Five Minutes to Midnight

Participants:

claire_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif peter_icon.gif peter2_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

woods_icon.gif

Scene Title Five Minutes to Midnight
Synopsis The ultimate showdown begins. One Petrelli dies.
Date December 6, 2008

The Bronx

The Bronx is the northernmost borough of Greater New York, and even before the explosion, this area was diverse. Though known infamously throughout the world to be a low-income area, it was not without its finer points, as well as home to the Yankee Stadium. It was dense with life, for better or for worse.

For now, it is the the south-west areas of the Bronx that are unrecognisable. Clean up has not gone steadily, and buildings still lie in ruination. It is now hard to tell what this place is even for. During the day, construction teams work to clear more and more roads of South Bronx, although people seem to take liberties by driving over the burnt out rubble if they have the means. There are make-shift trailer camps and soup kitchens for those that don't have a place to go. One feature of South Bronx is the Yankee Stadium, so far untouched. There is irreparable damage done to the building itself, and no game has played there since the tragedy. Graffiti tags the areas available, and people often congregate illegally upon the wrecked grounds. The field itself is overgrown with weeds between fallen debris.

Heading away from Manhattan, the Bronx takes on more function and hope. This borough, once a place of Jewish immigrants, then Latin-Americans and African Americans, is now a diverse mix of all races, any and all New Yorkers taking up residence on the other side of the wreckage. There is even a semblance of a transport system, the electricity back on and functioning, but crime rates are higher than ever.


Mere moments before midnight, and the streets of the Bronx are darkened around the old Primatech Paper facility. While the company known as Primatech Paper has been out of business for two years, activity in its parking lot still shows some sign of life at the deteriorating building. Behind the facade of a bankrupt paper shipment and processing facility, lies secrets untold.

It is against this backdrop on a one-way street in the Bronx where one significant point in time intersects with many others. Events that had been put into motion slowly begin colliding with one another, pieces locking into place to form a mosaic of a complete picture. Many strings, all of different colors weaving together to form this tapestry of fate, the outcome of which is like so many loose threads billowing in the wind.

The stillness of the night and its full moon overhead is shattered by the sound of an explosion, a ball of flame erupting high into the sky and blossoming outwards into a crackling wave of orange and black. From near the explosion, the wall of a brick-faced building collapses down into the street, and the burned out hulk of an SUV comes crashing down from the sky, bouncing on all four tires before flipping over and crushing in the roof.

A flurry of black streaks through the air, landing atop the upright undercarriage of the vehicle with a creak and crash of metal. He lands in a crouch with the long trail of his leather jacket pooling at his sides. As he stands, flames erupt around his shoulders, and he takes a few heavy steps towards the front of the vehicle. It groans, tilting forward with the weight of his body, the rear end of the car lifting up into the air before he leaps off, sending the vehicle teetering back and forth on broken glass and pavement, "Nice arm."

Stepping from across the street, an identical man dressed in a black suit with his jacket unbuttoned, thin tie blowing in the wind watches his counterpart jump down off of the vehicle. "Stop playing games." He's trying to buy time, why isn't Sylar here yet? "You wanted this fight, so let's fight." Lightning crackles around Agent Petrelli's arms, surging down to his hands as sparking waves of lightning flare from his fingertips.

"You're awful eager now." They're both stalling. Peter takes another step forward, creating a rolling sphere of fire in his open palm, "But I guess this is how it ends, with a bang." The bones in Peter's outstretched hand begin to glow, shedding a white-hot atomic radiance through the fire. It hurts, it aches inside, the drain on him is immense from being separated for so long. Where the hell is Claire?

"With a bang." Peter holds his hands out to his side, bolts of electricity arcing off of his palms and down onto the ground as the street lamps overhead creak and groan as they begin to bend and flex. The lights flicker, spark and sputter as the metal posts bend and seem to wilt down towards Peter as his magnetokinesis causes the shrapnel from the destroyed SUV to skitter and rattle across the ground.

This is it.

In the backdrop, a roar of an engine breaks from the usual ambiance of New York City nighttime traffic. It becomes individual as the vehicle moves closer, winding through the streets of the Bronx to the address that had been murmured in Roy Wilkins Park something like a week ago. Two wheels against road and as it nears, a screech as it turns a sharp corner to come barreling down the one way street.

Except there's nothing there, save for a ripple in the air, like a heatwave, a light refraction as vision passes through something and colours shift, but with more quickness thanks to the woman at the handles. Gillian had insisted on driving the motorcycle, as it's hers, and that was fine by Sylar. Time is of the essence. And he can focus on the camouflage that has not only extended over both their bodies, by the vehicle as well, so as not to lead any unwanted guests to the fray.

The motor cuts off some several, safe feet away, and colour pools back over all three shapes when Sylar is swinging his leg back off the bike, dressed mostly in black so it doesn't take a lot of work. He points to one Peter, then to the other. "Eenie meenie minie mo," he comments, that point coming to rest on what can be identified as the PARIAH Peter. Or just the pariah Peter. "You two didn't start without us, did you?"

He's gonna have fun with this.

Driving a motorcycle that's camouflaged takes some skill— and mostly familiarity with all the controls. Everything bleeds back into form under her as Gillian cuts off the motor and looks toward the painting. It's a painting brought to life, but still a painting. The helmet that she wore— even if the cops couldn't have pulled them over in this case— covers her hair and face for the moment, but she to is dressed in black. The knot in the back of her head unfurls, sending energy into one source, and one source only— Gabriel. This is what she trained to do, what she's practiced.

The gloves she wore come off, the chill of the cold air hitting her hands, and she reaches into her coat to find a solid object to hold onto. The energy she's pouring into a serial killer happens to be a better weapon, but she still grabs for it anyway. No smiles or jokes cracked in response, but she can't help but look at Gabriel and raise eyebrows hidden behind the faceplate at what he says.

CHA-CHAK!

BANG!

There's Claire.

No cars for this little terrorist. Claire flew in via a cargo jet courtesy of West Air, dropped a safe distance - for him - away and hurrying the rest of the way on foot. The buckshot doesn't quite do what she wants it to when the magnetokinesis is thrown in the mix. It was just a warning shot anyway. It's not like she was actually trying to kill the man in the suit or anything, right?

