And Then He Woke Up


kazimir3_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Also Featuring:


Scene Title And Then He Woke Up
Synopsis Perhaps the worst ending to all stories, but in this case, it's true.
Date January 12, 2009


It's been a few days of being puppeted by a ghost in his mind, but there is a reprieve. It comes suddenly.

Sylar studies his own hands in the semi-darkness, turning them palms up and stretching out his fingers. Simple movements you take for granted until they're gone. He doesn't try to walk yet, doesn't try to speak - any more than simply moving his hands might break his good fortune, he might be pulled back into the horror story of numbed reality and silent ranting. Even his mind is quiet save for his own thoughts flowing through it.

Lifting his head, Sylar observes the room that is both Isaac's loft and Underground string theory room, futures and pasts confused in winding strings. Moonlight from a nighttime New York glows through the windows, and the sound of machinery grinds in the background. There is no one else here - no Gillian staying here without any other place to go, no Edward Ray drawing equations on the dusty blackboard, no Isaac Mendez or Hiro Nakamura.

Slowly, Sylar starts to rearrange the strings, tugging them out of their loops and trailing them in different ways, unsure of what he's doing but certain he'll find out. His first act of freedom and he's trying to fix the past, to fix the future. It's what he was meant to be doing, after all.

One string after another, each one made of a different color or a different material, each one clipped with a photograph or other notable piece of memory. Some are more obscure than others, like a clothespin clipped to a yellow thread that holds in place a dried violet. That string leading to a black and white photograph depicting a burned out european village; crumbling brickwork from the facade of a bakery, rubble strewn about on the ground.

The photograph seems out of place, amidst the thousands of strings, it's something Sylar doesn't recognize, a place not part of anything in his memory. With a gentle tug, the photograph is loosened from the string and given a more thorough inspection. His eyes drift over the image, then flips it over in his hand to look at th eback, where a wax-pencil scribbling reads, "Leuven University, Belgium. 8/25/1914."

Staring down at the photograph, Sylar feels transfixed by it, as if there was something familiar, something telling about the date and location, like a haunting sense of deja vu. When the memory fails to come to him, his dark brows tense, head lifting up to look back at the strings. But they're gone.

Where once there was an industrial storage room, there now stands a two story brick building, gutted by fire with rubble strewn about its front. A wooden sign swings above a blown out door, but the writing it unintelligible, a foreign language of some kind. The distant pop of gunfire breaks what somber silence this place has, coupled with the sounds of revving engines moving down the dusty street froma pair of gray-brown jeeps rolling towards a much larger series of buildings not far away; thick plumes of coal black smoke rising up from them.

Dry wind whips through, almost electric with life as it changes direction without prelude, making Sylar hold onto the photograph a little tighter. It doesn't have his attention, however, as he turns in a circle to take in this new place, looking up at the ruined building. Dreams are collections of memories, Sylar knows this, and this place is alarmingly strange to him.

And the feeling that he might not be alone after all is growing.

Photograph in hand and forgotten, he drifts at a wandering and meandering walk down the road, not really paying attention to the jeeps, and more to the destruction he's surrounded by. The Rape of Belgium, the first world war, it's not entirely missed, but why is he here. Sylar moves closer to the larger buildings and it's clear things are still burning - smoke is acrid in the air, and screams begin to sound, faint and distant, as he walks on.

Now over the low hill that impeded his view of the structure, Sylar is able to take in more of the architecture of the large structure narby. It is an immense, gothic structure more resembling a cathedral than a school. It is a towering, marvelous thing, but even in its grandiose it has been ravaged. The brickwork is cracked on the front of the first floor near where several jeeps are parked. Men in uniforms carrying rifles rush from the building, shouting something in a foreign tongue. Two more come out of the building, dragging men in tattered clothing with red scarves out by the ankles.

