Is It Future, Or Is It Past?


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Scene Title Is It Future, Or Is It Past?
Synopsis Two time-travelers arrive in 2011, and find the world far different than they anticipated.
Date November 8, 2011

From the top of the Deveaux Building, the ruins of Midtown sprawl out like the carcass of a dead animal. Like a carcass, it's been picked clean in the intervening years. The rubble of demolished buildings has only been made more ruinous by the addition of construction equipment set atop the still-standing scaffolding of damaged skyscrapers. Bulldozers on the ground plow down the remnants of smaller buildings, ground-based cranes bring in heavy steel. There's a sound of industry everywhere, and all around the construction sites hang blue and white banners reading Maxwell Construction Company.

Of all the things in the ruin, though, the decorative molding of two cherubs and a ring of stone on the Deveaux Building's roof have managed to stay intact. Though one cherub bears the pockmark of a bullet, it remains a recognizable landmark. The rush of air and howl of displacement indicates that the pigeons up here will have company today. Shoes crunch over old, broken wood and chicken-wire from demolished pigeon coops. Glass, too, crunches gently beneath sneakers. A tall, wiry Japanese man dressed in a security guard's uniform tentatively approaches the edge of the rooftop, mouth slacked and brows raised in an expression of worry.

«The future,» comes breathlessly from behind the taller man. Hiro Nakamura, fresh-faced and young, walks through the rubble with a sunken expression. His eyes follow the jagged skyline of Manhattan, dark clouds hanging overhead. Ando is stuck with silence by the destruction he witnesses first hand. «The… bomb,» Hiro mutters, looking down to the ground, then up to Ando. «We didn't stop it.» He looks back to Ando, who rests his hands on the railing and stares down into the ruined streets. His arms tremble, head swims. None of this makes sense.

«The painter, Isaac, will know what to do.» Hiro insists, turning around with fearless temerity, looking to his erstwhile friend. One of them has to be calm, one of them has to be in control. For now, Hiro is content to let that person be him. «Come on,» Hiro says confidently, resting a hand on Ando's shoulder and drawing his attention away from the rubble. «Let's go, his apartment isn't far.»

The Ruins of Midtown

November 8, 2011

Isaac Mendez's loft has changed hands several times since the prophet's death. The interconnected web of strings and photographs now collecting dust in this old abode is indicative of its current owner. When the door to the loft creaks open, it's the first time someone has set foot inside in several days. The door opens enough to allow two men inside who have no place in the apartment, no place in this city, no business being here. The round, youthful face of Hiro Nakamura doesn't belong in Isaac Mendez's apartment, not in this year at any rate. But the young man beside him, Ando Masahashi, is even more a stranger.

As the door opens, it partly obscures a chalkboard neither of them see. Dates are crossed out over and over on its surface.

3/3/07 6/2/07

"Hello?" Hiro calls out tentatively, the sword slung over his shoulder clashing against his office drone attire. "Mr. Isaac?" One of Hiro's brows raise, and he looks to Ando anxiously. As the pair creep in toward the stairs, Hiro tries again. "Mr. Isaac?" The two creep down the steps, eyes flicking around the dimly lit apartment and the diffuse gray light of a cloudy sky spilling in through tall, Industrial Revolution-era windows. Finding a light switch, Hiro flicks it up. Nothing. Down again, then back up. Still nothing. His brows pinch together, anxiously, and Ando circles around from his side, looking to the mess of strings cluttering whats should be the loft's living room.

All around him strings hang stretched across from one end of the room to the other, intersecting in various points in the center. Notes, photos and slips of paper are clipped to them all. "What is all this?" Ando wonders aloud, while Hiro ducks under a string, trying to make sense of what it is he's found.

"I think it’s…" Hiro spots a Post-It note with a date on it. "…a timeline." On one string hands an origami crane, another a photo of Claire Bennett in a cheerleader uniform with a Post-It attached that reads, "SAVE THE CHEERLEADER." Another string has a photo of one of Isaac's paintings, a Primatech Paper business card, and a VOTE PETRELLI campaign poster from the 2008 election. Hiro ducks under the strings, inspecting them from the other side as Ando follows separate ones.