Metal pellets perforate the pavement around Peter, one hand held up and past his double towards Claire. At first a crackling snap of electricity fills the air, and then fades as he notices the brunette and recognizes her. "C-Claire?" The disbelief in Agent Petrelli's expression is palpable as snapping arcs of electricity leap off of his forearms and jump down to the ground in crackling bolts.

"Sylar!" The flames erupt in a wave over his shoulders as Peter takes a step forward, telekinesis smoothing down the flames and turning them into lashing tendrils of pyroclasmic energy. He doesn't pay Claire a moment's hesitation, "Hey, you." Peter snaps his dark gaze towards Agent Petrelli, "How's about you and I break him in half and then we settle on which one of us will be left in the end?"

Agent Petrelli glares up at Claire, brow lowering, then turns to look over at Peter. "He's with me." Punctuating those words, Peter vanishes in a rush of air, teleporting to his doppleganger's side. There's a thunderous impact of fist and chest as the super strength he gained from Niki Sanders allows him to punch Peter so hard it knocks him off of his feet and through the air. A crackling explosion of electricity comes with the punch, blowing the agent's suit jacket open and sending his tie blowing to one side.

Peter lets out a muffled yelp as he's sent flying backwards into the burned out husk of the SUV, smashing into the side to send the vehicle's shell spinning away. Peter wrenches himself free from the wreckage, flames erupting over his body again as bones snap back into place and cuts seal shut. "You're with Sylar?" Peter scowls, "I should have known." Dark eyes move to Claire, then over to the Company Agent. "I knew you were worthless."

Sylar's head whips around as soon as the trigger is squeezed, but Agent Peter's stammered exclamation is all the explanation needed. "Cheerleader," he sneers in acknowledgment. His attention is pulled back when the two Peter's clash, stepping back once, almost intrigued at the prospect of simply skulking around while the other two tear each other to pieces. But he can feel Gillian's surge of energy, if through the way his hearing heightens and perfects, a different kind of adrenaline.

The flames rolling down the pariah's arms add a different source of light, the warmth from the intense heat even felt from his position. Time to counter it. Let the agent deal with the brat. Or the other way around.

Ready, he murmurs through Gillian's head, and there's no count of three this time.

A different kind of light, pale and eerie and barely tangible, erupts from Sylar's palm and in a faltering but powerful pillar, it arcs from his touch towards the Peter so eagerly flaunting flames. On closer inspection, the ray of white light is, in fact, concentrated coldness, frosting the air it touches, biting, smothering. It hits the car Peter stands at, and the metal instantly cracks under the force of the ice it becomes, is coated with.

And the painting brought to life just gets more and more complex. Gillian can't help but stare, leaves the helmet on, the faceplate obscuring some of her facial features, but her clothes certainly give her away as female. The Peters will know who she is— this new woman— the one with a much bigger weapon— wouldn't know her. She doesn't know her either. Cheerleader? Since when did cheerleaders carry shotguns around?

"I'm ready," she whispers, voice caught by the mask and reflected back into her own ears— but someone's enhanced hearing will get through that.

No count of three. As much energy as she can focus without harming herself is pushed into him, fueling him. Physical contact isn't made, which helps keep plenty of energy in reserve, for later, but the proximity and the focus makes it powerful enough to do what he's trying to do.

Claire reloads her shotgun and narrows her eyes at Sylar's comment. "Cheerleader's dead." She whips 'Lulu' around and squeezes off a second shot, this time aiming for Sylar. "I can't believe you would be working with him!" she shouts at the Company agent. How could he? That only makes this decision - her resolve - easier. "What would Helena think?"

Steam erupts in an almost explosive reaction from the ray of polar cold and the radioactive heat and flames spilling forth from Peter's arms. The fire gutters and is snuffed out from the cold, leaving the eerie glow of atomic energy spreading from glowing bones amidst fog and steam that blows across the street. Striding forth from the frozen wreckage of the car, one of Peter's arms is completely encased in ice, from shoulder to hand, with water dripping off of the lowest point as radiant white bones send the heat of nuclear energy into the ice. Peter raises his good hand, flicking two fingers to one side to send Agent Petrelli down to the ground with telekinetic force, then up into the air with his fingers raised, and then a jerk of his hand hurls the company agent —

Peter vanishes in mid air with a sound of suction and a rush of wind, emerging in that same expansion of air-pressure behind his PARIAH counterpart. Agent Petrelli clenches his hands into fists, and then opens his mouth and screams as loud as he possibly can. There is a deep, deafening resonance to the scream, a howling wail that sends rippling shockwaves into the ground, splitting the concrete and sending stone flying up into the air. The concussion strikes Peter in the back, blasting his leather jacket clear off of his body and shattering his spine. He flops across the ground, his frozen arm striking the street and shattering into a thousand blood-red pieces as he bounces across the road.

Agent Petrelli breathes in and exhales, a line of blood running out of the corner of his mouth as he drops to one knee, fatigued from the exertion of so many powers at once in his current state. Peter, however, struggles up to his feet as his back begins to weave itself back together with a few crinkling pops, his head craning to one side as he looks down at the jagged and bloodied stump where his right arm was, muscle fiber and bone already beginning to regenerate the missing limb. "And Helena thinks I'm the monster."

Agent Petrelli shoots a glare over to Claire, then closes his eyes for a moment and wrenches his brows together, "The enemy of my enemy." Peter mutters the mantra, pushing himself up to his feet, "This ends now." The Agent closes his eyes and lowers his head, concentrating as hard as he can and for a moment everything seems to slow down as time grinds to a halt…

….and then snaps back like a broken elastic band.

Both Peters are in totally different positions in the blink of an eye, and the PARIAH Peter's arm has fully grown back, bare and sleeveless. Agent Petrelli flies thorugh the air from a telekinetic shove, as the ground erupts from his impact like a bullet into the street. "T-that — " The agent sputters, "H-how can you f-freeze — " It suddenly dawns on Agent Petrelli, the time he tried to freeze Doctor Knutson in her laboratory "Odessa." He had to have been exposed to her, to be able to act outside of the frozen time.

