi didn’t seem like that kind of girl. She had just been on two rollercoaster and before that, tried to fight him to the death. The storm made him think of Alice Shaw for a second. He had remembered how he came to power in Pinehearst, and how he was able to get others to follow him after he had stopped the woman’s rampage. He put the hat on himself and started walking back toward the restrooms, waiting outside but underneath the roofing to get out of the rain.

Leksi made it to the bathrooms but it was too late. Exactly what she thought would happen was happening. Doing the best she could to clean up the mess, she used a bunch of paper towels from the dispenser to wipe it all up, but now the true problem came to light. She looked ridiculous now, and not because her hair was messed up. She went to the door and when she peeked out and saw Michael, she stuck her arm through the door, snatching the hat off of his head and pulled it down over her own head, forcing all of her hair up into it and hoping she hadn’t missed any as she stepped outside. When she saw him, she gave a nervous chuckle, “So uh…we should go back to your place…” She said nervously, knowing she looked ridiculous in the stupid hat.

Michael turned toward the bathroom door when he felt the hat get snatched off his head. “She must have really wanted that.” Michael said softly to himself as he waited with both arms crossed at his chest. When Leksi opened the door, he couldn’t believe how ridiculous she looked in the hat. The hat was ridiculous on its own, but the fact that Leksi had put it on backwards made him chuckle a bit. He “Leksi, you have the hat on… Wait let me…” Michael said as he grabbed the hat and pulled it off her head, only to raise his eyebrows at what he saw. “…see if I can… fix it.” Michael tried to finish his sentence without making it seem like things weren’t fine. However, he failed.

As Michael pulled the hat off, her heart sank. As her hair spilled out and fell in front of her own face, the green of her own hair caught her eyes. The hair dye that had been washed out by the rain was gone entirely, letting her green hair shine in all its freakish wonder. And it wasn’t that green color blondes got when they forgot to wash their hair after a dip in the pool. No. This was a green green, like the grass, but slightly more blue. Her face was on fire and she looked as though she was on the verge of tears. She didn’t even know what to say to him now, so she only sat there quietly and waited for him to say something.

Michael blinked a few times as he held the hat in his hand and stared at Leksi’s hair. Did she dye it in the bathroom as a joke? No, it couldn’t be. Not by the look on her face and the way she had tried to hide it. He didn’t fully understand what was going on, but he could see that she was somewhat embarrassed. “This is how the hat goes on.” Michael said dismissing what just happened and placing the goofy looking hat on her head. “I think the hair is sexier than the hat though.” Michael said with a small smirk, trying to get her to smile with him. He then held his hand out for her to take it. “Let’s go.”

Leksi had expected laughter or maybe some cruel joke poking fun at her freaky colored hair. When they didn’t come though, and she felt the hat lightly go back onto her head, she looked at him with disbelief. He even complemented her on her hair, which confused her more, “You don’t think it looks…freaky? Or stupid?” She asked tentatively, her face becoming less defensive and become more open. She honestly hadn’t expected this from him. She had hoped to keep it a secret for as long as possible. Usually she kept up the dye regiment to keep it waterproof, but she had just gotten back from a mission, and hadn’t had time to reapply the coloring before she was sent out again. Usually there was a break between missions, but they had come up short handed, with some of the deaths in the unit lately. She tentatively took his hand and smiled briefly at him, not quite sure what to say.

Michael let out a small chuckle at Leksi’s question. “Of course not.” He said looking at her with a heartwarming smile. By the way she seemed about her hair, he guessed it might have been her natural hair color, but how? He had never heard of anyone having green hair. Maybe it was some kind of dye malfunction, but he decided he would leave the subject of her hair alone for another time. He wanted Leksi as comfortable as possible. “It’s just different, which doesn’t make it bad.” Michael said as he squeezed her hand a bit before reaching the car. The rain had drenched his outfit, but he wasn’t too worried about that. He unlocked the car doors and quickly got in. “So… Where do you wanna go?”

With restored confidence, Leksi nodded and smiled at Michael, getting in with him and thinking for a moment, “Somewhere where we don’t have to go in, unless you don’t mind being seen with the green haired freak. It may not bother you, but I guarantee people will stare if we go to some formal restaurant.” She said, running a hand through her now green hair. She looked at herself in the mirror and blushed a little as she noticed the green hair, which had been black for so long. It was weird seeing herself in her ‘normal’ state, “I can…keep it like this, if you like it, though.”

Michael sighed as he looked at Leksi’s head full of green hair, and smirked at the odds. “Your hair is fine Leksi. Now be a badass Spetsnaz for me okay?” Michael joked as he started the car and drove from the amusement park. “We can go back to my place for lunch. I don’t really know how to cook, but I got some microwavable food in the freezer.” Michael unsurely suggested. His expression matched his tone, until he brightened up. “We can drink a little too. I don’t have high quality food, but my drinks are golden.” Michael said being more enthused.

Leksi laughed, “Now that I can do.” She said, giving him a look, “Trust me, I’m sure you can cook better than me. My cooking will kill you. Literally. As for drinks, you are so asking the wrong woman. I bet I can hold my drinks ten times better than you.” She challenged, now that the whole awkward hair thing was out of the way, “After all, we drink vodka for breakfast.”

Michael chuckled. “You’re funny. I’ll give you Russians props again for your vodka, but I bet I could out drink the entire country.” Michael said jokingly. The two had argued about who was the heaviest drinker out of the two as they made their way back to the house. Upon their arrival, Michael hopped out of the car. “I hope you’re ready to get beat.” Michael said as he headed toward the door to open it.

As Leksi made for the kitchen after Michael opened the door, she gave him a challenging grin, “Let’s let your drinks do the talking, Mr. Hotshot.” She said, heading straight for the alcohol and browsing the collection. There were some fine alcohols amongst them, and she grabbed one tossing it to him, “Think fast! It’s a good year.” She said, hoping to get the party off with a start.

Michael caught the bottle in his hands, and looked at it with a smile. It was a good choice, and there was plenty in there for the both of them. “Alright then, do you do shots or mixed drinks?” Michael asked before looking to where the television use to be. He made a troubled expression before his eyes looked up toward the stairs. He should have tried to buy a replacement while out, but maybe he could use one of the TVs up stairs. His eyes then looked to Leksi. Without letting another quiet second pass, Michael mentally decided that he didn’t need a TV if he was with Leksi. “You wanna play any drinking games since the TV is out?... You know what… How about we go shot for shot. Whoever passes out, throws up, or gives up while still having a shot to take loses.” Michael said as he went into the kitchen and came out with two shot glasses. “We can make the game interesting if you want.” Michael suggested with a grin.

Leksi smirked, “How exactly do you plan to do that?” She asked, referencing the suggestion of making it interesting. She was now looking at the shot glasses, trying to gauge how many she could drink before something would start to affect her. She could drink quite a few, in her opinion, but she did know that men generally could drink more than women, but she was of Russian blood. She could out drink him.

Michael smirked as the bargain he had in mind brought memories back to him between him and some members of Pinehearst. It usually led to people waking up in bath tubs or people having to spend the rest of the night outside in the cold. He set both glasses down on the table and poured the contents of the bottle he held into the glasses. “Winner decides where the loser sleeps tonight.” Michael said before setting the handle of vodka down and downing a shot. He made a sour face for second before looking to Leksi. “Deal?”

Leksi’s face remained neutral for a moment as she almost glared at Michael. She let him stew for a few more minutes before grabbing the glass and downing it without making a face, either positive or negative, “You are so on. I hope you’re ready to sleep on the roof.” She said with a smirk, and although she was lying, she didn’t let it show, “Pour ‘em out, barkeep!”

Michael made a face showing fierceness as he tried to challenge what she had just done. There wasn’t even a twitch in her face from the first shot always got him. “The roof?” You’d let me be up there with the rain?” Michael said as he poured the next round of shots. He thought to himself for a moment before getting up and walking into the kitchen again. This time he entered with a second handle of vodka. “We can pour our own shots, can’t we?” Michael asked as he placed the full handle down close to his seat. He twisted the cap just to get it open after taking his seat to resume the game. “By the way, what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?” Michael asked to get a conversation started. He grabbed his shot glass, and took his second shot, this time with a delayed reaction.

Leksi poured herself her next drink and thought about the question as she dumped the alcohol down her throat, “Jumped out of a plane without a parachute, and only the nanosuit, while trying to hit a target the size of a small car in the rain.” She said, nonchalantly, “What about you? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?”

“That’s sick!” Michael commented as he poured and took his next shot. That was number three in possibly five minutes. He had been taking the shots first so maybe he could slow the pace down. After the shot, he put the glass down and looked up in thought, “I tried to fight a man who could manipulate energy and matter on a molecular level… Had to be the second time I almost got myself killed while in Pinehearst.” Michael said as he thought negatively of his rash decisions back then. “Third.” Michael said correcting himself. He gave Leksi a smile before he found his eyes centered not from her eyes, but her lips. Without thinking he pulled in his lips to moistened them, but stopped once he realized what he was doing. He hoped he wasn’t caught, and tried to think of something new to talk about. “Tell me a bit about your life before you became a Spetsnaz. Your childhood, your parents, you know, the simple stuff.”

Leksi frowned as Michael asked about her childhood. She poured herself a shot, threw it back, poured another, threw that one back, and then threw back a fifth glass. She sighed, “I was raised in an orphanage when I was younger. It tainted my brother, the life of always having to protect his baby sister from the bullies. I mean, I couldn’t exactly dye my hair or anything back then. He got into…so many fights, and troubles. Drugs. Alcohol. And then, one day…the orphanage was set fire. We’re still not entirely sure what did it. We were told it was faulty wiring, but I don’t know.” She said, without looking up from her glass, “I was hospitalized from the burns. A ceiling beam fell on me, you see. It took both me and my brother to pull it off. He had to drag me out after that. I…I wasn’t supposed to walk again. The doctors were sure I was going to be paralyzed.” She paused for a long moment, pouring herself a sixth glass, “But I did. I didn’t let it stop me. As for how I got into the army, I didn’t have much choice. By that point, my brother had been institutionalized for his drug problem. I was mostly on my own. The army seemed like the only choice.” She finished her story by drinking off the sixth glass.

Michael carefully listened to Leksi’s story that had been a sad one more than anything. As she spoke though, Michael could help but think up swear words in his head as she seemed to down shots like nothing. The rules said that he had to match her. His game plan was to stall, but now he had to take three shots straight. He poured himself a shot and took it quickly. “You know, people that have gone through tough lives like that either come out shattered or stronger.” Michael said as he was pouring his fifth shot. “You’re strong.” Michael said as he took his fifth. He didn’t make a face this time as the vodka started going down smoothly. He could feel his lips tingling as they would soon be a little numb. “You know… I’ve never dated a girl with a wonderful life. It’s sad that there are so many people out there that suffer like that.” Michael said as he poured and drank his sixth shot. He wiped his mouth as he hadn’t been as accurate with the shots as he was before. He was starting to feel a buzz, which he was expecting, but he went to pour another shot. “You’re the hottest girl I’ve ever been with though.” Michael said with soft chuckle.

Leksi looked up and smiled a little, “That the drinks talking, or is that actually you? ‘Cause I’ve never met someone who thought green hair was hot.” she said, and her face fell a little. She looked down at her hands again, the burns still faintly visible across the palms and speckling her fingers. She finally looked up and poured herself another glass, leaning back in her chair and throwing back her seventh glass. She put her boots up on the table and tilted back in the chair and stared at the ceiling for a long minute. She could feel the alcohol hitting her brain, felt the buzzing feeling just as she was sure Michael was. That only meant the game was really getting started. She smirked and looked back at him and poured another glass, sipping it slowly, savoring it this time before finishing off, “What about you. I don’t assume you had a wonderful childhood, being a special and all. If just having green hair got me picked on, being a ‘freak of nature’ probably wasn’t good for your social status.”

Michael took his seventh shot just after Leksi and smiled from her previous comment. He was observant though as he watched her look down at her hands. He really didn’t want the mood to go down like it had early in the day, so he left it alone. “Wait; let me get ready for this one.” Michael said as he poured himself another. He held the glass up in front of his face before speaking. “I was born into family that lived with the short end of the stick. I guess you could say we weren’t well off. I don‘t know if it was from all the stress, but my father became an alcoholic and beat us up pretty bad sometimes. My mother had always kept her ability a secret from my father. She never wanted it in the first place.” Michael took the eighth shot and sighed. “My older sister’s ability ended up manifesting though, so my mother had to explain what was going on… My father wasn’t too happy with that though. He thought it was some kind of disease. So, he threatened to call someone to take her and my sister away if they didn’t leave. As much as my mother wanted me with her, she felt forced to leave me. I didn’t even know why she left. My dad just said it was because she didn’t love me, and I actually believed it after some time.”

Michael poured himself another shot. “Living with my father was hell. All of his anger was focused on me. I tried to get out as much as I could, but that only got me into trouble. My ability didn’t manifest until I got jumped by this gang. It saved my life that day, but I knew I’d have to hide it from my dad. With him beating me every time he got drunk, it was hard.” Michael said as he poured himself another shot as he seemed to be in a bad mood from the resurfacing memories. “He tried to crack me in the head with a bat, and had nothing but my ability to count on saving me… After that he kicked me out. He threatened me with the same thing he had threatened my mother with. I ended up getting a job as a construction with some forged documents. I always knew my ability would take me somewhere. It has always saved in some way in my life. I don’t regret having it at all.” Michael ended as he took the shot. “Damn… Nine… We’re gonna get so fucked up.” Michael said knowing that the alcohol would soon hit him full force with the speed he was drinking it.

Leksi listened intently as Michael spoke. By the time his story had ended, all of her chair’s legs were back on the floor and she was pouring herself her next shot, drinking it as he spoke about how many shots they’d drank. Both had drank nine glasses at this point. She smiled and began to laugh a little, shaking her head, “I’m not laughing at your story, I’m not.” She said, trying to put her hand over her mouth to stop the laughing, “I just find it kinda funny how we both have incredibly similar lives. I grew up in a shitty environment, you grew up in a shitty environment, I almost died, you almost died, I went out to start killing people for what I thought was a good cause, you went out to start killing people for what you thought was a good cause. And now here we are, our similar lives bringing us together in a drinking game after a day at a rollercoaster park, and us nearly killing each other before hand. What the fuck are the odds of that, right?” She asked, saying to hell with the glass and just taking a swig from the bottle directly, making sure to only take a mouthful more or less the size of the shot glass, before pointing at him while still holding the bottle “We are going to be plastered in the morning and have one fucking monster hangover.” She said, laughing again.

Michael broke out into laughter as well as he thought of what Leksi had pointed out. It couldn’t even be called irony, because of how ridiculous it was. He raised a brow to Leksi taking a small swig from the handle of vodka, but thought he could take on the challenge. He wanted to win, but he really didn’t want to not remember the day. Yes, it was only about 6pm at most. He put his shot glass down as well, and took a swig from the bottle. “Cheers to that… and you sleeping on the lawn tonight.” Michael joked as he held his bottle up.

Leksi let out a whooping laugh as Michael mentioned her sleeping on the lawn, “If you did that, you’d never find me. I’d blend in too much.” She joked, pulling at her hair with both her hands before laughing again, taking another drink from the handle and setting it down roughly on the table, causing the bottle to bang loudly, “But it won’t matter, because I am going to drink your ass under the table, Mister.” She said, leaning forward and putting her arm on the table, “Come on, let’s arm wrestle. Then you can go around and tell all your friends that you got beat in arm wrestling and a drinking game.”

Michael really couldn’t stop himself from laughing from everything that Leksi was saying. He could really tell that the alcohol was affecting her as much as it was him, maybe even more. When she challenged him to arm wrestling, he chuckled before taking a swig of vodka. “Oh yeah! Just how I got beat in a fight against you… Oh wait, I remember kicking your ass.” Michael laughed as he put his arm on the table and gripped her hand. “You just love holding my hand don’t you? Ready?”

Leksi grimaced for a moment before taking another swig, “You cheated and used your powers! Without them I’d totally kick your ass; that I can promise you. If you want to test it out later, I can show you when we’re not drunk.” She laughed, before giving his hand a playful tug, “And maaaaaaaybe it has a certain appeal to it. Maybe. Alright; Three, two, one, go!” She said, beginning to push on his hand.

Michael smirked as he felt Leksi force his right hand down. He could admit that she was strong; like she was really stronger than he expected. He thought he could mess around, but he pushed against her. First he matched her, then he pushed harder. “You telling me that Halo suit is fair?”

