Word Count: 2,678
Characters/Pairings: Mohinder Suresh, Samson Gray, Simone Deveaux, Isaac Mendez, Audrey Hanson, Matt Parkman, Peter Petrelli, (Nathan Petrelli), (Hiro Nakamura), (Chandra Suresh)
Warnings (sexual context, non-con, violence, strong language, characters death, etc) None
Mohinder Suresh receives a job offer; Audrey agrees to work with Matt, and Peter, Isaac, and Simone discover something about Isaac's mysterious paintings. Peter decides he has a date with destiny.
Mohinder flicked the switch for the fan, tossing his satchel on a chair. He drew up short when he saw a bearded man sitting at his desk. “Can I help you?” He kept his voice calm, polite, not sure yet if he was dealing with a lost tourist or a complete psycho.
The man stood up and smiled, extending a hand. “Mohinder Suresh, I presume.”
Mohinder cautiously shook the man’s hand as he tried to remember where he’d left his cricket bat. “And you are?”
“Samson Gray. I worked with your father.” Mohinder’s eyes widened. His father. Mohinder had heard of his murder only a day ago, and he was only here to continue cleaning out his father’s possessions. “He worked for me, actually. And I’ve been reading some of your papers. You’re a lot like him.”
Mohinder knew he was supposed to be gratified, but families, he knew, saw different aspects of one another than people on the outside looking in. “Thank you.”
“I’m very sorry for what you’re going through.” Samson sank back into his chair. “You’ll have to forgive me for not standing more. I was recently diagnosed with cancer.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Mohinder said politely. “Is there anything I can get you?” How had the man even got in?
Samson smiled as if he knew what Mohinder was thinking. “You can come work for me. Take your father’s position.”
Mohinder stared at him. “My father is- was a taxi driver.”
Samson laughed. “No, he worked for me as my lead scientist investigating people with abilities. People such as myself.” He pointed to a teacup on Mohinder’s counter; the teacup lifted itself into the sink.
Mohinder gaped. “He- He was right.”
“People like you- people like you exist.”
“And my father worked for you.”
“He did.” Samson smiled thinly. “And I’m offering you the same opportunity I did to him, to further your research and be well-paid to do so. No more sniveling, disbelieving children who are only in your class because the others were full.”
Mohinder was about to correct him and say they weren’t children, but he understood Samson’s meaning.
Samson held out a plane ticket. “You start Monday.”
Mohinder looked at his discarded messenger bag, remembering the talk he’d had with the Dean earlier in the week. He wouldn’t have a job at the university much longer anyway. No one wanted a teacher spouting crackpot theories. He reached out to take the ticket, reading it carefully. “So I do.”
Simone frowned at the recent batch of paintings Isaac had done. She supposed they were more of his “paint the future” paintings, but she was still struggling to accept that he even thought he was capable of that. Until she figured out what to do about his apparent delusions, she had decided to carry on as she had been, acting as his agent, lover, and sometimes friend. Right now, though, she was fully in her agent mode, and though she tried to be kind, she couldn’t be dishonest. “I can’t sell these,” she said at last, disappointment seeping into her tone.
“I know,” Isaac muttered, hands shaking as he tried to drink his tea. If he were alone, he would be chasing again, but Simone was watching him too closely. Isaac was pretty sure he knew why; he didn’t look like he’d showered in days, and he probably smelled like it, too.
“No one’s going to want to buy them! Why did you even paint them?” she snapped. God, he infuriated her sometimes. Didn’t he have an ounce of common sense? “It would be different if they were meant for Ninth Wonders-”
“No!” His utter refusal surprised her, and she turned to him, eyes wide as he tried to calm down, towel wrapped tightly around him to try and fend off the chill. “They aren’t for Ninth Wonders. No one can see these, Simone. Not yet.”
“I don’t know. But- but I painted this, too.” He showed her one more painting that he’d tucked away. She swallowed as she took in the sight of mass graves, scraps of Isaac’s artwork blowing over unburied corpses. “Look. Whoever is going to do this, they’re going to use my art to help them. I can’t let that happen, Simone. I need you to destroy them.”
“What? Are you crazy?”
“Simone, no one can see these. No one. I trust you. Just… get rid of them. Please.”
She glowered at him for several minutes, finally throwing her hands up in the air. “Fine. Fine. But next time, don’t call me to see your artwork unless you intend to sell it. Is that clear?” She turned back to the paintings, reevaluating. She could still make more money by selling them to some idiot than destroying them, someone so pleased to have an Isaac Mendez they wouldn’t mind that the painting was terrible. Isaac didn’t understand that he needed money in order to live, and that was where Simone came in. She took care of him. He hated it, but she took care of him.
