Forever in Infamy


delilah_icon.gif miguel_icon.gif monica_icon.gif nia_icon.gif niel_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif rhys_icon.gif

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Scene Title Forever in Infamy
Synopsis What happened on November 8th, 1984?
Date February 15, 2020

It should be dinnertime at the Cambria Household. There should be a fiancé setting the table, there should be children washing their goddamn dirty little hands. There should be the smell of a fresh-cooked meal wafting through the air as the sun sets outside. But there isn’t.

Not today.

Outside, the Safe Zone is weathering one of the worst snow storms of the year. It isn’t particularly windy, though. There’s no urgency to this storm, just enormous flakes falling steadily over darkened roads. The dim glow of street lights outside casts a jaundiced hue over the snow, and Raquelle Cambria’s muted reflection in the front window shows the patterns of concern cut into his face. Most of Raquelle’s family isn’t here for dinner because he sent them away for the night. Because, in spite of the storm, he’s expecting other company.

“A watched pot never boils,” Miguel says as he emerges from the kitchen. “I put on a fresh pot of coffee, your friend will probably be cold.” Approaching his son, Miguel looks out the same bay windows at the front of the brownstone, watching the snow gather on parked cars outside.

“You know,” Miguel says with a smile, “when you were little I took you sledding once. You got snow down the back of your pants, cried the whole way home. Hated it.” There’s rawness in Miguel’s voice, empathy, and also hope. There was so much of his life with Raquelle that was taken from him, save for a few fleeting bits the Company didn’t steal from him.

Miguel hopes that, perhaps, tonight would shed more light on all of that.

Cambria Rodriguez-Smith Residence
Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

February 15th
6:17 pm

“So he came to you too?”

Outside of Raquelle’s house, just a little ways down the street, Rhys Bluthner walks with his hands tucked into his pockets and scarf pulled up to his nose. The heavy snow falls gently, blanketing the shoulders of his black pea coat. At his side, Monica Dawson follows alongside her grandmother Nia.

“Oh, he came alright.” Nia says with a hint of exasperation in her tone. “I’d just put a roast in the oven and this old white boy appears out of nowhere like I’m Ebenezer Scrooge.” She clicks her tongue and shakes her head. “Tells me I need to go out with my granddaughter on a night like this. If I catch a death of cold, I’m gonna haunt him and see how he likes it.”

“I was in the bathroom.” Comes from behind Rhys, where Niel Trafford raises one hand with an awkward smile. “I was just, y’know, doing what’s done and in comes my da’.” He grimaces, looking over awkwardly to his own daughter at his side. “I may’ve yelled. A lot.”

They’d all received a call. Walter Renautas was gathering the children together, the parents, the grandparents. He was looking for answers to a decades-old mystery, one that involved the three families here and the generations they represent. All save for Rhys.

“I think I know why he came for me,” Rhys says as he comes up the steps to Raquelle’s house, knocking on the front door. “But I figure we’ll find out soon enough.”

"On behalf of my entire family tree, I'm sorry." Delilah is a few long strides behind her father, still stuffing her phone into the sling bag she carries. Just in time, she caught up in time to hear Niel and get his sheepish expression. The apology seems to stand for Walter as well, insofar as he's the reason for the season. Her hair is half pinned back, snow speckling on the red down her shoulders.

"Ms. Dawson, if you catch cold I'll personally bring you as much soup as you can handle." For all that Dee's manner is sparky- - she does care. Even Monica should know that. Brown eyes settle on the back of the young agent at the Cambria doorstep, contemplating the reasons for Rhys' presence too. She doesn't know him save by name. He's an outlier.

"Do you know how good my Nana's roast is? Do you know how long it's been since I had any?" Monica laments her lost dinner and old white boys in general. "You know Manny's gonna forget to take it out of the oven on time, too…" Her worst fear, even if it's not an accurate representation of the man in question.

She's wrapped up against the weather, but doesn't actually seem to mind being out in it. And while she does have her complaints, she also doesn't mind the break from Deveaux Society business. It's been a hard week, full of worries and dashed hopes. She's not sure this mystery will turn out any better, but at least it's different.

"He needs to know something only you can find," Monica says to Rhys— that's her guess as to why he's been summoned with the rest of them. They can't hope for the right pennies with the right memories to fall into the right hands. They need people with unique insights.

There’s a slightly paler, taller, and well dressed version of Miguel with a healthy mix of his mother’s genetics creating the essence that is Raquelle. The hairdresser stands there, looking out the window, with his arms folded over his chest. Soft black knit sweater, fitted dark jeans, and the right accessories make up his armor as he moves a hand to his lips, resisting the urge to nibble on a glossy black nail. “That is why I have a goddamn rice cooker, Papa.” He drawls softly in response to the comment about boiling.

He’s been on edge for hours, speaking less than he usually does, remaining mindful of his emotions and trying to keep them out of his voice. His own anxiety swirls like shallow pools of water ebbing and flowing with the tide of uncertainty. His make-up done impeccably as another layer of ‘armor’ so to speak. His ‘warpaint’, eyeliner on point. There’s a twitch at his lips and flicker of complex emotions in his eyes at the sledding story. “Snow’s a bitch.” He offers softly.

There is a long pause before he continues. “I love you, Papa.” Then he glances towards the front door. “I hope I put out enough courtesy slippers…because we just recently cleaned these carpets.”

When Raquelle answers the door, Rhys offers an apologetic smile and a raise of his brows. “It’s a lot,” he whispers quickly before saying, “Thanks for having us here,” in a much more audible tone of voice. Rhys walks inside and sheds his scarf, knowing precisely where to hang both it and his coat, while taking his shoes off as a wordless demonstration to the other guests to also do the same.

Nia Dawson steps in next, and the moment that Miguel sees her Raquelle hears a hitch in the back of his throat. He brings up a hand to cover his mouth, then brings a hand up to his face and wipes at his eyes. “Why— I’m— sorry I’m an emotional wreck? I don’t know why.”

Nia, likewise, looks heartbroken when she sees Miguel. Something, somewhere, deep down inside of her recognizes him. She uses the side of her thumb to dry her eyes and steps in and out of the way, taking her time with her coat and scarf.

“Raquelle,” Rhys says, “this is Nia Dawson, Monica’s grandmother. Nia, this is Miguel Cambria, Raquelle’s father.” Nia nods slowly, looking at Raquelle with a fond smile.

“I remember you,” she says gently. “You were that warm voice on the radio when I was in the camps, telling us everything would be okay. You’re a sweet, sweet young man.” Nia smiles sadly, hanging up her coat. “You gave all of us there hope.”

Coming in the door next is Delilah and her father, who looks at Raquelle with an awkward, rosy-cheeked smile before turning his attention to Miguel. Niel squints, angling his head to the side. “I— do… have we met? Did you come t-to the uh, the ah,” he points behind himself, “the um— the— the hospital?”

Miguel swallows audibly, shaking his head. “No,” is barely audible. “No I… I don’t think so but you’ve— you’ve got one of those faces.” He says with a sad smile, not realizing why his heart hurts so much. “I’ve never— ”

“You have,” Rhys says, grave seriousness in his voice, looking between everyone gathered with pupils as wide as saucers. “You all have met each other before today.”

Now, Rhys understands.

Even before any words hit the air, Delilah can feel the shift; something like an instinct, perhaps, the way it crinkles at her brow. Her arm is through Daniel's as they enter; Raquelle gets the most sheepish of smiles. Working together affords them a good measure of familiarity.