PARIAH's Peter marches over to his counterpart, flexing the fingers on his new arm with a crooked smile tugging up the corners of his beard. "Surprise."

A few seconds, and the polar blast cuts off before he can totally encase the pariah in ice. Thanks to a certain brunette. Sylar whirls around and there's a flash of a not totally dissimilar kind of light from the ice - a telekinetic shield, of sorts, flashes from his arm and knocks the bullet away in the same moment, sending the killer staggering back, unharmed. With a scowl, he, with a flick of his hand, sends the iced over, burnt out SUV flying towards Claire in almost a monstrous frisbee of jagged metal.

And then it happens. The concussive scream.

Sylar almost folds in two from the sheer pain of it, hands coming up to clap uselessly over his ears until it's done— although the echos still ring painfully and when he pulls his hands away, a hint of blood shines black in the light. And he's on this Peter's side and so he can't quite exact revenge. Not yet.

"Yes. Odessa," Sylar agrees, voice low, back straightening. "About that."

Telekinesis hits the pariah light a freight train, made more powerful from Gillian's proximity, sending him back and back until he hits whatever's behind him with force enough to shake the dust from a building.

One good thing about motorcycle helmets. They help block sound. But she still winces at the scream. She knows when he picked that up. This is one of those moments when Gillian should get back on her bike, before it gets destroyed, and take off. It really, really is. And don't think she's not tempted. The hand wraps around the cold metal of the gun, Company issue, and she finally pulls it out, everything set and determined. She doesn't fire off any of the bullets yet, though, nor is she pointing it at anyone. It looks like her main goal right now is to warily watch everything (from behind very non-protective face plate) and send energy out into Sylar, boosting his attacks.

That's how it might be… but the small knot starts to expand. A trinkle of energy begins pushing in another direction. The proximity makes it weak in comparison to what Sylar's getting… but Agent Idiot might feel a small increase in his abilities… Too bad he's just at the edge of her range. It's not so much that her other energy dump would notice— he's still getting the same amount.

Claire's eyes just about pop when she sees the vehicle hurtling through the air toward her. She doesn't have time to react before it slams into her. The shotgun drops to the ground where she stood and she goes flying along with the SUV. Unlike her uncle, she doesn't have the strength to push it off of her once she's been smashed beneath it. Her shattered hip won't heal under the crushing weight of the damnable sports utility vehicle. She shouts furiously, rather than to cry out in pain. Fingers scrabble for purchase of something, anything. She tries to pull herself out from underneath, since she can't leverage it up and off of her small form.

"Claire!" Both Peter's shout at the same time, but only one manages to do anything about it. Peter is knocked off of his feet like a rocket, sent flying across the street to smash into the side of a building, the impact shattering brick in a silhouette of his body, and blowing out the windows. Sliding down to the ground, Peter lands on his hands and knees, gasping for breath.

Agent Petrelli pulls himself up and out of the crater in the street, rushing over to the SUV. As he feels the tug of Gillian's power extending to him, he breathes in a deep breath and digs his fingers into the back of the SUV, wrenching it up and off of the bloodied mess where Claire was pinned. Niki's strength has a limitation, but with Gillian enhancing him, that limit is broken as Peter lifts the car up over his head with two hands and a creaking groan of flexing metal, and then throws it towards his counterpart. He doesn't need telekinesis.

But Peter does. Raising one hand, he deflects the car away, redirecting it towards Sylar, but his aim is off. The car smashes into the ground, ripping up a chink of the pavement before it cartwheels end over end, bouncing across the street towards Gillian. The front end smashes down just inches in front of her, and the momentum of the flung vehicle causes it to bounce over the young woman and past her, crashing thorugh the plate-glass window of a Chinese restaurant long since closed for the evening.

Agent Petrelli stares down at Claire for a moment, conflicted, and then turns to his doppleganger, vanishing in a rush of air to reappear in front of him. But the Peter won't fall for the Agent's teleportation attacks again. His body ripples and the wild punch phases through him. Agent Petrelli cracks a smile as his arm supercharges with electricity, and the neergy wracks Peter's incorporeal form, launching him back to smash against the front door of a bail bonds office, nearly knocking it down when he rematerializes. He has to think quickly, and the shadows bend and distort in a deepening of darkness. Peter sinks into them as if they were water, and the area around Agent Petrelli grows remarkably dark. There's the sound of shouting, crackling electricity, and an atomic flash disperses the shadows. The explosion is a small, very localized nuclear detonation that blows the company agent across the street and thorugh a chain link fence into a parkling lot. His clothing blackened and scorched, the agent rolls to one side, his skin bubbling and blistering from the radiation and heat. Peter turns to look at Claire, his double saved her, then to Sylar and the woman with the motorcycle helmet.

BANG.

BANG.

BANG.
BANG.
BANG.
BANG.

Peter staggers around as bullets perforate his body, little eruptions of blood exploding from his bare arm, his neck and his chest. Striding down the street, with his arm in a sling, a blonde haired man in a black suit with a matching tie slurs out a string of colorful profanity, "You bloody fuckin' idiot, I tol' you to wait for us." Agent Woods, and behind him two very contrasting figures. One a man in a jacket with leather patches on the elbows, looking more like a teacher than anything else, one hand in his pocket and the other raised as if he were ready to conduct a symphony. At his side, a tall woman with a severe look to her, pistol readied and leveled at Sylar; Agents Lee and Grant.

Fantastic.

There's a moment where it seems as though the SUV is about to crush Gillian like— well, like Claire. But she doesn't have the genes to heal from such a thing. But when it tumbles uselessly over her— that doesn't stop Sylar from remembering himself, and in a few long strides, he's back within range, his searching the black faceplate, and more usefully, listening to her heart rate. One last surge, he instructs. Then save it. Hopefully she agrees, as he concentrates - and it seems she does. In something like a ten foot radius, the air around them grows thick with water in a few seconds - and starts to condense, which perhaps could count as an extension of his ability to control humidity.

Perhaps not.