She was barely out the front door with the new paintings before she was calling the best nurse she knew.
Audrey Hanson bent over a body, staring at the pool of blood where a head should have been. The body was frozen solid, and she didn’t even know where to start finding the cause for that one. Someone cleared his throat behind her. “Oh. Parkman. What’s a paper seller doing at a crime scene? You work with her, too?”
“Never seen her before in my life.”
“And her husband?”
Parkman shrugged. “We both know you think I don’t sell paper.”
“Do we now.” She got to her feet, her back sore from bending over for so long. “What else do we both know?”
“That you’re out of your league on this case. You’re looking for someone with superpowers.”
Audrey looked around and waved an agent over. “Get this guy out of here, would you?”
“Why do you think all their brains are missing?” Parkman ignored the man tugging on his arm before sighing in exasperation and staring at the guy. A moment later, the man walked off as if nothing had happened.
Audrey stared after him, then looked suspiciously at Parkman. “What did you just do?” And how much had he paid an officer of the law to defy an FBI agent?
“I work for a company. We try to keep people safe from people with abilities. Whoever did this? Had abilities. They’re… hunting people like us.”
“People with superpowers.”
“Us. You have a superpower? What is it? Annoying me?”
Parkman grinned. “Telepathy. I told your officer there to ignore me, and that’s precisely what he’s going to do. I could shoot you right now, and he’d ignore me completely.”
She reached for her gun, not wanting to find out if that was an empty threat or not.
“You don’t want to do that,” Parkman told her. And… she didn’t. She really didn’t want to shoot him. It had probably been a simple misunderstanding. “Exactly.”
She frowned at him. “You really expect me to believe you’ve got superpowers.”
Parkman grinned modestly and shrugged. “Or you could refuse to believe me. But you and I both know what’s been going on isn’t going to stop, and it can’t have been done by more... usual means.” He met her stare. “I was going to offer to help.”
After a long pause, Audrey nodded. “If you can make Mark come in and do what I’m thinking, I’ll agree to work with you. With you. Not under you. Not around you, with you.”
Parkman nodded. “First of all, his name is Marcel. And I’ll have him doing the chicken dance in no time.”
Peter gave up asking what Simone wanted help with when she opened the door to the loft and started calling for Isaac. Isaac. Right. The boyfriend.
Peter quietly closed the door behind them, dreading what Simone was going to ask him for. She’d already asked for needles, and Peter had gotten them, thinking maybe Charles needed help. Instead, she had brought him to her boyfriend’s place. It couldn’t possibly end well.
“What is he doing here?”
Peter turned and sized up the guy who was standing there in nothing but pants, with a blanket around his shoulders, holding a bowl of cereal. He’d been hoping that Isaac would be old and somewhat fat, or at least have some glaring physical deformity or green, scaly skin. No such luck. Isaac was actually the sort of guys most girls went for. Thick black hair, dark eyes, and through an opening in the blanket, Peter could glimpse a six-pack. When did the guy have the time or energy to work out?
Just his luck, really. And just another indication of what little chance he had with Simone.
“This is Peter. I was hoping he could help.”
“I don’t need his help,” Isaac snapped.
“Yes, you do.” Simone shoved past him and pointed at some of the paintings Isaac had leaned against the wall. “He thinks he can paint the future. I think he’s crazy.”
Peter walked forward, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. That all stopped when he saw the paintings. “Is that me?”
Isaac looked from him to the painting of a young man leaning off the roof of a building. “Could be.”
“No, it’s me. That’s what I was wearing the day I jumped off the roof.”
Simone stared at him. “The day you tried to kill yourself.” She stared back at the painting.
“I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I was trying to fly.”
Now they both stared at him.
“So,” Simone said slowly, “I came to the wrong person about Isaac being crazy.”
“I’m not crazy.” Isaac faltered. It did sound crazy. He thought he could paint the future? And Peter thought he could fly. He watched Simone as he remembered his sketches of her and... he could only suppose the other man was Peter. He chose not to point out that Simone seemed to be into psychos.
“He couldn’t have painted that, Simone. There wasn’t anybody around but Nathan.”
“Peter. You can’t possibly believe him.”
Peter shrugged and pointed to a series of paintings. “What are those?”
Isaac shrugged. “Paintings for Ninth Wonders. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t remember painting them.”