Delilah is there to help her father with his coat, and as distracted as he is she can make sure his balance keeps. Brown eyes flicker to Rhys when he speaks, catching the depth of his eyes and the purpose in his voice. She knows she has so many pieces of this puzzle, though in other ways. Maybe he can see that too, however it is that he sees.

"He's right," Done helping Niel, her own coat and shoes shed with more swiftness. Delilah keeps him within arms' reach. "It was a long time ago… Do you remember grandad's trip, the last time…? With Walter." The bad time. Her words are soft, tentative as she looks between the lot of them. Lastly to the SESA agent, a guarded expression worn firmly. "Let's sit and get our heads on first."

Monica watches Rhys remove his shoes and she lets out a soft sigh. She has an outfit going on here. Can't just remove a part. But. She does, slipping out of her boots and keeping her grumbles to herself. Her grandmother distracts her, though, as seeing her upset brings Monica to her side immediately. She helps with her coat, taking a few moments to give her a reassuring hug. She's here, whatever this meeting brings.

She looks over at Rhys, her head tilting as he explains. Her finger points between Niel and Miguel. "They had their memories erased, too," she says, "Dear old grandfather."

She's not sure how she feels about this plan they all played out. She understands why they did it— but from her point of view, all it did was leave the world with no knowledge of their enemy and little time to figure it all out.

When the door opens, and the guests start trickling in it is the saintly forewarning from Rhys about it being ‘alot’ that modifies his initial greeting from the profane ridden squint of judgement it could be. No, instead they get a polite nod/dip of his head as Raquelle moves forward to offer to take coats and gesture towards the courtesy slippers. There’s a smile that doesn’t quite reach his eyes, hint of strain as he looks from person to person. “…well damn, if I’d known it was a creepy version of my father’s highschool reunion I would’ve hired a DJ.” Is finally the cordial (?) drawl.

He gestures towards the living room, bowing once more and taking a deep breath. “Um. I guess come and have a seat? I’ve got snacks. And like. Coffee.” He looks from person to person, moving past Rhys to offer him a gently shoulder bump, looking him over questioningly before turning to Nia and pressing his hands together with a respectful nod. “Hey, I was born with a big mouth. I was just trying to do something good with it.”

He takes a deep breath. “This is awkward as fuck. So uh, I’m going to go get the coffee and you all make yourselves at home.” Then turns to quickly head for the kitchen.

As Raquelle turns for the kitchen, the final guest of the night presents himself without fanfare or so much as a knock on the door, as if he’d come in with the winter breeze. Standing between Raquelle and the kitchen, Walter Renautas looks as much as he had on their last encounter at the diner. The white-haired old man lifts his chin up to Raquelle, then smiles a greeting before looking over his shoulder, realizing he’d appeared in the middle of Raquelle’s way.

“Please,” Walter says, stepping aside and gesturing toward the kitchen, “far be it from me to deny a host his duties to his guests.” His attention pivots from Raquelle to the recently-arrived group, fixing a look on Delilah and Niel most pointedly.

“Da’,” Niel says, still having a hard time handling all of this. Miguel offers Niel a look, then reassuringly places a hand on his shoulder as though he’d done it a thousand times before. He only realizes how intimate the gesture is after it’s happened, but some subconscious part of him knows it’s right and the hand stays steady and sure.

“We’ve met,” Miguel says of Walter, eliciting a look from Nia.

“You’d do well to learn yourself some manners, Mr. Renautas,” Nia says with a hint of sarcasm in her tone, discreetly reaching out for Monica’s flesh-and-blood hand at the same time, squeezing it for her own reassurance. “Now you owe us all an explanation.”

“I do,” Walter says, slowly raising his hands in feigned surrender as Rhys makes his way to the front of the group. “But unfortunately not all of us are here yet.” Rhys’ brows pinch together, a furtive look fired over the family members gathered together, then back to Walter in wordless query. The knock that comes to the door causes Rhys to nearly jump out of his skin.

Delilah knew she liked Nia for a reason, and her nip at Renautas seems to only remind her. Miguel earns himself a grateful little look from Niel's daughter, even if the man himself doesn't seem so certain. It's obvious Delilah knows where she's going in this house. Enough to have started herding people into the den.

"What do you mean not all of us are h- -" Rhys isn't the only one to jolt. Dee does too, though she looks considerably more outwardly irritated about it. Sounds like it too, when she channels Raquelle. Her hands are thrown up and she immediately heads for the door. "Okay, okay, one bloody more then, I guess." Sorry, Raq, but she is answering your door.

When Delilah opens the door, there’s a young woman in a winter coat standing awkwardly on the stoop. “I’m… sorry?” She says uncertainly. It’s only in that moment that Delilah notices a much older woman sitting in a wheelchair on the sidewalk, snow collecting in her graying hair. “Is— is this the Cambria residence?” There’s a look of worry in the young woman’s eyes.

“I— my name is Merry. Merry Rafferty” the young woman says, “I work at a Special Needs shelter. I— someone… came by my office, he— ” Merry struggles with her words, tears starting to well up in her eyes. “He said there was someone here who might know our Jane Doe?” She must mean the older woman in the wheelchair, who stares ahead with unblinking eyes. “Her family? Or— I… I don’t know, I just want to try and help.”

"OhmygodI'msosorryIthought- -!" Delilah has only enough time to be mortified and squeak out a blur of words.

Monica returns the squeeze from Nia and gives her a reassuring smile. Everything will be fine. Of course, she does not mention her own readiness if things are not fine. At least she didn't put a knife in her boots, that could have been embarrassing. She sighs when she sees Walter there and casts a suspicious look at the door.

While Merry explains who she and her companion are, Monica looks over at Renautas, her eyebrow lifted. She's not entirely sure what his game is yet, but she's betting it's not arranging tearful reunions out of the goodness of his heart. "Merry, why don't you both come in, it's too cold to stand out there." Double sorry, Raq, she's inviting people into your house. "We were all just gonna have some coffee."

“JESUS * *ing ** on a ***.” Raquelle lets out a startled jumble of explicatives in multiple languages as he presses a hand to his chest. He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes for a moment. There is a long pause before he swallows and takes a few steps into the kitchen after Walter moves. He almost collapses/leans against a counter when in there though.

When he’s returning with a set of mugs on a tray and the caddy with fixings and such on it, he glances towards the front door with a furrow of his brow. Coffee service and caddy are set up on the coffee table as he gives his father a chin-up, passing on the further hosting services there so he can see to his front door.

Which is already opened and…the words that drift through to his ears cause his lashes to flutter as he tentatively makes his way towards the front door. He’s helped people before like this, wheelchairs and all, even though his house isn’t ramped. The hairdresser just offers softly. “I can lift her, if someone wants to get the wheelchair in?” He is not acknowledging the family thing just yet.

“I can help,” Merry says, moving to help Raquelle move the wheelchair inside of the apartment. Rhys waits by the doorway, not able to get a good look at who it is outside. But as Merry and Raquelle take the rail-thin woman’s chair in hand and ease it up the stairs, Rhys turns a tense stare over to Renautas.

Walter, to his credit, merely watches as some of the group helps the woman in the wheelchair inside. In all of the commotion, her head tilted with chin down and eyes partly lidded. Her gray-streaked auburn hair hangs in front of her long face. Rhys looks at the back of her head, then circles around the wheelchair. It’s only once he’s halfway around that he sees Miguel has a hand clapped over his mouth in shock. Niel, too, looks like he’s seen a ghost.

When Miguel lowers his hand from his face, he creeps over to the wheelchair. His attention is divided between the older woman and Merry. “How— where—”

“She’s been at our shelter since the war ended,” Merry says with a hitch of emotion in her voice. “A Jane Doe that was found living in a tenement building when the Safe Zone was reclaimed. The Military Police who found her said she was living with caretakers who never returned. We don’t know how long she was alone for.”