"A timeline of what?" Ando asks, plucking at one white string, watching everything attached to it dance up and down. His dark eyes search for Hiro, and he finds his friend looking at something with furrowed brows. It's a newspaper clipping from the Odessa Register. The headline reads: TRAIN FIRE RESCUE. The subheadline reads: "Mysterious Good Samaritan Saves Man." Hiro looks around to the strings nearby, plucking one much as Ando had. But their inspection is cut short by a nearby click, and the shearing sound of metal. Hiro quickly whips about, brows raised in concern as he looked to the door.

"Mr. Isaac?" Hiro asks, anxiously, reaching up to grab the hilt of his sword as he ducks under some of the strings, moving toward the sound. But as he draws his sword, it isn't Isaac Mendez who comes through the doorway. Rather, it is himself. Hiro comes face to face with an older counterpart of himself, hair longer and tied back into a ponytail, a small soul-patch beard dusting the bottom of his chin. The other Hiro, the future Hiro readies the same sword in a two-handed grip, even as his expression darkens and posture stiffens.

"You," Hiro's future self states with incredulity. His younger self's brows raise, eyes flick over to Ando who stands slack-jawed.

"Me?" Is all the younger Hiro can muster in response. But in that hapless answer, his older self has all the evidence he needs to make a decision. He lowers his sword, expression shifting from concern to disappointment.

"What are you doing here? You're not supposed to be here." The older Hiro pushes past himself and Ando, ducking under strings and moving deeper into the room with purposeful steps. Hiro and Ando exchange uneasy glances, and move to follow. "None of this is supposed to be here." He continues, exasperated. Each and every string strains his patience, sours his mood. None of this was supposed to be here, the thought rattles through his younger-self's head.

The younger Hiro steps up, moving ahead of Ando. "It was an accident. We time traveled." Short and to the point. Something had been bothering Ando since they arrived on the street, though. His jaw sets, considering the brief look at New York they were given before they arrived.

"What happened to the city?" Ando asks, almost afraid to know the answer. The older Hiro can see it, but he doesn't make eye contact. Can't make eye contact. Instead he ignores Ando, trying to come to grips with what's happening. Moving over to a nearby table, Hiro takes his sword off of his back and rests it down in its scabbard.

Then, with some resolution he finally addresses Ando, though without facing him. "The bomb." At that heavy phrase, the older Hiro moves to open one of the nearby bay doors that go out onto a balcony. There, both Hiro and Ando can see the decimation again. Ando looks only briefly, turning away as soon as he can, though the broken skyline of Manhattan is still burned into his eyes. Staring at the painting of a mushroom cloud on the floor, he wonders to himself what happened to Isaac Mendez. Whether Hiro would even remember that's why they came here in the first place.

"The bomb still happened," the older Hiro explains, though his younger self and Ando had already pieced that much together. "It was all supposed to change," Hiro explains, still frustrated by this turn of events. After a moment his patience wears thin, and he hastily storms back over to where his sword lays, picking it up and slinging it over his back as he ducks between strings. He has to figure out where he went wrong. "Five years ago," Hiro hesitates, and a memory bubbles up in the back of his mind. A memory of truth, one that he swore to keep,

"It's over! Do you want to know the last time I slept, Hiro!?" Peter's dark brows lower, hands down at his side, shoulders rising and falling with each heavy breath. "A year ago! I haven't slept since I killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people! Look what we did! We were wrong!" His hands swing out to his side, gesturing wildly as his face turns red, a vein in his forehead pressing up against his skin. "Sylar wasn't the monster, he wasn't the villain, it was me!"

Hiro looks aside. Lies. "A man named Sylar exploded in the heart of the city, changing the world forever." The weight of that lie presses heavy on already burdened shoulders. Hiro's jaws clench, and he turns to look back at his younger, idealistic self. "I thought I had it all figured out," he looks back to the string web. "I thought I had it all beat…" and he trails off, lost in a maze of colored lengths of yarn and newspaper clippings. Hiro's younger self takes four, very long, very obvious steps back and leans in to Ando, squinting as he pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose with one finger.