But whatever his plan is, it's quickly foiled as gunshots ring out. The Company. Sylar freezes in place, mouth slightly open and looking shocked, as if these two humans and one relatively harmless looking Evolved were, for a split second in time, all that was needed to take him down, if only because of what they represent. A year of sedation and capture, a year of half-life and glass. It's over quickly, and his mouth pulls into a snarl, leaping easily to the only conclusion possible: Agent Peter betrayed him.

That is, before Sylar could betray him in kind.

That's what we call irony, Alanis.

"You lied," he snarls, more to himself. Kill. Fast. What's fast. The lasers, green and blue, dance out from his localised little jungle rain, cutting through the air almost with a hiss and raking with medical carelessness through Wood's body, with all the power he has behind it. It only stops when a slash suddenly appears across his chest, ripping fabric and flesh, thanks to Grant, but by then…

Woods falls to the ground. In five different pieces.

AHHH WHAT?

SUV. HEADED FOR HER.

Gillian's eyes widen, that sudden wish that she'd got back on her bike and drove the hell away— it's back again. She's ducking down when it bounces over her, like taking a few inches off of her height would help. Perhaps it did. Agent Idiot? You're an Ass. The title of Assface is offically returned to you.

There's small tremors of fear starting to raise, because she doesn't recover like the other dark haired woman involved— the surge flows out of her, toward him, and she does what she can to follow his instruction. Assface (either of them) get NOTHING anymore.

The water draws her attention, but she's seen him steam up a room before— though this looks vaguely different. But it doesn't last long. More shocks keep thoughts from processing. Bullets ring out. They've been betrayed.

The shock of this moment opens her up a lot more than she intended, energy leaks out like radiation, seeking out each of the Evolved in the area— for a brief moment. It doesn't stop, either, because… the sight of Gabriel letting loose, lasering someone into five pieces… it's more than she expected. They came here to kill someone, but this… The facemask hides most of her expression, but there's a tremor in her arms, in the gun in her hand, and she starts to back away— only there's no where safe to back to.

It's unfortunate for Claire that she hasn't finished reconstructing herself before Agent Petrelli is moving away again. She doesn't even utter a thank-you. Her eyes are full of seething hatred. That man is not her uncle. Peter would never work with Sylar. By the time she's put herself together again, the Company's arrived. "Peter!" Claire climbs to her feet and goes barreling toward her fellow pariah, scooping up her shotgun along the way. He's already nearly mended by the time she can close the distance, thanks to the surge from Gillian's ability. "Come on! Come on! Get up!" She's dragging him upright even as she gives the command.

In the midst of the chaos, the street lights have been flickering and dimming from the constant shaking and thunderous destruction on the street level. Overhead, the sound of a whirring helicopter grows louder as it clears the way over a building, shining a spotlight down onto the street. Across the side, NYPD Emergency Response is written. In the distance, a few more helicopters are approaching, likely news choppers, but they're giving the scene a wide breadth due to the sheer level of carnage on display.

Lay down on the ground and surrender.

A voice booms over the bull horn from the helicopter. Grant and Lee look dead as they stare down at the cauterized and bloodied heap that was once recognizable as Agent Woods. They're stunned by the effect, taken aback until the sound of twisting metal fills the air. One of the helicopter's rotor blades bends and twists, causing the vehicle to go into a spin, whirling through the air and down into the ground, snapping each helicopter blade off one after another as sparks shower from the undercarriage. Screams are muffled by the grinding shriek of metal on stone until the helicopter plows into the front window of an apartment complex, blowing out the entire front of the building with a fireball that explodes out of the building, sending it collapsing down onto itself.

More metal bends and warps, the remnants of the SUV wrenching and twisting, street lamps flex back and forth like flowers blowing in the wind. It wasn't the PARIAH Peter who downed the helicopter, it was the agent. Having struggled up from the chain-link fence he was blown through, Agent Petrelli sees Woods' dismembered body laying in a heap on the ground. Something about that very moment, that terrible sight causes Peter to lose his focus, lose his clarity. His magnetokinesis goes out of control, even more so when Gillian's power flows out to him. Her motorcycle rumples in on itself, bending, flexing, and then snapping in half like a children's toy. The chain link fence rattles and shakes before beginning to bend up and twist like a piece of paper. Even buildings nearby begin to sway as their steel frames shudder under the stress. A manhole cover folds in half nearby, then falls down into the hole.

"SYLAR!" He didn't plan on Woods showing up, he figured this would be done and over with, that Sylar could have — maybe he would have betrayed him. But that doesn't change the fact that Woods is dead. Now it's Sylar's turn. "SYLAR!" Agent Petrelli screams and throws his arms down to his side, lightly flaring up in arcs that snap above him. He disappears in a wild rush of air, re-appearing next to Sylar, "You bastard!"

"Nnnhh…" Peter struggles to his feet, the plink of bullets falling out of the gunshot wounds on his body. He looks over at the approaching agents, and the bloodied mess on the ground. "Fuck, he brought friends." Looking over at Claire and then down to the slowly closing gunshot wounds, he can feel the rush of energy from Gillian. Peter's eyes flit over to Claire, leaning against her as he breathes in a wheezing breath. His eyes, and the dark circles around them, look hollowed in the flickering light from overhead. "We have to end this soon, I can't keep it up much longer…"

Suddenly Peter is there, crackling with electricity not feet away from Sylar, not so far from Gillian. The lightning seems to only dance vibrantly in the midst of still-rain that now encircles them both, and Sylar's eyes flare with rage. There's no time to blink. A punch is executed with supernatural speed, with force enough to crack jaws, break noses - Sylar isn't being specific. "Just like the Company," he snaps, betrayal (as misguided as this sentiment is) making his voice growl, and the air thickens still with water. A bolt of electricity hits home, causing Sylar to shudder back before he can attempt another blow like the one previous, and blood soaks his black shirt steadily from the laceration across his chest as he falls back, clutching at the burn to his arm. No time for quips. The water in the air suddenly shoots inward, coating them both, doing no damage to Sylar but inherently disrupting the electrical arcs from Agent Petrelli, turning them against their source. And the water keeps going, searching out openings to fill, invasive.

He barely even remembers Gillian standing just feet away, witnessing everything. Sylar dark gaze remains on Peter, suddenly his focus of attack, the pariah forgotten as well.