Miguel takes a knee in front of the wheelchair, tears welled up in his eyes. Niel doesn’t get so close, but instead takes Delilah’s hand and squeezes it tightly.

“Hey, chica,” Miguel says, lifting a hand to the woman’s cheek. Her eyes do not focus or move. He brushes his thumb against her cheek, tilting her head up just enough to get a look in her wide, blue eyes. Miguel’s jaw begins to tremble. “I hear we were friends,” he says in a shaky whisper, moving his hand to thread a lock of hair behind her ear.

“It’s nice to meet you.”



Doing her part in the most apologetic way she can muster, Delilah makes sure that there's nothing in their path on the inside. She lets her hair hide her face for a few moments as she does so, still wholly embarrassed. When she looks up to see both Daniel and Miguel in a state, Dee is right there when the former fumbles for her hand.

She asserts her presence with a comforting squeeze in return. It's alright.

"Oh," Delilah's hand gets just a little tighter as she whispers to herself. So similar to what happened to Niel- - placed, forgotten, unknown. "You poor thing…"

And Miguel knows her name. Bits and pieces of her grandfather's slideshows come back, and she turns her head to look past her father's shoulder to the phantom waiting there. The ire from before has dissipated from those doe-eyes. Whatever her own inconveniences, it's not really about that. It's about this last… little piece.

Focusing on the task at hand, Raquelle is busy helping to maneuver the chair inside along with Merry. He sucks his teeth in sympathy/empathy when the mention of her being alone and such filters into his range of things he is listening to. It is not until he gets a better look at the woman and hears his father that there is a soft gasp from the hairdresser as well.

A flicker of vulnerability appears in his eyes like a crack in his perfectly painted porcelain facade before he sets the jaw he’s inherited genetically from his father and just stares, watching the two interact. He takes a couple of steps back though, allowing the older generation this reunion of sorts.

Monica finds another place to look while the emotional reunion continues. She never was very good with displays and even less so since the war. She'd so much rather handle this with a joke or a drink. Or both.

"Raquelle," she says as she slides up next to him, "you don't happen to keep whiskey in the house, do you?" Since she senses that it's not likely the best time for humor, she's hoping for the other option. "Maybe we can spice up the coffee a little. Mine, at least," she says with a crooked smile. Because she can't help it, really. The more tears threaten and fall in the room, the more she feels the urge to disappear out a window.

She would have already done so if her own grandmother wasn't involved.

“I apologize, Ms. Raffety,” Renautas says to Merry. It’s only then that she sees the old man, covering her mouth with one hand in disbelief. The old man who’d led her here. There’s a look of confusion on her face, and as she looks down to Cindy and Miguel, she doesn’t know how to parse all of this.

“Perhaps, Ms. Rafferty, you could fulfil Ms. Dawson’s request?” Renautas says, approaching and indicating a hand at the small of her back without touching her. “We need a few private moments, and I assure you your life will be much better if it is spent procuring Spirits for after this reunion has ended.”

Merry looks around the room, to faces both familiar and not. Raquelle Cambria is, in some respects, a household name thanks to his role in the Civil War. Seeing him here, knowing that this is all somehow connected is nearly too much for her. Merry swallows audibly, following Renautas’ gesture toward Raquelle’s kitchen. “If you would, I’ll come get you when we’ve had our moment.”

Nia Dawson watches that exchange, but can’t help feel a sense of strange nostalgia and deja vu being in the room. She watches Miguel and Cindy’s exchange, then rests a hand on Monica’s shoulder before turning toward Renautas. “What is all this about, Mr. Renautas?”

Renautas waits until Merry has closed the kitchen door before turning to look back at Nia, then the others gathered. “It isn’t merely about reunions, though… that was a want of mine.” Sighing, the old time-traveler folds his hands behind his back and shakes his head.

“This is all about the past.” Renautas says quietly, somberly. “What feels like an eternity ago, I set out on a mission to uncover the truth about a piece of history lost in the erasure of memories and the destruction of countless lives through memory alteration. You all, in your own ways, were party to these events and now your children and grandchildren face an identical threat.”

Renautas sighs through his nose, then looks down at the floor. “Based on all of my investigations, those of you I’ve gathered here were either central to that conflict or are the descendants of those who were. This is… not an easy situation to explain, and you all hold a corner of the larger tapestry yet to unveil.”

“But history has been redacted to hide the truth, and I believe it was not done to protect us from the unknowable, but also to ensure that we do not know how to defend ourselves against a threat the likes of which only fairy tales speak of.” Renautas slowly approaches the group, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks.

“With you all, here, together… I can finally bring us back to that exact moment. The moment in which the world was saved and lost in a single moment. I can find the truth that had been hidden from us all this time,” Renautas says with a look around the room, “and provide you all with closure on the lives that had been stolen from you.”

Renautas looks over to Miguel, who slowly rises to stand beside Cindy, looking at Raquelle with tension in his jaw.

“Will you go on one last journey with me?” Renautas asks.

Merry is given a passive smile as she is ushered out by a ghost- - it's probably very, very new to her, given these initial minutes. Delilah's mouth creases and flattens as Renautas goes over his intentions, his goals, some of what this may entail. The idea of an existential threat isn't a new one, though too often it is relegated to comic books; she knows only what others have told her, but the long and short of it skirted around this intangible topic. Save for Eve, in her own way of babbling the important parts. Others, with piecemeal information. At least she won't have to abide by an NDA.

So far.

"…What else is there to do but jump?" Delilah's wondering is out loud, a question to the room as well as her grandfather. It also serves as confirmation, at least for her. And the way he says it- - the last- - what happens to the senior Walter after that? After they get what they came for? She'd moved on once before. For her father and grandfather. Having them both, in a way, it's surreal enough to worry at the back of her mind.

When Monica approaches Raquelle with that question, as she says ‘whiskey’ he preemptively fills in the blank, overlapping her request with, “Weed?” A long pause. “Oh. Right. Whiskey, yeah.” Because all of this is blowing his mind. But he is still nodding quickly as Merry is instructed to head to the kitchen.

Taking the time to be good host, he directs her to where the various things are, and also procures a magazine of some sort for her.

The hairdresser returns to the main room, finding a wall within direct line of sight of his father, and he leans. Arms folded over his chest and an expression almost mirroring his father’s, he just turns his gaze towards Renautus and gives a small nod. “Might as well.” He mimes checking a watch. “This may have taken years to work out but bitch we ain’t got all day.” There is no venom in the drawl though, it is almost teasing…almost as he gives the time warping ghost of dragons past a chin-up and shoots his father a wink.

"Weed would hit the mark, too," Monica says with a wry chuckle. She might normally not condone such things in front of her Nana, but this is a special occasion. She can wait for a drink, though, especially as Walter starts to explain his purpose here.

It gets her attention.

"I have to agree," she says with a sweep of her hand, "trying to figure out how to handle this particular threat has been far more complicated with everyone's memories gone. It feels deliberate. And telling people that the more you know the more powerful it becomes? I don't buy it. It fits the narrative too well. And happens to have left everyone completely unprepared with little hope of catching up. That only benefits it. The Dragon." There's a glance around the room, because she's honestly not sure how much anyone knows about it, but she's looking for any recognition in the others. "If you can show us what really happened, it could go a long way to helping us prepare."

Renautas’ expression is a distant one, uncertain and more opaque than usual. Niel sees the look in his father’s eyes, pulling his attention away from Cindy to put more scrutiny on it. He doesn’t voice his suspicion, but instead slowly stands from the catatonic woman, looking to his daughter, and then back to his father with determination clear in his eyes.