«I look upset,» Hiro says in Japanese, as if somehow thinking his older self can't? Ando seems exasperated, can't think straight with everything that's happened. Instead, he nudges his friend with one hand.

«Go.» Ando's brows raise, head inclines towards Hiro's future counterpart. «Talk to yourself.»

«No way,» Hiro jabs back, pushing Ando ahead instead. «I scare me. You do it!»Ando staggers at the shove, looks back at Hiro with wide-eyed frustration. Then, nervously, takes a few uneasy steps towards the older version of his friend.

«Excuse me…» Ando doesn't pretend to switch back to English, doesn't try to insult the future Hiro in the way his younger self can probably get away with. This is awkward. Ando can tell it's awkward. «Future Hiro,» he regrets using that title already, «what is this?» Ando gestures to the string web with both hands, as if to say, a mid-life crisis? Hiro is, instead following a blue string to a newspaper article.

Our Strength in Dark Times.

«This is a map of time,» The Future Hiro patiently explains. "The events that led up to the bomb," and he motions to another newspaper clipping as evidence.


Future Hiro continues, «…that destroyed half the city, five years ago today.» He steps away from that clipping, looking to Ando for a moment to gauge the young man's reaction. «I’ve been working on it for years.» The conversation is enough to get his younger self to finally chime in.

«Why?» Hiro asks, desperately. His older counterpart doesn't look back at him, just ducks under some strings and plucks at a bright red one, following it down to where it nears — but never intersects with — a white one.

«To determine…» Future Hiro follows the white string down, tracing it with two gently pinched fingers, «the precise moment to go back in time,» follows it to another string tied to it like part of a spider web, «to change the future.» His dark eyes narrow, plucking the string and shooting a look back over his shoulder at his younger self. «I finally found it.» Tugging a photograph from the white string, Future Hiro brings it back to his younger self, turns it around and shows it to him. It's a photograph of one of Isaac's paintings, of the older Hiro and a younger Peter Petrelli in a subway. A date, scrawled on the corner in marker reads, OCT 4 and below that N.Y. Subway.

Young Hiro looks over to a nearby string hanging, with two paper cranes hanging from it, and a Post-It note that says Save the Cheerleader.

"Save the Cheerleader," Future-Hiro states flatly, and finally, finally he can see his younger self gets it.

"Save the world!" Young Hiro exclaims, throwing his arms up into the air in excitement. "You visited Peter Petrelli with this message." The confirmation here means Future Hiro is on the right track, at least.

"Yes," Future Hiro indicates with a subtle nod. He'd just gotten back from that. "Did he do it? Did Peter save her?"

"Yes, he did." His younger self pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose again, confident in that assertion. Future Hiro closes his eyes, exhales a weary sigh, and nods.

Future Hiro slowly opens them, realizing where the fault must lie. But he has to work slowly to get there. He… remembers being a little slow on the uptake back in the day. "Claire is still alive," he begins, simply enough. "Which means Sylar never took her power," feeding the ideas bite by bite to his younger self, until he finally asks the pointed question. "Which means you were able to kill him," one brow raises. "Right?"

"Me?" Both Hiro and Ando look shocked at the assertion, "Kill Sylar?" Future Hiro closes his eyes and shakes his head, pinching the bridge of his nose with one hand. That's where it fell apart this time.

"You didn’t," Future Hiro mutters to himself, and his younger counterpart looks somewhat baffled by the suggestion and shakes his head.

Future Hiro takes a step toward his younger self, hand on his shoulder. "Then," Hiro throws caution to the wind. "I need to get you back there. On the day the bomb explodes," he's careful to dance around the truth, to do what needs to be done without putting Peter in harms way. "You need to kill Sylar."

«You kill someone?» Revulsion twists in the pit of Ando's stomach, and he slips back to Japanese without noticing as he advances on Hiro, accusingly. Hiro looks at Ando, pleadingly, and furiously shakes his head. He'd never hurt someone.