“Did you remember painting that one of me?”
Isaac hesitated and shook his head.
Peter stepped forward, then hesitated. “May I?”
After a glance at Simone, Isaac shrugged.
Peter didn’t need any more encouragement than that. He hadn’t mentioned it to Simone, but Ninth Wonders was one of his favorite comic book series, and he was happy to be so close to the art used for the stories. If it hadn’t been for Simone, he would have been happy to have met the artist, too.
He stepped back and tilted his head to the side. Art for the stories. He started rearranging the paintings, putting them in a sort of sequence. “They’re like a story. Who’s the cheerleader?”
“I don’t know. Just a character, I guess.”
“Unless you’re painting the future. In which case, it’s a girl who’s going to get killed, right?”
Simone turned away, her hands on her hips. “Oh, Jesus.”
Peter was too excited to notice. “Because I know a way to tell.” He pointed to two of the paintings, the one of two Asian men looking up at a homecoming banner drenched in blood, and one of a shadowy figure standing over a cheerleader’s body, the top of her head several feet away. He tried not to focus on that part. “Homecoming. And that’s... That says Union Wells, right? So we just have to find a Union Wells high school with a homecoming and be there.”
Isaac shook his head. “That’s... That’s crazy.”
“Yes,” Simone agreed emphatically. “Yes, it is!”
Peter stepped toward Isaac, his hand out, and Isaac was reminded of Nathan Petrelli’s speeches, with one of the wannabe senator’s hands resting on the podium whenever he wanted people to see his side of an argument. “If it’s not true, then it’s crazy. But if it is, then you helped save a girl’s life. Isn’t that worth it?”
Isaac stared at the paintings. It was true that he’d felt helpless. The girl getting hit by the bus, the explosions... And if they could change this, then the painting on the floor... “Are you sure the future can be changed?”
“Why else would you be painting these things?” Peter turned back to the paintings. In one, it looked like the cheerleader was reaching out for help.
Isaac was silent for several minutes as Peter continued studying the paintings and Simone muttered about how crazy they both were. “You should probably see this, then. I just finished it.” He set his cereal aside and walked over to one of his easels, turning it around so Peter could see the picture of a man looking much like himself, his body twisted in a puddle of blood with the homecoming banner above him.
Peter swallowed. “So we know it’s Union Wells’ homecoming.”
“This. Is. Insane,” Simone repeated. She stared in horror at the painting. “Peter, you can’t go.”
Peter shrugged. “If I’m wrong, then I’ll get to see a football game. If I’m right, maybe I can save her.” He looked to Isaac as he pulled out his phone and started making arrangements to take a vacation. “Worth it, right?”
Isaac hesitated, then nodded. Being able to prevent this would definitely be worth it. He sighed and closed his eyes as the phone rang again. “Don’t answer it,” he told Simone. “It’s some Japanese guy with the wrong number. He keeps saying he’s trying to save my life or something.” He frowned and looked at the floor. “You really think I can paint the future.”
Peter stepped around him and studied the black, orange, and red mushroom cloud that had been painted on the floor, New York City’s skyline a shadow in front of it. Somehow, it frightened him more than Isaac’s painting of Peter’s body under the homecoming banner. “More than you do, I think.”
“I guess I’d better hear the guy out. He says he saw that. In the future. Says he can time travel.”
Simone shook her head. “You both realize you sound crazy, right?”
Isaac shrugged. All three of them stared at the floor in silence.
“Might not hurt to hear him out,” Peter said at last.
Simone sighed and crossed her arms, but she didn’t argue.
Isaac headed for the phone, only to have it go silent before he got there. “He’ll call again.” Hiro always did. Of course, he also left messages, too.
“I’ll see if Nathan can help.” Peter moved toward the door, as much to get away from the painting on the floor as to get moving. “Call me if anything changes.” He was gone for only a few seconds before he opened the door again. “Can I get some photos of the paintings?”
Isaac stared at his latest paintings as he wiped his hands off with a rag. One in particular drew his focus. He looked to the others he had done, the difference in light and colors. It was as if the paintings formed a series of before and after shots, just like Peter had said. And here at least, he had found the turning point.
He looked to the sketch of his own death, then back to his most recent paintings. There was no time to waste, then.
Determined, he packed up the paintings in a crate, keeping the latest on top to make sure the curator would see it. From the painting, he knew she would be wearing a pink blazer when she opened it. That ought to get her attention.
He dropped in a note telling them to follow the instructions in the paintings, then sealed the crate and addressed it to the Deveaux Society.