Nia lays a hand on Monica’s shoulder in affirmed reassurance, watching Renautas with the same judgment she leveled on him the first time he invited himself into her home.

Stepping away from Niel, Miguel moves to his son’s side and lays a hand on his arm, giving it a squeeze. Then, looking up past Raquelle, Miguel nods in affirmation. It had been years, all these forgotten years.

It was time.

To see.

Thirty Six Years Earlier

The Deveaux Building



November 8th


“Simon, it's time.”

The Lobby of the Deveaux Building is a picture-perfect lesson in Art Deco architecture. The floor is tessalated tiles of black and cream accented with gold leaf in geometric shapes. The high ceiling is vaulted with a copper-plated relief of clouds and a sun eclipsed by a moon. The lobby is closed to the public at this late hour of night, but it is not empty.

In early November, 1984, the Company would make its last stand. Arthur Petrelli stands to address a gathering the likes of which had never occurred before and has never occurred since. A gathering of not only the founders of the Company, but dozens of their colleagues, all in one place.

past-alphonse_icon.gif past-angela_icon.gif past-arthur_icon.gif past-becca_icon.gif past-broome_icon.gif past-charles_icon.gif past-cindy_icon.gif past-dima_icon.gif past-drucker_icon.gif past-faruq_icon.gif past-joy_icon.gif past-kaito_icon.gif past-mas_icon.gif past-maury_icon.gif past-miguel_icon.gif past-nia_icon.gif past-niel_icon.gif past-renautas_icon.gif past-roux_icon.gif past-ryans_icon.gif past-smith_icon.gif past-valerie_icon.gif

There are so many familiar and unfamiliar faces here, gathered in tension amid the sounds of a driving rainstorm raging outside. Arthur faces the crowd of Company agents and colleagues, flashes of lightning lighting up the street seen through the massive windows at his back.

Simon Broome, the ostensible face of the Commonwealth Institute in the post-war Albany Trials, looks almost unrecognizable here as a man in his late 30s. His dark hair is swept across his brow in thick bangs, wide-framed eyeglasses looking particularly retro as he nods in acknowledgement of Arthur Petrelli’s words.

“Ms. Roux,” Arthur addresses a young brunette woman standing in the crowd, “whatever you do, don't stop. No matter what happens.You and Drucker’s project is of the utmost importance, and as soon as we’re ready here, Rebecca will take you back to Fort Hero to get started.”

Arthur then addresses a familiar, rail-thin woman standing near the young Miguel. “Cindy,” he steps over to her, putting a reassuring hand on her shoulder. She looks weary, dark circles carved around her bloodshot eyes, cheeks sunken and wavering where she stands as if she can barely keep herself from falling over. “Keep an eye out for Adam. It’s the last thing we’ll ask of you. You’ve already given us so much.”

“Miguel,” Arthur looks up from Cindy to address him, “you're with me.”

“Walter,” Arthur then turns his attention to Mr. Renautas, looking indistinguishable from the version of himself that brought people from another time to see this meeting. “I'm counting on you to keep this isolated.”

Arthur’s choice of words cause the Renautas that is but a ghost here to raise one brow in curiosity. He doesn’t know what that means.

But Arthur moves on, to a man in his late thirties with curly, dark hair and glasses. “Alphonse, we need you to stay back. When all this is said and done… we'll need you more than ever.” Alphonse nods, taking a step back and watching the others with a careful eye.

Then comes Niel, who also receives a gentle touch to his shoulder from Arthur. “Daniel, stay behind Charles and keep him in your adjustment field. You’ll need to modulate between Charles and Nia as one or the other needs your power.”

The older Niel, watching his younger self, takes Delilah’s hand and squeezes it firmly.

“Aaron,” Arthur says, addressing a man Raquelle recognizes; Bolivar’s father. “You need to protect Daniel at all costs.” Aaron nods, glancing over to Niel and nodding affirmatively.

“Nia, you're with Simon.” Arthur says, moving down to Monica’s grandmother, looking absolutely radiant in her youth. “Keep her from getting away and be ready when Daniel augments you.” Nia nods, lifting up a hand to rest on Arthur’s arm, her eyes a silent promise.

It’s then that Arthur comes to a pair of young agents holding hands with one-another. Both in their early twenties or late teens, one a young man with a crooked fedora on his head and fluffy hair, the other a punk of a woman with dyed green hair and a leather jacket and a copious amount of eye makeup. “Agent Mas,” Arthur says to the young man, “guard Valerie. We can't let her be taken out.”

Eric Mas offers a quirk of one brow, looking over at Valerie, then back to Arthur with a nod.

“Valerie…” Arthur says, considering his words carefully. “You know what to do. We're counting on you.” She nods in agreement to their silent compact.

Arthur looks past Eric and Valerie to Benjamin Ryans, brows furrowed and jaw set. He takes Ryans’ hand, giving it a firm shape before clapping a hand at his shoulder. “Ben, you know when we need you. Not a moment sooner.” Ryans nods, eyes closed, and the two linger in a moment of mutual silence and understanding before Arthur moves on.

It’s then that Arthur comes to a blonde woman with chin-length hair. “Rebecca,” he says to her. “I need you to get Charlotte and Drucker to Fort Hero so they can coordinate with Bob. Come back immediately and wait for our signal for when Broome and Nia are finished with their task, your focus is on the girl no matter what else is happening. Once they're separated I need you to get the target away from here. As far as you can.”

Arthur then moves to a woman no one from the future recognizes, a young Pakistani woman with short hair and eager eyes. “Dima,” he calls her, “focus everything on Simon. Keep him safe.” Dima nods and looks back to a man standing behind her with his hands on her shoulders. Arthur addresses him next.

“And Faruq,” he says to the man behind Dima, “keep the target disoriented.” The man named Faruq nods, squeezing Dima’s shoulders.

“Drucker…” Arthur approaches a handsome man in his thirties with a swoosh of brown hair and a thick beard. “Coordinate with Charlotte. Keep it quiet. No radio contact that isn’t local between you all at the Fort.”

Drucker nods, and takes Charlotte’s hand, squeezing it firmly.

It’s then that Arthur comes to his wife, Angela. She looks up at him with wordless uncertainty in her eyes, having done all that she can. Her strength lies not in the present, but in the future. Arthur takes one of her hands in his, kissing the back of her palm, then looks over to the broad silhouette of Maury Parkman looming nearby. “Maury, stay with Angela. Make sure she's safe.”

“With my life,” Maury says, a hint of emotion in his voice.

“As for you…” Arthur says, slowly turning to a young Asian woman standing beside the stern Kaito Nakamura. “You help us, and we forget you ever existed.” Joy looks on at Arthur with narrowed eyes and a tension in her jaw, but also a sense of hope.

“Keep Ishi safe and you might have the opportunity to keep that promise, Arthur.” Joy says with one brow raised. Arthur’s reaction is stoic silence, and he looks to Kaito with a nod.

“Kaito, take Joy to the roof.” Arthur says, and Kaito nods to Joy and the two turn to head for the elevators. Charles Deveaux had been quiet all of this time, but with Arthur’s strategy and planning completed, he steps forward and draws in a deep breath.

The older Nia, holding Monica’s hand, places her free hand at her chest when she sees Charles. There’s a hint of something in her eyes, emotion she can’t explain. It causes her jaw to briefly unsteady and throat to tighten.

Charles steps into the middle of the room, dark eyes serious and brow creased. “The rest of you are our failsafe. If we don't succeed, you're all that's left of the Company.” He says with a wave of his hand to the room.