Frustrated, Future Hiro snorts a derisive sigh and storms over to a wide red ribbon. «This string here,» he traces the length of it, «This is you.» Future Hiro makes sure he has his younger self's attention before continuing, then continues to follow the ribbon, ducking under other strings to do so. «It crosses with the black string,» a touch with one fingertip, «Sylar,» and then a touch were red and black meet. «Here.» Future Hiro walks the length of this portion of the map, showing the black string connecting with Nathan’s blue string and with Hiro’s red ribbon. Just before Nathan’s blue string connects with Sylar’s black string, there's an article that reads PETRELLI WINS clipped to it. Just after Nathan’s blue string is Hiro’s red ribbon. Just after that is the article showing the destruction of Midtown.

«This is the moment you kill him,» Hiro projects his own hopes into the words, as if certainty would make it fact. «On the day after the Senate election. I stabbed him, but…» Hiro looks aside, brows furrowed and lips downturned. «But he regenerated.»

"Because he had the cheerleader's power," Ando clarifies, for younger Hiro's sake. Both he and the Future Hiro seem to be on the same wavelength now, realizing they need to explain this concept slowly.

«Exactly,» Future Hiro offers a nod of thanks to Ando, then looks back to his younger self. «But if Peter saved her,» he makes eye contact. Hopes beyond hope that his younger self can get this right. «Sylar can now be killed.» Both of Future Hiro's dark brows raise, hopeful. Come on, you can do it. Rub those two sticks together.

Hiro looks away, teeth toying at his lower lip. "But," that word makes Future Hiro's stomach turn. "I can't go back." His younger self looks up, desperately. "I can't control my powers. If I try, Ando and I can appear anywhere." The notion of his younger self cartwheeling through history and trampling every butterfly in his path makes his stomach turn more. Wetting his lips and preparing for a longer, more motivational speech, Future Hiro finds his words unable to be found as the sound of the loft door being kicked in rings out like a gunshot. A swarm of black-clad DoEA agents come rushing in, automatic weapons raised.

"Go! Go!" One of the DoEA agents at the fore shouts, thundering down the stairs. Canisters of negation gas rattle at their belts. But they don't need the gas. Future Hiro can already feel something is desperately wrong. There's a tremor in his neck, a tightness like a pulled muscle. He knows what's happening.

«They must have spotted you,» Future Hiro shouts, pushing both his younger self and Ando. «Run!» Through the doorway, a tall and lanky silhouette in a gray suit strides in. Future Hiro recognizes Rene — the Haitian — and shoves Ando ahead. But Rene is fast, fearless in his safety in the face of the depowered Nakamura. He wordlessly reaches out with a long arm, snagging not Future Hiro, but his younger self. Hiro squeaks in fright and is dragged back as armed DoEA operatives slither in past him. Future Hiro and Ando are already winding ahead, just out of a clear line of fire, up a flight of stairs to a rooftop door access. Future Hiro brings his sword out, swings and cuts the knob clear off rather than fumbling with keys.

"Hiro!" Ando cries, but and his friend struggles in Rene's grasp.

«Go!» Young Hiro shouts to Ando, kicking and arms windmilling, trying to get away from Rene's adamant grasp to no avail.

«Come on,» Future Hiro asserts, pushing Ando out of the door before the DoEA task force can close in and fire. «Let’s get out of here.»

As Future Hiro and Ando escape out the rooftop exit and DoEA operatives swarm the apartment, taking up tactical positions by the doors, others head out onto the roof in a hurry. Rene hesitates, looking down at the Hiro in his hands, brows furrowed. His white-knuckle grip does not slip, but he knows something is wrong. Rene does not voice is concern, though. He remains silent as footsteps approach, and from the stairs at the loft's entrance, Matthew Parkman makes his entrance. The shock of gray hair atop his head seems silvery in the dim light of the loft, and he looks at Rene with a nod of recognition before coming to stop in front of Hiro.

"Well," Matt cracks a lopsided smile. "What do you know? Hiro Nakamura." Then, looking askance to the DoEA operatives, Matt gives a clear order. "Go after his friends! The Haitian stays with me." The officers who remained in the room join the others on the rooftop, filing out of the loft one-by-one. Quietly, Matt offers a bit of clarification to the young-looking Hiro in his grasp. "I want to take him in personally."

Hiro, to his credit, has no idea what's going on.

"W — what?"

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