Leksi snapped out of her state of delirium for a moment, her face growing competitive and she poured her strength into her arm, pulling Michael’s hand back and matching him, both of their arms standing straight up on the table, “Pssht, compared to turning into metal or electricity, I’d say it was fair. Besides, it’s not like it makes me invincible or anything; far from it in fact.” She said, using her left hand to grab another swig from the handle before leaning in closer to the table, “I have a little secret for you…I’m not right handed.” She said with a smirk.

Michael couldn’t believe that Leksi was matching him. He knew she was soldier, but he worked on his fitness as frequently as he could. His face became serious, but faltered when she said she wasn’t right handed. The words sort of intimidated him, which unusually made him try harder. He wasn’t going to play around, or maybe he was. He grabbed his bottle and took a few gulps from it. He couldn’t even taste the alcohol anymore. He gritted his teeth as he used all of his strength to push against Leksi. He seemed to be close to winning, before his strength weakened. He seemed to let out a grunt before Leksi not only pushed against him, but knocked him over. His body hit the ground, and all he could feel was the room spinning around him. Only thirty minutes had passed, and they had drunk more than someone would for an entire night. “Okay… I give… I can’t even get up. Oh my god.” Michael said with an ashamed toned.

Leksi was surprised when she actually sent Michael sprawling across the floor, and got up unsteadily herself. The room did a few spins and rocks before she was able to grab the table for balance and started laughing. She let a burp rip and covered her mouth before letting out another fit of laughter, “Yeah, I think…I think we’re good for the night. Just for shits and giggles, though…” She said, grabbing the bottle and downing a bit more, to match him, “There. Now we’re…even.” She said with another laugh, offering him her hand so he could stand up, “If we lean on each other…we should have twice the support, right?” She asked, though she was somewhat kidding. It would be a miracle if the two of them even managed to get upstairs.

Michael’s plan to take a dive to end the drinking game worked, but he was really almost too drunk to stand up on two feet. He grunted before taking Leksi’s hand and nodding. “Good idea sexypants.” Michael said with a chuckle as he got up. The room wasn’t spinning as bad, but he definitely needed some water after that binge. “Can you get me a glass of water please… And who sleeps where? If I woulda won, you’d be sleeping in my bed, but we tied, so what happens. I’ve never tied in shot for shot with a bargain.” Michael almost rambled.

Leksi raised an eyebrow at the ‘sexypants’ nickname and shook her head before chuckling herself, getting over to the kitchen doorway without looking too drunk. She found as she got a glass of water that she was unbearably thirsty herself, and instead of grabbing another glass, she just said to hell with it and drained the glass she had just been filling before filling it again and getting back out to Michael. Now a little more stable on her feet, she pointed towards the stairs, “How about we concentrate on getting upstairs first, otherwise we’ll be sharing the floor.” She said with a laugh, handing him the glass.

Michael chugged the glass of water and tossed it on the couch, and tried to remind himself to get it tomorrow morning. “Stairs? Ha! Watch this!” Michael said as he grabbed Leksi’s hand and stared intently at the steps with a smirk before their bodies burst into oxygen molecules that traveled upstairs and a foot above his bed. The two fell onto the bed side by side with Michael laughing. “Wow, we actually came back as flesh and not some random thing like fire.” Michael said before taking a breath. “I’m so drunk Leksi… I really wish I could sober up so I wouldn’t sound like an idiot. Damn.”

Leksi wasn’t expecting Michael’s little trick, but it definitely got them around the block, although she felt a distant part of her feel some sort of fear when he mentioned not coming back as fire or something. She rolled onto her back, and though some part of her knew she should probably get up, probably go into the guest bedroom that he had mentioned earlier, the bed was just so comfortable; her body urged her to relax, to just lay there. She rolled back a little, feeling something press up against her leg from in her jeans. Only then did she realize she still had the nanosuit in her pocket. She laughed and fished it out, tossing it onto the bedside table, the little black cell phone sized box clattering across the surface. She turned her head away from it and smiled at him, “I’m sure we both sound like idiots right now. I’d go to my room, but if you’re really that drunk, maybe I should stay here and make sure you don’t choke to death on your own vomit.” She lied.

Michael smiled at Leksi’s words before lying on his side to face her. “Stop putting up a front. You just want to have ‘copious amounts of love making’” Michael said quoting from what she had said earlier in the day. “I’ll be fine anyway. I stopped an assassin, took her out on a date, got her drunk, and now she’s in my bed.” Michael joked before lying on his back, knowing he wasn’t going to throw up from the amount of alcohol he drank. He just held a smile as he looked up at the ceiling before it faded. “I’d like if you stayed though.” Michael said before facing her again.

“Oh, definitely,” Leksi smirked as Michael mentioned his accomplishments for the day. She shook her head as she went to stand up, pulling her shirt up over her shoulders and tossing it on the floor, before moving onto her jeans. She stopped there, though, leaving her underwear on, which was about as feminine as her over clothes; just a plain black bra and panties. With the clothing gone, dark red burn scars contrasted her skin, and with her back to Michael, white scars of sutures decorated the base of her spine, showing the severity of the old wounds. As she turned back to him, though, she smiled, “Yes, I bet you would.” She said, before falling back into the bed, landing softly with her head on Michael’s chest and looking up at him, running a few delicate fingers across his face, “I bet you loved the view too, despite the…blemishes.”

“Haha… Blemishes… They’re not that bad.” Michael said as he kept his eyes on hers. He kept his smirk up as he savored the moment. He chuckled though as he thought of something. “I kinda wish I could get out of these clothes using my ability like I use to.” Michael said, thinking of Jante’s capabilities. Those powers came in handy for practically everything, and Michael still missed them. He did love the evolution of his ability however. “Maybe I can…” Michael said as his shirt burst into oxygen. His shoes followed after along with his socks. He wrapped his arm around her to keep her close to him, with his fingers barely grazing her panties. “Wanna play a game?” Michael asked. “I won’t lose this one. I have experience.” Michael said before kissing Leksi on her lips. He kept it short and teasing.

Leksi could feel Michael’s hand on her waist, and as one of her own hands moved to his and gripped it tightly, but not painfully so, she felt his lips on hers. When they broke, she looked at him with a familiar smirk, “Oh? I’m not so drunk as to just give myself so willingly.” She said, teasing him back, running a hand along his bare chest, “I think you ought to earn it, dah?” She said, kissing him back for a moment before giving him a playful look, her hand stopping just short of his waist before she pulled her hand back, “I think you might have left some marks when you threw me into that TV. Why don’t you feel around and see if it’s sore or tender?” She asked, knowing full well that it wasn’t.

Michael just smiled at Leksi, not saying a word as his fingertips moved up her back before stopping. He made a look of disappointment before snapping at her bra strap. “I don’t know how you expect me to feel around with your bra strap in the way.” Michael said before his hands played with the hooks of the bra strap. “And if anything is sore, it should be my chest.” Michael said as Leksi had unknowingly crept her hand near the small wound.

She had forgotten about the knife wound, she had to admit, and gave him an apologetic look as she moved her hand away from it. She did, however, enjoy the feelings his hands sent through her as they moved up her back. However, as they reached her bra strap and he began to play with it, she bit her lip. She didn’t know what to say, and fell silent for a moment. She had never been with a man before. Hell, she had never really expressed emotion much before. Not true emotion. It felt so…odd to her. So foreign. She felt the hooks come undone and rolled over, her breasts coming free of the cloth as she looked up at him, her teeth still clamped on her lip as she did. Anyone could tell she was somewhat nervous.

Michael’s smile seemed to vanish as Leksi fell silent. His gaze fell upon her biting her lip in discomfort. Even when she had exposed her breasts, the expression remained, which made him halt his advancements. “Leksi… We don’t have to if you don’t feel comfortable. I’ll be fine. I’m not the old me.” Michael said as his hold loosened a bit. If this was happening a year ago, Michael would have gone straight for the kill, but thanks to Gabriel, Michael seemed to be under control. Michael had been testing the boundaries of his unguaranteed cure, but he hadn’t noticed anything wrong yet.

Leksi listened to him for a moment and the expression held, but only for a moment, “I’ve…never done anything like this before…This is…I dunno, a huge commitment.” She said, looking away from him for a moment, before her gaze came back, “It’s like jumping out of that plane without my parachute. I…This life…in the line of work I’m in…It’s going to be a huge change. I guess it’s just kind of intimidating knowing I won’t be out doing the only thing I know how to do well.” She replied, her face resolute, but her eyes wavering, “I was…alone…for a very long time. I don’t want to be there again.” She whispered, fear and uncertainty laced in her voice. Once again it was dawning on her how big this all was. She was leaving her life as a contractor behind, leaving the military behind. She was fighting for a new team now; her own, and that scared her. For the first time, she was calling her own shots, and this time, when she leapt, there was no safety net if she messed up.

Michael shook his head for a moment, disagreeing with Leksi. “You’re not just jumping out without a parachute… I’m right there with you too. You don’t need one because I’ll make sure that you’re safe. I won’t let you fall… ever.” Michael said as he held her close again. “And I’m giving you the choice. If I’m going too fast for you, I can slow down.” Michael said as he kissed her for comfort rather than intimacy.

Leksi smiled as Michael spoke, blushing a little as he held her close. For once in her life, she felt safe in someone else’s arms. As he kissed her again, she wanted to believe him so badly. But there was the part of her that was reserved, the part of her that was still that soldier that refused to believe she was nothing more than a weapon. As they lay there, their bodies pressed up against one another, she felt her hands fall from where they had been wrapped around his shoulders and fell to his waist, undoing the front of his pants, “That was all I really needed to hear. You get my back…and I’ll get yours. And don’t worry about going too fast. I can do aaaaanything you can do.” She whispered into his ear, her lips just inches from his skin as she smirked.
-----

Oh would Michael have loved to awaken with soft kisses, but no. He woke up to the room spinning a bit as he had a minor headache. It wasn’t his worst hangover, but he was definitely smiling easily. It was very coincidental that Michael woke up to Leksi in the same position she had been in when she had stripped down into just her bra and panties; lying on his chest which he guessed she found comfortable. He didn’t want to wake her if she was sleeping, so he just stared up at the ceiling as he stroked her unique hair, each stroke bringing back a mental clip of last night. Some things he couldn’t even believe happened made his eyes look down to Leksi with a questioning look. He blamed it on the alcohol, but knew that it was a sad excuse.

Leksi felt warmth against her face and her body, which was bare to the skin. She felt a hand cup her head and pet back her hair. Her head ached a bit and she felt a little queasy, but overall she felt pretty good. She let out a low sigh as she opened her eyes slowly and looked at Michael’s face with a grin, “Morning.” She breathed, not bothering to move. She did indeed like where she was. She smirked a little at the thought of everything that they had done, “So. That sure as hell wasn’t a bad way to end the first date, was it?”

“Not at all.” Michael agreed before hearing his phone vibrate in his pants that were on the floor. Letting out a sigh, Michael ignored his phone. It was probably Patricia calling, but she could wait. Just like Leksi, he didn’t want to get up, but knew that he had to. Pinehearst and Purge kept him busy most of the time, and he was wondering how Leksi would handle that. “As much as I don’t want to, I have to get up… Unless you’re planning on keeping me captive on my own bed?” Michael asked with a smile before wincing at his headache.

Leksi smiled as Michael mentioned getting up, “The thought had crossed my mind.” She purred, rolling slowly off of him allowing him to get up. She had traces of their sexual foray on her body, and as much as she didn’t want to, she knew that she had to shower it off. She decided to let Michael have his own shower as she gathered up her clothes (her only outfit) and then the nano suit off the dresser, “So, I guess…I’ll see you later, then?” She asked, holding her clothes in front of her. She found herself blushing at her newfound acceptance with her own nudity, “But…You did get me all ‘dirty’ last night.” She said, motioning to herself, “You wanna help me wash it off? I promise I’ll behave myself if you do. I mean, I know you’re needed at work and all.” She said, her eyes diverting to his pants.

Michael had gotten up and was ready to head toward the bathroom, until Leksi’s words stopped him in his tracks. He turned to look at her with a smirk and with his right eyebrow raised. “Come on then. You can clean me up too. With the damage you did to my face.” Michael joked before motioning Leksi to follow him to the bathroom.

After what could possibly have been the best shower in her life, she dried herself off and reluctantly pulled her clothes back on. The nanosuit had fixed itself by now, though she would likely have to run a diagnostic over the systems afterward. She did plan on going to the store and buying some clothes. Problem was, she had no money. Ghosts had very little need of money, “Uh…I don’t mean to be a leech…but, I don’t have any clothes and I don’t really have any money; never really needed money. If I could just borrow some…” She asked nervously, “Maybe after I go shopping, I could visit you at work or something, you can tell me what you think. But…only if you want.”

Michael didn’t mind the two person shower party in his bathroom, though it had probably taken as long as the two showering individually. Michael had dried off in the bathroom before heading to his room to get dressed. He was buttoning up his dress shirt when Leksi asked her question. He took a second to think about it, before looking into his wallet. He saw several images of Andrew Jackson before closing his wallet looking displeased. He had a fair amount of money, but after hearing about Leksi’s life, he wanted her to experience the shopping experience he figured all girls had. “How about I drop you off at the mall? I can get to an ATM and get you some money.” Michael said as his attire seemed to match his demeanor as he slipped on his slacks. He hadn’t cracked a joke since the shower, and seemed a bit more serious as he got ready. After getting his tie on and grabbing his other accessories, Michael gave Leksi a smile. “It would make my day to see you walk into my office. It gets lonely.” Michael said before signaling her to follow him down the steps.

Leksi shook her head as they went down the steps, although she did smile when he said it would make his day to have her walk into his office, “Michael, I don’t need a whole wardrobe. I mean, I just need something to get me through a week or two; I do know how to do laundry.” She joked, “I don’t need anything more than a few jeans and shorts and some t-shirts. Maybe a nice jacket for when it gets cold out, but nothing fancy or anything; unless you…had a preference or something.” At this, she blushed a little, but otherwise she kept a straight face, “And I do appreciate this. I know you’d rather have me in nothing.” She joked again, sticking her tongue out at him playfully.

Michael gave Leksi a perplexed look when she mentioned not needing an entire wardrobe. He almost scoffed, but he just gave her a few quick nods and smile that held back his chuckle. He wasn’t making fun of her, but found it extremely out of place for a woman to tell him that. Her next string of words had him break out into a laugh before turning to look at her after opening the front door to leave. “Maybe I would rather have my sexy assassin without any clothes, but I like the teasing game a bit. How about some sexy underwear for your… um… your durak?” Michael said with a soft chuckle not knowing he had just insulted himself in Russian.

Leksi laughed a little too as Michael spoke, but when he insulted himself, the laughter dropped, “Please don’t say that. I said some things I didn’t mean when we first met. I had no idea who you really were. And I apologize, even if you don’t know what it means. Durak is the equivalent to your fool, or idiot. And the other word…it is the equivalent to your ‘bastard’.” She turned her face away guiltily, “I can teach you some nicer phrases later, but I just wanted you to know that. You’re much better suited to be my…my lyubovnik.” She said with a blush.

Michael raised his eyebrow at Leksi as she explained what he had said, and why he had been called that just a day before. It made sense, and he was called worse in his own language. Good thing he didn’t call himself the other word, which he honestly couldn’t say on his own. Before he could open the locked car doors, he noticed Leksi’s turned face and her blushing. The word she spoke this time around he remembered as well. It was from last night, and though he was drunk, he did make a mental note to ask her what it meant. “Lyu... bovnik? Lyubovnik. What does that one mean? Sexiest man alive?” Michael joked before taking the time to open up Leksi’s door before walking around the car to open his own. He entered smoothly, though he was hungover and wondering if he should have skipped the glass of water this morning.

Leksi took a moment’s pause as she slid into the passenger’s seat and shut the door. The blush still hadn’t gone away, despite her trying to make it, “It is akin to…lover, would be the closest word in your language.” She said, blushing deeper. They’d only known each other for a day, so she was hesitant to say or do things that might make him want to back out of the relationship. Perhaps she should have lied about what it had meant? It was too late now. But they had already been in bed together, and the way he kissed her…she shook the thoughts away, wondering how serious they already were, and how far it was going to go. She had never thought herself to ever settle down with someone, but what the two of them had…She couldn’t help but think that maybe there was a future for the two of them.