“We founded the Company in 1977…” Charles says with all the vocal gravitas of a pastor giving a service or a politician at the pulpit. “We were ordinary people with extraordinary powers, banding together with the common goal of protecting each other from a world that did not understand us.”

Charles lowers his hand, shaking his head. “We all came from different backgrounds, different walks of life, but most of us had faced persecution for what we were.” His dark eyes scan the room. “We have done things we're not proud of to this end. We murdered, brain-washed, lied and cheated to hide the existence of our kind for as long as possible. The world was not yet ready.”

In a moment of silence, Charles looks to the floor, then back up to those gathered. “We were not ready for the world…” he says with a weight in his voice, a guilt. “We weren't ready for the truth.

“That we weren't the first.” Charles lets those words hang in the air. Thunder claps outside and the rain falls even harder.

“Our history, our legacy, goes back further than we could have ever imagined.” Charles says with a broad gesture, as if indicating the breadth of history. “And what we found in our ancient past… was an Entity.

“The first of us…” Charles says as he closes his hand into a fist, “…and if we fail here today, the last of us.”

Delilah is silent even before the others fall into agreement, one hand in her father's and the other kept free, save to tug at the hem of her shirt, pluck at the seam. Okay. Okay.

The scene which plays out, uninterrupted before them, Delilah studies like never before. Faces. Names. Whatever she can. This is so like… other meetings she's been to. Years ago. Phoenix. The Ferry. Everyone came together to lay out a Plan.

To fight.

She's quiet still, watching as Arthur pairs up and divvies off. As Charles pontificates on the subject of the First of Us. Dee, against Niel's side now, narrows her eyes and burrows through her memories.

"It's what…" Voice soft, Dee's brown eyes set on Charles as if she could read his mind. "Eve…"

So easy to dismiss Eve's raving, with so many years of having to listen. It's never been on purpose, of course. But the seer and her manner has always been… unbelievable, at times.

Shifting slightly, Raquelle’s posture changes to drape an arm over his father’s shoulders when Miguel moves closer and he turns his head to murmur softly into his ear. “I love you Papa.” Just in case. Just in case. His gift wrapping around those 4 words like fragile tissue paper of fear, uncertainty, but mostly layers of unrestrained love.

As the scene plays out before him, he is hearing names and instructions and people and places and oop, there was his future father in law as well. In his mind, trying to make sense of all of this each person because a note, and each note aligned to a grouping in a chord and the musical composition being written here is for no instrument Raq is familiar with. He can however feel, or maybe see coasting on the melody of memories that are not his own, building up to a climax that feels heavy.

His grip on his father tightens, almost desperately, an oversized Koala that is too damn big to be held, but wants to make sure he stays grounded.

Monica watches the past play out before her, her spirit torn. Years of compartmentalization, cover identities and spying help her split her focus. On one hand, she comforts her grandmother, her hand holding hers, her words quiet and soothing and her mind gauging if she needs to try to pull the plug on this visitation for Nia's sake.

But on the other hand, she watches Charles with suspicion. They fumbled this, she knows that. They couldn't defeat it, so they made it someone else's problem. And then left them with no knowledge or tools to handle it. And whatever these people did here, it was bad enough that her Nana wanted to lose every piece of herself.

Monica is, as ever, prepared for the worst.

“I don’t remember any of this,” the older Niel says when confronted with his younger self. He knows, by now, that he shouldn’t. But still, it burns him.

Miguel looks over to Raquelle, resting a hand on his son’s shoulder and squeezing firmly before he looks back to the others. “They made sure we couldn’t… they…” anger wells up inside of him. For what happened to his wife. For the life he was made to forget.

Nia looks over to Cindy in the wheelchair, then to her younger counterpart in the projection of the past. Her attention turns to Monica, a disapproving frown cut across her lips. Nia was complicit in this, in the leveraging of children in this kind of conflict. She looks disgusted, at the experience, at herself. Her silent anger is something Monica has rarely seen in her life, but it is plain as day here.

The Company agents and their subordinates begin to split up. Those who were given assignments head to the elevators, and the phantom of Walter Renautas watches his younger self walk toward the front door and exit the lobby onto the street. His brows pinch together in uncertainty, then focus back on the lobby floor.

“Up we go,” the Renautas of the future says, as the vision of the past around them shifts upward. The lobby ceiling rapidly approaches, passes harmlessly through the viewers, and then resolidifies on the roof of the Deveaux Building. The view is from within a small greenhouse containing colorful botanicals, and out on the roof there is metal patio furniture and a stone railing devoid of one striking detail for those familiar with the iconic roof. The statue of the cherubs and the stone ring have yet to be constructed.

In the projection of the past, there is a woman waiting in the greenhouse. Long dark hair, sad eyes, but proud posture. The Japanese woman is watering the flowers, walking through the greenhouse in silence. The sound of the elevator doors in the penthouse opening brings her attention toward the noise, and she sets down the watering can.

Kaito Nakamura is the first through the door, and he moves swiftly over to the woman and embraces her. “Jikandesu.1 Kaito says with one hand on her cheek. “Ishi…” he looks into her eyes, expression inscrutable. “We could always run,” he continues in English.


“No,” Ishi whispers, resting her hand on Kaito’s. “Hiro and Kimiko. I won’t deprive them of their future.”

Kaito closes his eyes and nods, hearing another elevator door chime open. He steels himself and withdraws his hand after a touch of his fingers to her chin. Ishi smiles and kisses Kaito’s knuckles, then takes in a deep breath and turns toward the doorway. “I’ll go tell Ms. Brauer that we’re ready.”

It is with that statement Ishi turns to the door for the greenhouse, stepping out to patio where a middle-aged white woman is sitting at table under a canopy awning with a very young dark-haired boy, a young blonde girl, and a baby swaddled in a yellow blanket in her arms.


young-lynette_icon.gif young-mateo_icon.gif young-odessa_icon.gif

It’s now that Rhys steps forward amid these visions, lifting a hand as if to press it on the greenhouse glass. When he sees the children outside, he sucks in a sharp breath and withdraws his hand to cover his mouth, eyes searching from side to side as he sees formative threads and connections among the specters of the past.

“The Ruizes…” Rhys whispers.

The mind boggles. Boy, does it ever. Delilah's eye follows Walter's as it tails the memory out the door, and despite it all, there's a huff bordering on nervous laugh on going up.

As Rhys steps ahead and Ishi approaches the woman on the patio, Delilah gives him a cursory look before taking her own small steps, Niel's hand still in her own, just close enough to study the children.

And a baby, no less. Her maternal instincts bubble under the surface of her skin. They're extra peppery thanks to her own progeny and the future she knew he had before he even learned to crawl. There clearly wasn't anyone to do the same here. Dee's hand clenches in Niel's, her brows met in the middle and her mouth a fine line. Longer study allows her to recognize the older ones, though she says nothing of it.

Delilah looks just about ready to try and leap through the nothing to kick over that table and clobber the stranger. In some other universe where she can do that, she did.

But in this one, it's just Niel that feels her Irish rise up.

When Kaito greets Karin Brauer and the children on the roof it is with wordless apology in his eyes. Karin knows what is about to happen and rises from her seat, looking over Kaito’s shoulder to see Arthur Petrelli emerging from the greenhouse. Arthur’s eyes fix on the baby held in Karins arms, and she steps around Kaito and offers out the child to him.

