And Then There Was Light


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Scene Title And Then There Was Light
Synopsis Hiro and Kimiko's journey through time comes to a close, and the secrets of the Catalyst and the Formula are revealed…
Date May 12, 1992

Deveaux Building

To all journies, there comes an end…

A cool breeze rushes across the rooftop, gusting up from the busy and noisy streets of New York City below. In the distance, the verdant green hues of Central Park cast sharp contrast against towers of glass and concrete that rise up as far as they eye can see on such a clear day. Warm sunlight bathes the slate tiles underfoot, and these gentle spring sensations present themselves with noticable contrast to the questionable work of devils at hand.

…to all roads, there is an ultimate conclusion…

From within the humid confines of a rooftop greenhouse, two sets of eyes watch from a crouched position behind potted plants as a conversation with familiar and unfamiliar faces takes place. Standing by the pair of cherubs flanking a piece of ornate architecture on the roof's edge, Kaito Nakamura looks much more as Hiro remembers him, a stern and firm-handed old man with an inscrutable countenance. Never, though, has he ever remembered him cradling a child in his arms with such gentle concern and soft eyes.

But no matter the course that the ending of any journey takes, there is always one constant…

Three other men share the rooftop with Kaito, none of them particular familiar to Hiro Nakamura or his sister in their eavesdropping from the greenhouse. One of the men, a smirking fellow in a sharp suit with his top button undone motions over to a younger gentleman with short cropped hair. "Noah, come over here…" he states with a sly tone, waving the younger man over. "Mister Nakamura'd like a word with you."

Is that every journey's ending, is another's beginning…

Hiro's never seen his father do anything tender or caring, really. He didn't even get to say goodbye to the man. The identity of the child in Kaito's arms is a matter of some conflict to Hiro. "On the one hand, I'm glad you get to see the downsides of time travel." he whispers to Kimiko. "On the other, I know how hard it is for you too." Because he doesn't like having his father's presence rubbed in his face, knowing the man was taken from both siblings before his time. Still, they're here for a purpose so Hiro watches attentively, quiet and still.

Kimiko has been feeling under the weather. She does her best to hide it from Hiro, as she's always been good at pushing uncomfortability to the side, but the fevers and the shakes have been getting harder to conceal. She's a bit glassy-eyed as she watches their father, murmuring softly, "It is not so bad. It gives me a comfort to see him, alive and healthy. And now we'll get to see Mother…" she lets her thoughts trail off. "Who is that baby?"

"Mister Nakamura," Noah notes with a bob of his head, anxiously smiling at the child held in Kaito's arms. There's a jugemental and scrutinizing stare that comes from Kaito as Noah approaches, one dark brow raised subtly. "That's… the child from the Gordon incident, isn't it?" Something tense takes over Noah, an anxiousness that can't quite be put into words, and it dances on the periphery of his motions.

Kaito's nod is a slow and thoughtful one. "That is correct. This child is an unfortunate casualty in our endeavors, Mister Bennet. She will, undoubtedly, become like her mother eventually…" his dark eyes drift down to the baby, lips pressed into a stern, thin line. "She is now your responsibility."

Noah practically chokes when that is said, his mouth opening in a confused expression as his brows crease together. "I— " he looks down to the child swaddled in blankets in Kaito's arms, then up to the older man. "I'm not… entirely certain what you mean, Sir." Kaito's eyes narrow, head tilting to the side in a look of disbelief at Noah's words.

"Adopt this child as your own." For all that the conversation is stealing away the attention of the Nakamuras, something else warranted of scrutiny emerges from a door adjacent to the greenhouse. A short little boy with a bowl cut and a game boy, glasses slouching down the bridge of his nose, pushed up with two fingers as he wanders past the two other men standing at the wayside of the conversation.

"Is tha' Kaito's wee one?" One of the men asks, a distinguished looking gentleman with a British accent. His company nods once, arms folding across his chest. "Doesn't much take after 'is old man, does 'e?" There's a bit of a smirk as the two watch the very young Hiro waddle over to the wrought iron table on the rooftop, hopping up to sit with his dark eyes solely focused on the game boy's screen.

"I wanted to say it was…I have no idea who that is." Hiro says in response to Kimi's question. He listens to the Englishman and supposes in a whisper, "You don't think it's a half-sibling we didn't know about do you?"

"Why would he give away his own child? I don't remember Mother being pregnant." Kimiko replies. "He's giving the baby to that man. Do you recognize him at all? I don't think we would be here if it wasn't important, but I don't know why it's important." She confesses after a moment, "I want to go find mother."

