When You Least Expect It

Participants:

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Scene Title When You Least Expect it
Synopsis Peter seeks out his former mentor and is given more truth than he anticipated.
Date October 22, 2008

Itsukushima Shrine, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan


While it was just after sunset in New York, it's not far after 9:45 in the morning on the tiny island of Itsukushima, just off the coast of Hiroshima. This island is a sight to behold in the middle of Autumn, with the mountain foliage surrounding Matsushima Bay having turned brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red. Calm waters lap quietly on the sandy beaches that border the sun-side of the Itsukushima Shrine, a palatial Shinto site of worship that dominates the beach, most of the wooden construction built upon the sands and partially out onto the water. Beyond the shrine, far out onto the waves, the tall red-lacquered wooden torii gate serves as point of focus for those standing on the walkways surrounding the shrine.

Tourists come more so than the faithful to the temple grounds in these morning hours, the air crisp and cool, laden with the falling leaves of tall maple trees. One such man might be considered a tourist at one time, but no longer. Leaning on the engraved wooden railing that shields one side of the temple from the sandy beaches beyond, Peter Petrelli stares out at the gentle crashing waves, towards the red gate on the horizon. He, one of the few Americans here, stands out like a sore thumb. But that, to an extend, is his intention today. The black dress suit he wears stands out sharply against the red enameled wood he leans on, gaze distant, and the scar across his face — the one that Kaito had seen when it was still fresh — now darkens his face as a permanent reminder of his past.

Kaito Nakamura walks unaccompanied through the constructs of the shrine, polished shoes sounding lightly against the wooden floors, drawing attention to himself as he nears the man that's waiting for him. In grey suit, a crisp white shirt and a black tie, the older man looks very much the CEO he is, impeccably dressed and put together. He comes to stand just beside the much younger Evolved, hands resting on the bright red wooden railings of the temple as he looks out towards the constantly moving water. "It has been some time, Peter Petrelli," he greets, turning his head to observe the scarred man. There's absolutely no smile on his face, but perhaps someone, such as Peter, who had once spent time with the man might be able to detect the slightest hint of one in his eyes.

"Nakamura-Sensei." Peter stands up from the railing, bowing his head slightly, "I've been busy…" There's a weight in his voice, much like the one that was there when Kaito first had the struggling youth dropped at his feet by his son two years ago. "I… didn't know who else to turn to." He turns back to the water, resting his forearms on the railing and folding his hands, closing his eyes with a shake of his head before exhaling a deep sigh. "I've been trying to do good, make amends for my mistake… But every time I take a turn, every time I make a move, it's like no matter what I do people are getting hurt."

The young man's eyes close, head lowering more as he continues to speak. "I followed my heart, and it led me straight into a trap. Terrible, horrible people escaped from a Company holding cell — Level-5 — and it's because I was unable to see through an opponent's disguise." One hand reaches up to brush at the side of his face, but Peter's eyes are focused on a single maple leaf rotating in the water below the railing. "I fought him, Sylar, and failed to stop him… all I did was hurt myself."

Peter's used to Kaito's manners, wanting to know the full length and width of a story before putting his own take on it, he's an analytical man, and Peter indulges his mentor in that regard. "I went against your best judgment, and… I joined the Company. One of their agents, Bob Bishop's daughter… she was kidnapped by a man named Adam Munroe. We've been trying to track them down, but… it's like Adam knows our every move before we make it, and…" One hand comes up to cover Peter's face as he strains out a sigh. "I tried to take matters into my own hands. Find Molly Walker, and it blew up in my face. Now a member of Homeland Security… I don't know what he's going to do. I made so many mistakes, but they seemed like…" His head shakes, "I don't know what to do, and I don't know who else to turn to but you."

Throughout, Kaito listens in the only way he knows how — with silence and equally quiet judgment. Not that Peter isn't saying highly worrying things but there are only a few people Kaito chooses to lose composure around — and Peter, while once an apprentice of a kind, is certainly not his wayward son. When Peter finishes, Kaito turns his gaze out towards the water again, looking (if possible) a little sterner. "The Company," he says, finally, "should not have become your path. But it is the road you've chosen and as long as you listen to what your heart tells you, no road can steer you wrong. You are too strong for that." Pause. "But Adam is a problem and hard for even I to predict. He is remaining in New York City?"

Peter listens in silence to Kaito's dissection of the conversation, a fond smile crossing his face, as if the subtle admonishments he hands out, while tempered in their severity, were welcome. It's good to know, right or wrong, about a decision made. He turns, regarding his mentor with an intent inspection, "People I know — ones I trust — told me they saw him in the ruins of Midtown a few days ago. He keeps moving, but I think it's within the confines of the city. I think that's one of the most confusing parts, I can't figure out why he wouldn't run for the hills."

Then, thinking back on something Kaito said, Peter looks out to the torii at the edge of the water. "Who is he, Adam Munroe?" His eyes linger on the small boats passing by the red gate, following their motions against the rippling waves. "All of the Company files on him were blank, save for a brief discussion of his renegeration ability…" Then, as if conversation were triggering past memories, Peter straightens a little. "He's one of the reasons I went to Primatech. I… I painted — etched — the future into a window. In it, was the man who turned out to be Adam, and there… was this symbol as his shadow," makes a motion on the wooden railing with one finger, "The same one… the one my dad used for his law firm."