Despite how much Sylar should stand out in these surroundings, none of the soldiers seem to notice him. They carry on with their duties; some running past him with rifles held close to their chests, darting off into the woods, chasing after unseen targets. Others form a perimeter around the building, while the two who just exited the Leuven University drag those bloodied bodies out into the middle of the street, throwing them onto a burning pile of timber and books.

«Go down to the village, anyone who refuses to be evacuated will be shot on sight. Go!» Sylar doesn't know German, and he can tell the soldiers are speaking it, but despite that the words sound foreign to him, there's an implied content to them, an understanding of the meaning behind the vocalized sounds.

«Where is Colonel Volken!?» One of the soldiers shouts, lowering his rifle as he approaches one of the soldiers who left the university. The approached officer snaps his focus to the soldier, pointing inside.

«He is with his son, those fucking Frenchmen shot him.» The bile in the German officer's words is profound, and he spits on the ground as if to emphasize his point before plucking a rolled cigarette out of the breast pocket of his uniform, «Leave him alone.»

And Sylar doesn't feel like he should be noticed, as if it were perfectly normal to stand here and watch, a non-entity, as war officers speak rapid-fire German at each other that he can somehow understand. But then again, he's been a non-entity for a little while now. It's not so different. Glancing down at the photograph, he has the intense feeling of obligation to put it back where it belongs, but there's no helping that now.

It drifts out of his hand, falling towards the piles of burning literature. It's always the libraries. "Gillian would be disappointed," Sylar says, out loud, to no one in particular. And then his head snaps towards the officers at the name Volken, and without thought, he moves towards them, to hear more.

Volken's son?

He looks towards the direction pointed, and despite the order to the other man to leave him alone, Sylar readily moves inside the evacuated, destroyed building, stepping over paper, rubble, empty bullet shells. He doesn't know why but perhaps to escape this place… he needs to understand it. That's always what it comes down to. And the heart of this is Kazimir.

The doors to the University have been left wide open, a yawning portal of double-hinged oak reinforced with elaborately designed iron bracing, giving it the appearance of some fantastic castle's gates. The majesty of that design is broken, however, by the unavoidable signs of violence. Immediately upon entering, th grand foyer of the University was clearly the site of a major gunfight. Bulletholes papper the walls with circular pockmarks, and the empty shell casings rattle at Sylar's feet. Dark splothces of blood and dragged smears line the marble floor, along with discarded books and loose, windblown pieces of paper.

«The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.» The voice comes from one of two people in this grand foyer. At the center of the entry hall on his knees, is a sandy-blonde haired man in an unbuttoned gray trenchcoat. The creases on his brow and cheeks show his growing age, and the lightness of his hair at the temples suggests encroaching gray. Where he kneels, there is a body beside him, laid out in a pool of thick, still warm blood. The corpse is of a man much younger, with somewhat lighter hair, trimmed to a crew cut. His stomach is dark with blood staining, his uniform froma gunshot wound. Utterly motionless, save for one hand that is cradled between the two hands of the kneeling officer's. «He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.»

There is an obvious emotion in the older man's voice, every word wavering and shaking as he squeezes the dead soldier's hand in his own, «He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.»

Sylar's jog comes to a halt several feet away, making no hesitation about observing father and son. Slowly, he circles, giving the scene a wide birth as crumbled rubble grits under his boots. Almost a grim reaper, dressed in his customary black and haunting the death of the young soldier, making slowly paced vulture circles, the end of his coat spattered from recent dust and dirt.

He comes to stand in front of the father, his son lying between them, and slowly, Sylar crouches down so he can study this man, this man he remembers from Dr. Ray's timeline photograph of the Nazi officers. His arms rest on bent needs, head tilted, trying to recognise Kazimir Volken. It's hard work.

"I wonder if you left that soul in the wreckage of the world war," Sylar offers, both speaking to this memory and not, as if he might just speak back to him.

«Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,» There is a twitch, a motion of three fingers on the clutched hand, a spasm of nerves. The older soldier stops, letting out a ragged breath as he brings his mouth down to the young soldier's knuckles, «I will fear no evil: For thou art with me.» He squeezes the hand harder, hopeful, but knowing full well the chances of surviving such a wound.