"I— I'm not much of a family man, mister Nakamura, I— " Practically stumbling over himself, Noah looks at the child as thought it were a saw-toothed shark ready to tear out his throat; wide eyed and fearful. Kaito's expression turns only mildly amused at the reaction, offering out the child somewhat forcibly into Noah's arms.

"You will learn," Kaito explains, as he pushes the child onto Noah, and the younger man awkwardly struggles to take the bundle of living, breathing human into his arms. He swallows, anxiously, looking back and forth from Kaito to the tiny girl with apprehension plastered across his face.

"If you have trouble, consider it your new assignment. You are to raise her as your own, keep watch over her, but understand that when the time comes — should she show signs of being special — you will hand her over to it." There's a very specific tone Kaito takes, one his children are intimately familiar with, the precision his voice takes on when giving an order, not a suggestion. Noah will hand the girl over, if Kaito has his way.

"You think e's got it in 'im?" The Brit asks with a shift of his weight towards the man at his side, "You've known 'im longer than I 'ave, Thompson. C'mon, you wanna' put a bet on it, eh?" There's a crooked smirk from the Brit as he leans up against the glass wall of the greenhouse, watching Noah awkwardly fumble with the baby from a safe distance.

"It's the Cheerleader…" whispers Hiro, eyes widening as he watches. "It's Claire Bennet. She's not his real daughter." He looks to Kimiko, the entire bit being a revelation to him. "She's the one that Sylar almost took. It would've made him invincible if he'd taken her ability. She does what Adam Monroe can do. Regenerates." It answers many questions really, yet raises others. So it is with any mystery.

Kimiko nods, peering. She's never met 'The Cheeleader', but she's heard about her, of course. She's practically a Jungian archetype at this point. She imagines it's more important for Hiro to see this than herself, but does note absently, "Your hair was absolutely terrible back then, wasn't it? Like a squirrel took up residence on top of your head." She smiles faintly and murmurs, "We can stay as long as you feel it necessary to watch, but I want to go see Mother."

Thompson, much like Noah Bennet, has a habit of seeming ageless. His hair is darker but still silver, less lines in his face, but still the same tendency to dress in sharp suits, much like the one he's wearing today. Arms have come to clasp his hands behind his back, which is rigid straight, and Thompson slants a look out the corner of his pale eyes towards the Englishman, aloof amusement written into his permanently fixed smirk. "He'll do what he's told," the silver-haired Company agent states, his voice smooth as steel, universal American accent to the other man's distinctive English. "I don't think we have to worry about him doing a bad job." But there's a certain angle in his tone that might imply there's something else to worry about.

The overheard words are not lost on the time traveller. His eyes light on Thompson and the Englishman briefly, frowning at their meaning. Nodding quietly, Hiro says, "I do too. Let's go." He reaches out for Kimiko's hand because physical contact always makes that easier. And then he Reaches through dimensions, betting on the most likely place to find the person they seek.

One moment the humidity of the greenhouse assails Kimiko's infirm senses, making her headache all the worse; the next moment the brief sensation of falling lands her in a large, white-painted dining room of an elaborate house. A rich, textured voice carries across the dining hall from an open pair of French doors that lead into a lavishly furnished living room. "…wanted to stop by and — I just wanted to get the chance to say goodbye." It's not a familiar voice, but a gentle one never the less.

Peering thorugh the partially open doors and the glass framing inside of them, Hiro and Kimiko spot a tall and dark-skinned man standing with his hands tucked into his pockets. "I wish… there was something we could do for you— something that Daniel could do for you, I just— " he hangs his head, moving to take a few steps across the room, revealing a woman slouched back against the sofa, resting on a stack of pillows on one elbow. Her dark hair falls to shoulder length, a streak of gray in it giving her a distinguished presence.

"Charles," there is no mistaking the voice of Ishi Nakamura, even after this long. "there is nothing you need to say, or do. You… have been a loving friend, through all these times. I do not feel fear, for what is coming, I only know that it will, and that it must. Daniel, he pushes himself too hard."

Charles Deveaux, a man Hiro and Kimiko met as but a young man decades ago, lowers his head and closes his eyes. "It's really hit him hard, not being able to help you." When he looks up, his shoulders slouch some. "It's cruel… having the ability you do, and what it does to you." His lips press together slightly, eyes averted to the side again.