Hearing the word ‘lover’, almost made him pause after putting the key into the ignition. He thought about the word for a moment. He wasn’t afraid of commitment, and would honestly love to start a serious relationship with Leksi. However, he was afraid of himself. Arthur had advised Michael to embrace who he was, but valuing a relationship with just sex wasn’t love to him. His eyes looked toward Leksi as he turned the key and started the car. She was different though. Raquel had been too innocent, Carmen too lustful, and Amber too dependent. Michael might have seemed picky, but ultimately, he knew he wouldn’t have been able to have a long lasting relationship with any of them. With Leksi though, he almost felt like someone had created a cocktail of everything he could ever want in a woman. There were physical traits that drew him in, but he knew who Leksi was would always be able to keep him with her. “I guess we’re Lyubovniks.” He said as he looked her up and down. “The sexiest lyubovniks alive.” Michael said with a smile. He had begun driving, but he didn’t let that stop him from keeping his focus on Leksi. “Your face gets so red you know?”

Leksi blushed deeper than she had thought possible when he spoke after a pause. After her own pause, she nodded slightly at first, but it became more confident, “Definitely.” She felt a feeling of contentment hit her, suddenly. If she would have been told this was where she would be today, she wouldn’t have believed it, but she wouldn’t have had it any other way. She had a genuine smile on her face as she looked at him, “I’m really glad things turned out the way they did. I mean…between us.” It didn’t take long for the mall to appear in the window, and she actually felt kind of anxious when she thought about getting out. She smirked a little as she thought about how she was going to surprise Michael when she went to his office. Despite the likelihood of her needing it being slim, the nanosuit was in her pocket; she wanted to make a few adjustments to the suit’s look to her own personal likes while she was out and about as well.

After finding a decent parking space, Michael slipped on a pair of shades he grabbed from the glove compartment. He really didn’t want anyone rushing, especially when he was only going to be there to drop Leksi off. He hadn’t responded to her last statement but smiled at her sincere words. He was glad as well. He might have been dead if it wasn’t for the orange juice and his clumsiness. He smirked at how crazy the predicament was as the two made their way to the ATM. “You know you can always thank the orange juice that I drank for getting us to this point.” Michael tried to joke, but didn’t even laugh at his own words as he didn’t find it funny. He inserted his card into the machine before tapping on the touch screen several times. He was sure Leksi wouldn’t like this too much, but he shrugged off the look she might soon give him. Grabbing his card and the money, he turned to her with a smile. “Here.” He said as he casually handed over $2000.

Before Leksi could count her money, Michael gave her a kiss. He really didn’t want to leave, and found it hard to break the kiss, but did so anyway. “Listen, I’m sure you have everything on me, so I don’t have to worry about you finding me, but just give me a call if you need anything… Anything okay? And don’t worry about the money, I have too much these days.”

She laughed a little a Michael failed attempt at a joke, “I will most certainly make sure to thank the oranges when I get back to the house.” Although her mind briefly brought up an image of what it could have been. Her blade going cleanly through his throat, his blood on her hands…at the time it wouldn’t have meant anything. But to find that circumstance was so hair-thin was scary. She didn’t let the unease show on her face though, especially as he kissed her. When he pulled back, she finally looked down at the money he had handed her. She had expected a couple hundred, but he had given her two thousand. When he spoke about being able to find him and then the money, she almost protested about it, but finally let it die, “Alright. Well, I will see you in a bit, and I will make sure to surprise you.” She said, putting her arms around him in a hug, “Don’t blow up any DMV’s while I’m gone, okay?”

Michael chuckled as he softly squeezed Leksi close to him. “You should know me by now. I only go for the animal shelters and retirement homes on Tuesdays.” Michael said before letting Leksi go and handing over his keys to the car. “I don’t need a car to get to my office.” Michael said as he backed away. He took a second to think of what he should convert himself into. He smirked when he decided what he wanted. He made it look simple as his body turned into electricity. “Bye Lyubovnik.” Michael said before his body streaked off.

Leksi found herself waving as the bolt of electricity streaked off, holding the keys in one hand. She stood like that until she couldn’t see it anymore and even then stood there for another minute before she slowly immersed herself in people looking at her with awe and jealousy. For so long, she had been on her own without it really affecting her, but now she felt more alone than ever, surrounded by normal everyday people. She ended up spending most of the money, with a hundred and some odd dollars left over, piling bags of outfits, a few skirts and dresses. One thing she had done was stand in front of the hair dyes counter, looking in all the mirrors which seemed to be pointing at her and the green reflected back in all of them. For a moment, she was ready to buy the black hair dye again, to cover up the green. But she didn’t. Michael liked her for her. She smiled as she put the hair dye down, knowing she’d never need it again. Finally, she found herself in the car, driving toward the Purge building. While she was used to driving on the opposite side of the road, it was still fairly simple. She found a parking space, slipped the keys into her pocket, and proceeded into the lobby. She wondered what the look on the desk attendant’s face would be when the cyborg-ninja thing approached them, “I have an appointment with Mr. Henderson. Tell him that Blitz is here to see him.” She said, the same monotone from the night before playing through the mask’s mouthpiece.

Upon arriving to his office which didn’t take too long since he was a living lightning bolt. He made sure to convert himself back to normal and placed the shades he had been wearing onto his desk before seating himself in front of various folders stacked on his desk along with a laptop. He sighed as he grabbed a pen from off his desk and opened the first folder. Patricia and Alexander had visited his office to inform him of a few things, but mostly asked for advice. Alexander had become interested in Patricia and took her out only twice, but he didn’t know if he was doing things right. Michael just seemed like the best person to talk to since he was not only close to Patricia, but he was a ladies’ man in his eyes. On Patricia’s side, she wanted to know whether Alexander was interested or not, and wanted to know what his advancement were.

Michael found it amusing, and it got him through the beginning of his work load without being too bored. Unfortunately, his advice had gotten too good, and they stopped coming. He figured if he got the paperwork done first, he could save the easy and more interesting things for last. If only he had super speed or could clone himself. He was nearly done with a request form to have another floor built below the facility, but his pen stopped as he heard the phone on his desk go off. Pressing the speaker button, his pen returned to his paper. “What is it?” Michael asked before he heard the voice of the woman at the front desk.

“Mr. Henderson… Blitz is here to see you.” The woman said hesitating to say such an odd name. Michael made a perplexed face as his pen stopped again. He didn’t know anyone with a name like that. Was the football videogame trying to get him in it? It wouldn’t be the first time the rights to his name were asked for, and he never really minded things like this.

“Um… Send them up.” Michael said before trying to finish off the form before his guest arrived. He had been expecting Leksi around this time, but he was sure she was having a great time shopping. The woman at the desk tried her absolute best to keep smiling, no matter how uncomfortable she felt right now. Michael giving her the okay probably meant that this person was fine to go up, but she could barely get herself to speak as she focused on the suit of armor.

“Ninth floor… last office down the hall.” The woman said before looking over Leksi’s shoulder to the person waiting behind her with an expression she wish she was allowed to make.

Leksi rolled her eyes behind her mask as the woman told her where Michael’s office was, “I know where it is.” She said, trying to keep herself from laughing than anything. She could tell how uncomfortable the woman was despite her forced smile and that only made it harder not to laugh. When she was in the elevator alone, she let out a few short laughs before the elevator doors dinged and opened. She walked out of the elevator and went straight to Michael’s door, but hesitated as her hand almost touched the doorknob. No, that wasn’t right. She had to make this all the more elaborate. Turning on her cloaking device, she waited a few minutes until some man came down the hall and went through Michael’s door. Easily, she slipped in behind him, still cloaked, and sidled around the edge of the room, until she was standing within a few feet of Michael.

She waited for the man to finish his business and leave before finally she crept closer, until she was right behind Michael. Biting her lip to keep her tone straight and business like, she leaned close to his ear and, with the voice converter off, whispered with a pout, “I can’t believe you forgot my name,” waiting for his reaction as she leaned back a little.

Michael had gotten the request form done and handed it to a young gentleman that had come in. Michael gave him a smile and sent him off, liking to see new faces in the building. It usually meant Purge was growing. Pinehearst had been an established company that basically ran on its own with a few checkups each month, but Purge was still trying to get off its feet. With that last form done, Michael reached for another folder and pulled his laptop closer before hearing Leksi’s voice out of nowhere. If Michael had ever been close to jumping out of his seat, it was now. His eyes shot open as he turned to the voice not fully recognizing it at first. His body turned into gold for a quick second before his mind pieced everything together.

“Leksi..?” Michael said as he began to control his breaths. “Don’t ever do that again.” Michael said as his hand felt around the free air before hitting Leki’s armor.

Finally it was safe to laugh. She let it out as the armor peeled away from her face, folding in on itself and losing the cloaking, “Wow. I wish I coulda seen the look on your face.” She teased as the armor finished retracting, once again looking like a cell phone. She walked around the front of the desk and did a mock salute, “Lieutenant Aleksandra ‘Blitz’ Barsukov, reporting for duty, sir!” She mocked before putting her arms out and showing off her new outfit. At the moment, it was a short skirt and a t-shirt, and she’d traded her boots for a pair of running shoes. It had been a long, long time since she’d last worn a skirt, “What do you think? Too casual?”

Michael shook his head with a smile on his face. She had really surprised him like he asked. He watched her walk around to stand in front of him in her short skirt and t-shirt, which made his eyes brows raise as he was impressed by the new look. He found her salute cute, as well as her question. “You look great, and you don’t work here so I don’t care what you wear here.” Michael said as scooted his chair back and patted his own lap for her to take a seat. “But at home… You’re gonna need to pull something off a little sexier.” Michael tried to say seriously as he smiled before he chuckled.

Leksi circled behind the desk again and took her ‘seat’ easily and planted a peck on Michael’s lips, “Oh, I have a wonderful surprise in the car for you, but I couldn’t exactly wear it in your work. Unless you want your girlfriend showing herself off at work, in which case, I could oblige if you asked really nicely.” She teased, sitting with her shoes up on the corner of the desk, “So, I was thinking. You know that eventually someone is going to come after you very similarly to the way I did, except they won’t mess up, most likely. And I don’t have anything to do at the house except be bored. So, I thought, maaaaaybe I could stay here with you and be like your ‘bodyguard’ of sorts.”

Michael could only smile at Leksi as she spoke to him. He really enjoyed her company, and she seemed to take him away from his work, which was what he needed right now. He could treat this as his lunch break since he was the boss and all. His arm was now around her and he felt like he could sit like this forever. Her ideas on her sticking with him during the day at work didn’t sound bad, even though he wanted the company more than the protection.

“That actually sounds really good. If you actually were someone with that suit… I’d be dead.” Michael said as he thought of how easy she made it seem. He still didn’t know who was targeting him. He didn’t know if Leksi would tell him, but he wouldn’t pressure with asking. He already had people working on it, and was sure he could get things settled on his own. “And about the sexy attire to work… I think I might be too selfish to share the view of my oh so hot lyubovnik… I love that word.” Michael said as the word seemed to roll off his tongue with ease.

“You’re learning it quite well.” She replied, smiling up at him, “I was a part of a covert ops unit. Stealth has been my job since I joined the Spetznas. However, some of our operatives are snipers, demolitions experts, vehicle experts. There is someone for every job, basically.” She explained, somewhat solemnly, leaning into him a bit, “I know you think I’m being secretive about who my employer is. The problem is, it’s not that I don’t want to tell you, it’s that I can’t. Just like we never went by our real names, nobody else did either. It was an anonymous service, run by some guy who called himself ‘Salvation’ when mentioned to us, and I never met the man myself. I mean, I could tell you who I reported to, in code names, and I could tell you what he looked like, but I was selected straight out of the army. I can’t tell you the specifics, like if it’s a group, or a part of the government, or anything. I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine.” Michael seemed to say, even though that wasn’t entirely true. Who would be fine with being targeted by some unknown group or organization? They wanted him dead, and that’s all he would ever know for now. Something in him told him not to let things just go as they should, but he dismissed the thought and focused on Leksi. “They might back off once they see that I’ve changed my life.” Michael assumed as his free hand grabbed the folder he had been ready to open before. “If not… I don’t know. I’m bad with threats” Michael said shaking off the negative thoughts that came to him as he tried to finish the sentence. He tossed the folder back onto the desk, and couldn’t bring himself to smile as the topic crushed his good mood.

Leksi couldn’t help but feel bad now. She could tell that she had made Michael mad, and effectively ruined the mood, “I’m sorry. If you wanted to get back to work, I can leave.” She murmured, getting up, “I didn’t mean to make you mad. I just wanted you to know I’m not protecting them. But maybe you’re right, maybe they will stop coming after you. We won’t really know until they decide to let us know.”

Michael shook his head in response to Leksi’s words. “I’m not mad at you. It’s just hard to… to be me sometimes.” Michael said thinking of the things he had to deal with. He never complained about the things he dealt with, and instead just looked to the future outcomes of his problems. He’d nearly come face to face with death many times, and had begun to believe that what didn’t kill him just made him stronger. Looking to Leksi, the words rang through his head before he took her hand. “I need you to be here for me, you know..? I love my green headed lyubovnik too much to let her go, especially if she came to see me personally.” Michael said as his own words managed to make him smile.

Despite Michael’s words, she couldn’t help but stay silent until he took her hand, and his next words made her smile, “As long as you need me, I’ll be here, even if you can’t see me.” She replied, sitting on the edge of the desk, “And besides, if you weren’t you, I’d be reporting back to those douche bags who only want to use me as a weapon. So I’m glad you’re you, even if it is difficult sometimes. Being the best looking lyubovnik couldn’t be easy, could it?” She teased with a small smile.

“Of course not, but you help make it easy.” Michael said before getting up to peck Leksi on the lips before sitting back down and grabbing the folder he’d been looking at. It was labeled with numbers that seemed more like coding. “You can sit down on my lap again, unless you want a chair instead.” Michael said as he opened the file. The name at the top read: Eli James. Michael had seen this file before, but this one said he had voluntarily joined Purge. Michael raised a brow as this was something specials didn’t normally do without being contacted first. He only skimmed through it before placing it back onto the desk and putting his signature at the bottom of the page. “Have you ever been in love?” Michael seemed to ask out of nowhere as he grabbed the next file. He then looked at her, waiting on an answer. He knew she hadn’t been intimate with anyone until himself, but he was curious to know what her answer was. There were some people that were in love with things that weren’t people, so he was sure intimacy wasn’t needed to be in love.

Leksi smiled as Michael invited her back into his lap, which she took without hesitation. His question threw her off though. She considered it for a moment before she answered, “I have loved things before. I loved my brother. I loved my teddy bear when I was a girl. I thought I loved my job. But no, I have never been in love before. I’ve never had feelings even remotely close to love until very recently. But you have been in love before, dah?” She asked, looking up at him, “Why do you ask?”

Michael chuckled to himself before answering. “I wanted to know if the feeling would be new to you. I’ve been in love before. The first time it happened, I didn’t even know what it was. When I put my finger on it though, I knew it could only be one thing.” Michael said with a pleasant smile as he thought back to Raquel. “Things didn’t work out though and we had to take different paths.” Michael said as he mentally saw Arthur’s image. “I won’t ever make a mistake like that again.” Michael said almost to himself. He didn’t want to unsettle the mood too much, and decided to look up at Leksi’s lips. “Have I gotten a kiss yet today?” Michael asked knowing that he had.

Leksi continued to listen and watch Michael’s facial expressions as he talked. He went from fond remembrance to an expression of anger and then of resolution. She nodded slightly as she heard him speak, looking away for a moment before he spoke again, at which she smiled, “I don’t remember. I think we should make sure.” She said, kissing him on the lips. When they broke apart, she smiled fondly and leaned against him, “As reluctant as I am to let you do so, you are the boss and you should set a good example for your fellow workers and actually get some work done.” She said , kissing him again, but much shorter than the first before she stood up and leaned against the wall, “Any requests before I put the suit on?”

Michael was happy to receive kisses from Leksi, but she soon reminded him of his work, which he was beginning to dread for being such cock blockers. “None.” Michael said with a smile looking at her face before it would be covered up and possibly cloaked. Looking down at the rest of his work, Michael grabbed the next folder, reviewing the files he had saved for last.

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Derp.

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Emmet doubled checked the baby bag to make sure he had everything. Bottles, diapers, clothes, knives, yep everything was there. Truthfully, it didn’t matter because the Fran had all of that stuff stocked up for this experiment or that. Cassandra and Alucard, washed and dressed in new clothes, were sitting in their stroller and watching their mother. He smiled at them “You ready to go see Grandma Jessica, Aunty Kay, and Uncle God? “ Cassandra just giggled, but Alucard seemed to nod his head in acknowledgement. Sling the baby bag over his shoulder and rolled the twins into the living room. Gabriel was sitting on the couch starring off into space. Emmet smirked and silently floated off the ground and over to him “What are you thinking about? “He whispered seductively before blowing into his ear.