“You should go inside the house,” Arthur says to her, and Karin nods. She turns back to young Mateo and Lynette, taking their hands and guiding them inside the penthouse. Arthur, focused down on the infant Odessa Price in his arms, seems more relaxed than he should. It’s only when Kaito tenses on seeing the way a raindrop falls just past the awning that Arthur knows their time is up. Not everything was in place, but this was the best they were going to get.

A woman descends from the rainy sky, bare feet touching down on the rooftop. Her eyes turn toward Kaito and Arthur, glowing bright and gold. She is calm, soaked through to the bone with rain. They have come face to face with the living end.


“I will take my child.” The entity states flatly, extending a hand. Kaito looks at Arthur, who looks down to Odessa with his brows furrowed.

Not her,” the Entity states, looking past Arthur to the dimly visible silhouette of Ishi Nakamura viewed through the greenhouse window. A split-second later the glass explodes and Ishi is drawn bodily through the air on unseen telekinetic hooks. Arthur exhales a sharp breath and ducks reflexively from the shower of shattered glass opposite the direction Kaito dives.

Ishi, suspended in mid-air, is brought before the Entity. Gold eyes stare into dark eyes, and a look of grief crosses the powerful being’s face. Grief, and guilt. “What has become of you, In— ”

A sudden shockwave knocks the Entity off of her feet, sends her skidding on her back across the wet rooftop and drops Ishi to her knees. Kaito is quick to move to his wife’s side, taking a knee by her as Nia Dawson strides through the greenhouse door with one hand raised.

“You get your hands off of her you bitch.” Nia clenches her hand into a fist and the Entity smashes flat to the roof and stones begin to crack as if under immense pressure. All around Nia broken pieces of glass are floating weightless in zero gravity. The Entity’s gold eyes surge brightly and Nia is suddenly wracked with pain, grabbing at her head and dropping to her knees.

As the Entity pulls herself up off of the floor, she snaps her focus on Nia and as her brows begin to furrow in concentration she suddenly jerks her head back as if struck with a lead pipe. One hand comes up and the Entity holds her brow and phases into an incorporeal form. Rain passes through her and yet she steel reels from some unseen blow.

Released from whatever agony she was in, Nia hears glass crunching underfoot and looks up to see Charles Deveaux standing over her, two fingers at his brow and eyes locked on the Entity. He offers a hand down to her and helps Nia to her feet.

“Not today,” Charles rumbles, a vein throbbing at his temple. His expression tightens, jaw sets, and it looks as though he is simply going to split in half from the pressure aligned against his mind, right up until Niel arrives and lays a hand on his shoulder. A rainbow pattern of light radiates out from the contact and suddenly Charles is awash with power. The Entity screams, clutching at her own head and scrambling across the roof like a wounded animal.

The Entity scrambles to her feet, ripping up a section of the roof and launching it in a volley of shattered concrete out toward Charles. Nia throws her hands up, changing the direction of gravity and forcing the rocks back at the Entity, and the fragments of the roof shatter harmlessly on her.

As the Entity adapts to the attacks she’s faced, the sudden burst of a dark blur moving out of the greenhouse catches her off guard. Faruq Mansoor weaves between raindrops at a speed greater than any human has ever moved, sparks of light popping around him as friction builds up static energy around his tornado-like presence. He strikes blows across the Entity’s jaw and stomach, blows that would kill lesser beings but only seem to infuriate her.

Faruq finds himself frozen in a moment in time, halted entirely save that the world continues to move around him. But as the Entity focuses on this temporal lock, she is blindsided by a flare of white hot atomic fire that collides with the side of her face. Flesh disintegrates, bone shatters, and one of her eyes boils like an egg as Miguel Cambria lands a radioactive punch to the side of her head.

Faruq is released from the temporal lock and Miguel comes in for a second blow, striking the Entity in the chest, melting a hole through her ribs. The Entity howls in agony and sends a telekinetic shockwave out that throws Faruq through a brick wall and launches Miguel straight over the edge of the roof. A moment later a screaming Miguel floats weightlessly up from over the edge, and Nia extends both of her hands in his direction, straining to keep him from falling.

“Nia I need you to hold her!” Arthur shouts, his hair matted down to his face and rainwater dripping off of his chin.

One— moment!” Nia strains, unwilling to let Miguel fall. Once the teen has climbed back over the edge and onto the roof, she turns her focus to the Entity and slams the weight of ten times Earth’s gravity down on her. The Entity buckles under the considerable force at the same time Charles reasserts his telepathic assault.

“If she adapts to these abilities we’re all dead!” Charles bellows. “It has to be now! It has to be now!

The Entity lashes out, a whip of fire sweeping out from a thrashing arm, sizzling in an arc toward Niel. The whip of fire cuts effortlessly through Niel’s body and out the other side, but the young man is horrified to see that he is— unharmed.

Behind Niel, Dima Mansoor removes her hands from his shoulders and both he and Dima solidify from a gaseous state. “I’ve got you,” Dima says with a fond smile, and Niel nods in immediate, though wordless, gratitude.

That is when Simon Broome emerges from the greenhouse, his chin up and jaw set. Dark eyes are fixed on the Entity in her struggle against the cosmic forces aligned against her. Broome lifts a walkie-talkie to his mouth.

“Bob,” Broome says into the receiver. “Fire.

Nothing happens.

Arthur fixes a look at Broome, Broome looks from the walkie to Arthur with horror in his eyes. “Bob?” Broome queries over the radio with no response. “Bob are—” A deafening thunderclap shakes the roof, a shockwave ripples outward and shatters much of the greenhouse’s remaining glass, crumpling part of the metal frame. Everyone around the Entity is thrown from their feet and the sound of children crying echoes through the penthouse.

Over the walkie, now laying in the rain beside Broome, a voice crackles out.

«Technical difficulties! We need more time!»

Arthur rolls onto his side, vision blurry, looking at the screaming infant laying on the cold rooftop in the rain. His heart feels like it is beating slowly, like time is slowing around him. He reaches out for Odessa, then feels a sharp pain in his side. His body feels as though it is on fire, his arms and legs curl with agony and he turns wildly to find the source of his pain, only to see a pair of burning gold eyes staring at him through the dark.

The wind picks up, storm intensifying.

Idō shinai,” Kaito Nakamura says to Ishi as he unwinds his arms from around her, having shielded her from some of the thrown debris with his body. Kaito looks up at the Entity, then takes a length of rod iron from the greenhouse framework in both hands and slowly approaches her, hands gripped around it as though it were a sword.

Yamero!” Kaito shouts, and the Entity turns her burning stare at him. She looks at the length of iron brandished at her and seems momentarily distracted.

“Ungrateful child,” the Entity mumbles and Kaito feels his heart stall in his chest with but a look. “You see so much, and yet cannot see the inevitabile.”

Kaito drops the iron rod, collapses to one knee, and clutches his chest. “On a long enough time table, you are already dead.” The Entity walks up to Kaito, fire beginning to roll down one of her arms and coalesce in the palm of one hand.

Yamete.” Ishi calls out, drawing the Entity’s attention to her. “Leave him. You came here for me. I know what I have. What Arthur took from you.”

Slowly, the Entity moves toward Ishi, letting Kaito collapse onto his side with gasping breaths as his heart begins beating again. “Here I am,” Ishi says, holding her arms out to her side as the Entity approaches. “The others are beneath your notice. Leave them. You have what you came here for.”

The Entity breathes in deeply, then exhales sharply as she approaches Ishi. Fear spikes and Ishi’s heart races as the Entity touches warm fingertips to her cheeks. At this proximity those gold eyes look like twin eclipses burning with the intensity of two suns. A moment later, Ishi feels a wracking pain as a hazy nimbus of red light begins to radiate off of her. The Entity draws her hand back and begins to peel a crimson aura off of the woman’s body.