"Charles, lean down…" Her brows crease together, and Charles looks momentarially confused, but does as Ishi says, figuring that she can't quite hear him. But when he leans down, all she does is ball her fingers up and tap on his forehead as if she were knocking on a door. He blinks, caught entirely off-guard by the gesture. "You worry too much…"

Where Hiro comes to stand, it's within earshot of the conversation. He has a concerned look for Kimiko, though. "Are you all right?" he mutters to her, leaning closer to his sister and squeezing the hand he's still holding. Of course he knows the cause of the discomfort. It's that stupid Formula she volunteered for, against his advice. And yet he allowed her. Private pangs of regret over difficult choices, doubts over respecting his sister's free will war within him. But he quashes those thoughts as best he can. Briefly a glance is given through the cracked doors to who he knows waits within.

Kimiko is just staring, tears in her eyes that having nothing to do with the flush of her skin. "It's Mama." she breathes softly, a hand coming to her mouth. Hiro, she's right there, we could reach out and touch her if we wanted…" She knows she shouldn't - they shouldn't, and yet right now she's never wanted something so much in her life.

Charles can't help but laugh as he leans in and wraps his arms around Ishi in a warm hug, her arms quickly wrapping around Charles as she returns the gesture, lightly pressing her lips to his cheek before their brief embrace disengages. "I hate to bring up business in all of this," Charles says with a hushed tone of voice, "but have you and Kaito made arrangements for the transfer of the Catalyst yet?" There's a rise of one dark brow as Charles asks the question, and Ishi's immediate response is a slow and patient nod of her head.

"I have," she states in a hushed tone of voice, "I… wanted to keep it in the family, keep it in our bloodline, but Kaito— " she closes her eyes, giving a slow shake of her head, "he feels it would be unwise." Her dark eyes meet Charles' and the silence that lingers between them for a moment asks a wordless question.

"He wishes to impart it to an infant, one he is entrusting to an agent of the Company. Her name is Claire." Charles glances over his shoulder, thankfully not in the direction of Hiro and Kimiko, but rather towards windows overlooking a rooftop garden. "That's surprising, I figured he would have wanted Hiro or Kimiko to— "

"One would figure," Ishi adds rather abruptly, and from her tone Charles takes some displeasure. He tenses, and nods once in response, slowly backing away with a bow of his head. "I did not mean to be sharp with you, Charles. I— I should probably rest. Do you think you could tell my husband to come once he is finished with mister Bennet?"

Nodding slowly, Charles takes a few steps away from Ishi, giving her a lingering look as he nods once more. "I will, of course." There's something difficult in his tone of voice as he turns away partly, then adds, "It… it's been wonderful, knowing you, Ishi." To this, she only smiles. To Charles, her smile is worth more than any word could be. And when he moves to leave the room thorugh a hallway opposite of the dining room, Kimiko slouches further against the sofa, looking weary.

To Hiro's mind, why shouldn't they? Ishi is, as Kimi says, Mama. He would trust his mother with knowledge of the future, particularly knowing that she won't taint it. Particularly knowing what a gift it would probably be to her to lay eyes on the man and woman her children become. If indeed it would be a gift. There is a shadow in Hiro's thoughts that wonders if he has become anything to be proud of at all.

His eyes steeled on Kimiko, he lets go of her hand and simply pushes the door the rest of the way open, striding into the room to behold Ishi and allow her to see him. There's to be no freezing of time. No displacement of dimensional perspective. This will be a clean, and natural, and honest meeting. Coming to stand before his mother, Hiro folds his hands in front of himself and stands there to be seen, allowing Ishi to react as she will.

Hopefully she won't make any surprised squeals.

Kimiko's mouth drops in surprise, and then she moves swiftly to catch up to Hiro, stepping slightly forward - only a mere footstep, ahead of him. And then of course, she's at a complete loss of what to say as she just stares at Ishi, drinking her in. The first time she's seen her mother since she died, and come to think of it…what day is today? She doesn't know. Hiro doesn't remember as much as she does, and she tries not to remember much. And she's wondering much as Hiro is, if she's amounted to anything worthy of being proud of. For lack of anything else to do or say, Kimiko bows low to her mother.

For a moment, Ishi's eyes languidly sweep over the pair as they emerge just moments after Charles has made his departure. One of her dark brows slowly rises as she sits up from the pillows, clearing her throat with a bit of a cough. "You…" she looks between the two for a moment, "must be the new servants my husband told me would be arriving shortly." Her eyes fall to the blade Kimiko holds sheathed at her side, a long and uncertain stare given to the sword. "Another for his collection?" She sighs, somewhat wistfully, "He will always be a boy with his swords," she motions to a door behind her, one Charles left through, "his collection is in that office. Could— one of you please be a dear and prepare me some lunch as well?"