Then, abruptly, the wounded soldier's eyes snap open, staring blank and empty towards the ceiling. «Kazimir…» The man kneeling at his side breathes out in a heavy exhalation, squeezing the hand again. «Kazimir you — »

Words are replaced by a raw, agonized scream. Where the older soldier's hand clasps the younger's, flesh begins to pale, veins blackening before the skin on his palms cracks and flakes. A deep, low and roaring sound like a hollow wind being blown through a deep cavern exhales from the young Kazimir Volken's mouth, and like the speed of a woldfire, the rapid dessication begins to take effect. Hands brcome brittle, cracking apart as fingers snap and break, falling to the floor as the young man rises up into a seated position as a bullet forces its way out of his abdomen and onto the floor. «K-Kaz — Kazim — »

The words are finally swallowed into nothingness as Kazimir lunges forward like some hungry beast, knocking his father to the ground, leaping atop him to place both of his hands at his father's throat, screaming aloud as he does. The scream is unintelligible, a wild and crazed thing that only heightens the horror of the scene, as Kazimir's father begins to decompose at his son's touch, skin blackening around where his palms tough, eyes shriveling in their sockets, until finally his skull cannot withstand the pressure of Kazimir's hands, crumbling like an ash-filled paper bag.

The screams drew obvious attention from the other German soldiers, charging in to the University with guns drawn. But when they actually see what is happening, when they see the corpse of Kazimir Volken risen from the dead, clutching the ashen remains of his father in his hands, they are frozen in place. The boy turns, eyes wide and wild, staring at the soldiers like a frightened animal in the moments before they open fire. Bolt-action rifles shakily fire at the boy who leaps up from his father's corpse, rushing past Sylar towards the first of the soldiers with much more grace and agility than Kazimir had in his old age. He grabs the barrel of one gun, forcing it away from himself as he reaches out to grasp the throat of the soldier, causing his neck to blacken and decay, allowing Kazimir's fingers to more easily force through his neck, ripping out a chunk of blackened and ashy flesh.

The other soldier whirls about, firing off a round into the young Volken's chest, sending him staggering back, still with one hand latched around the other soldier's throat. The bullet pops out of the entry hole with a sput of blood, and Kazimir tilts his head to the eside, eyes streaked with tears despite the crooked smile on his lips. The soldier in his hand collapses, falling to the floor with a crackling pop of breaking bones and rupturing skin as a cloud of dust exist out where blood should be.

The remaining soldier turns and runs, screaming as he leaves the University, «Moroi! Moroi!»

Romanian myths come to life, a phantom of dead who rises from the grave to drain life from the living. Kazimir pauses, halting an aborted lunge towards the soldier to look down at his hands, seeing how they shake. Then down to his chest, and with a hesitant, terrified slowness, gradually turns to look behind him towards the broken remains of his father.

His scream echoes through the University halls.

Sylar claps his hands over his ears, the scream of just a few feet away somehow louder, more piercing and invading than the gunfire. As if sharing the young Kazimir's terror, Sylar moves out of his crouch, escaping the scene of the crumbled dusty corpse and the horrified young man having just discovered what kind of monster he is.

There are stairs, broken and ruined, and these Sylar takes rather blindly, not following the path of the German soldiers. If he can get back to the loft, the underground room, he can fix this past, too. It's a disjointed logic that makes no real sense, as if the shifting of strings could change the world. But maybe in this world, the world of kaleidoscope memories of two men, it can fix everything.