«This is the last one! No more chances.» Bob Bishop’s voice crackles over the walkie-talkie on the ground.«I'm sorry Ellie,» is quieter. «One more time!»

As Arthur hears those words he pulls himself back into the moment with all the focus he can, getting to his feet and tackling Ishi out of the way of the Entity. A moment later there is a deafening thunderclap and a buzzing sound so loud it drowns out all other sound. The Entity — nearly the entire roof — is struck by a beam of blue-white light that causes the rain to sizzle away and the ground to smoke. Arthur barely gets himself and Ishi behind a crumbling brick wall for cover before the beam of light bathes over the roof.

The Entity screams, a corsucating aura of rainbow-colored light erupting from her body as the light hits her. She screams, clutching her face and dropping to her knees. The burst of light is short-lived, short enough that when it ends there is a moment where no one knows what to do next. No one except Charles.

Walter, now! Charles projects his thoughts down to the street as he struggles up off of his back. No one sees how it starts, no one save for the infant laying abandoned on the cold, rainy rooftop. But the blue-eyed toddler with a fleck of green light in her pupils shares not her secrets.

An emerald wall of light washes over the rooftop, rising up in a hexagonal column that soon becomes some sort of bounding box that the Deveaux Building is contained within. The city vanishes from sight in the distance, and though the rain keeps falling, something about it feels off.

Shaking himself off, Simon Broome rises to his feet and slowly approaches the Entity, who lays on her side on the roof radiating waves of rainbow-colored light. Broome adjusts his glasses, closing the distance between them fearlessly. As the Entity pulls herself to her knees, Simon grabs her by the head with both hands and clenches his eyes shut. The Entity’s eyes flicker, sputter like a dying candle, and then wrench shut as well.

Immediately, Simon struggles. His body tenses, fingers tremble. “I— I cannot hold her.”

“Nia! Now!” Arthur shouts, moving away from Ishi as Kaito comes to her side. He swiftly returns to the crying infant, picking up Odessa and cradling her to his chest. Nia, in turn, takes Charles’ hand and slowly comes to her feet and extends her hands out to the Entity, hitting her with a wave of heavy gravity. Charles lifts to fingers to the side of his head, eyes shut, assailing her mind.

“Don't stop! Don't you dare stop!”

Charles' rings out over the howling sound of raging winds. The sky dark with clouds and a torrential rain hammering down from above. The winds are howling like a hurricane, twisting tendrils of tornadoes touch down in the gray silhouette of the Hudson River, turning into water spouts. Tucked down low against a gently sloping roof, Adam Monroe's black dress shoes slip against the slate underfoot.


The dark rectangles of the World Trade Center rise up high in the nearby distance, visible from Adam's point of view as he slowly unsheathes the sword held in one hand. Raindrops patter across the reflective surface of the blade, and for the briefest of moments a glimpse of his eyes can be seen in the polished steel — burning gold eyes.

Hold!” Charles shouts now that most everyone is in position, unaware of a third party creeping across the penthouse roof, looking down at the patio. “God damnit hold!” Charles shouts as Nia’s legs begin to buckle and he feels his own mind struggling to wrestle the weakened Entity into place.

Broome's hands nearly slip from the Entity’s head as she's spasming and fights his grip.

Charles!” Arthur calls out, squinting against the rain. “Charles, how much longer!?”

Kusogaki!” Filled with rage, Adam Monroe leaps from the rooftop, Kensei sword in hand. His arc takes him directly down to Arthur, and the curving Kensei sword is driven through Arthur’s shoulder. The blade extends out the front of his shoulder joint and narrowly missed the blonde baby in his arms.

Screaming in pain, Arthur drops to one knee, cradling the baby in his remaining good arm. He turns, looking back at Adam. “Koshinuke!” Adam screams as he twists the sword, and Arthur let's out a howl of pain a moment before Adam is lifted off of his feet and flung back bodily against the greenhouse wall, glass shattering in his back.

Another figure on the roof, dressed in a breezy jacket and floral patterned scarf holds out one hand as a harmonic telekinetic thrum keeps Adam pinned against the wall. She is graceful, confident, and young. She furrows her brows and squints against the rain, and Adam struggles to move, pinned amid the broken glass and splintered wood of the greenhouse.

Yaeko— ” Adam hisses at Joy, and she clenches her fist shut and forces his mouth closed. Swiftly, she moves to Arthur’s side at the same time Ishi does.

“Easy, Arthur.” Ishi insists as she lays a hand on his wound and a flood of light spills out beneath his skin, knitting the injury shut. “Keep helping Simon.” Attention turned back to Adam, Ishi’s eyes narrow and her lips downturn to a visible frown.

Broome, struggling with restraining the Entity’s consciousness, lets out a frustrated howl of agony and collapses to his knees at the same time Kam’s body writhes around in his grasp. Charles clutches his head, screaming loudly through the pain and the hurricane-force winds. “I almost have it! I almost have it!

“I've got you, Mr. Deveaux!” Niel shouts as he places a hand on Charles’ shoulder with another surge of rainbow-hued light that refracts around Charles brow, and the telepath seems to have renewed vigor and strength. Niel Trafford looks from Charles to Adam and back again, trembling in fear.

Dawson!” Charles shouts to Nia, her graying black hair soaked by the fierce rain. “Now!”

Nia Dawson raises her hands, the ground rumbling beneath her feet. Kam struggles, screaming, and then goes limp in Broome’s grasp. As Nia presses with her ability, Simon’s eyes flash open to reveal golden irises. He twitches, struggling, like someone who is paralyzed where they stand.

“Oh— oh my god I can feel its power!” Nia shouts, already beginning to buckle to one knee. “What— what is— Charles! Charles I don't know if I can h-hold— ”

“I can see,” Simon utters in a deep voice, “Eye to E — eeeeyeeaaaaaaagh!” Clutching his head, Broome’s eyes gutter out from their golden glow. Charles makes a concerted noise of effort and Simon collapses down onto his knees, then down onto his side and begins convulsing on the ground.

“Just a little more!” Charles shouts, and Arthur turns to look up at Adam, then down and over to where Simon convulses on the ground. “Almost! Almost!

“We— ” Whatever Charles was about to say ends when Adam unleashes a primal scream and tears himself free of the telekinetic grasp. His right arm dislocates, pops, twists, and then tears free from his body. As he slips free of the telekinetic bond, he runs one armed at Charles and swings his katana up in a violent arc, cutting across the side of Charles' face and sending him crumpling to the ground.

"¡Hijo de puta!" Miguel screams from inside the penthouse where he was checking on the kids. He comes barreling out of the sliding door with both hands glowing with a white-hot atomic fire. Miguel skids to a stop in the rain, blindsiding Adam with a crackling punch that incinerates Adam's jacket and sends him spinning around until he crashes onto the patio floor. His missing arm is already starting to regenerate as he gets up onto one knee, gold eyes leveled on Miguel with white-hot intensity.

As Yaeko and Ishi tend to Charles, Arthur turns his attention to Adam and calls out in a clear voice, "Now!" From the demolished greenhouse, Benjamin Ryans comes striding out in a black suit, one hand raised and a telekinetic hum rumbling around his body. He grabs Adam with an unseen hand by his sword arm, brows furrowed and anger plastered across his face.

At the same time, there's a vibrant green-blue glow that surrounds Adam's sword as it is wrenched from his hand and Valerie steps out beside Ryans, that same aurora-hued light swirling around one of her hands. Valerie spins the Kensei sword around, and with a thrust of magnetokinetic force drives the sword hilt-deep into Adam's chest. He screams, blood spilling from his mouth, eyes flicking to focus on Charles Deveaux, healed again.