There's a faint smile from Ishi as she relaxes back against the pillows, "I… am not feeling well as of late, and it makes trips out to the kitchen more difficult." As she speaks, a door opens to the dining room beyond, and Hiro's younger self quietly trundles through, weaving into the living room before pausing with wide eyes. He looks up at his older self, then over to Kimiko with an awkward little smile, dipping his head into a bow.

"Pardon me." Hiro murmurs, taking a step back before making his way towards a door that leads back out on to the roof. Ishi wrinkles her nose and blows a kiss quietly to young Hiro, smiling with a bittersweet expression as her focus turns back to the two new faces.

When younger Hiro enters, older Hiro puts a finger to his lips and shoes the boy away. He glances at Kimiko briefly and shares with her, "I don't remember that." His tone is academically curious. What does it mean? Did he just forget? Was it insignificant enough to forget? Or is it a signal of some deeper set of facts? Hard to really say, with time travel.

Stepping forward, Hiro claims a spot next to Ishi but leaves plenty of room for Kimiko to do the same. "Mother." he says with significant weight, "We miss you." Damn the rules, whatever rules there may be.

A parent will always recognize their child, no matter the distance lost in time, no matter the changes they have gone through. While it takes until those words are said for Ishi to be positive that the strange feeling in the pit of her stomach is truth, the look of an astounded but broad and gentle smile on her face makes this seemingly improbably meeting resonant with her. How and why are cast aside, for just the moment, when presented with the faces of both of her loving children.

The look on her face is that of instant recognition, despite the cruel trick it could be, her deisre to want to believe it is far more profound. A wordless, gasped smile spreads wider on her lips, eyes moistening from the sight of her children as she never believed she would ever see them. Her lips press together, tightly, and her mouth opens as she exhales a soft sound of contentment, holding out her arms as she rises in a slow, weak motion from the couch, touching her palms to Hiro's cheeks, looking in his eyes without so much as a sound. But he can see in her expression, see in her eyes, the happiness that consumes her at the sight of her son, a grown, strong man.

Then, looking past him, she focuses on Kimiko. Kaito's little girl, her beloved daughter, all grown up. It makes no sense to see this, and perhaps this is what it means to see the light before death, but as one hand moves from Hiro's cheek, it is held out towards Kimiko in beckoning gesture. "My darlings…" she practically breathes out the words in a whisper, and the rest of her words are swallowed by emotions, and the very obvious look on her face of how?

Kimiko folds like a paper fan. In mere seconds she's on her knees before the couch, her hands in her mother's lap. Thirty years old and a grown woman, her eyes fill with tears as she looks up into her mother's face. "Mama," she breathes, and it's all she can say. "Mama."

So long has it been since Hiro has been so profoundly happy. Though the meeting is bittersweet, it's the sweet that prevails this time and not the bitter. "It's us." he says in English, nodding even while he clears his throat and holding one of his mother's hands so as not to monopolize her from his sister. He switches back to Japanese, "I can travel time. How could I do that, and not bring us here to see you?" Because it's selfish, and reckless, and foolish, and all sorts of things. But most of all it is done out of Love.

Blinking back tears iin her eyes, Ishi reaches out to brush her palm across Kimiko's cheek as she comes down to sit on the sofa again. The emotional look in her eyes is swallowed back, neck muscles tensing as she looks up in wide-eyed wonder at her grown son, then looks in the direction his younger counterpart went. When she turns her focus back to Hiro, there is a look of absolute pride in her features as her fingers move up to run through his hair.

Then, grimacing softly, Ishi rolls her fingers against her palm and lightly knocks her knuckles on Hiro's forehead. "That you would squander such a gift on me is foolish and…" her lips press together tightly, "and sweet." There si a smile behind the required parental chastising. "You risk… you risk so much being here. Yet you came… just for me, I— your father would nor approve. He would understand, but he…" she hesitates on asking something. Perhaps that is why Kaito did not come back with them. Yes, that is the best and most comfortable answer.

"You should not be here," she has to whisper words that unwanted to be said, "but— " her eyes drift from Hiro to Kimiko and back again, "to see— to know you have both grown into such magnificent people. This— this is all I could wish for." She manages a hesitant smile, looking away from the two. "You… you should go, quickly." Something is biting into her mood, something grim and darkened on the edges of her perception. "It— it both a poignnent and unfortunate time you have chosen to arrive in. I— you should not be here." It kills her to say those words.