The stairs lead to nothing, a blank void of the unknown. Kazimir never took this route and neither share memories of the all of this university. He could go back, towards the screams. Sylar plunges on into the unknown void— and falls, tripping over his own feet to land on hands and knees in the—

— the Eagle Electric warehouse. Not ideal, but, at least he knows it. This does not speak of memory, but distorted familiarity, the light all wrong, things shifted and broken where they shouldn't be. The throne sits unbroken on the dais, and revealed. The ravens have descended, now perched here and there on cargo crates rather than the rafters, black figures that watch on silently like a Hitchcock film. Getting up, Sylar finds the photograph in his hand again, the one of the Belgium university on fire. Clutching this, he moves towards the dais, feeling like he's summoning a dragon if he does but doing it anyway.

"What were you hoping to find?" The voice is Sylar's own, but hollow, echoing and ragged on the edges. It comes from the darkness behind the revealed chair, bedecked with ravens perched atop the iron eagle clutching the reviled symbol of what Kazimir once was. From the blackness beyond the chair, a dark silhouette steps forward, creaking the wooden boards of the palettes underfoot. It's Sylar's body; paler, thinner, more gaunt that he remembers being. The only faint wrinkles on his brow seem just a little more pronounced, and the dark circles under his eyes make him look like a man who has not slept in days.

"Seeing that? Do you think that will change anything?" He circles the chair, not sitting in it, but rather inspecting it with his head tipped to one side, dark eyes focused on the seat before swiveling towards Sylar. "We're both monsters, as I told you." One hand brushes across the back of the chair, fingertips glancing over faded and cracked wood, then withdraws as Kazimir turns away from the chair, beginning to make his approach to Sylar.

Sylar goes still in abstract horror when he first hears that voice, the image that had haunted his dreams for a short while after his return flickering into memory. Dorian Gray's portrait, in a sense. But as he Kazimir moves forward, more half-light shed upon him, there is a difference. He is not entirely the monster from the future, not yet.

But he could be. One day.

"It changes things," he argues, his voice stronger than he feels. He stands his ground as well, however, even when the slightly distorted version of himself walks closer. "It doesn't change that we're monsters but it shows that it wasn't always like that." He even takes a step closer, despite his repulsion. The ravens around them seem to shift uneasily, a couple taking flight to circle above them. "You killed your father, Kazimir. But you didn't want to."

"…No, I didn't." Dark eyes lower to the floor at Sylar's assessment, and Kazimir reaches inside of his suit jacket to retrieve a pair of black leather gloves, drawing them one by one over his hands. "But that does not change the fact, that I am what this world made me." A tug to the bottom of each glove, to ensure the fingers a snugly contained, and in that motion Kazimir's eyes move back to meet Sylar's, a dizzying mirror of himself. "That day opened my eyes…"

As he speaks, Kazimir steps down from the dais, his shoes making a sort report against the concrete floor now beneath his feet. "I was made aware of the horrors the world truly had. Greater than war, greater than strife. I hated my father, but I did not wish him dead." There's a noticable tension in Kazimir's voice, his brows furrowing together. "But none of that matters now. Soon, this world will be given a second chance, purged of all of its corruption, and I will remain as the very embodiment of death to ensure that those who rise up in the shadow of mankind make better with their world." Kazimir's lips crook back, not quite a smile, not quite a grimace, somewhere in between.

The ravens just grow more restless, a few more taking flight, to hide in the rafters, and others dip down. One has the audacity to swoop between them, long wings spread, and Sylar tracks it with his gaze until it seems to lose itself in the darkness of the warehouse. "They'll kill you," he says, quietly. He could well be talking about the ravens. He could well be talking about everyone else. "Or I'll take you down like I was supposed to. Adolf Hitler killed himself, you know." His voice takes on an edge, one that betrays his anger, at himself for his failure and at Kazimir for his presence, still stealing his form even in dreaming. "Maybe you'll be your own downfall when you realise you're the worst of everything you despise." He holds up the photo, almost casually. "Want a replay?"