That's not steam. That's— All the activity around her, and Gillian's eyes are on Gabriel— the water that's moving around him. The gun still shakes in her hand, but she leaves the helmet on— even if she wants to rip it off. This isn't the ability she'd been shown in the apartment. The water has a life of it's own, it's moving and forming and fluctuating and—

That's just like her sister's ability.

Her sister, recently murdered. By who she thought was the Company.

He gets powers through killing.

That stumbling away happens more, her bike ripped to pieces, so she can't even jump on it and try to get away— the SUV too— everything is tearing apart around her. Slashes appear in her clothes as debris flies around— she doesn't even notice. Her shoulder comes visible. A clock tattooed to her skin. With the hands pointing at five minutes before midnight— or noon. Always pointing there now, since she added to the tattoo. For tonight.

There's a soft cry under the facemask, a whine, and she raises the Company issue gun and fires it for the first time of the night— the first time since she shot at PARIAH Peter. Only this time she's not firing at either of the Peters.

She's firing at the man who's using an ability just like that of her dead sister's. Though she's not a very good shot. (Maybe she was firing for Agent Peter, who knows!? — she wasn't.)

"Stay here," Claire demands of Peter, shrugging him off of her, heedless of whether or not he'll crumple to the ground again. "I'm going to fulfill my promise to you." She goes dashing off toward Agent Petrelli, shotgun ready. She takes aim for the back of his head.

CHA-CHAK!

BANG!

CHA-CHAK!

BANG!

Claire fires off two rounds and reaches into her coat pocket to retrieve more shells. Her long, dark hair clings to her face from water and blood. Kill the agent. Save the world.

Flashes of blue beneath the surface of clinging water generate muffled screams beneath the surface of the liquid prison Sylar has entombed Agent Petrelli in. The agent falls to the ground, gasping and choking as his body goes into convulsions as water begins to fill his lungs. The electricity he so wished to char Sylar to the bone with now turn against him, electrocuting only adding to the suffocation. The muffled sound of gunshots fills Peter's senses along with the rushing sound of water, and then in an instant something causes it to break. Like a water balloon popping on the sidewalk, it all falls down in a surging rush that sprays across the ground. Peter spits out water and rolls onto his side, choking and gasping for breath as he claws wildly at the air.

One hand pushes him up onto his knees, then he starts to rise up to his feet only in time for a blast of buckshot to rip through his back, sending him sprawling forward. Another shot blows out his knee, dropping him down onto his hands. He can hear more gunshots, but they aren't aimed at him. Through blurred vision, he can see pistol fire and muzzle flash from the woman in the motorcycle helmet, from Gillian. She's shooting at Sylar. Claire's shooting at him. What the hell is going on?

"I'll cover Petrelli, go." Grant squares his jaw and motions towards Claire, and with a wave of his hand a series of lascerating cuts appear on her body, like a half-dozen razorblades flashing across her skin. He takes a few steps forward, one hand still tucked into his pocket, making a backhand motion in the air, and this time the cuts are deeper, lacerating muscle and gouging bone. But the next forward sweep of his hand isn't aimed at Claire at all. There's a metallic shearing sound and a shower of sparks, and her shotgun falls into three cleanly cut pieces that break apart in her hands.

Lee starts moving ahead, gun raised up and trained on the terrorist duplicate of Peter. She squeezes the trigger, a concentrated burst of three shots striking him in the chest. Peter's blown back onto the hood of a nearby cab. Another three shots, these ones into his midsection, and Peter is already spitting up one of the bullets. His eyes close, and he throws one hand forward, and the pistol is wrenched from Lee's hand and hurled to the side. Peter coughs and chokes, struggling up to his feet as he grasps at the air, wrapping unseen fingers around Lee's throat as he lifts her up off of the ground, legs kicking.

That very act catches Grant's attention, and he curses to himself, his other hand coming out of his pocket as he conducts slashes and cuts with each hand in the air like a maestro of blood. With a soft and wet sound like a meat slicer going through a shoulder of ham, Peter's arm is severed at the elbow, and it falls to the ground with a wet slap. Peter recoils, clutching at his stump to let out a low, growling scream. The pain and the dismemberment drops Lee down to her feet, and she's scrambling for her gun.

Water is a thing of pure movement and stillness, depending, or slow destruction and abrupt violence. Whoever has power over it can't hope to control it, not truly. They can urge and hope for the best. And so the water races towards Gillian, perceiving threat, to soak through her shoes and climb up her legs not moments after Sylar hits the ground, dazed vision splitting into double. It's a starry night out. Can anyone even see it? He snaps out of it when a sudden spray of blood, not his own, hits his face, his chest, as Peter is gunned down by the girl who can't die.

Sylar gives a choking gasp and rolls onto his side, trying to understand where the bullet hit. It went wild and cut through his shoulder, shattering bone. He's rather sure it was supposed to imbed in his heart.

"Stop," Sylar growls and the water stops moving, becoming stagnant puddles and rolling back down Gillian's legs. The lines between friend and foe have been destroyed. Human nature. Nieces turn on uncles, temporary allies come to blows over other fallen victims, and Gillian just shot him. But he doesn't let the water take her.

Clutching his left arm tightly to him, the killer climbs to his feet— scratch that, he only makes it to his knees, and watches as the agents go after the pariah, watches the agent recovers from his wounds. His bleary gaze drags to Gillian, accusation in his eyes, and for a moment, it seems like he might unleash hell on her. Instead, he looks back at Agent Peter, kneeling almost similarly just in front of him, representing two things Sylar loathes, not the least of which is the organisation he works for.

"Look what you made me do."

Still kneeling, Sylar lifts his good hand. Two fingers are pointed. A tear begins to open up across Agent Peter's forehead.

The water races up over her legs. Gillian knows now for sure— it responds just like her sister's power did. The quivering of the water, the way it seems almost an extension of life instead of a lifeless element. She closes her eyes as it starts to slide up her— until it stops, at his command. She shot him. And he stopped it. If they could see her face through the mask, she'd look sad, hurt— her heartbeat gives voice to the betrayal that would be painted there. The horror.

But that one shot isn't repeated.