And as those words are said, the door to the roof opens again, and hastily. A young boy quickly rushing in, "Mamma, mamma!" Hiro. "Mama, the— the bird!" Eyes welling with tears, Hiro cradles a white bird in his hands, unmoving, "Mama it hit the window!" He jerks to a stop when he seesHiro and Kimiko there, the emotion painted in their eyes and his mothers. He backpedals, hesitating, but then Ishi only smiles to her young son, and leans away from the others to motion him over.

"Hiro," she beckons the boy forward, and he hesitantly, anxiously moves closer. Kimiko smiles, softly, and looks up to the others, "Do not worry, they are good friends." There's a subtle nod of her head as she takes the bird from Hiro's hands. Cradling it in her own gently. "Let your mother see…" she whispers, looking down to the poor, lifeless bird.

Closing her eyes, Ishi lifts the bird up to her lips, and presses a kiss to its head. Almost instantaneously, the bird's wings rustle and ruffle, cooing softly before flying out of her hands and into the kitchen. The young Hiro's eyes widen, and he rushes to his mother, protectively and perhaps a bit possessively throwing his arms around her waist.

"You did it mama!" He buries his face into her kimono, fingers curling into the soft fabric of the rose colored obi around her waist. "You did it."

It is poor timing indeed that a new voice breaks through. "Hiro?" Languid vowels negotiating around the consonants - that would be an American accent, strikingly familiar thanks to having only heard it a few moments ago. It echoes, a little, but distance is eaten up as someone moves into the room. "Didn't I just tell you not to disturb your-"

Thompson's appearance in the doorway is abrupt, having moved with instinctual lightness on his feet. His eyes aren't trained on Ishi and the young boy, but instead, they swivel to Kimiko, to Hiro, and the sheathed sword that the former is carrying. Suspicion is his job and it slams into place. "What's going on in here?"

By which he means, who the fuck are you?, but his voice is professionally polite if thinly veiling the true question.

Right. It appears someone's overstayed their welcome. Hiro looks at his younger self with quiet, and yet a sense of the utmost in Disturbed. Something is dreadfully wrong about this situation. Then it goes from that to even worse as Thompson, this guy bursts in. "It's nothing." he says, standing from Ishi and backing away one step. The key to this is seeming as if you belong here. Nothing is out of place. At all. "Mrs. Nakamura had instructions for us." he tells Thompson with a pokerface daring the other man to challenge his words.

Or to challenge him. Hiro's had quite enough of how embroiled his loved ones have been in all this wickedness and he's not in a mood to be pushed where his mother in concerned.

Kimiko rises from her crouch at Ishi's feet smoothly, and doesn't put a hand to the sword at her side. She simply puts her hands behind her back and waits to see if Thompson buys into Hiro's story. She'll act in accordance to Hiro's cues. If anything, Ishi can actually see the way her adult children act in concert with each other, a proud pair to hold the Nakamura name.

For all the older Hiro's strength, young Hiro shies away from Thompson as if he were the boogey man. Burying his face in his mother's kimono, Hiro hides himself from the big-bad man with the pearly white teeth and canned tan. Ishi, best as she can, maintains her composure, if not looking the slightest bit amused at the younger Hiro's reactions. "These two were performing some tasks for me at my husband's request." She nods her head subtle to them, then looks back to Thompson. "He did tell you the new servants were arriving today, yes?"

There's a faint grin on Ishi's lips, and she is able to suck back her emotions much the way Kaito can, adopting a stoic mask of gentle impassivity as a reflex. "You could, however," she lightly brushes her fingers through her young son's hair, "you could take Hiro back outside so he doesn't get in the way?"

Ishi's eyes flit over to the older Hiro, smirking slightly, before glancing back at Thompson. "It's nice of you to be so concerned, though, Eric. But please… not everyone needs to walk on glass around me. I— I'll be fine for a while yet." From the way she talks to him, it's clear Ishi treats the Company Man himself like a close friend.

Analytical, Thompson's gaze goes from one unknown-ly Nakamura to the next, as if judging expressions, posture, and only when his name is spoken does Thompson let his attention deviate back towards the matriarch. He draws himself into the room with a few sauntering steps, tension gone entirely or perhaps just not entering into the way he moves.

"I suppose your husband neglected to inform me, Mrs. Nakamura," he says, half-smile returning to his mouth. Old friend or not, the words fall formal from his mouth, although his voice has gentled somewhere along the way. "I was just making sure you were getting the peace you deserve.

"Hiro." That command directed, again, towards the boy rather than his older counterpart. "Come on, let's give your mom some privacy." And back to Ishi, he adds, "You take care." Spares some words that aren't strictly professional. She might even recognise how difficult that is for him to separate out - and he offers a hand out to the boy, to lead him away, only half expecting it to be taken.