"I have beeen killed before, Sylar." The name seems almost derisive when spoken in the way Kazimir does, "Behold the result." Kazimir holds open both hands, as if to say take a good look. "The Fuhrer was a lunatic, but he had an admirable control of fear. When Monroe and I worked with him during that disgusting war, he and I learned so much about the power of the Evolved." Hard footsteps click and clack over the concrete floor. "I learned about my power, about his… we taught each other, and sought to find more knowledge from others. It was from Adam, of all people, that I gained my inspiration for this plan."

Kazimir stops just shy of Sylar, a few feet between the two, giving a clear enough view of the dirty reflection he has become. "Flood the world, and let those who live rebuild. I had at one time planned for the Vanguard to be Noah's ark, but after realizing the den of liars, thieves and murderers that I had gained the confidence of, I lost my taste for it. Only Yvette and I will remain." Yvette, a vaguely familiar name, not in the way the University was, but something more tangible.

If Kazimir were going anywhere with that statement, it is lost when Sylar raises the photograph. Kazimir's lips curl back into a snarl, and one hand motions with two fingers to the side, a gesture followed by a feeling of weightlessness Sylar is familiar with. When he is lifted off of his feet, tossed to the side like a limp ragdoll, Sylar crashes through one of the crates, sending planks of wood scattering in every direction as his shoulder strikes a carpeted floor inside of the crate.

Sylar bounces, rolls and skids across the floor, coming to rest on cold linoleum. Yellow-brown linoleum, the smell of ginger strong in the air. His heart skips a beat from the smell; scents that trigger memories. "Would you like a replay?" His darker voice echoes, and as Sylar's eyes move up from the floor, he spies a cramped kitchenette adjacent to an equally cramped looking living room, adorned with all manner of snow-globes stacked on tiered shelves. An old picture-tube television set on a wooden stand with rabbit-eat antennas faces a worn old couch where a TV tray has a microwaved dinner sitting upon it.

"If I'd known you were coming, I would've cleaned up more." The voice is like a knife wedged between Sylar's ribs, one that is only twisted when he sees the sagging face of the aging woman standing in the kitchen, quietly opening a white cardboard box. All the more grim, is a younger and more awkward memory of Gabriel Gray seated at the opposite side of the counter dividing the kitchen and the living room.

"Um, I brought it from Texas. It's… for your collection." The words are said sheepishly, like a boy fumbling in the presence of his mother. Virginia reaches inside, pulling out the snow globe to turn in her hand, looking at the swirling motes of white within.

"Perfect! One more and I have the continent. I'm just missing Oregon." Her smile is heartbreaking, an adoration for her wayward sone come home as she sets the snow globe down on the shelf among the others; larger than the rest gathered there. "I hear it's beautiful there; Green everywhere." Her fingertips brush over the glass sphere, stare distant and lost. Sylar's too, as he turns his eyes away from his mother.

"The clock's broken," the memory who could well be simply called Gabriel says, moving towards the piece hanging on the wall. Getting to his feet, the most recent version of the young man clenches his hands together tightly. Did this house get destroyed in the bomb? He hopes so. He truly hopes so. From the linoleum that curls at the edges from water damage to the crucifix on the wall, to dad's clock in his memory's hands, to the shelves of snowglobes sitting passive on the shelves.

"Oh, that old thing. I should have thrown it away years ago," Virginia dismisses, and Sylar can feel the ghost of irritation inside him, the kind of would one day grow into something more murderous rather than the anxious watchmaker setting about fixing the clock.

Sylar is quick to escape the scene, although the front door stays fast, the handle not even acknowledging the way he grips it and tries to turn it. The door doesn't even rattle. These are Kazimir's rules, even if it's his memory. "What are you proving?" Sylar demands, turning back towards the interior of the little house, addressing the other unseen presence, as the talk continues in the kitchen.

"I can't tell you how proud I am."

"I haven't done anything."

"You've traveled the world. Some of us only get to see it in snow globes."