She doesn't fire off more— even as he turns toward the other man and starts to slice into him. She does the only thing she can think of. She risks running closer— where the brunette can open fire, where Sylar can slap her away— and she tries to reach out with her bare hand… To the Agent. All that energy she was bleeding out like some kind of Evolved radiation finds focus. Toward the man she'd agreed to help, who she thought betrayed them. But who also just happened to save her life once.

Claire doesn't falter as the first cuts tear her clothes. She simply reloads her shotgun. But when she's about to fire again, that's when the agent apparently decides he means business. The dark-haired girl shrieks and unbridled fury flashes in her eyes when her shotgun is sliced in half. Fury she was about to take out on Agent Petrelli. She's actually dropped down to settle her weight over the man as Sylar drops down to do that murderous thing he does.

Claire's eyes grow wide and horrified. That's her uncle. That's part of him. And he's about to— She's frozen. She said she could pull the trigger. She did pull the trigger. But— Her chest heaves with breaths that almost choke her, thick with terror. Peter!

Peter struggles to keep his composure as he holds the bleeding stump of his arm, staggering away from Lee and Grant. Once Claire's been rendered a non-threat, both agents turn their focus back to Peter. Lee, having already reloaded a clip, opens fire again, aiming for the central body mass as she fires round after round into Peter's chest, dropping him to the ground in a fit of choking and gagging. Grant watches the gunfire for only a moment, and then directs his hand in a quick motion to slash across both of Peter's legs, dropping him to his knees. Peter growls, looking up with a sudden shockwave of telekinetic force that sends Lee off of her feet and smashing into Grant, knocking the pair over. Peter struggles to get back up, muscles knitting back together and his severed arm slowly regrowing again.

Screams erupt from Agent Petrelli as Sylar grabs a hold of him and takes advantage of the agent's weakness, two extended fingers slicing through the front of his brow. This would be the second time he has been at the mercy of Sylar's power, the second time he felt the caress of that slicing power carving through flesh and bone. The last time he had confidence and power on his side, this time he has weakness, a throbbing headache, and buckshot working its way out of his back and leg. He relaxes, to both the pain and the slicing, he's not strong enough to fight Sylar any more, not divided, and certainly not alone.

The moment Gillian touches Agent Petrelli's hand, though, that all changes.

The energy surge from her direct contact causes Agent Petrelli's half-lidded eyes to snap open, and a crackling spark of electricity flashes over his eyes. The metal parts of Claire's broken shotgun rattle and clatter along the ground, as does Gillian's pistol and all of the buckshot that is immediately pushed out of Agent Petrelli's body as his wounds flush and close. Claire's weight is settled on him, she's trying to keep him there, helping that lunatic version of himself. One hand reaches up, and with the surge of energy that Gillian is supplying and the strength he's borrowed from Niki Sanders, Peter hurls Claire off of him, in a way he would never treat his niece, never treat the girl he cares so much about. The one he would do anything for. But she's between him and the one person who matters more, in some sick and horrible way, "Sylar." Agent Petrelli rises in one smooth motion from his knees, and holds up one hand. This is for Woods.

A thousand different things rush through Peter's mind; concussive sound waves, a hand gesture to behead Sylar, crushing his neck with his bare hand. All of those, though, require penetrating that forcefield. Peter knows, he understands the difficulty in that, he tried once and succeeded, but was so burned out by the end he lost the battle, and wound up in this situation.

Peter breathes in deeply, and then blinks with Gillian, teleporting behind Sylar. One hand reaches out to grab Sylar's arm, squeezing tightly, and then with a growling exhalation he mutters, "Goodbye, Sylar." Peter closes his eyes to concentrate…

And without ceremony, Sylar disappears. A splatter of blood on the ground remains from when a bullet had passed through his shoulder, but nothing more.

There's little metal in Gillian's helmet, luckily. But as he lashes out, cracks start to form in the faceplate. It's withstood most damage for some time, until now— the crack makes her flinch, but she doesn't let go of his hand. She made her choice. Even if it hurts. It was the best choice she could see at the moment— The gun clatters away, and she's moved. This teleportation isn't the same as that of Taxi Cab, but it still jars her slightly, causes her to waver on her feet, using the man as support.

Goodbye?

"NO wait!" she yells suddenly, the faceplate cracked and she looks in horror as Gabriel just… vanishes. What did— "What the fuck did you do to him!?" Her voice wavers, there's hints of tears sadness, maybe even tears there. She didn't want him to die. Shot him in the back, yes, but that doesn't mean she wanted him dead. But she still doesn't let go— and the pulse of energy retains one main direction— thanks to the contact. Her hand is glowing.

There's a terrified shriek as Claire is sent flying through the air. She goes crashing through the remains of the windshield of the twisted and broken husk of the SUV. The scream is cut off abruptly with the shattering of glass and the protesting creak of metal.

The girl who can't die doesn't get up.

"I sent him away." Agent Petrelli strains the words out, a look of fatigue on his face from the effort, monumental as it was. "I sent him far away, where he can't hurt anyone ever again." The agent raises one hand to hold his head, the throbbing migraine beating behind his eyes threatens to burst his skull from within. Dark eyes level on Agents Grant and Lee struggling to get up, then over to his bloodied double with the missing arm. "Claire…" Agent Petrelli's brows furrow together, what had he done? He steps away from Gillian, eyes diverting to the broken shotgun, then to the pistol that Lee had dropped. One hand motions towards it, and the ferrous metal is drawn towards the megnetic palm of Peter Petrelli. He starts walking away from the spot where Sylar vanished, a slight limp in his step as those last few pellets in his knee work their way out.

"Claire." Peter looks to the smashed SUV and the silence there. He moves with the same hastened steps that the company agent does. Claire should be screaming, should be swearing, should be complaining, something. The silence is more deafening than any of his double's sonic screams.

"Stay away from her!" Agent Petrelli shouts, pointing his gun to his double as he watches him approach. Grant and Lee lay back down on the ground, out for the count from the telekinetic collision that were inflicted with. Peter stares at the agent, then down to his bleeding stump.

"Something's wrong." Peter says in a hushed voice, "She's more my family than yours. Go ahead and shoot, we can keep fighting while she lays there." Just like earlier, Claire's very presence softened even Peter's darker, more aggressive and antagonistic side. Sirens wail in the distance, if they linger here for much longer, Homeland Security is going to be on them all. Even Claire.