Elder Hiro is quiet and narrow-eyed as soon as Thompson turns his back. And waits until he's sure they're alone again before he kneels back at Ishi's side. "Mother." he says, voice going back to tenderness even if there is a stutter in his attitude. Hard to go from I-Will-Destroy-You to I-Love-My-Mommy in one breath. "Tell us about this Catalyst, please? There's trouble in our time. The Formula…it's at the center of so much evil. It was born in so much evil…"

Before young Hiro moves away, Kimiko reaches out, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder. She bends and whispers something into his ear, something just for him, that only he can hear. "//You don't need to be afraid of that man. When you grow up, you will be best and bravest warrior. You have a destiny. Always believe it."/ She gives her younger younger brother a certain, reassuring smile, and then, once he and Thompson have departed, she kneels once more at her mother's feet, reaching out to take Ishi's hand. She can't help herself.

Young Hiro wrinkles his nose and shies away, until Kimiko's words of course, urge him to take Thompson's hand with a sense of confidence. His eyes look up at the woman, smile small and humble as he nods almost dutifully to her, letting Thompson lead the pair out onto the roof again. However, just beyond the doorway, Kaito is lingering with Bennet and the very young Claire. Somehow, the silent Brit has disappeared from the meeting on the roof, which — knowing him — isn't that much of a surprise.

"Mister Thompson," Kaito states with a nod of his head as Eric emerges from the sitting room. "I take it my wife is… doing well?" One dark brows rises slowly, as he glances down with mild disapproval to Hiro. Noah seems a bit awkward amidst all of this, casting a side-long stare to Kaito.

While inside, Ishi watches the conversation with her husband through the curtained windows. Her focus turns back to Kimiko and Hiro after a moment, lips pressed together in a stern expression. "The Formula is your birthright," she states firmly, as if somehow taking an affront to the terms Hiro has connected with it. "It is only as evil as the men who wield it. It is like a sword, it may be born to spill blood, but it is only those who wield it with that intention that turn it into a killing instrument."

Some of Kimiko radiates through Ishi's persona, the strength covering up her body's weakness. "The… Catalyst," she frowns, "I loathe the term. I know it only as the Light," her dark eyes flit up to Hiro, then Kimiko. "It is mine, and I hold it in my heart, and in my soul. It brings life to what is lifeless." First Francois, and now… it's a strange coincidence. "The light is life. It is not evil, Hiro." Her brows furrow, and Ishi leans back against the sofa slowly. "The Formula is safeguarded by your father. Ever since…" she glances quickly to Kaito's proximity by the door, then back to Hiro. "The plans for the Formula were cut short. There was an…" she cannot lie to her children. "There was a terrible decision we had to make. Lives… we lost. We realized the Formula was too much, and your father has agreed to safeguard it since."

Small child delivery. Thompson releases the child's hand once he emerges on the rooftop, and there's no lingering half-smile, now. Perhaps the Company man regrets playing babysit in any capacity. A gentle urge, though, is given - a light brush to the back of Hiro's head to gesture him away to go and— play video games, or whatever kids do.

A steely gaze is focused on Kaito, an eyebrow lifting. "She's fine, Mr. Nakamura," he says, a hand up to smooth down his tie in a singular, stroking motion. "She's talking with the new servants that were brought in today, carrying out some tasks at your request."

The question is obvious and the suspicion is back to the forefront, written into the angles of his expression and posture, as he gives the other man a flat look. Bullshit? Not bullshit? Should I be shooting something, because I will. Nothing that needs to be said when you have this man as your boss, facts distributed and waiting for confirmation.

Immediately Kaito raises one dark brow, and then looks in to the windows to see Kimiko standing with two strangers he cannot quite make out the details of. His lips downturn into an very stern frown as his nostrils flare and he motions for Noah and the baby to move back, "Noah, take Hiro somewhere safe." His fingers on his free hand curl into a tight fist, weathered knuckles turning white as his dark eyes flick up to Thompson.

"Bring me my sword."

Oh hell no. This is getting to be too much. Hiro knows that the answers his father was so infuriatingly unwilling to share will flow from his mother, now and for the most fleeting of moments within their grasp.

But fleeting moments can be made to last, can they not?

With one deliberate motion Hiro lays a hand on Kimiko's arm and on Ishi's, and wills them into that space between heartbeats.

"Mother, we need to know. Father would not tell us. We. Asked." Hiro's proving at least that he has backbone. "I'm going to destroy it Mother." And no he didn't discuss this with Kimiko or anyone else, but it's a decision he's made in his heart before now, "Unless you can explain to me, please, why I shouldn't. It Ruins Everything It Touches."