Kazimir's voice speaks thorugh the door, as if he were just on the other side, "I'm showing you where you'll be staying, Sylar." A foreboding premonition, to imagine an eternity spent reliving past tragedies, unable to escape from them. "You aren't allowed in my private thoughts, Sylar. You aren't welcome there, and I cannot think of a place more fitting to keep you trapped for the rest of eternity than in a prison of your own guilt." The sneering pride in his voice is almost unbearable.

"I'm tired of traveling. I think I might stay here."

"In Queens? Why would you ever come back?"

There's a creak outside of the door, of feet moving away, "I'm certain there's enough to haunt you here, to keep things from getting repetitive for a very, very long time." A low, throaty laugh is let loose ragged and amused at the notion. But the further Kazimir moves away from the door, the more give the knob seems to have, despite how much he wishes to believe that he has absolute control over this construct of a memory, it is still Sylar's mind.

"If I stayed, maybe I could stop. Maybe I wouldn't have to…"

As soon as the voice speaks through the door, Sylar turns around to face it once more, hands pressing against the flat surface. "No," he rasps out, for a few terrible moments believing that Kazimir can do this. That he could leave him here. His palms smack against the door. "No. NO." He kicks once, and he may as well be trying to beat against the side of a tank. He leans his weight against it, shutting his eyes. "Please."

Something shifts.

A door bangs open, and the flurry of a fight bursts into the scene, Sylar pressing his back against the front door as he watches on with an attempt at bravado. This has already happened. He has the memory after all. This doesn't have to disturb him.

The teary-eyed version of Virginia moves towards him, but is caught by her son even as she says, "I'm leaving. And when I get back, I expect you to be gone."

"Don't say that, Mom. It's me - Gabriel," Sylar watches himself plead, seemingly harmless in his sweater and slacks, shirt collar tucked in, shoes polished and hair combed. Trying to set aside everything he had done for this one visit, as if perhaps he didn't want to blow up New York. Sylar grips his hand around the door handle, glancing down at it as it shifts slightly beneath his grip.

Virginia spins to confront Gabriel, speaking harshly. "You're not Gabriel. You're damned. And I want you out of my house." The familiar fight breaks out, a physical scuffle, a flash of metal, and his mother begins to cry. "I want my son. What did you do with my son? Give me back my boy."

"Mom, please, it's me, Mom— "

The door handle gives.

The door is forced open under Sylar's shoulder, desperately staggering out - and running. Not away. To. Kazimir's memories are distant things, unreachable as the stars, but perhaps— there's a way. It just takes a bit of a scare. He's armed with his own, after all.

What do you want to see, Kazimir? What do you want to know?

The sound of quiet ticking fills the air. Sylar knows it well. He's killed a man in this store. He's attempted to kill two, in fact. Not to mention the countless hours spent here. The lights are dim, and both entities find themselves in the backroom. Sylar is dressed as he was the day he tried to kill Kazimir, certainly not a character of this place, the harder, coarser version of himself, unshaven and grim.

And Kazimir is invited too - perhaps not the way he expects. He's not an older, decayed version of Sylar. He's much like the young, bespectacled man left in Queens. He can see the blurry outline of glasses about his eyes. And he's standing on a chair, with a noose in his hands, already roped to the ceiling fixtures. The roughness of the rope's fibres scratches against his palms, the knot well made. "Don't let me stop you," Sylar sneers. Let the memory run its course, or break under a battle of wills.

For a fraction of a moment, Kazimir seems genuinely shocked. With the noose in his hands, he takes a stumbling step backwards and away from the loop of rope. Standing on a chair, of course, this means that the spectacled Kazimir tumbles gracelessly to the ground, colliding with the floor in a way that shakes the Gray & Son stockroom. But the impact of Kazimir hitting the floor in such shock causes the walls to crack, like so much paint peeling away from a concealed facade. The walls tremble for a moment, letting the damaged exterior begin to hang and split, like the sloughed off hide of some great serpent.

Pieces of the ceiling peel away and fall to the floor with a wet slap, soon decaying to motes of ash and dust, revealing unfinished wood. The floor peels and withers, tile crumbling away to reveal marble. But the chair, and the noose — those do not change.