Gabriel shuddered and blinked. He had been so lost in thought that he hadn’t noticed Emmet’s approach. He smiled at his wife and pulled him onto his lap “Nothing much, are you all set? “ Emmet nodded

“Yep, you sure you don’t wanna hang out with us? “

“Sorry, I have things I need to look into “

“And it’s not because of certain people? “

“Jessica and I are fine now “

Emmet starred at him for a moment, before leaning in and kissing him. But before Gabriel could really get into it, Emmet jumped up “Dad, not in front of the kids “he teased. Gabriel just sighed but didn’t say anything, getting up he walked over to them “ Have fun “ he touched them and they vanished, reappearing in the opening room of the Meyer Mansion “ Hello! “ Emmet called out, pushing the stroller; he set out to find one of his family members.

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Once they were gone, Gabriel brought out a canvas and some painting supplies. Ever since he’d regained Isaacs’s ability, his visions of the future were clearer. He saw more through his dreams, but He felt the paintings depicted more key events. Once he was ready, he closed his eyes and focused. When he opened them, they were pure white. Raising the brush, he set about his task. Minutes ticked by as he painted out the scene before him. After twenty minutes, his eyes cleared up and he stepped back to get a good look. But what he saw made him drop his painting tools in surprise. The scene depicted a woman having her brain ripped from her skull, a pair of hands held the brain and the top of her skull. Her hair was long and grey, and old woman it seemed. He hadn’t taken someone’s power in months, in fact, he’d been repressing it, when Peter reactivated his abilities, and he’d inadvertently reawakened the hunger. It was only from his own self-awareness that “Sylar “did not emerge as well. For the most part, he’d been fine; the hunger didn’t stir around his family. Though he theorized, it was partly because he could already do most of what they could do. His greatest fear was that the hunger would lead him to harming his children, who since their births hadn’t displayed any special powers, but it was a thought that was always at the forefront of his mind. But as he examined the picture further, something seemed off about it. It didn’t feel like him though, not that the overall brutality wasn’t his style. But something about it was just to wild and out of control. Who could it?.........He gasped as it came to him, the only person it could be, but how? He was a weak and dying old man who didn’t even remember how powerful he was, it shouldn’t be possible. But Gabriel knew that wasn’t true, in this world anything is possible “What are you up to…..father “Whatever the answer was, it couldn’t be good. If Sampson was starting to return to his former glory and move then it would be inevitable that they met. He’d made it clear he was after immortality and wanted his regeneration power.

Gabriel didn’t want to take any chances, he was sure if it came down to a fight, he could defeat his father, but it would be wise to have back up. He teleported to Michael’s home, appearing on his doorstep and knocking firmly.

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Sampson cackled madly, his voice wet and ragged. He sagged heavily against the bathroom sink. He was shaking as his body voided out the last of his sickness. He’d been so focused on purging his body of the illness that he’d pushed it out from every orifice of his body and pores. As he raised himself up to look in the mirror, he saw that an oddly colored liquid coated his body. He felt weak, but not the same kind he’d been feeling the last few years, no this was temporary. He laughed again, this time his voice was stronger. He continued to stare at his reflection, he summoned up the image of his mind. It was hazy at first, but it gradually came into focus. How beautiful he had been, gloriously so, but look at him now, a miserable old man. But that would change soon.

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Kendrick watched as Nicole fled and sighed. That Nicole had no love for him was no secret. He couldn’t exactly blame her; here he was being romantically involved with her father while her estranged mother was suddenly in the picture. What child wouldn’t long for a family with a mother and a father? He leaned back against the railing and folded his arms, he cared so deeply for Nate, more then Sophie ever could.

He blinked, where had that thought come from? He liked Sophie well enough and certainly didn’t dislike the woman. At the end of the day he was the one sharing a bed with Nate, that Nate and Sophie spent so much time “ reconnecting “ was nothing to dwell on….. He looked down and saw that Nicole had dropped some papers on the ground. He could just leave them and let her come back for them later, which is what she most likely wanted. But things couldn’t go on as they were; they were all living together and should learn to get along. He scooped them up and headed for her room, he stood outside her door for a solid minute before finally knocking “Nicole, you left your homework “

-------------------------------------------------------

Fran was literally knee deep in an experiment, a woman weighing 300 pounds had come to her for lipo suction, but Fran had offered to do her one better and come up with a way for her to lose the weight without the added effects of her other idea. Unfortunately, it had met with left than favorable results. As the phone rang, Fran waded through the mass of fat and guts filling the lab. She finally managed to get to the phone after growing five pairs of arms, she hit the speaker button “ Meyer residence, this is Fran Meyer speaking, oh hello Nicole, it’s been so long, how have you been? “ a deep moan filled the air

Fran took the phone away for a moment to look over her shoulder “Don’t worry maam, just a minor set back, I assure I am 97% sure I can help you, but you must stop eating yourself “

-------------------------------------------

Micah was sitting at his desk, going through his computer. His hands were touching the keyboard but not moving at all. Page after page popped up and closed. He’d managed to hack into the governments files, but everything was so heavily encrypted that it was taking forever to decipher it all. The news reports were worrying his mom and dad and he felt the same way. It was gearing up to be a second round of the hunts and Rebel would need to be ready, only this time he wouldn’t have the help of his former allies. The screen flickered for a second but he calmed down. There was nothing he could do about it, West and the others were gone, most of them at Gabrie-Sylar’s hand. It didn’t matter; he could do it alone if he had to.

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#, as written by Aufeis
Seeing as Godric hadn't answered her, Kaeira's attention was quickly diverted by Emmet's call. She smiled brightly as she raced off to find the younger of her older brothers. Being an 'Aunt' like Emmet said was real weird, and she didn't quite understand what it meant, but she knew it was important. When she finally managed to find her brother, she practically jumped him, but when she saw he had the babies with him, she held back, "Hi Em! Hi Cassy! Hi Ally!" She said, getting on her knees in front of the strollers. She looked up at Emmet for a minute to say, "Mama's in the dinner room. She just brought home food!" She said with a smile before attempting to play with Alucard. She didn't understand why the things that would make Cassandra laugh never worked on Alucard and neither did either of his parents, which was weird in and of itself, but she didn't mention it. Instead, she had a different problem to address, "Em...I don't like father. He takes Mama away from me and I don't think he likes me."

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Jessica was lost in thought, sitting at the table with the corpses laid out in front of her. Jack put his hand on her shoulder, "What's up, Jess?" Jessica gave him an emotionless smile, still lost in thought, "Come on, Jess. You gotta talk to me."

Jessica didn't say anything for a minute before she shrugged, "Just thinking about how my life's turned around." She said, and he leaned down to kiss her, 'And how suspicious your arrival was...what are you hiding, Jack?' She thought to herself. She heard Emmet call out and stood up, "Alright. Well, Dad, how about you go get Godric and I'll go greet our other son." Jack nodded and walked into the room Godric and Cyrus were in.

He always felt weird around both Cyrus and Gabriel. He wasn't quite sure why, but he was. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that they were both so much older than his sons, "Hey you two. Godric, your mother had dinner...uh...cooling on the table. I doubt she'll mind if you go ahead and get started without her."

--

Jessica walked into the room Emmet was in, just missing Kaeira's comment, "Hey there, Mister Mom. Where's your husband? Has he been practicing his Biobomb countermeasure regiments like I told him to?" Honestly, if there was any other person working to rival Jessica's research into countermeasures for the Biobomb, it was Gabriel. But that wasn't why she wanted to talk to him. She wanted somebody else to be there to be suspicious of Jack. To watch Emmet and Godric's backs. She'd already told Cyrus to watch the man closely, though how seriously he had taken the comment was beyond her. She just didn't think their children could be suspicious of their father (though she had a pretty good suspicion that Kaeira disliked sharing her mother with him). Not only that, but Gabriel was a man of about Jack's age. His input on Jack would probably be insightful. As it was, though, it seemed that Gabe had something more important to do than come to family lunch. Not that she minded, she just wished she could talk to the man alone already.

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Nicole smiled a little when Fran picked up the phone, but she was slightly perturbed by the sounds coming from the background. She hated it when Fran answered her during an experiment, "Hey Fran! I'm doing alright, I guess...Just doing homework right now, which is actually why I called. I was kinda hoping you could help me, but if you're busy, I can call back later." Someone was eating themselves there? That was slightly more important than the math Nicole was currently working on. That's when Kendrick knocked. Nicole sighed a little and turned, putting her hand over the mouthpiece of the phone, "Just...just put them on the bed or something. I'm on the phone." She said, before going back to the phone. Fran was probably one of the only people she'd confided in about her dislike of Kendrick. It just seemed like the only person she could confide in about it. She didn't like talking about Kendrick behind his and Nate's backs, but her Dad would never understand her feelings, and it just felt...mean to say it to Kendrick's face, "'Uncle' Kendrick's coming in, Fran..." She mumbled.

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Friends in the Shadows

On the other end of Raquel’s call a woman picked up speaking loud and clear, thought it wasn’t Patricia.

“Hello, you have reached Purge, Sarah speaking. How may I help you?” Sarah asked as politely as possible. She had recently been hired, but was showing to be as good of a receptionist as Patricia had been. She often aimed of one day flying up the corporate ladder like her predecessor did. The young woman figured that pleasing Michael Henderson was the key, or in her mind, pleasing his “needs.” Sadly, she never caught him at a great time. The man always seemed too busy for anything these days.

As if on cue however, Michael in the flesh, exited the elevators and was headed out. She guessed he was done for the day and this was her chance. Sadly, she realized that she was still on the phone. Rolling her eyes, she sighed before speaking again.

“Can you hold on for a sec? Thanks.” Sarah said before putting the phone down. “Mr. Henderson! Goodnight! Um… Can’t wait to see your handsome face tomorrow!” Sarah said with a charming smile. Michael had turned to the receptionist with his own smile and waved before looking to Leksi who was right behind him with a smirk. It was easy to ignore someone in Michael’s shadow, and that’s exactly what Sarah had done before picking the phone up again. “Hello?”


When Michael arrived home with Leksi, he noticed someone in front of his door. Parking into the driveway, his eyes never seemed to leave the figure in the dark.

“I wonder whose visiting?” Michael asked Leksi before exiting the car with a smirk. “Gabe? What are you doing here?” Michael asked before turning back to look at Leksi. “Oh, don’t tell me this is like a checkup? Look, I’m going steady. I know I switched girls since the last time I saw you and I know it looked like I was dating Patricia when I went to your wedding, but this one might be a keeper… Are you here for a checkup?” Michael asked unsurely.

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#, as written by Aufeis
As they left for the day, Leksi laughed a little as the new secretary attempted a pass at Michael. She'd seen her like before. People eager to 'get in good' with the boss, in hopes of getting some favoritism and a few promotions out of the relationship. The young woman pretty much ignored her, which didn't surprise her at all. Probably didn't even see her. Still, she couldn't help but say, "Mr. Henderson and I will be glad to see an eager face like yours at the front desk tomorrow." Whether she knew that Leksi was the suited person from earlier or not, they were outside before the girl could answer, "Dah, your handsome face. She can look at that, as long as she keeps her hands to herself." She joked as they got to the car.

When they pulled into the driveway, Leksi was automatically staring at the person in the doorway. Not out of malice, but simply out of suspicion. Her hand went to her knife and the other had the nanosuit in hand. Her eyes flicked over to Michael as they got out of the car, but the smirk on his face made her lower her weapons. She listened as Michael spoke to the man on the porch and her eyes widened a little in surprise. Gabe? As in Gabriel? Sylar? She couldn't be sure, but the figure on the porch was near identical to the pictures she had seen. That made her a little afraid, both for her and Michael. She couldn't fight off a Class S special. Michael was a Class A special, and she was able to hold her ground, if only just barely (although Michael's ability in and of itself was hard to combat). Still, Michael talked like they were friends, so she decided not to say anything about it. She smiled a little when Michael mentioned going steady, but it turned into a playful frown when he said 'might be a keeper'. She gave him a solid punch to the shoulder, "Might be? One of us is going to have to get killed before you get rid of me." She joked, absently rubbing his shoulder apologetically without really realizing it.

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Emmet smiled as Kaeira came running over “Hi Kay, were here for a little sleepover! “He’d just got the twins a new pair of footy pajamas for the occasion, Cassandra wore a black one and Alucard a deep purple one. Since he always slept naked, Emmet wore a simple black T-shirt and shorts. His stomach growled a little as Kaeira mentioned food; he hadn’t partaken of human flesh in awhile. He waved at Jessica as she walked into the room “Hey Mom, and yeah, whenever he’s not with us or at the shop he’s busy working on it, last I heard he was getting close to a breakthrough and would contact you when he was closer. Now let’s get on with the slumber party, I’ve always wanted to go to one, well since I saw this movie the other night “he grinned as he pushed the stroller forward towards the dining room.

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Godric and Cyrus had been conversating when Jack walked in on them and said they could eat if they want. Cyrus watched the man out the corner of his eye; he couldn’t see anything wrong with him, but Jessica had the idea the man had ulterior motives. Coming from a serial killer, that was saying a lot. But once he heard a few of the details, it seem rather odd, if not something out of a mystery novel. But still, better safe then sorry.

Godric nodded “Hello father, yes that sounds good “to Cyrus “Emmet suggested I get some other food, so we have pizza, chips, and ice cream. He said there absolutely necessary for a slumber party “Godric had to admit, he was a bit excited, like his brother. He’d never been to one.

They made their way into the room where the corpse was laying. Godric ripped off a chunk as he went to the kitchen to bring more refreshments. Leaving Cyrus and Jack alone, a situation neither had been in before. Cyrus took a seat down, one farthest away from the body “So, Jack how you been? “ He saw the man a lot, but he didn’t know what he did in his day-to-day tedium’s

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Gabriel smiled as he shook his head “ No, you seem to be doing well, but as always, if you feel any different, I’m just a phone call and a teleport away “ He watched the interaction between the two of them and could feel that Michael was indeed fine, him and his friend “ I need to discuss something with you, privately “

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Kendrick sighed and pushed the door open; he left the papers on her bed and left in less than five steps. He walked back to his and Nates bedroom, leaving the door open a crack in case Nicole called for him, though he knew how unlikely that was. He flopped down on the bed and starred up at the ceiling. Reaching out he pulled Nates pillow over and cradled it against his chest. He inhaled Nates scent; it had always been familiar to him. Since all the time they spent together when they were little, training. He rolled over onto his side “What do you want Clive? “
He heard the small chuckle next to him and looked to see the boy (?) sitting cross-legged on the floor. He was wearing a white and black sweater vest and blue and simple blue shorts. For some reason he was wearing a monacle but Kendrick didn’t question why. Clive cocked his head to the side “Would you believe I just happened to be in the neighborhood? “

Kendrick snorted as he sat up to face him “Stranger things have happened, though our relationship has strictly been limited to work “

“Work that you no longer indulge in anymore, Redrum “

“Kendrick, Redrum is…. “

“Still a part of you, unless you think that a few shed tears and a pledge of pacifism changes that? It’s not that simple, when something is so hard wired into the brain, it is next to impossible to rid oneself of it “

Kendrick was quiet for a moment. Redrum was simply a façade, an attempt to duplicate the madness of the stigma, to make himself feel like he truly belonged to the Oskins. He knew he mattered just as much as anyone of blood relation, his father, mother, and siblings had all told him they’d glad hand their lives over to protect him….well most of them had.

“I can only be myself, Kendrick, someone who is loved and doesn’t need to kill in order to get it “

Clive giggled, sounding profoundly wrong “It seems to me that killing would bring you more love. Say a certain woman who takes the attention of your lover away from you. It would be the simplest task to do away with her, forge a note that she decided to strike out on her own and see the world. Sure he would be worried after a time, but as you shower him with love and affection, he would forget about her entirely “

Kendrick bit his lip, on one side it was lunacy and he would never do, but on the other hand, to have Nate all to himself, except for

“The girl, if she to become a hindrance then…

Kendrick dove forward with blind speed and hoisted Clive up. Before he could get the rage-filled words out, Clive vanished in a flash of light and Kendrick quickly realized he’d never been there to begin with, an illusion.