Kaito, now, chooses to keep his eyes forward as Peter asks of Adam, hands clasping the railing though he doesn't rest his weight against it. "If you know of his power, than you only know the cause of Adam Monroe," he says, gravely, and with ancient disgust that's only barely concealed. "A man who can heal all wounds, who age cannot touch. A shepherd, a visionary, and a dangerous man. He was kept within the confines of the Company for a reason." Now, he slides a glance to Peter. "That symbol… Then you already know. We are all… old friends."

Peter's gaze stays on the water as well, as if trying to see what Kaito sees across the waves, trying to discern just how he picks the right words from the sway of the distant trees, the way the maple leaves fall through the air, and the way the sunlight reflects off of the water. The notion that Adam cannot age strikes Peter, it's something he hadn't even entertained in part, despite his understanding of Claire's gift to him. Eventually, his gaze tracks to Kaito, just as Kaito's tracks to Peter, and his head tilts slowly to the side, mouth beginning to hang open. "What… what do you mean, old friends? I — " He tenses, "You said you knew my mother, back when you first offered to teach me. That — that it was a favor to her. Bennet told me you worked for the Company… but I…" His gaze breaks away, as if the intensity of what Kaito had leveled on his mind were too much to stare directly into. "Did my father work for the Company too?"

The elderly man seems to take a breath as he takes his hands off the railing to look at Peter, even as the younger man looks away. "Your father, your mother, were both a part of Adam Monroe's flock," he says. "As was I. We did not work for the Company, Peter Petrelli — we were its creators. Our aim was to find people like ourselves and change the world." Now he looks away again, this piece of information delivered, towards the torii. "A kindness would be to say that we were misled. I had hoped it would change for the better once Adam was buried but now it is uncertain."

Unlike Kaito's touch to the railing, Peter's hand steadies him from buckling at the knees from what he's been told. His stomach turns into knots; the amount of secrets, deception, and out-right lies that have been told straight to his face over the years. He breathes in and out, slow and heavy breaths, then only upon closing his eyes and drawing in a slow, calming breath does he find the center he needs, and the wherewithall to continue this conversation. "Founders… Founders of the Company." His eyes scan the wood beneath his feet, then lift back up to Kaito. "It all makes so much sense, in… some some weird way. Why the person who took over for Bob was at my father's funeral." His fingers grip the railing tighter, then relax. "That's how Adam's been avoiding us, how he knows so much."

"What did he do, what…" Peter finally looks back to Kaito, it's taken a strong focus to look into that man's gaze, but now that his focus is beyond the water, it is somewhat less like staring into the sun itself. "Why after believing in him so strongly, would it be necessary to lock Adam away. More importantly, how do I find him and put him back?"

"Adam did not want to heal the world as he made us believe," Kaito explains, grimly. "He came to the decision that he wished to purge it. A virus that would destroy everyone but those able to resist it. I am the one that signed the documents necessary to lock Adam away forever so that he could never realise this aim. Thirty years…" He shakes his head a little, gaze unfocusing for a moment as he contemplates the past, contemplates the near future. There is a rueful note to his voice. "Thirty years will not be enough to change the heart of a man like him. The past comes back to haunt us when we least expect it." He addresses Peter once more. "He will be resentful and vengeful, but I cannot anticipate his actions — I never could. Perhaps it is good that you serve the Company, for now, if you are able to stop him. But follow your own judgment, Peter. That is the greatest of all the powers you wield."

A virus. The idea alone brings Peter's mind back to the incident in Greenwich Village, and his jaw sets into a tense expression of nervousness and uncertainty before exhaling a deep and heavy breath. "You're absolutely right. I… I may have misinterpreted the signs, but knowing now what I do…" Peter shakes his head, "I think I have an idea of how to go about this, now." He looks down to the water below the railing, "Something terrible is happening in New York, Sensei. I'm worried Adam may have already released the virus…" Closing his eyes, he breathes in another slow breath, and then finally asks the one question he fears answer to the most. "Do you know where Hiro is? I… I could really use his help."

"If Adam has released the virus, he has become the least of our worries," Kaito says, plainly. He pauses for a time, as if in thought — or perhaps accessing something slightly higher than mere thought. Once the silence has passed, he says, "Stay your path, Peter. Find Adam and determine his next courses of action. The greatest way to achieve your goals in a changing world is to be the one who moves first." Another pause, and with much less certainty, he answers, "I do not know where my son is. I'm sorry, but you will have to find him yourself."

The answer was better than what he expected, it gives him hope that Hiro is out there somewhere. With another short bow of his head, Peter's thanks for this cannot possibly be any more understated. "Thank you, Nakamura-sensei." When he straightens, his eyes follow the older man, looking at the expression on his face as if to glean some other indiscernable answer from it. He nods once more, this time with a hesitant smile, "I think you've given me just the insight I need, Sir. Thank you, for taking the time out to see me, and for telling me all this."

"You have come all this way," Kaito says, now with that slight smile in his eyes again, even if his mouth doesn't. His hands move to adjust his jacket. "I would only hope it betters your true journey. Good luck, Peter. For the sake of us all." And with that, the man withdraws from the railings, his back to Peter as he makes for an exit from the Shrine.


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October 22nd: Normality
Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

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October 22nd: The Midas Touch
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