By the time the haunting transition has finished, in the brief moments it takes for the suicide attempt of Gabriel Gray to wither and die, an echoed scene is revealed to be playing out in a small bedroom. The walls are mortared stone, not sheetrock like before. The ceiling has exposed wooden rafters, giving it a very old-world feel. A small cot is pushed up against one wall, blankets in disarray. A table near the bed displays a wooden bowl full of fresh fruit. And laying on the floor is no longer Gabriel Gray, but an older, and weary looking Kazimir. A man no longer the youth seen in Belgium, but a near thirty year old man quickly losing his hair, with hawkish features and — coincidentially — large glasses making his eyes seem wider than they really are.

Across the room, Sylar's dark reflection now stands, tensed and anxious in the presence of his own humanity, of his own weakness.

«Is everything alright?» The door to the room opens, a flimsy wooden thing, and in steps an elderly man far more balding than Kazimir, dressed in the high-collared and night black robe of a priest. His soft, quiet footsteps move silently into the room where he comes to pause, looking down at Kazimir, then up to the noose dangling from the ceiling. «Kazimir! God's grace!» The elderly priest hurries over to the German's side, crouching down even as he pushes the chair aside. «Kazimir, are you alright?» He briefly turns to look up at the noose hanging from the rafter, then down to the younger man.

Kazimir looks away, eyes falling shut as his brows crease together, fingers curling into tight fists. «I am fine, Father Petrovich.» The voice is strained, a weak and tired whisper. But the priest sees no truth in the words, clicking his tongue disapprovingly before taking Kazimir by the arm, hoisting him to his feet.

«Suicide is a mortal sin, Kazimir. Life is never dark enough, that you would wish to risk eternal damnation to find a quick way out.» The chiding tone eases, becoming something more fatherly, «What plagues you?» The question, and the mention of sin causes Kazimir to bristle, and even the version of himself from the future of this memory turns to look away, ashamed of the answer that he knows is coming.

Soft laughter echoes in the small room. Sylar is standing in the opposite corner to his reflection, leaning casually against stone walls, a lounging shadowed figure in black. His smile is wide, satisfied, at this sudden foray into Kazimir's side of their shared memory bank. "How futile life is, Kazimir," he murmurs, sneer evident. "History repeats, and the same monsters make the same mistakes." His voice is cutting, cold.

His footfalls are almost muffled, as if his feet coming into contact with the ground sounded distant rather than echoing within the bedroom quarters, and Sylar moves through the scene. He casually sidesteps the holy man and the former officer, making for the door and his hand reaching out to touch the old-world metal handle with its bulky lock set into the wood just above it. But he pauses, turning his head to listen, one glance towards where Kazimir, in his body, stands silent and ashamed of the scene unfolding, before focusing on what the monster's younger self has to say.

«I— I am cursed.» Kazimir's choked back response from his much younger self is strained through clenched teeth, «God has cursed me, he has made me a monster.» The sincerity in which the words are said, ones that so revile what he has become, visibly pain his future counterpart to har. And while their faces look nothing alike, Sylar can almost imagine the look of embarassed horror on the old man's face, instead of his own.

In response to the words, Father Petrovitch shakes his head in a rather paternal manner, a wry smile crossing his face as he bends forward to offer a hand to Kazimir. The young man, for just the briefest of moments, almost considers taking the hand until his senses tell him why it would be a terrible idea not to. «Kazimir, God does not create monsters, that is the Devil's purview. Taking the weakness in men's hearts, and exploiting it.» He urges the hand closer, «Come. I will not judge you, but I wish to hear more of why you feel cursed.»

«I cannot.» Kazimir strains, struggling up to his feet on his own, using the wall behind him as a brace while he does. «I cannot touch your hand, Father. I would take your soul.» The convicted words of a terrified man give Mikhail Petrovitch pause, letting his hazel eyes sweep up and down over Kazimir, and slowly his expression turns into a frown.