“So rash, not very Redrum like at all. And I was going to say boarding school “

Kendrick took a few deep breaths and calmed down “I’ll ask again, what do you want “

Clive’s voice came from all around him “One should train the body as well as the mind, correct, Care for a spar? “

Kendrick considered that for a moment and nodded “Sure, in the backyard “

Clive giggled again and Kendrick felt his presence seep away from the room. At that moment, he felt very much like fighting, even if the only one he could get a true battle with was Azrael, Clive would be good enough. A moment later, he walked into the backyard, a long pure red blood sword in hand. Clive was standing in the center of the yard, looking up at the moon; the backyard seemed to be glowing eerily.

Kendrick moved into a fighting stance “Shall we “

Clive grinned savagely “En garde “

--------------------------------------------------------------

Fran finally managed to make her way out of the lab and into another room. She took a seat as Nicole mentioned Kendrick coming in. Fran could sympathize a little with the girl, she always felt a pang of jealousy and intense rivalry with Godric and her other brother when it came to getting their fathers attention. Though from her few point Kendrick seemed like a very nice and intelligent man. He and Nate got along so well, Sophie was a great woman too, but she and Nate just didn’t seem to fit together, of course Fran knew it wasn’t her place to say such a thing “ What do you need help with, I’m all ears, no not literally this time “

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David, Miguel, and Melissa were talking when Thomas walked in the room with Jonathan. Thomas smiled and said, "Didn't know you guys were in town!"
David gave a small smile and a brief hug to Thomas, "It has been a while good friend. Sorry for the short notice. Glad you could make it."
"Well after what's been going on in D.C. I can't really say I have much a choice."
As Miguel, Melissa, and Thomas all got reacquainted after what to Jon, seemed to be maybe a few years of not seeing each other, David looked to Jon. "Who's your friend?" he asked.
"My name is..." Jon began. The past few weeks he had not been afraid to use his real name. no one had a lead on him. His mother, who was dead, was the only woman who had anything on him. To this day he did not know why his mother was so insistent on killing him, but it no longer mattered. He was alive, and she was dead. And his files...well most of them anyway, were destroyed. Whether or not using his real name, since he was mentioned on the televised address, was a mistake or not, he didn't know. He had no idea government officials had that much on him. "Jonathan Araya." he said finishing his sentence. He didn't care anymore. He could easily defend himself if need be.

Melissa, and Miguel turned their heads, and David's eyebrows lifted. "You're Jonathan Araya? As in THE Jonathan Araya?" he asked.
Melissa and Miguel looked on edge, but Jon said in an annoyed tone, "Yes! Then one they mentioned on the damned television!"
"You killed all those people in Haiti?" Melissa asked, "How cou-"
"Look woman!" Jon said, I've already answered these same questions to Thomas, I was-"
Thomas interjected. "He's not the person he was!" he said also defending Jon.
David rose and said, "Settle down. I actually think this is brilliant. Jonathan Araya...I do have some questions for you Jon, but they can be answered later. But in case you were wondering...each of us all in this room...are also gifted."
"You're all gifted too?" Jon asked.
Dave chuckled, and in less than a second had walked to Jon's side. Walk wasn't the right word. It was superspeed. Enhanced speed. "I guess you already know Thomas can harness the power of electricity." David said.
Jon nodded and said, "You got super speed?"
"The correct term is enhanced body speed. but that does include you superspeed. miguel over there," he said pointing to a hispanic who offered a slight wave, "Is a know it all of anything manmade. We call him Mr. Fix-It. It doesn't matter if he has never seen the object you present him, in his life. If there is something wrong, he can fix it. He is amiracle worker. And Melissa over there...well, let's just say if more people were like her, amnesia would be a thing of the past. She can look into your memories, but also fix anything you could have forgotten due to trauma, or just a simple forgetful thought. She makes a wonderful housewife." he said with a laugh.

The men in the room all laughed a bit at that. "But I must also know, Jon," David asked. "What is it exactly you can do. You caused Haiti. Are you a Terrakinetic?"
Jon laughed, perhaps as he used to at the term. "Terrakinesis is such a pitiful name at what the true nature of my power is..."
"Are you like Samuel Sullivan?" David asked.
"Who?"
"Samuel Sullivan. He's a Terrakinetic but depends on the presence of other specials for his power."
"I'm not like that...I'm just powerful." Jon said.
"Care to demonstrate?" David asked.
"If I did, I could kill everyone in this room, and I don't want that." Jon said. "I've done terrible things with my ability, and I don't want to be reminded of them. It's not easy living with it."
"So you in a way are like Sylar."
"Whoever that is." Jon said. "I destroyed Haiti. And know what else, I nearly plunged the world into a horrific nightmare."
They all looked at him in confusion. "Remember the recent eruption as Yellowstone? That was me..."
David said, "Jon...do you wish to change?"
"That's why I'm here in this city." Jon said.
"We've dealt with the government before." David said...and I would like to ask you to join us."
"Join you?"
Miguel and Thomas can fill you in. However, Melissa and I also have another person to contact. And unfortunately...he's out of state. He doesn't even know us...personally at least. But we'll need to be on the lookout. And he needs to be prepared. Chances are he likely already is. Not bad for a kid who has yet to graduate."

Jon shook his head. "I'm sorry, you're losing me-"
David chuckle and motioned to Miguel and Thomas. Go with them You'll understand...and I hope you do indeed join us...you'd be a great addition to our resistance..."

Five minutes later, Melissa and David were in the room in front of a computer, which was crunching numbers. Mellissa was also hooking up certain things and sorting through papers. There was a cell phone on the table, open, but black in the screen for remaining idle too long.
"We sure this kid is still around? I heard rumors during the first hunts the government finally caught up to him."
"He was saved." David said. "He's alive and happily with his family. But that could change. The government isn't likely to fall for his same tricks again. So hopefully...what we have to say, convinces him of that."
"Just don't scare him too badly David."
"I don't want to scare him at all. I ain't one to be scared of."

Five minutes passed and he said, "Here he is. Micah Sanders. Phone number 531 - 369 - 9004."
"You sure it's him?"
"Positive." David said looking up. "Hopefully Rebel will be a yes on the team. Once we make contact here, we'll be on another road trip. Go ahead and start by sending him a simple text. Most kids tend to check that first anyway. I'm almost done with the setup here..."

Melissa smiled a bit. David was doing this all for the greater good, but he also had a habit of playfully playing mean. If this Micah was anywhere near his computer, it was about to act weird. Despite what he did. David knew Micah was a technopath, and that machines obeyed his every command, but he also had ways of.....at least making machines hesitate. It was all a complex coding that Melissa never bothered finding out. But David was about to send Micah a little present to his computer. A little "Hey pay attention gift" Nothing harmful, but Micah's screen would likely be a series of numbers and letters forming shapes and wording, followed by crazy computer sound effects and other nonsense he thought funny.

Melissa would play nicer. She just simply entered his number, and sent the following text.

"Rebel. Are you there?"

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A female voice that Raquel had found to be…unfamiliar, answered the phone. It was a step longer to the direction that Raquel was taking.
“Umm….” Raquel hesitantly paused as she was gathering the words in her mind for what to say, “I would like to speak to….Patricia, please.”
“Patricia?” Sarah questioned as she heard the name of her predecessor come from the caller. Giving a confused face, she sighed. “Patricia Banks you mean? The nice little petite girl that everyone loves? If you mean her, she doesn’t work here anymore… buuut I think I can forward you over to her office at Pinehearst.” Sarah added. The receptionist twirled her hair with her index finger as she awaited the response. She simply wanted this call to be over as soon as she could so she could go back to chatting on Facebook.
Patricia being “absent” was almost a letdown for Raquel, as she sighed in disappointment, but when the receptionist said that she could forward the call, Raquel found this to be a relief.
“That’s fine.” Raquel responded to the receptionist’s helpful suggestion. The receptionist quickly transferred to the office, while Raquel waited in patience.
“Please….answer.” Raquel said to herself, still holding the phone to her ear.
Patricia had been sitting in her office, almost looking like Michael Henderson’s female image. She was looking over the performance of the new technology division established, and she couldn’t help but be impressed with their track records. She was halfway through when her phone suddenly rang. She wondered who it could be before answering.

“Hello, Patricia Banks speaking.” She answered with lovely voice.
Raquel’s raging heartbeat nearly sank at the sound of a recognizable, serene voice. Patricia Banks, the same woman who was able to settle the wedding dispute not too long ago. Patricia was Raquel’s only hope on survival.
“Pa-tricia” Raquel hesitantly announced while looking at the area around her, “This is Raquel, Raquel Teixeira. You had sent me your business card at the wedding.”
It took Patricia a moment to piece together what Raquel was talking About As it had been a long while since Gabriel Gray’s wedding. Remembering the day brought a smile upon her face before she replied to Raquel. “Oh… Is everything alright, Raquel? I’m here to talk if you need it.” Patricia said with concern. She didn’t know if the woman was interested in Purge or just seeking some guidance, but she was sure she had whatever Raquel needed.
“I am…okay.” Raquel shyly responded. In reality, she wasn’t okay. Her health was deteriorating at the lack of food and water. It was as though she was a wild animal.

“Well…I just wanted to ask you something.”Raquel stated, beginning to form a proposal. “You did mention if I ever wanted to…..work to give you a call?”
Patricia listened to Raquel, glad the woman was able to say she was alright. She wondered how her relationship with that Darry guy was going. According to Michael, there was no way the man would bring the relationship back, but how could he be so certain? When she asked about work, Patricia smiled with glee. She was happy to get more people into Purge, even if she wasn’t even working there anymore.

“Oh, so it’s work you’re looking for. You should have called for Mike, but I can help you too. Do have any form of transportation? You’d need to register in the Washington D.C.”
Transportation. This was quite a large speed bump for Raquel to hop over. The only ways of transportation she had was from Pinehearst, and Darry’s car, still in Georgia. There was also her cheetah ability to gain speed of 75 miles per hour, but her body was too weak and hungry to trigger it.
“I don’t have any….unfortunately.” Raquel responded, hoping for another option.
Patricia kept her upbeat smile up, even with Raquel’s bad news. Patricia had always been positive with life, even before obtaining her ability.

“Give me your location and I’ll see what I can do. Just a warning though, Michael runs Purge, which means you’ll see him a lot. I’ll let him know that you’re interested in recruitment.” Patricia said.
Raquel looked around for any clues revealing where she resided. Her running away from the wedding caused her to go wherever a straight road took her. She didn’t know where she was now.
Raquel was aware of the consequences that would head her way once she joined the Purge. The head of this group of unique humans was the same man who tore her heart of shreds. The same man who she couldn’t bear to see for the rest of her life. However, she had to learn to rely on herself than some stranger.
Still inside of the telephone booth, she channeled her inner-ability, taking a deep breath, and looking at pitch darkness. Her sight changed from darkness, to a world of colored sharpness, like a bird. She took a glance her surroundings for a name of the city, or state. Nothing helped her as all she could see were pedestrians after another strolling around her in various bright and dark colors.
In front of her, however, was information involving “Directory Assistance”, which included the words “Within this area code”, and 11 numbers below it. She assumed that the last seven was an operator number. Before the seven were 3 numbers: “702”. “702” must have been the area code.
“The area code is…702.” Raquel responded.
Hearing Raquel’s answer, Patricia could do nothing but bite her lower lip. This wasn’t going as smoothly as she thought it would, but Patricia knew she wasn’t at a loss.

“Give me a sec.” Patricia said as she rested the phone down on the desk. She then opened up her browser on her laptop. She quickly looked up the 702 area code and easily found that it was the area code of Las Vegas, Nevada. “This is almost perfect!” Patricia exclaimed before putting the phone back to her ear. “Okay, I’m going to need you to… Oh god, what’s a good place… Oh! There’s a casino hotel called Luxor. If you don’t know where it is, just ask whoever you can. It looks like the Sphinx with a pyramid behind it! There’s no way you can miss it. I think I can get a helicopter over there that’s just making its way from San Francisco. They’re the only Purge guys I can actually get a hold of. A bunch of misfits, but they’re top notch.” Patricia said now with a smile on her face.
Raquel sighed in disappointment once again after hearing Patricia’s response. A step closer to Raquel’s goal, but it would still involve some work, some navigating, or a different vision for her ability.
“Okay….I’ll be sure to meet them….there.” Raquel stated in closing, “I would like to…..thank you for your help. It was……greatly appreciated.”
“Raquel, you know you don’t need to thank me. I’m just doing what any friend would do.” Patricia said modestly. There were times when she questioned whether she was using her ability subconsciously or just using her natural charisma. Either way, she seemed to always get what she wanted. She may not have been able to destroy buildings or incinerate people, but her ability wasn’t one to be taken lightly.
“I just want to make sure you’re okay. Oh, and you might want to hurry up. These guys might be a little impatient. Anyway, I’ll see you sometime if you get into Purge. Hope everything works out. Bye!” Patricia slowly hung up the phone, disconnecting the call. She hung up this way to give the other person to say goodbye before completely hanging up. Not only was it faster, but it made her seem less rude when she was in a rush. She wondered if she should tell Michael about his new recruit, but shook her head with a smile.
“I sooo want to hear about how his face looks when he sees her again.” She said to herself before continuing with her previous work.

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Jessica nodded a little. A breakthrough, huh? Interesting...This she would like to hear more of. Still, she couldn't exactly ask about it if Gabriel wasn't there. She leaned her neck to the side and picked up Kaeira, causing the girl to squeal and a smile to crest her face. Smiles...she'd had a lot of them lately. It made her more paranoid than anything. Funny, considering smiles were supposed to be good. Her face had become dark with her thoughts, and Kaeira was looking at her worriedly, “Mama? What is it?”

Jessica shook her head and flashed her grandchildren a smile, “Nothing, Kay. Mom's just thinking.” Grandchildren. That was another word she'd never though she'd use for herself. She never thought she'd be a grandmother, let alone be one that was actually in contact with the kids. She blinked and came back to reality, kneeling down in front of the two babies. Usually when she saw a baby, she felt a hunger. Babies were so fresh, so...satisfying. She never felt that at Alucard or Cassandra. Maybe it was because they were family...she didn't know, “Hey there, kiddos. You keeping your Mom busy? I hope you're trouble makers, just like he was for me.”

Oh that was always an interesting memory. Barely scraping by, killing and eating flesh to stay alive. Those were memories she couldn't shake easily.

”Shhh, Emmet. Come on, please...I'm trying, I'm trying, okay?” She plead with the crying child. How long had it been since she herself had eaten? Her own stomach growled noisily as she huddled under the overpass. In a sense, she wished she hadn't abandoned her jacket to...no, she wouldn't think about it. She needed to focus on her living child. The baby suckled at her, but nothing came. She just didn't have the strength to walk to the store...how long had she been walking? She looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps. A man who looked more ragged than she did only glanced at her, rubbing his hands together and trying to keep warm. Why was it so cold tonight, “Emmet, please stop crying. I know you're hungry. I'm hungry too, okay? Just be quiet for a minute, for Mommy, okay?”

But of course he wouldn't stop crying. His tiny belly cried for food, and so did he. Tears began to fall down her cheeks. Why did it have to be like this? She looked at the man again. Something inside her stirred. No, she said she'd never do that again. Not after Emmet was born, she had to protect him...and yet...nobody would miss this man. Just like all the others. She put her lips to Emmet's tiny forehead, whispering a quiet, “In a minute...I promise...” It didn't take much. One swing of a pipe and it was over. The man wasn't dead, but he was close enough. She painstakingly dragged him behind a pillar and knelt down next to him, unbuttoning his shirt and coat...she lowered her face to his stomach and bit deeply, tearing flesh easily with razor sharp incisors. Teeth were still bones, right? She feasted. She couldn't help it. She was just so hungry...It had only been minutes before she came back to Emmet, blood soaking her front as she once more unbuttoned her shirt and exposed herself, bringing the baby to her breast, “Please, please, please...let there be milk...”

And there was. She could tell by the way he suckled contentedly that there was. She let out a breath of relief, laughing a little as tears went down her face, “Your Mommy's a murderer. You know that? A filthy, horrible murderer. A serial killer. But you don't care. You'll always love your Mommy.”


“You'll always love your Mommy...” Jessica murmured in a far away voice, causing Kaeira to give her a worried look again.

“Mama, are you okay?” She asked, pulling lightly at Jessica's shirt.

Jessica blinked again and stared at her daughter for a moment, her expression stupid and confused. Then she realized where she was. She shook her head again and cleared her throat, “Yeah...Yeah, I'm fine. Just zoning out here. Need to eat something, clear my head. Get some sleep.” She'd like to say that her sleep beside Jack was pleasant, comfortable. But it wasn't. The paranoia and feeling of...off-ness kept her awake. She tried to make the bags under her eyes less visible, but they were there if you looked hard enough. Her face looked more thin too. Memories, like a gush of water from a dam didn't help the sleeplessness. She smiled as she stood up, “Well, come on. Dinner isn't going to serve itself.”