"It's over." Charles commands, his eyes focused on Simon Broome's form, his eyes burning with the light of the sun. "Karin!" Charles shouts into the darkness, "Karin we need Mateo!"

Impaled by his own sword, Adam struggles against Ryans' telekinetic grasp, then looks to see Yaeko staring at him with horror and guilt in her dark eyes. He is torn in two, consumed by the unending rage that floods his mind, but there is something behind that. Something that brings tears to his eyes. It is not pain. It is not fear.

It is horror.

Horror at his actions.

“Arthur I—”

You shut the fuck up!” Valerie screams as she steps forward and plants her boot against the back of the Kensei sword, pushing it deeper into Adam’s chest. He sucks in a gasp at the pain, and Valerie grinds her heel against the sword, jaws clenched. Even when Ryans pulls her away, Valerie is kicking in Adam’s direction, screaming obscenities at him.

“That fucker tried to kill us in the lobby!” Valerie howls, twisting like a feral cat against Ryans’ grip.

Nearby, Karin emerges from the demolished penthouse alongside the young Lynette and Mateo. She guides them out into the rain under an umbrella, looking at Arthur with wide, terrified eyes. The children, in spite of themselves, seem far calmer.

“We don’t have much time,” Charles says with an urgency, “Simon can only contain her for so long. I can already feel that thing trying to take him over.” Charles’ eyes flick to Joy. “You’re sure this will work?”

Joy, staring down at Broom with dark eyes, just shakes her head. “No,” she murmurs before blinking her attention up to Charles. “But it worked before.”

Daniel,” Charles calls out, and Niel comes jogging over. “Like we discussed.”

“Okay,” Niel says in barely a whisper, his hands shaking with adrenaline. He looks to Karin, who folds her umbrella and takes a knee beside young Mateo and Lynette with a hand on each of their shoulders.

“Remember when I said you needed to be brave for me?” Karin whispers, then taps each of them on the nose individually. “We need to help that girl. You have the power to do that. Do you want to help her?” Karin’s eyes direct the children’s attention to the unconscious former host of the Entity.

Both Mateo and Lynette nod in a child’s understanding. Karin smiles, a little overwhelmed, and waves Niel over. Niel takes each of their hands, eliciting a glow of rainbow-colored light from his touch, a shimmering force that glows bright around them.

“Okay, Mateo.” Karin looks over at him. “Like we practiced in the dreams.

Little Mateo reaches out with a tiny hand, taking one of Lynette’s in his. As he closes the circuit of their powers, Arthur approaches and takes a knee beside them, playing the crying, swaddled form of Odessa Price between them all. Niel’s expression sags when he sees an infant laid in this dangerous circle.

Electricity begins to arc from tiny Lynette’s hand holding Mateo’s, and Niel winces in discomfort. Mateo in turn closes his eyes, tears welling up in them. He’s scared. Karin reaches out, nearly touching him, but relents at the last moment.

“Come on Mateo… we need you, sweetheart.” Karin whispers, shaking her head. “She needs you.”

“Hurry!” Charles cries out. “We only have one chance at this!” In the same moment, Niel begins to tremble. Blood trickles out of his right nostril, brows furrowing.

“Arthur! Arthur I– I don't think– I cant keep this up!” Niel protests, struggling to stay still even as his body wants to break into convulsing fits. He tenses when he suddenly feels someone’s hand on his shoulder, looking up with radiant eyes to see Joy beside him.

“You’ve got this.” Joy says softly, squeezing Niel’s shoulder. “I need to help Simon. Just keep going.” Joy slowly steps away from Niel, letting her stare linger on his for a moment, before she hustles over to Broome.

“I can try and reinforce his mind.” Joy says, stepping in and laying a hand on Broome’s shoulder, her eyes immediately clouding over with a milky-white blindness. The moment she links her consciousness with Broome’s, Joy tenses up and nearly breaks contact.

She's fighting me!” Joy says in sudden fright. “I can feel– I can feel her in my mind!” She snaps away, staggering back from Simon. “Arthur, it’s now or never, she’s tearing Simon’s mind apart from the inside!”

Above Mateo, Niel, and Lynette a darkness has begun to grow. Darker than the night sky, darker than the color black. A sphere, a deep and lightless sphere that flattens into a disc swirling with electricity around its edges.

“We're almost there! Just a little more!” Arthur yells over the wind and the roar of the open schism of space and time. Joy looks up from her trembling hand to the lightning-ringed portal overhead and feels a primal terror grow in her. A fear as deep as her own genes.

Mateo is crying, sobbing with his head down and face flushed with red. Karin gets as close as she dares, trying to draw his attention away from the screaming infant in front of him. “I know you're scared honey, but I need you to focus for me!”

Sparks of green light begin to rise off of baby Odessa, swirling between the trio of Niel, Lynette, and Mateo, before rising up into the vortex above. “We need El Umbral.

At Karin’s urging, Mateo breaks down sobbing again and the vortex spreads wide. Air is sucked upward toward the growing rift. Adam Monroe stares up at the familiar tear in the sky, shaking his head slowly. He says something, words lost under the wind, but they are a personal revelation. One not of victory or loss, but of hopelessness.

“Now, Charles!” Kaito bellows from the edge of the roof where he holds Ishi close.

With a scream, Charles Deveaux unleashes the full power of his telepathy against Simon Broome. The shockwave of telepathic force shatters Simon’s hold on the consciousness inside of him and for the barest of moments a being made of radiant gold light erupts from Simon’s body and rises up high into the air like a solar flare given life. But soon it feels something, a familiar inexorable pull. That feeling manifests as an expression of dread realization.

This was a trap.

In that moment Arthur looks upon the face of the Entity, the true face of the Entity, before the being of light is sucked up into the sky and vanishes into a singularity that collapses Mateo’s portal into a pinpoint of nothingness accompanied by an earth-shaking blast.

The resulting shockwave from the portal’s collapse shatters the emerald barrier Renautas had erected. The world beyond the barrier becomes clearer, lights come on in the city as if from a blackout. The storm outside has ended, clouds have peeled back, and a massive spiral-shaped aurora burns over Manhattan.

Mateo and Lynette collapse back into Karin’s arms while Niel falls backwards, blood covering his mouth and chin. Charles is quick to move to Niel’s side with Nia, and Joy stares up at the aurora with a tremble in her jaw.

Joy peels her eyes away from the light, looking down to Adam. She shares his silence. Then, when no one is looking, she is simply gone.

Karin takes a knee, picking up the infant Odessa from where she had been laid. Her eyes are focused down on the child for a moment, then up to Arthur in uncertainty. No one says a word, and one-by-one their eyes upturn to the aurora overhead.

It was done.

Thirty-Six Years Later

Cambria Rodriguez-Smith Residence
Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

As the vision of the past recedes like a dream, many eyes settle on both the elderly Walter Renautas and others on Cindy Morrison. There is a silence that hangs over the room, as family members regard one-another with new eyes, as the weight of what they bore witness to comes fully into focus.

Rhys takes a step forward toward Renautas, jaw set and eyes wide, then turns to Cindy and slowly takes a knee to hold her hand. Nia looks away from Monica for a moment, turning her focus down to Rhys, then over to Cindy. Niel comes to join them.

The Cambria home is filled with silence.

“The Deveaux Society will make this right,” Nia says softly to Rhys. But her words are means more for Cindy.

But there would be no making all of this right. Not immediately.

They would all need time to come to terms with what they witnessed.

…a day that would live forever in infamy.

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