«Kazimir.» Mikhail covers the bridge of his nose with one hand, walking over to the foot of the cot before sitting down on it with an audible creak of wood. «Kazimir, the Lord would not allow such things to walk this world. The Devil's strength lies in turning good people into heartless people; but even then their souls may be saved.» Kazimir's eyes drift towards Mikhail, and slowly he makes his way over to th table by the cot, reaching out to pick up one of the apples from the bowl with his bare hand. As he turns to Mikhail, holding the apple aloft, it begins to wither and dessicate under his touch.

«Then what does this make me, Father?» Kazimir's eyes narrow, each footfall a heavy thump as he approaches the older gentleman. «That I may suck the life from those I touch,» As he speaks, the apple becomes nothing more than pulpy ash, rubbed away as Kazimir curls his fingers around the dessicated fruit, crushing it in his palm, letting his fingers slide together to feel the grit.

Father Petrovitch rises from the cot the moment his mind begins to take a hold of what Kazimir is showing him. Horror, confusion, curiosity, and then understanding dawn on the old man's face as he does not back away from Kazimir, but rather carefully approaches him, the way one would an unfamiliar animal. «Kazimir, my son. That— That is not a curse. You have… a gift. That is God's gift working in you. Therefore I retract, and repent in dust and ashes.» Even as he quotes Job, Mikhail stares in stoic assessment of Kazimir, a man not afraid of the otherworldly revelation brought before him.

«Why… Why are you not running!?» Kazimir steps back, raising one arm as if to shield himself from the priest, «Why are you not horrified of me, I am a monster! No God made me! I have killed, I killed my father with these hands! I took his life and stole his spirit, so that I might live!»

The heated words only startle Mikhail slightly, he knows Kazimir was a soldier in that deplorable war, knows full well of his past. Ever since the young German came to seek shelter here in Vladivostok, he had shared bits and pieces of his past, of his father, of some of his reasons for running. Now, though, it all starts to make sense. «Kazimir. If you feel guilt for what you have done, and not yet sought absolution for it, I will help you.» Fearlessly, perhaps foolishly, he offers his hand out to the man again, knowing full well. «I am not a man to judge your father, but you have told me much of him, of what he did with his life. Kazimir, has it ever occured to you, that God is not punishing you, but using you as a tool to punish others?» The notion seems ludicrist, a self-important delusion to be forced upon the addle-minded incapable of coming to terms with their own weakness and shortcoming.

"I've had enough." Kazimir's darker, plagued self grates out through clenched teeth. "I— " He looks away from the two, looks away from his memories of idealism that would eventually be crushed. "I was right about you, Sylar." Dark eyes finally track to the man standing by the door, "You are a cunning devil."

As those words are spoken, Kazimir fades into a haze of shadows against the back wall, and soon too does the remainder of the room begin to bleed away into so much blackness and shadow, soon dissipating and giving way to another reality all together. An industrial storage room, filled with blackboards and strings criss-crossing each other into infinity.

Sylar's breath hitches (metaphorically, perhaps, but maybe his resting body, wherever it is, copies this movement too) as the room disappears, and for all his concentration, he can't bring it back. It's like trying to grasp smoke, and so he relents, the room changing back to this original starting point, leaving him alone once more - seemingly so, anyway. The photograph, somehow materialising back into his hand, remains pinched between fingers, and he turns to place this back on the relevant string, the web structure swaying and quivering with the movement.

"You only believed him because not believing him would destroy you," Sylar murmurs, voice bouncing strangely off the walls, disjointed echoes that don't represent reality. "You know the truth, Kazimir. We both do. That the world would be a better place if we'd had the fortune or the courage to take our own lives." His fingers hook over the string, walking along it. "But here we are. You're right, I'm cunning. I'm not Santiago, Kazimir. It's not going to be easy this time."

January 12th: Split Personalities
January 12th: Let Me Show You Around
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License