---------------------------

Jack sat in a chair on the opposite side of the table of Cyrus. He wouldn't eat any of the body himself, but he was a bit hungry. He crossed his leg across his knee and leaned back in the chair, “I've been good. Reconnecting with Jess, the family. Feels good to have everyone together, you know? I've missed a lot of my kid's, and now their kid's lives. But I don't intend on going anywhere any time soon.” He leaned back in his chair a little. Wonder what's taking Jess and Emmet so long. Oh well, “What about you? How long have you known Godric?”

---------------------------

Leksi raised an eyebrow as Gabriel said that he and Michael needed to talk privately. She put her hands up defensively, “Alright. Alright. I can catch a hint, dah? You two have fun talking about whatever it is that you need privacy for.” She said, taking Michael's keys and unlocking the front door, stepping inside but lingering once the door was shut. There was no way in hell she was going to miss out on this conversation.

---------------------------

Nicole didn't even bother looking at her 'uncle' as he deposited the homework on the bed. She cringed a little when Fran mentioned being all ears, and she paled a little, “We said we wouldn't mention that again, Fran...” Well, Nicole did, at least. She sighed a little and put her head down on the desk, the cool surface pressing against her forehead, “It's just math...geometry and everything, you know how it is, and...” She paused a moment. This wasn't why she called Fran. She knew it wasn't because of homework, and Fran probably knew too, “I don't know what to do about this stupid situation...I just wish my Mom and Dad could be together and we could be a family, just like all the other kids, and 'Uncle' Kendrick could just go back to being just that. An 'uncle'. Or just disappear completely, he was never around before.”

She could feel tears welling in her eyes. She loved her mother and father, and on some level she loved her 'uncle' as well, but that didn't stop the feelings inside her chest. She just wanted to have a normal family, something she'd never had before. She let out a shaky breath, “I think maybe I should leave for a while. I can't stand being here. Mom and Dad are out, but they're just being friends. My Dad won't love her again, and I don't wanna be here...Could I come back and live with you for a while? Or...maybe I should call Aunt Rose...I don't know.” She let out a little sob. She loved her family, she really did. But it was hard sometimes, “Why does everything about my family have to be weird? Sometimes I feel like I'm the only normal one.”

---------------------------

Travis had just been doing a few things when his cell phone rang. Upon seeing who it was, Travis was tempted to just let it ring, but..... "Peter?"

Peter forced a chuckle at Travis’ tone, “I just wanted to check in with you and Krystina…and see if you’d seen the news.” He said, and his voice reflected his mood. He was worried, both about his family and his friends.

Travis sat down. "We saw it...what about it?" Travis tried to hide his feelings. He didn't want to do anything more... He finally had a life worth keeping.

“You know what about it. I’m not asking you to fight. I’m asking what you’re going to do if…when things get bad.” He said, trying to keep his voice even. Sierra was giving him a weird look, since he was hiding what he was saying on the phone, but he didn’t really care, “I want to protect my wife and daughter. We both know that submitting to what they want us to submit to won’t do that. Just look at the school. The last hunts. Anyone who lashes back, and we both know people will, will bring down punishments on us and our children.”

"Peter, here we go again." Travis said annoyed. "There is no 'what will you do.' There is nothing like that. In case you don't remember, I wasn't even around for the first hunts. I was living below a dock. If I gotta take my whole family into hiding, I will. I'm done fighting."

Peter nodded, “Where. Or better yet, don’t tell me. Who knows what the government could be tapping into these days. If things get bad…Would you be willing to team up to go into hiding together. I’m sure you’ve talked to Swiss about it. I don’t have any powers. Diana’s a baby. I’m not stupid, Travis. There’s very little I can do. So if you go into hiding…I’d like to go with you. Sierra can offer her medical skills to you at a moment’s notice. It’d be nice to have that for the kids, right?”

"Swiss and I have yet to make contact at all." Travis said. He had forgotten Swiss preferred his birth name now, but didn't say anything. "And I don't know Peter. I don't even have a plan yet..."

Peter nodded slightly, but continued to keep his voice down, “Just remember what I said. We could even start a safe haven for specials. We know people who could help with that sort of thing.”

"I don't want to start anything, Peter." Travis almost shouted. "I want to live life the way it was meant to be lived. Nothing more..."

Peter slammed his hand on the table, causing Diana to start crying and Sierra to send a glare at him, taking their child and going into the other room, “Dammit, Travis, don’t you think I know that!? Don’t you think I want a normal life for my wife and daughter too?! Don’t you think that we all deserve that? We don’t have a choice in the matter, because you’re right, you weren’t involved in the first hunt. You have no idea what I’ve seen. They won’t let you live like a normal person. They’ll find you and treat you like a prisoner if you’re lucky, an animal if you’re not. That goes for your wife, your children, your friends, everyone. We need to work together. That’s all I’m saying.”

At the question of Peter speculating he didn't know Travis wanted a normal life, and including his own family, Travis just shouted back, "Well you didn't seem to want to know before! You didn't seem to want ANYTHING close to a normal life before!" It WAS Peter Petrelli who had changed his life. Taught him control. But it was also Peter Petrelli who wanted Travis to do all these other things he wanted nothing to do with. Peter tracked him to Colorado. Peter wanted him to learn the future. Peter wanted help to take his father down. Hell, the only reason Travis did most of that stuff was because he was dragged into it by either Peter, or the main problem! His voice echoed in the living room slightly, and his two children who were in the other room started to cry. Travis relaxed and sat back down on the couch. But his temper didn't fade. "I may not have had the government on my ass, but don't think I had it any easier!"

The first years of his discovery he was gifted, were spent at the bottom of a dock in Seattle. He didn't move from that place. Not once. He hid if people walked under to tag graffiti when the tide was low, and he slept there, ate there, and counted the days there, because he had simply failed to kill himself by drowning. The night he discovered he could read minds, he also found out he could extract oxygen from liquid, what little of it there was. How it fully worked, he still had no idea. And it wasn't long afterwards he discovered his ability tie-ins with water.

"Look," Travis finally said calmer. "I don't want anything bad for your family, my family or anyone else's family, but even you have got to realize that if we simply start working together, grouping together, whatever, they will catch on sooner or later, and from there it will only get worse. I may not have seen what you saw in the first hunts," Strangely actually, he didn't remember much from that area at all. "But don't think again that I haven't seen what CAN and will happen. There's a reason I don't even pick up a pencil anymore Peter. There's something happening with my ability....and I can't control it." He sighed and contemplated his words. "I think I'll be sending Krystina and the kids away before too long while I try and figure this all out..."

Peter sighed and tried not to say anything. It was true that he had pretty much dragged Travis through his various problems since they had met. Travis had done more than his fair share as a friend, “I don’t know what to tell you, Travis. You’ve helped me in far too many of my problems, I know and I appreciate that. If there’s anything I can help you with, I’ll be willing to do so. All I’m saying is consider what I’ve said. I honestly don’t think any of us will be able to hide from these hunts. If you know what can and will happen, then you know that being submissive isn’t going to help us. You’ve been a good friend and an invaluable ally in the past few years. I owe you a lot. I just want to make sure we all come out of this with all of our parts intact. That includes our families.”

"And I owe you many things myself, Peter," Travis said, "And I'm sorry I may be making things difficult, but we don't even know yet if anything will happen. Sometimes you gotta hope that the government will step back and pull its head from its ass before it finalizes anything."

Travis knew that probably wouldn't happen, but he also had not checked. He had not wanted to. He wasn’t lying when he said something was happening with his ability. He sometimes got throbbing headaches. He had numerous cat scans done, and none saw anything too out of the ordinary. No tumors. Nothing. The headaches kept coming though. And at one point he had almost thought himself to slowly becoming schizophrenic when he woke up to see three drawings on a newspaper that he didn't remember at all drawing.

Drawings of anything. A sporting event outcome, a shooting halfway across the world...he didn't remember any of it.

Peter shook his head, “Not according to my mother. According to her, this is going to happen” He said with a sigh, before shaking his head again, “Anyway, if something is happening with your abilities, you should swing by the house here later, or I can have Sierra go to you. If anyone can figure it out, I’m sure she can.” He said, finally sitting down on the couch and leaning his head on hand. He was kind of worried about Travis. After the last problem with his abilities, the last thing he needed was something else to complicate things.

"If I can find the time, maybe I will." Fuck. He knew of Peter's mother's ability, and knew how persistent SHE could be. If Peter didn't recruit him, his mother probably would try. She was always looking for someone to cover up her dirty work. Travis barely knew her but had met her and had gotten some unfortunate peeks into her damn mind. What a mess. "Right now...nothing too out of the ordinary has happened..."

“If you’re busy, Sierra could be there in a matter of minutes. I’d wager about twenty. The check-up would be quick, and she could take a look at everyone else while she was at it. It’s up to you.” He wasn’t sure how Travis felt about Sierra still. He knew that he probably hated Jessica for everything she’d done, but he really hoped that Travis saw that Sierra wasn’t Jessica. When people compared the two, it still made his blood boil.

Travis sighed and said, "If you gotta, you gotta." Travis didn't feel like seeing anyone, but knew he’d have to see someone soon anyway. If more nonsense was happening with his ability he had to know if it would be a big deal. Hell! Last time evolution came to his door, he didn't think he'd ever walk on dry ground again. “But I won't be in my home. I need some air. If...she wants to see me then tell her I'll be at drydock."

Travis would not deny the fact that the ocean still felt like a second home to him. It wasn't rare to see him walking by it.

Peter nodded, “Alright. She’ll be there when she can. Just give what I’ve said some thought, is all.” He said, before hanging up. He went into the next room and talked to Sierra for a few minutes. She wasn’t happy about having to run all the way to Travis’ home, but the man had helped them out before, and she owed him enough as well, if not for her own actions, then for Jessica’s. After letting Diana have breakfast, she got dressed and pulled on her boots. These were the heavy duty kind when she had to run excessive distances.

Travis was sitting on a bench at drydock. He'd been sitting here maybe an hour just taking in the view. He also had some salmon near his side, which he had been eating. He was tempted to go and catch some of his own, but decided against it. Even though he knew sometimes how good it felt just to be in water, and do something.....who knew what...

It took Sierra longer to get where she was going. She had to avoid a lot of high-population areas, and even stop entirely at one point. Finally, she made it to the drydock. Her boots made her footsteps echo as she walked towards Travis. She stopped a few feet away from him and just waited for him to acknowledge her.

Travis knew she was there. Being telepathic gave you that feeling. Her mind at the moment, or at least her surface thoughts, was just kinda...empty. A few stray thoughts. What she would cook dinner when she got home, how she didn't like high populated areas, how....Travis closed his eyes. "You know..." he said, "You can always be the first to say 'hi.' "

“You told Peter you wanted air. I figured you wanted some time to yourself.” She said walking over before sitting down beside him, “I can feel you grazing my mind. I asked you not to do that once before, though it was a life-time ago.” She said, staring out at the ocean, “I still haven’t found her. Jessica, I mean.”

Travis simply shrugged and said "Don't even worry about it anymore." About what, he didn't say. Jessica? If she did decide to come attack, a father's ambition to protect his family sometimes got very strong. Air? The whole thing was stupid. Everything was stupid. At her saying how she still didn't want him in her mind, Travis simply said, "It's getting harder to control..."

‘How can I not worry about it?’ She thought, not really caring whether or not he heard it or not. All she said was, “She’s my responsibility. If I don’t worry about her, who will?” She asked, crossing her legs and putting her hand on his shoulder. She closed her eyes as she began to communicate with his cells, his body, his very being.

Travis shrugged as she began her...checkup. "She can try whatever she wants. I ain't gonna let her hurt my family." Travis was still a little confused of whether or not he was an actual target anymore. He was a little confused on why he was a target in the first place, but then again.....he probably....well Sierra could probably detect it.

As the ‘checkup’ concluded, Sierra put her hand to her head, “Okay…I think I understand. Your body is…is changing. Again. Your telepathy, it’s…It’s growing stronger faster than your body can handle. It could kill you. I don’t know why, or how, but your brain is changing. Evolving, you could call it. Whatever it is, it’s affecting your ability.” She closed her eyes and just sat for a moment, trying to push away the pain, “My head is killing me all of a sudden.”

Well, there he had it. Travis sighed and sat back. "Do..." Travis gave a small sigh. If he was gonna die, then he wanted to know if he'd have to prepare to go to Krystina, and tell her. He'd need to know if he'd have to start writing up a will, other bullshit. "Do you know......my chances of survival?"

Sierra shook her head, “Not really. I mean, I guess I can try to slow the evolution down, or even stop it completely, but it could have side effects. I’ve never done something like this before. It’s up to you. If anything, I’d like to study your mind a bit more before doing anything.” She said, rubbing her temples, “How long has this been happening? The change in your telepathy?”

Travis wasn't exactly comfortable with stopping his body from changing. The body evolved naturally to better suit its environment, it was a survival thing. But at her request to know more and study more, Travis said, "You look a bit...overwhelmed. You want this to.........wait?" Travis didn't want it to wait when he could be dead for all he knew by midnight, but he didn't want her in to o much pain. Of course he could enter and mentally numb the pain but it was only temporary. As soon as Travis was out of range...the pain would likely return.

Sierra shook her head, “No, I’m fine. This is important.” She said, causing the pain to subside. She closed her eyes and sighed, “I should be fine now. Really bad headache just came out of nowhere.” She said, opening them again, “How long has this been going on. A month? A couple months? A timeline will help me determine how quickly your brain physiology is changing.”

Travis closed his eyes. "I guess.....the first signs came around three weeks ago." They weren't much, migraines mostly. But they kept coming, and it wasn't that much later that surface thoughts began to once again enter his mind out of his control. Nowhere near as bad as when he first discovered his telepathy, but enough to distract him.

Sierra nodded, “Okay. Has your family complained of sudden headaches, misplaced thoughts, or anything that your ability can do while under your control?” She asked. She was beginning to wonder if her headache wasn’t being caused by her proximity to Travis.

Travis shrugged. "I think that's more a question for Krystina." She hadn't really complained to him at least. And well, the kids didn't even talk yet...

Sierra nodded, “I’d like to talk to your wife if possible before I go. And…if you’re not opposed to the idea…I’d like you to try and read your children’s thoughts.” She said, giving him a look.

Travis gave her a confused look. "I'm sorry, but what does reading my children's thoughts have to do with anything?"

Sierra shook her head, “If they’re experiencing pain, then they wouldn’t be able to really tell you yet, would they? Reading their thoughts or memories could be the only way to find out if you’re hurting them inadvertently.”

Travis shrugged. "I guess I would know if they felt something." Travis didn't want to be a source of pain for anyone, but it wasn't exactly something he had a say in he guessed....

Sierra nodded, “Alright. One last thing, though. Would you mind trying to read my mind in a moment?” She asked, looking at him seriously.

Travis was confused but said, "Relax..." With that he entered her mind as he had done before...

When Travis entered her mind there was nothing. No surface thoughts. No nothing. There was just empty blackness, “Anything?”

"You certainly do a decent job of clearing your mind. Have you been training?" he asked.

Sierra smiled for a moment, but shook her head, “I’ve found a way to convert my normal brainwaves and functions over to a different wavelength from most humans. It’s a little hard to get used to, but hopefully it will offer protection from telepathics.”

Travis shrugged. "I don't know if I'd get your hopes up. If I gotta, all I need to do is dig."

“You’d be surprised on how many frequencies the human mind can survive off of, as long as they’re tuned right. As soon as a telepath gets close to breaking through, I can switch to a new wavelength, but it’s a little taxing. I don’t anticipate having to use it often, or for very long if I can help it, but you’re right. It’s by no means the perfect defense.”

"Perhaps so." Travis said. Travis was sure he could probably just push a thought or two to help prevent such a defense, but he wouldn't try it. He had no reason to. It was then that he started to feel another migraine kick in. He sighed and rubbed his forehead. "When do you want to see them?"

Sierra stood up, “As soon as possible, if you don’t mind. I’m sure Diana is getting restless by now.” She said, offering her hand to help him stand up.

Travis nodded. "Right then…Let's get this over with."