Kimiko does not seem alarmed as they shift into Stopped Time. Turning to Ishi, she says softly, "Mother…Arthur Petrelli has the Formula. He used Adam Monroe - Takezo Kensei - to take it, and Father - ", she takes a breath, but she doesn't care, she knows her mother's time is near, "He killed Father for it. We need answers desperately, Mother. We can get it back, but we need to understand."

Ishi's expression turns dire at Hiro's words, his lips pressing into a tight look of discontent and uncertainty, "The Formula is hope, Hiro. It— it is hope that it can be a unifying bond between the people born with gifts, and those without. A sign of armistice and understanding, a sign of a future where we do not need to be hidden, when the world can know about us, and we can share our gifts with them all." Oh, how Ishi would be horrified to know what the dream of her children's future has become.

"It will one day be your birthright to determine what happens to the Formula, Hiro. Until the day your father is gone, it will not be your choice. You cannot take this responsibility from him, until it is yours to make. Then, and only then can you truly decide what is right."

Truly, Kimiko is her mother's daughter, in the strength that Ishi shows even on the threshold of death's door. "When I pass on the Light, to Claire, I will pass on the hopes and dreams of the future I wish to hold, to a new generation." As much as she wishes it to be otherwise, Ishi has at least come to terms with the decision, "and in doing so I will pass on my very life to her. It— it is a decision I do not make lightly. Do not make light of my sacrifice."

Now that they have something like privacy, and something like time, and something like progress, Hiro does something like listen. There were so many words on the tip of his tongue and there was so much to say. In the end he only asks, "Tell us how it works? What is the role of the life-kami in the Formula's function?"

Stop the Formula? Can't happen. Not at this point anyway. Destroy it? He's still thinking that over.

Kimiko is absolutely appalled. "Mama, no…" she pleads, even though she knows that what's done, will be done. She wants to beg Ishi not to leave them alone, in the cold house of their father that Kimiko knows is going to come. But she quiets, knowing that information about the Formula is important. And the decision is Hiro's.

A weak, distraught look comes over Ishi at Kimiko's words, eyes casting to the side. "Without the Light, the Formula is nothing but red liquid. It is the heart of all things impossible," But Ishi's eyes soon wander back to Kimiko, then to Hiro, brows furrowed together. So many questions, but it is clearly not the time to ask, but the time to do what her husband would not — could not do. "The Light ignites the flames of creation in the Formula. Without it, and without the one who bares it's power, the Formula can do nothing. In some small irony, our power is required to make those unlike us, like us. But it is not without its side-effects…"

Suddenly, Kimiko's stomach sinks into her knees.

"The Formula has always, always been unstable. When we first began the experiments decades ago, we would not know just how unstable. It was not until the late 1980s that we became aware that those injected would suffer ill side effects sometimes years after injection. Some… some were horrifyingly fatal. Others suffered severe mental trauma due to their abilities, we were playing as God."

Ishi narrows her eyes, turning her head downs lowly as her lips press together. "To… keep the secret, once the plan was put in place, the scientists who helped administer and develop it were… the entire laboratory in Hartsdale where it was researched was destroyed in a terrible explosion. One of our own, a man named Arthur Petrelli, ordered the execution of all of the lab technicians. He forced their children to be sent into foster care of other agents of the Company, in order to observe and safeguard them. But he demanded that the Formula never be used again… but that we keep knowledge of it, in the event it was ever needed again. So… so many lives were lost, because of it. And yet, I cannot call it evil. It is we who failed."

This is the part where Hiro fixes Kimiko with the I Told You So look. Mention the Formula's hand inside of Kimiko? In front of their mother? Out of the question. Hiro just won't do it. But neither can he avoid giving his sister that look, equal parts concern and judgment. He instantly regrets the judgment, because just as soon as he notices it he turns it on himself. HE should've stopped Kimi, saved her from herself in that regard.

And yet Ishi's words tug at Hiro's perceptions and he only mutters dully, "Arthur Petrelli is playing you for fools, Mother. He is an evil man, as is his predecessor. And nothing touched by the hand of Kazimir Volken is good."

There's that sinking feeling, and Kimiko somehow finds herself unable to look Hiro in the eye. She is flooded with shame and guilt, but suprisingly, not fear. "Stupid." she whispers. "I am so stupid. I wanted so -badly- to be like you and Father and Hiro…" Her hand goes to her sleeve, tugs it up. The band-aid's fallen off, but healed over scab of the pinprick is still there. "I'm so sorry, Mama. I'm so sorry." She curls her arm inward, turns away, head bowed. Hiro is right. How can the Formula bring all the things you speak of if it does all these horrible things to people? Better it be destroyed." What Hiro now has to go through because of her…she's so ashamed.