Agent Petrelli slowly lowers his gun, looking back to Gillian, then over to the vehicle. He says nothing, but instead moves, jumping up onto the hood of the smashed car, leaning in through the front window. "Claire?"

Peter circles around the side, drooling a trail of blood from his missing arm. Without the amplification that Gillian is giving his twin, his regeneration is much slower. But with his good hand, he motions to the automobile's door and wrenches it off from the frame, sending it clattering to the ground. "Claire?" He leans towards the driver's side door, worry tinging his voice equally to his doubles. It seems that in all of their differences, she is their unifying factor. She was the reason for both of them to search, to fight, to struggle. She represents the future that never came, the one both the Company and PARIAH Peter would have wanted.

With all the attention on the other young woman in the shattered SUV… Gillian could be taking this opportunity to run away. Instead she finally pulls her helmet off, letting dark hair spill out around her shoulders. The crack was obscuring her vision— she couldn't see well. Sent him away. "No," she whispers softly, though no one is listening. The person who could hear the whisper over everything can not answer her.

But she moves along with the Agent, instead of choosing this time to run away. Maybe he went to yesterday— like she did. Maybe he'll show up even more pissed— maybe he's in Spain, or Antarctica, or Brazil. Or… The two Peters are uniting with a common cause, and it has nothing to do with her. Still she looks at them both, reaching out towards the two of them.

She made a choice. She may regret it because of the look in her eyes— it may hurt her— but she made a choice. And it's her own. "Both of you— finally realize— that you need to get the fuck over yourselves."

Inside the vehicle, Claire was thrown past the front seat and lays a sprawled and broken heap in the rear bench seat, blood and fluid oozing from cuts along her spine. The dark, sticky liquid all but pours from the back of her neck, staining the beige interior. She doesn't stir. She doesn't move. Her eyelids don't flutter. Her chest doesn't rise and fall with slow, laboured breaths. Claire Bennet is dead.

"Oh god, Claire." Agent Petrelli scrambles in through the windshield and across to where Claire lays motionless. He pulls her up into his arms, panicking for a moment as his fingers stroke over her hair. A thousand thoughts rush though his mind as he feels her lifeless body go limp against him. Outside of the SUV, Peter watches as he walks along the side, peering in through busted side windows. His gaze tracks back to Gillian as he hears her words, then focuses on Peter in silence. Was Helena right?

"Claire… Oh no, no." Agent Petrelli's fingers rake thorugh her hair as he pulls her head to his chest, cradling the young woman in his arms. Peter however, notices a glimmer of something at the back of her head, wet with blood in her hair. He motions towards her with his one good arm, wrenching the piece of glass free from her skull. It wavers in the air and ends up between his fingers. The agent watches as the glass is removed, and then looks down to Claire as some color starts to return to her cheeks. He pulls her close again, squeezing tightly as his mouth comes down to rest in her hair, exhaling a tired breath.

Peter looks out over the ruined city street, to the destroyed helicopter and the blaring sirens. His eyes finally settle on Gillian, the woman who reminded him of the bomb, and the woman who spared his life when she could have taken it. Had she seen what he asked her to? Had she seen the string theory? Perhaps.

Peter is too tired to contemplate these things, and he leans up against the truck's broken front end, looking down at his still regenerating arm. Was everyone right, and were both of the Petrelli's wrong? Peter had attacked his brother and his mother, attacked Helena, attacked Gillian, Munin, Odessa…

He'd become a monster, just as bad as the company goon.

"You're killing the people you claim to care about." Related, but obviously someone they both care for. "The people you say you're trying to save!" Gillian doesn't know that a piece of glass lodged in the young woman's head can be removed, that she'll come back to life. There's no pull of energy in her direction. She's getting tired— so much energy being pulled out of her in such a little timeframe, but she doesn't stop. Keep a piece for herself, but let it flow freely otherwise.

"The two of you need to stop fighting over who is right and who is wrong and who deserves to be alive… and…" She looks around. The helicopter that got ripped apart. The various Agents— the pieces of one Agent… And now this young girl, younger than her, someone who'd jumped on him. Someone who shot him first. But she can sympathize with that. She shot Gabriel— and she would have jumped on him to save him if she'd had the time to. There was something in the other girl's eyes when she grabbed the scarred Agent's hand, something he may not have noticed, but she did. She was torn for some of the same reasons.

"If you want to fucking kill yourselves, leave everyone else the hell out of it." She has no gun, no protector, no weapon. Just her voice and her opinions. "But there's a better way to fix this and the two of you fucking know it. If you'd even consider it."

There's a sharp, deep and rattling gasp from Claire after the piece of windshield's removed from where it was severing her spinal column. That wasn't familiar at all. The glass in her back starts pushing its away out, wounds healing up slowly. Her eyes are wide and terrified as she relearns this thing called breathing. "Holy sh—"

"Holy shit!" Gillian also exclaims, her monologue cut off all of a sudden with the new voice— the new pull on her power and… how what when.

When Claire starts breathing again, Agent Petrelli squeezes the young woman just a bit tighter in his arms, "You scared me." His words are muffled against the side of her head. Peter watches from outside of the SUV, peering through the blown out window, but his focus is on Gillian in entirety.

"Feds are almost here. Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee are probably going to be up soon…" He looks to Lee and Grant, then over to Gillian. There's a scowl, and Peter hangs his head. If there's one constant between the two, it is guilt. And right now, both of them are chalked full of it. "How's this supposed to work?"

Agent Petrelli looks up from inside of the SUV, still cradling Claire in his arms, "What?" Peter snorts, turning around as he looks down to fingerbones starting to grow on his hand, muscle sewing itself over as tendons grow into place. "Rejoining." The words are bitter to him. "I'm barely regenerating. In another week, we'll probably both be dead."

The agent looks out the window towards his double, closing his eyes for a moment. "Helena told me… I… Brian said we just have to touch each other, and then… it just happens." There's a caveat though, once voiced quietly, "We both have to be willing, though."