It wasn’t long before they got to Travis’ home. Krystina was first on Sierra’s list of check-ups. Part of her wondered if Krystina still harbored some hatred of her for whatever she had been subjugated to while being Jessica’s captive, “Good to see you again, Krystina. How have you been?”

Krystina was just washing a few dishes and smiled at Sierra. "Didn't expect to see you anytime soon. Things have been......a little hectic I guess. How about yourself?"

Sierra smiled back, and gave a nod, “Same. With Peter around, I sometimes feel like I’m raising two children instead of just the one.” She joked, but her face fell back to seriousness after a moment, “If I may, I need to ask you a few questions, and I’d like to run a preliminary check up on you and your children. I already talked to Travis about it, but I just wanted to talk to you about it first. I can…understand if you’d rather I didn’t, though.”

Krystina stopped what she was doing and gave her a look of half worry, half curiosity. "What's going on?"

Sierra felt it was better to get her questions out of the way first, before explaining everything. If Travis was inadvertently hurting his family, they had to find out as quick as possible, “Have you been having an abnormal amount of headaches lately? Migraines, probably, with no real discernable cause? Blackouts, maybe? Maybe abnormal dreams or thoughts, seemingly from left field?” She asked, putting a hand on Krystina’s shoulder and closing her eyes. She didn’t have to, but she’d found that people were often disconcerted by her eyes rolling up into her head.

Krystina looked at her and said, "Sometimes, I guess. I've had a few headaches, but nothing seemingly out of the ordinary..."

Sierra nodded a little. ‘Kill her.’ Sierra’s eyes widened at the voice. It was oh so familiar. Jessica’s cruel grin floated in her mind, ‘Make him hurt. He could kill you with a thought, you know. He could take everything away from you, just like last time. Your precious Peter and baby Diana. Gone.’ She shook her head and looked at her reflection in the window. Nothing. No stigma. She sighed a little and took her hand off Krystina’s shoulder, “You uh…you look healthy to me. No abnormalities. If your headaches get worse suddenly, or you start blacking out or have weird thoughts, just-”

‘Slit your wrist’

“-let me know. Okay?” She gave a smile, but it was somewhat forced, and as soon as she had turned away from Krystina, she put her hand to her left eye, massaging it absently, “So uh…just let me check your-”

‘Dinner’

“-children and I’ll be on my way and out of your hair, alright?”

Travis who had already been checking the children's minds, didn't seem to find much of anything wrong. So that was a a bit of a high hope. But he did have a very.....very bad feeling about something. And the feeling seemed to escalate when Sierra entered the room. "She okay?" Travis asked, by default.

Sierra nodded, “Yeah, she’s fine. Nothing abnormal at all, as far as I can tell, but she’s been having headaches. They could just be normal headaches, but I’d like her to keep track of them. Alright, quick check of the-”

‘Brats’

“-children and I’ll be gone.” She very lightly put her hands on each child, smiling a little as the children reacted to her touch, letting her eyes roll back into her head as she did.

‘Aren’t you hungry, Seesee? Two delectable little rug-rats, right here. Just take a bite and run, you’ll be fine. You can be gone before he even does anything.’ Jessica’s voice purred, causing Sierra to take a few steps backwards. Her eyes were wide for a moment, and at that moment, just as she looked at Travis, the Stigma peered back at him, crimson and bloody. She put her hand to her eye and immediately ran to the nearest bathroom, emptying the contents of her stomach into the toilet. When she stopped, her breathing was fast and erratic, almost to the point of hyperventilation. She looked in the mirror and Jessica, blonde hair, blue and crimson eye, and cruel, blood soaked smile stared back at her.

“Get out of my head.” She whispered adamantly, and Jessica leaned closer to the mirror.

‘What’s the matter, Sierra? Not feeling so high and mighty anymore?’

“Stop…I got rid of you.”

‘You can’t get rid of me. I’m part of you. We’re sisters. We’re blood.’

“No, we’re not. We’re not! You’re a monster, and I…I’m not a monster. I’m not!”

‘You’re talking to a mirror, kiddo, you’re just as fucking nuts as I am. You can't hide from it forever.’

She blinked and it was her own reflection staring back at her, the crimson eye looking just as wicked as ever. She splashed some cold water into her face and pushed the stigma away, pushed it to the farthest corner of her mind. What was happening to her? Why now?

Travis' feelings didn't let up, and they most certainly did not ease either when Sierra bolted for the restroom. Travis frowned and followed closely behind. The door was closed behind. He could hear the sounds of vomiting, and her faintly whispering, and was tempted to find out what she was whispering about, but simply knocked after a minute and said, "You feeling okay?"

The tone may not have been the best as it was hinted towards suspicion, but that wasn't to say he wasn't worried...

After another few minutes, Sierra replied with a croaking, “Yeah…I’m fine for now.” She said, though her voice didn’t sound confident. After another minute, she opened the door, both of her eyes emerald again. She ran her hand through her hair and closed her eyes, opening them after a minute and sighing, “I’m fine. So are your children, as far as I can tell. I think it would be best if I left.” She said quietly, heading towards the door. Her mind dwelled on Jessica and the Stigma. Why was it coming back now? She hadn’t had a problem with it since Diana was born. It was supposed to be gone. She had pulled her own eye out to stop it.

"I don't need to be a telepath to know there's a lie buried in there somewhere..." Travis said. He didn't want to read, but something wasn't right. Was she okay, or was his family in danger? Had HE caused her reactions just now involuntarily? He needed to be brought to the light. Lies would get him no where.

Sierra wanted to say something, but she felt the Stigma come back, “Don’t tread where you don’t belong, Travis.” She hissed in Jessica’s voice, but her eyes widened as her face dropped in horror. The Stigma’s pure hatred of Travis was so powerful… “Oh god…oh god…” She whispered, taking a few steps backward. While one side of her face was frozen in horror, the side with the Stigma was smiling savagely.

She shook her head and put her hand over her face, pushing the Stigma back. Finally, almost breathlessly, she said, “You’re going to want to sit down. You won’t believe me, probably.”

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Michael kept a friendly smile on his face, even as he raised his eyebrow at Gabriel’s following words. When Leksi said she’d let them talk, Michael just watched her go inside.

“We shouldn’t be long.” Michael managed to say before she shut the door behind her. As soon as Leksi seemed to leave, Michael smile faded, showing seriousness. A guy with his abilities didn’t just discuss small things privately. “So, what’s up?” Michael said with a cross of his arms.

Gabriel didn’t waste any time. "My father, Sampson Gray. I have reason to believe may be on the move. He.....has the same power as I do but he's old and dying from cancer so he shouldn’t be a threat. But I've been getting odd images of the future. Very disconcerting, Sampson claimed he's forgotten most of the powers he's forgotten, but there may be a chance he's remembered something that’s able to make him a threat again. I'd like to keep this within the family, but I felt it necessary to warn you just in case."

Michael listened to what Gabriel had to say, and was honestly interested in knowing more about Sampson. Taking out his phone, Michael started on sending a text to Patricia. He wanted her to forward him any information the Purge database might have.

“It’s good you told me…” Michael said as he looked up from his phone. “How dangerous do you think he is? I can get a few teams on catching your father, especially if you’re a little soft hearted about doing it yourself.”

Gabriel shook his head "Oh believe me I'll have no paternal feelings getting in the way of ripping him apart. As for how powerful he is, I can't say. He was on deaths door last we met and since then he's left my thoughts entirely. I suppose it would be best to operate under the assumption he's as strong as I am " or possibly stronger, who could say? Whether he'd suddenly remembered a past ability or come across a new one entirely, it didn’t matter. All that mattered was he was now active.

“Ultimately I’ll have to face him; I just wanted you to be aware in case an incident should come up. I'm making this a termination not capture, my father covets immortality and as such I'm his highest target, but I’m not the only one "Obviously his father knew nothing about Emmet, but he didn’t want him getting anywhere near his family.

All Michael really focused on was what Gabriel said about Sampson being as powerful as he is. He wanted to respect Gabriel’s wish to make this personal, but Michael feared of what could happen if someone like Sampson had the hunger. The violence he would cause would most likely mess up the plans he had for integrating specials into society.

“Gabe, you’re making this kinda hard for me. You’re possibly the most powerful special on the planet right now. If your father is anywhere close to how strong you are, you’ll need to get rid of him as soon as possible… I don’t really care how you do it; just make sure I don’t have to do it for you later.” Michael said just glad that this guy was actually killable. He didn't need to face another Arthur. “Anything else?”

“I apologize and I definitely intend to settle this as quickly and discretely as possible before he does anything to gain attention.” Of course this was on the basis that he could find his father at all. It was best that he start immediately “That’s all I wanted to say, I’ll leave you to your guest.”

“You mean, Leksi.” Michael said before looking into a window of the house. “She’s a keeper… I mean it this time Gabe.” Michael said before the man could make any slick comments.

Gabriel chuckled “I’m happy to hear that." He really did, he knew how hard it was for Michael to have a meaningful relationship because of his condition. But he'd come a long way and seemed to be moving past it “Well I’m off. Take care." He teleported off.

---------------------------

Meanwhile, a helicopter with an odd red glow flew across Las Vegas with unimaginable speed. seated inside were Eli, Chris, and Mao. Chris held an exhausted look as he had used his accelerating aura to speed up their detour to Nevada. The team had just finished another assignment in San Fransisco that involved the capture of a man who couldn't control his ability to make objects violently orbit around him. This man and the infamous Oliver Jones were sedated and detained in the back of the fairly large helicopter.

"Why do we listen to Patricia again?" Chris asked before taking a breath.

"Because she's the best friend of the boss." Eli answered with a tired look on his face.

"Best friend? Yeah right. I bet she sucks him off when she makes her little visits." Chris said with a smirk.

"You should meet Patricia. She is a very nice woman, Chris." Mao said with a nod.

"See, Mao knows the deal. You gotta talk to the lady. I used to not like the looks of her too, but now I feel like she's the coolest lady I know." Eli said before his eyes looked to the men in the back. A criminal next to a guy who was practically scared of himself.

"Team Alpha, we are about to make a smooth landing."

"It better be." Chris said under his breath as he rubbed the spot where he had gotten stabbed.

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Gabriel reeapeared outside his fathers home. The aged building seemed more ominous from his last visit. He stood their rooted to the ground for a few minutes. With his enhanced hearing he couldnt pick up a heartbeat, but what would that mean if his father had an ability to mask that. Was he afraid? He was being forced to see Sampson in a new light, as he had been when he'd abandoned Gabriel. Powerful, killing his mother and selling his only child away ass casually as anything. It's easily something Sylar would do, something he wouldnt do now. He calmed his nerves, he wasnt some little boy afraid of daddy, he was a grown man, powerful in his own right and here for a reason. He approached the door only to find it was haging open. Cautiously he summoned fire in his right hand and electricity in his left and entered.
Immediately his senses were assaulted by a foul stench. The room was dark and cold, he was on alert, his gaze darting all over the room, focusing on the slightest movement. He floated a few inches off the ground and moved about, he located thesource of the odor in the bathroom. Some foul substances were painted all over it, blood mingling with it.Reaching out he touched the sink. With his psychometry he could see the history of what had transpired in here. He was treated to a ery disturbing image. Sampson was doubled over, vomiting the the substances from his mouth, but it also appeared to be leaking from his nose, ears, eyes, and soon pushed out from his skin. Gabriel had to quell his own stomach to keep from vomiting at the image. The scene shifted around, mostly showing the same thing, but soon it showed the man laughing hysterically, he looked terrible, but it seemed superficial as opposed to the power he was doubtlessly feeling.
Gabriel pondered at what he'd just seen. Hazarding an educated guess, this looked like the work of a biokinetic, going from that he would have to assume that it's a power Sampson has, one of the powers he'd forgotten.Now he'd used it to rid himself of the cancer and other maladies that riddled him. It couldnt have been long, a day or two perhaps. Gabriel walked out of the bathroom and luminated his body, light flooding the house.He looked around, much of everything was destroyed, but on the far off wall was something painted in blood.
" IM FREE NOW, FREE OF THIS SORDID LIFE, NOW IM BACK, THE HUNTER HAS RETURNED AND SOON HE WILL STALK HIS PREY "
A shiver ran down his body and froze his core. It was as he'd feared, Sampson was returning to power. He suddenly whipped around, feeling that someone was coming up on him, but quickly realizing it was his imagination. He sighed and rubbed his temple, why was he acting this way. He teleported back aside and regarded the house, it was unlikely that Sampson would return back, there was no reason to. Orange light flared up in Gabriels eyes, followed by a tremor. In the next moment the ground opened up and swallowed the house.
" In the off chance you do come back old man, you can see that I'm looking for you "
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Micah was absorbed in his computer monitor when his phone rang, or rather Rebels phone it. It was a secret one he'd sep up during the hunts and handed responded in a long time, he took it as a sign " Rebel, who is this? "
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyrus listened as Jack explained how he wanted to be apart of his families lives, how far would he go though? Cyrus shook his head slightly, he was becoming paranoid. The guy was nice enough it seemed " A few months, we actually met here....through Fran " that was the edited way of saying he'd been kidnapped " I just felt this pull towards him and weve been together ever since " he smiled fondly as Godric walked back into the room, arms laden with multiple objects. Cyrus was about to ask if he needed help but realized it would be pointless, with Godrics strength and all
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Emmet watched his mother, it had more or less fully sinked into his mind that Jessica was his mother. He'd even opted to call her mom more often " Now now Mom, no going to sleep, thats the exact opposite of a sleepover, I believe, there food, drinks, movies, and make overs! " flames danced in his eyes from excitement. He wheeled the twins into the dining room as Godric finished setting out the spread. Placing them in high chairs, he took a seat beside " Alright everyone, let the slumber party begin! "
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Fran leaned back in her chair as she inspected her reflected in the overhead screen. She'd decided on a change in appearance, her long flowing hair had been cropped to her shoulders and dyed blood red. She'd even changed her eye color from blue to grey. Overall she liked the appearance " I'm sorry to hear that Nicole, but you know there are multiple options open to you. Like perhaps cloning your father, that way your mother and unclecould both have him.....Though his brain chemistry would still be wired the same, which would cause problems in itself. Though perhaps with a little manipulation of the mind, bring in Jessica and Cyrus. It would take quite a lot of research and then theirs the testing stage but nothing comes forth without trial and error " she continued rambling on for a moment, her fingers blazing across the keyboard.
Meanwhile in the backyard Clive and Kendrick were sparring. Clive had vanished at the start of, masking under an illusion. Kendrick stood still, casting his senses out, Clive couldnt assume an elemental form and work an illusion at the same time. Kendrick locked in on him, manipulating the circulation of his blood, he burst forward unnaturally fast, but not quite fast enough to catch the light user. He could feel Clive dodge his slash, he jumped back to put some distance between them but quickly crouched and launched himself into the air. The area he'd just been standing in exploded, Suddenly he felt something above him and looked up to see Clive falling towards him, a hammer of light in his grasp. Their weapons met and the air exploded.
Kendrick landed deftly on his feet and kept moving, Clive at his side instantly, they continued to trade blow, every so often Clive would detonate an explosion of light, each one getting louder then the last.
Rose was watching the display from the roof, she'd come to visit Nicole but become enamored by the battle, her stigma was shining as she thirsted for battle, but she quelled it and made her way inside the house, stopping outside Nicoles room, she could hear the gist of the conversation and knew she'd come at just the right time. Flower petals began raining down in Nicoles room, bringing a sweet aroma
" Hmm, it seems someone in need of assistance " Rose materialed on the edge of Nicoles desk.

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Jessica put her hand to her face, rubbing her eyes and trying to focus on the present. So many memories. So many visions. She had to get a good night sleep, she had to. The only thing she could think of was forcibly turning her brainwave activity to go to sleep, but such things could be dangerous. She wondered vaguely if Fran had anything that could help her. She tried to keep her mind on the now, though, just for the moment. She'd talk to Fran later. She picked Kaeira up and brought her into the dining room where everyone was gathered, sitting down next to Jack and sitting Kaeira next to her, looking at her family. Family. Such a funny little word, "Well, here we all are. A nice little...Godric, where's your sister? Is she still in the basement?" she asked, noticing Fran and her new look weren't at the table, "That girl is always fiddling with something. One of these days, she's going to make something and it's going to eat her."

Kaeira let out a small gasp. She and Fran had bonded quite a bit, and the thought of something eating her big sister was terrifying, "She's not really gonna get eated, is she?"

Jessica just laughed, "I doubt it. This family is too hard to kill off for that. Why don't you go get her, Kay. We'll wait for you."

Kaeira nodded, getting up and skipping off towards the basement door.