"Arthur is a good man at heart, Hiro." Ishi's eyes narrow slightly, perhaps defensively, at Hiro's words. "He has always been a good man as long as I have known him," she rests a hand over her chest, breathing tightly before looking back up to Hiro. "Every Evil in the world, no matter how large or small, always has a starting point… a period where the table turns from a man with a kind heart, to a monster. But even then, every monster has its reasons for being." Ishi looks out the window, to her husband frozen in time, then back to Hiro. "Your father has done things that many would consider evil, for the better of the world. Will you judge him so?"

Steely and strict, Ishi glances down to her lap, fingers curling in the fabric of her kimono. "If you feel that Arthur has become such an evil in your time," your time seems so emphasized without so much as a change of inflection, "than you should bear witness to what turned him into such a monster, so that you may understand him better. As your father would say, know thy enemy."

Straightening her back, Kimiko arches a brow and looks to Hiro uncertainly. "Or would you pass judgment on a man without knowing his sins? Without being in his shoes?" Her expression softens some, pleading and gentle. "Try, Hiro. Use this great gift you have been given… try and see."

Hiro's countenance starts off grim because of what passes unsaid between he and Kimiko, though his sister did the speaking. He looks to his Mother though, and doesn't shy from her. It's not that he doesn't value her words greatly because he most certainly does, but he knows what he's seen. And he knows what has been put before him. "Very well, Mother. You have given us our next mission." He bows his head then, stoic in a way he was not when he got here. "Thank you for your guidance."

When Ishi makes no remark upon her daughter's indication that she's taken the Formula, Kimiko gets her act together, swallows her tears, and says stoically, "We never got to say goodbye to you, Mother. We were children, we did not know what was going on. May we say goodbye to you?"

There is a sudden tightness to the corners of Ishi's eyes, eyes that linger on the pinprick scar on Kimikoi's forearm, still reddened from the injection. She knows the mark well, but like Kaito, she bides her disapproval in silence, because she does not know the length and breath of all things questioned. "No," Ishi states rather emphatically, stepping forward to rest a hand to Kimiko's cheek after rising from the sofa, her other arm coming to wrap around Hiro, "no you may not…"

Pressing her lips to Kimiko's cheek, there is a sudden sensation of tingling, of warmth that passes through her daughter, eyes lidded shut. As Ishi draws her son into the embrace, her words are hushed, a soft breath of words pressed to the ether. "Not until your mother say goodbye to her children…"

In all of this, all that Hiro can say to his mother anymore is, "I love you so much." With Kimiko in the embrace, he says it again with an amendment. "Both of you." Let Kimiko never forget that. But as all good-byes must happen, this one is best handled suddenly. "Mother, sit back down when you're ready. Father and the others will come in. They'll have questions."

Kimiko kisses her mother's cheek, breathes in her smell, and promises herself she will never, ever forget it. "We love you, Mama. I love you." She stands in the embrace of her family, allowing at least one fleeting moment of wishing that even Kaito, their stern father, was here with them, but accepting what is as what must be. Then she steps back and moves to Hiro's side, a hand going to the hilt of her katana. She more or less expects Hiro to move them swiftly enough, but just in case…

Breathing softly into a kiss to Hiro's forehead next, Ishi nods softly and leans back, looking at her two children, a hand on each of their cheeks. "Do the best you can," she whispers to them both, "I love you, and I am so… so proud of you both." She won't cry, not now, perhaps not at all before her time comes. But the tears she wants to shed aren't out of regret, or remorse, or sadness — they are out of happiness. She has truly, and honestly, lived a full life to see her children so grown up and matured.

As she eases back to the couch and moves to sit, her eyes focus on Hiro one last time, teeth pressing down into her lower lip before her focus turns to Kimiko. Then, those last few words come with the utmost difficulty, more than anything else she has ever had to say to them before in her life.


As soon as Ishi sits back down, the world seems to go back to normal. The birds move (and die in their appointed time). The ambient sounds of the building and the city outside carry. Only two things are changed.

One, there is no Hiro or Kimiko standing there anymore. Or at least not their adult versions. Those people are gone from this place.

Two, there is a very nice tray with a tasteful and lovingly prepared lunch laid out for Ishi's enjoyment. The 'servants' she was speaking to carried out her one request with the utmost of tender attention.

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