Peter snorts, looking away from his twin, then down to his hand as skin starts to form, testingly flexing his hand open and closed. "Willing…" Peter looks over to where Sylar was. "One thing, then… before I agree to this."

The agent raises a brow, this isn't what he expected at all. But Claire, and everyone else they've both hurt… "What?" It's hard to imagine this is how it will end.

"Where'd you send Sylar?" Dark eyes shift to the side, focusing on Peter's double. There's a nod, and then the agent hangs his head following it.

"Antarctica — " A beat, just for a moment. "I think."

"…Why couldn't I get that power?" Gillian says, looking at the other girl with a sense of awe. At least it's ending— at least it looks like the blood shed is over. Except now the Feds are going to be here and her bike is ripped to shreds and… Gabriel's gone. "You sent him to Antarctica?!" Shit. She reaches up and rubs on her arm, the open and partially bleeding cut in near the tattoo itching. Five minutes to Midnight. "He was going to leave with me," she whispers softly, shaking her head. It hadn't felt like a lie— even if part of her doubted they'd live to do it. Or that she would.

But that power he'd used.

"Whichever one of you— whatever— you owe me a bike and a helmet." And… with that she starts to stumble away. If the Feds are going to be here, she'd like to be elsewhere.

Claire slugs Agent Petrelli in the shoulder furiously before climbing out of the vehicle of her own accord. "I scared you? You killed me. Sort this out." She sends a glare to Peter. "I kept my promise." She pulled the trigger. Twice. "You'd better keep yours." She shrugs off their attempts to keep her there and takes off running for whatever shelter might serve as the closest approximation to home tonight.

The punch to the agent's arm earns just a hesitant smile, but nothing more. He hangs his head as she struggles out of the vehicle, her mobility restored with her vivaciousness. He lingers in there, looking down at the blood on the upholstery where Claire was bleeding out. Then down to his hands with her blood on them. He killed her. Puzzle that out indeed.

Peter watches Claire move, and her words cause him some injury. He lowers his head, eyes closing as a nod comes from him. "I… I will." Dark eyes lift up to where Gillian departs, and then into the vehicle. "Come on, let's get this over with." What will it be like? Will he forget everything? Will he cease to be? Or will they become someone else entirely, an amalgamation of both of their experiences while separate.

It's a frightening prospect.

Agent Petrelli crawls out of the SUV through the open side where a door once was. His shoes click on the pavement as he drops down onto his feet, eyes sweeping over the carnage. The moment they hit Woods, he tenses and looks away in disbelief. He'd gotten Woods killed. "Come here." The agent holds out a hand for Peter, watching him furtively as his gaze is divided between he and Claire, making sure the PARIAH operative can slip away into the night.

Peter walks over, stopping in front of his agent counterpart, then looks down to the offered hand. There's a deep breath, and Peter closes his eyes, reaching out to join hands with his better half. "I'm only doing this for — "

Thwip

A spray of red explodes out of the side of Agent Petrelli's head, his right eye turning a deep crimson color as he slouches to one side, and then collapses down onto the street. Blood immediately pools out from beneath his body, an ever-growing pool of dark crimson and exploded brain matter. Peter's eyes grow wide, his mouth falling open, and he watches as his double does not move to stand, does not speak, does not say a word.

Thwip

Peter's shoulder explodes from another gunshot, and he's spun around, smashing up against the hood of the SUV. He raises his hand, palm glowing brightly, but this time he sees the muzzle flash on the nearby roof.

Thwip

A flash of red hits the center of his chest, and he crumples down to his knees. From across the street, men in black body armor begin circling out from the adjacent buildings, asault rifles leveled and black masks covering their faces. HOMSEC is stenciled in white on the backs of their flack jackets. Peter struggles, then watches as the pupils of his counterpart turn a mily white coloration. He groans, loudly and a sudden wave of grief washes over him. Was this what Brian felt? Oh god, it hurts so bad.

Chatter comes over radios, boots thumping across pavement as dozens of Homeland Security agents circle around Peter's prone form, his one bare arm running with blood. He can feel a lifetime of experiences and ideas flashing and surging from his mind, pain, suffering, hope and anger all blending together as faint hints of memories from the Agent come filtering to him like something read in a book long ago.

"Down on the ground, down on the ground now!" A floodlight flashes down onto the scene as a helicopter circles overhead, spotlight centering on the SUV. Chatter breaks away over the radio, and Peter slumps forward, he's so tired, but even with the bullet having perforated his lung, he knows he's not going to die. He hasn't been given that grace. He gets to live with the memories of all the people he hurt.

"Agent Parkman, this is Advanced Unit 3, we've got him." The Homeland Security operatives in black train their guns down on the man, "We've captured the PARIAH terrorist Peter Petrelli."

"No sir, he's not going anywhere."

This is how it ends.

Not with a bang…

But with a whimper.


Not Antarctica


It's daylight. The wind blows cold, because despite the change of hour, there's no change in season. But there's a change, alright. When Sylar draws his next breath, it's still New York air, but a completely different New York. He kneels, still, in the middle of a street in the Bronx, shirt flooded with dark blood, still dripping with water from the fight, and his eyes dart from left to right as the world materialises into something different.

He's alone.

The buildings have been broken by age and violence, looted, and the sky above is a mix of greys over an impending storm. Trash litters the streets, is kicked about by the constant breeze, and in the distance, Sylar can see that a car has been driven straight through the window of a store and long since abandoned.

But what strikes him is the silence.

Not a voice, not a heart beat, not a foot step carries, and he already knows where he is well before he sees the painted yellow on the side of a building, a black biohazard sign painted on the vibrant colour, a warning that no one can heed because…

…because everyone is dead.

That's the silence he hears, he knows it, and it becomes a roar as blood leaks out of his wound faster and faster. "I survived it," he murmurs, and it comes out in a breathless laugh, head tilting back to regard the still untouched, ever constant, sky above him. "I survived…" Eyes rolling unwillingly, Sylar's body gives out and he falls to the side gracelessly; a lone, sprawled figure in an empty New York City.


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December 6th: In Somnis Veritas
Previously in this storyline…
In Somnis Veritas

Next in this storyline…
Responsibility

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December 7th: Responsibility
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