"So. How is everyone lately? Emmet, since you're not living here, why don't you fill us in first?" Jack said, motioning to Emmet and the children.

----------------

Kaeira reached the door handle with a little difficulty, pulling on it and pushing the door open. She slowly floated down to where Fran was sitting, typing intently on the keyboard, "Franny, Mama says you gotsa come eat dinner, otherwise you're gonna make a monster and its gonna eats you!" She shouted, gnashing her teeth for emphasis. When she was finished, she looked at the techno mumbo jumbo on the computer screen. She never understood any of the stuff Fran worked on, but Mama did, so that was good, "Franny, what's a Parry-eta oh-see-pie-tall sol-sus?" She asked, reading one of the many ginormous words on the screen. The real word was Parieto-occipital sulcus, but Kaeira gave it a good try. Then she noticed that one of Fran's arms was holding a phone to her ear as she typed, "Who jah talkin' to?"

----------------

Leksi smiled as she heard Mike's final words to Gabe, butupon hearing Gabe's farewell, stepped back from the door and practically sprinted across the room, jumping and landing on the couch and grabbing a nearby magazine, opening it to a random page, looking entirely engrossed in an article about some celebrity or the other, and simply waiting for Michael to come in. The talk made her nervous, honestly. Salvation knew enough about Gabriel Gray, AKA Sylar, for her to know that if there was another special as powerful as him about to go on the war path, things could look very, very bad in the press. This worried her, and she wondered it talking to Michael about it would ease her fears at all.

----------------

Nicole let out a startled gasp as Rose appeared on the edge of her desk, though the familiar sweet smell of flowers ought to have tipped her off. She put the phone down and put her arms around her aunt, hugging her tightly, "Thank god you're here...I need a little sanity in this crazy place." She said, sitting back and sighing. She went back to the phone (Fran was still going on and on about things she could never hope to understand) and put it to her ear, "Fran, I hate to cut this short, but I'll call you back in a little while, alright?" She asked, not really waiting for Fran to answer before hanging up and putting the phone on the charger, letting her head hit the top of the desk with a dull thud. She didn't move from where she was when she spoke, so her voice was slightly muffled against the top surface of the desk, "I just...really need someone to talk to right now. About Dad. And you're his sister, right, so you can help?"

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Michael sighed as he looked at the spot where Gabriel once stood. He was trusting Gabriel with this, but he had his doubts. Sampson's whereabouts would be on his mind for a while, which might tempt Michael to start making his own plans against the man. He looked at his phone to see that he had gotten what he needed from Patricia. With a quick press on the touchscreen, Michael's phone started up the download. I better get inside... Michael thought before entering his home and shutting the door behind him. He took a second to lock the door behind him before walking through his house.

It wasn't until he entered the living room that he found Leksi. He smirked at her as she seemed to be way into the magazine that was now in her hands. Michael couldn't help but shake his head at the sight.

"Really? Don't tell me that you've been sitting here reading that when you could have made me a sandwich." Michael joked before backing out of the room with a smirk. "I'm gonna play with my powers for a little, since you look like you're pretty comfortable." With the last word, he made his way to the basement. He flipped the light switch up and headed down the old wooden steps leading to the basement. Once his feet hit the base of the stairs, Michael laid his eyes on what looked like a Level 5 containment room. It was something he had set up after Alexander told him he was insane for using his ability so freely indoors. Michael entered the chamber and shut the door behind him. The bright fluorescent lighting was a bit too bright at first, but keeping his eyes looking toward the large glass window where the light escaped helped a bit. "Fire, brick, light, wood, steam, electricity." Michael said to himself before his body shifted to fire, then to brick.

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Leksi blinked when Michael spoke, looking at him curiously. Was she supposed to know that he wanted a sandwich? She hadn't seen any indicators that he was hungry, nor had he mentioned it. Totally missing the stereotypical joke, she watched Michael descend into the basement, before setting the magazine down and going into the kitchen. Cooking was certainly not Leksi's forte, but she could make a sandwich. Anything that a college student could cook, she probably could too. With sandwich in hand, she descended into the basement after Michael, looking at the technology hidden there. She had seen the containment cells at Purge, or at least the pictures Michael had showed her from his Pinehearst days. She had seen brief looks at them before from Salvation, but nothing like what Michael had. After a moment of marveling, she noticed flicking from inside the window and walked over to it, peering inside and watching as Michael went through his practice. Once he flickered to electricity, (she couldn't help but smile at that) and then back to his normal form, she pushed the door open, "Michael? I have your buterbrod. Your eh...sandvich. If I had known you wanted one, I would have had it ready prior to you finishing your rȁzgovōr with Gabriel. Is everything alright?" She asked, keeping her distance in case he wasn't finished with his training.

The thought of asking more in depth questions, and thus blowing the fact that she had been eavesdropping, still lingered on her mind. She could tell by the way his tone had changed as he had talked to Gabriel that he was troubled. They could form a better plan if they worked together...she kept quiet for now. If he felt the need to talk to her about it, he would. If he didn't...she'd bring it up later, "If you want to do some real training, you should get up early tomorrow and we'll go through my training regiment. That is...if you didn't have anything planned for tonight." She said with a sly smile.

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Emmet smiled brightly as he carved up the corpses stomach and loaded his plate " Fabulous, simply fabulous and im sorry for not coming around more often. Been busy with parenthood and all, the twins are perfect little devils " he beamed at the babies " Absolutely perfect in everyway, Gabe seems to be under the impression that Alucard hates him, but its in his head, you both love daddy right? " Cassandra giggled in her high chair while Alucard sat silently, but waves of amusment seemed to be coming off of him " Yep, thats right. But how have you all been? "

Cyrus swallowed his pizza " Busy, people sseem to be getting more religious these days " Fanatic was probably the better word for it, with specials being revealed and after seeing what they could do, some people were trying to rationalize it as the work of the devil.

Godric shrugged " My tomatoe are coming in very well "

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Fran looked up as Kaeira wondered into her lab, she laughed as the little girl expressed her concerns " Oh don't worry Kaeira, Im incredibly careful about my experiments and nothing like that has eve......she trailed off for a moment, her eyes glossed over as she became lost in thought. She brought her hands up and starred intently at them, as she did this multiple fingers began sprouting out, additional arms grew from her sides, and another pair of eyes spouted in her palms and one on her forehead " Yes, thats right, the master saved me, saved myself.. " her voice was hollow and faroff. Suddenly she snapped out of her daze " Yes, nothing like that will ever happen " she got and stretched out, seemingly oblivious to her bodies current state.

" Oh thats right, I was talking to Nicole, but she seems to have cut the onversation short, oh well it gives me time to delve into my file on cloning and Parieto-occipital sulcus is a part of the brain. Shall we go eat? "
she took the girls hand, in one of the arms at her side and they walked back to the dining room where the others are " Hello everyone, I'm glad to see your here, I to have never had a sleepover, but I look forward to gaining firsthand data on them "

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" I believe I can, but lets go out, Dennies sounds rather good right now, doesnt it? " a change of scenery was just what the girl needed. She walked over the window and opened it. Kendrick and Clive were still going at it. She focused and the grass in the backyard began to grow out of cycle, it grew and grew till the two combatants noticed they were leg deep in it

" Hey, I don't mean to spoil your fun, but I'm taking Nicole out to eat "

Kendrick was startled at first, but it hadnt taken him long to realize it was Roses doing. Had Nicole called her or was it just one of her usual visits. Honestly he was happy she was there " Ok, um have fun Nicole! " he called out he really meant it too. Clive sniggered and Kendrick hurled scalpels at him.

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Gabriel knocked firmly on Angela Petrelli's door. It seemed the natural place to go after leaving his fathers. When he got down to it he really knew nothing about Sampson, perhaps Angela could shed some light. A boy with an eyepatch answered the door

" Sorry to disturb you this evening, but I must speak with Angela, is she in? "

Thomas starred at him curiously " Oh, hello Mr.Gray, yeah please come in " he ushed Gabriel in and closed the door behind them " How have you and Emmet been? "

" Wonderful, enjoying family life, it's nice "

" Thats nice sir, here we are. Excuse me Angela, Mr.Gray's here to see you "

Thomas had led Gabriel to Angela Petrelli's office at the side of the house, the woman was sitting at her desk, typing something up when she heard them. She closed her laptop

" I had a feeling I would be hearing from you soon Gabriel, thank you Thomas " the boy nodded and immediately left. Gabriel closed the door and sat in the empty seat in front of the desk

" I could say I was suprised by that, but it would be a lie. I wont beat around the bush, what can you tell me about Sampson Gray? "

Angela raised an eyebrow " Sampson, in his prime was much as Sylar was, though you'll have to forgive me, he was more of a monster then Sylar ever was. Why do you ask? I believe he's a senile old man with one foot in the grave now, hardly a threat.....or is he? "

Gabriel hadnt planned on telling anyone but Michael about his fathers return, but it seemed pointless to hide it from Angela " I had a strong reason to believe he's trying to regain hiss former glory "

This was a sombering thought for Angela, now of all times? with the hunts in the wind, Sampsons rampaging would make things far worse " I see, then i'll tell you all I know. Sampson was encountered sometime after the company was just getting off the ground, I'd had a dream about a man killing people and cavorting off with their brains. If wasnt long before we encountered him, he attacked a man we were trying to recruit and killed him for his gravity manipulation. From then on he appeared and vanished, each time more powerful then the last. He wasnt particularly trying to hide himself and we were aware of his movements and his bases. We just lacked the power to confront him. Until one day Arthur had enough, I believe it was the day your mother was killed and he sold you. Arthur knew your mother, a fabled lost girlfriend or such and he went after Sampson, by that point he'd gained a sizable stock of abilities as well, though most of us were unaware of this. The two decimated half small town out near the coast. Arthur won but Sampson escaped before Arthur could take his powers, after that he went underground "

Gabriel was very suprised by all of this, his father had fought Arthur Petrelli, the irony was not lost to him in the slightest, but he pushed it aside as a new thought came to mind, one he had never had before " Did my mother have an ability? "

" Yes, Biokinesis, more irony eh? "

" More then I truthfully want. I believe thats how he's purged the sickness from his body, this whole time he's forgotten most of his powers, yet that was the one he had to remember " Gabriel ran his hands through his hair " No matter, I dont think he's at full power yet, whatever that is. I'll find him quickly and kill him once and for all "

Angela leaned back in her chair " Please see that you do, with the way things are going, he wont help our cause "

" Your referring to the news reports, i'm worried about them too. I dont think those of us who slid by before can do as easily before "

" No I imagine not, what will you do, if you dont mind my asking? "

" Whatever it takes to keep my family safe "

" Then you and Peter are of one mind then. Hear me out please, I know you and him are the definition of mortal enemies but with whats to come, we need to put aside the bad blood, for the time being, and work together "

Gabriel considered this, he hated Peter there was no doubt to that and his wife possessed the power to kill him and Emmet. But Angela was right, they would need to work together and he had perfected his bio-bomb execution and counter measure. " Fine, I suppose we should discuss it then, I'll leave it to you to set something up, call me when it'ss decided " and he teleported away.

Angela dialed up Peters numerber, while she thumbed through a catalog, this party had to be perfect.

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Michael had just been ready to go for another round of shifts, but Leksi’s sudden arrival took his attention. He remained in his normal composition, not wanting to turn into the wrong thing. Radiation was bad and fire wasn’t really something Leksi was a fan of.

Looking to her and the sandwich in her hand, he raised an eyebrow. He wondered why she was even presenting to him, but hen remembered what he had said to her when he had first walked into the house.

“Um… You know I was joking about the sandwich, right?” Michael said with a smirk before walking over o Leksi. His face portrayed happiness as he neared her. “Everything is fine. Gabriel was just passing some personal information on to me.” Michael said before pacing about the containment room. “He wanted to let me know that he’d be going after someone I should be going after. If that makes sense,” Michael said with as he turned to Leksi and converted his body into gold. “And plan for tonight are up to you, boss.” Michael said with a smirk before his body seemed to disappear. He had only transformed into oxygen. He then converted his body into platinum before backing up and becoming mercury. After just a second, he was his normal self yet again. “Well, I guess I still got it down.”

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#, as written by Aufeis
Kaeira gave Fran a worried look when she seemed to zone out, mumbling something about the "master". When she continued on and didn't even seem to notice the changes to her body, Kaeira felt a little more worried, "Franny? What's the matter?" She asked, tugging on Fran's hand as they entered the dining room. She didn't look to the table, instead focusing on Fran's face, "Who's the master? Are you okay?"

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Jessica chuckled a little, before looking at Jack, "I was actually just telling Emmet that he was the same way. Cassandra reminds me a lot of him." She said, loading up her own plate with meat, "Be careful of the stomach and intestines. There's no nutrients there, and it'll just make a mess, Emmet." She said absently, before looking to Godric, "Same for you."

Jack sided with Cyrus on this one. While he had eaten human meat before, he wasn't partial to doing so, so he just stuck with a slice of pizza for himself. He was glad, however, that the sight of dead people and his family frequently devouring human flesh no longer really bothered him. It was easy to be desensitized quickly in this place. He looked up at Fran and Kaeira came back into the room, "Evening Fran."

Jessica looked over at Fran. Something seemed off about her. The girl's vitals were always the picture of calm, yet now...something was bothering her. She could sense it. She patted the chair Kaeira had been meant to occupy and said, "Well, come on you two, we can't start until everyone is here. Speaking of which, any idea when that no good husband of yours is going to show up, Emmet?" Jessica asked jokingly. Kaeira stood where she was for the moment, looking up at Fran until she reluctantly returned to her mother's side. Jessica scooped the girl up and deposited her into her own lap, leaving the seat beside her open for Fran. When the conversation was involving most of the others, she wanted to talk to Fran. As it was, though, it would have to wait. She turned her attention back to her sons, "As for your father and I, we've mostly just been catching up on old times. Reconnecting." Her voice conveyed truth, but the slightest twitch to her face betrayed her distrust.

Kaeira, catching on to the fact that everyone was talking about what they'd been doing lately, took her own initiative, "Mama and Fran have been teaching me about my powers. It's really cool, too; soon I'll be just as strong as Em and God! Just wait!" She said, puffing herself up and trying to look 'tough'. Jessica only laughed and shook her head, ruffling her daughter's hair.

Jessica looked around the table, "Has anyone heard from the Oskins? Nicole keeps in touch, but I haven't spoken to Aunt Rose or Uncle Nate lately. Nate's probably busy with that boyfriend of his, but Rose...I dunno about her." She still wondered how much Nate and Rose trusted her. Trusted them. She knew they were all putting effort into this, though, "Maybe we should invite them all over for dinner one of these days. Do a family cook out or something. That's what 'normal' families do, right?"

Jack had never met Nate or Rose, and his meeting with Nicole had been over video conference on a call between her and Fran. Still, he couldn't help but remember Jess's mother when they were still young. Mary Spayde...ugh...he couldn't say he was disappointed he'd never see her or her husband again. Even so, Jessica spoke relatively highly of her aunt and uncle, so he hoped that they were different, "Sounds fun. I could stand to do more stuff as a family."

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Nicole wasn't really hungry, but she wasn't about to decline going out for a while with her aunt, "Yeah, sure. Denny's." She replied, gathering up her homework. When she heard Kendrick call up to her to have a good time, she groaned a little, before calling back, "Yeah, you too Uncle Kendrick..." under her breath she muttered, "Have fun killing each other...don't stop on my account." She cast a glance at Rose for a moment before she looked back at the ground, shuffling past her and down the stairs to the front door.

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Peter was just sitting down from putting Diana down from another nap when the phone rang. As soon as he was relaxed, the harsh ring erupted into the silence, forcing him to quickly picked it up, hoping it wouldn't wake up his daughter, and gave a tired sigh, "Yes, Ma? What's up? Did you make it home alright?" He asked, remembering her visit just the other day. Their conversation hadn't faded from his mind in the slightest. He'd been trying to get a hold of Nathan, but he wasn't having any luck, "Ma, you haven't talked to Nathan at all lately, have you?"

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Leksi gave an embarrassed smile when he said he had simply been joking about the sandwich But her face fell when he mentioned that he should be 'going after someone', "A mutual enemy, then? Are you going to go after them?" She asked, playing dumb for now. She leaned against the door's frame as she watched him cycle through his forms. She didn't reply about the night's plans, but she smirked a little when he returned to his normal self again, "Afraid you're getting rusty? We can't have that, can we? Come on, let's go back upstairs and get some real food into you. You have to be starving, since you spent your lunch break with little old me."