Deep Sleep (1/2)
Title: Deep Sleep
Author: Del Rion (delrion.mail (at) gmail.com)
Era: Future, post-Heroes
Genre: AU, action, drama
Rating: M / FRM
Characters: Peter Petrelli, Mohinder Suresh, Sylar (, Nathan Petrelli, various other Heroes characters mentioned)
Summary: Peter always wanted to be a hero, but after the greatest failure of his life, all that’s left to do is to try repairing the damage he caused; battling his arch-enemy until the end of the world and beyond suddenly doesn’t seem far-fetched at all.
Written for: Heroes_Contest’s (heroes_contest) One-shot Challenge 15: Release
Warnings: Violence, death, mass destruction, post-apocalypse. Spoilers for season 1-3, especially season 3.
Beta: Mythra (mythras_fire) (I take it as a compliment that she called me a sick puppy for writing this!)
Disclaimer: The show, its characters, its places, and everything else belong to Tim Kring and other respective creators and owners of ‘Heroes’. I have made no profit by writing this story, and make no claim over the show.
Feedback: Much appreciated.
About Deep Sleep: Originally a quite random beginning from some sort of alternate future –fic, mostly written on a bus. Once the final idea for the actual plot was reached, most of the original text was discarded. Afterwards, I can say this is one of the most complex stories I have written, but that could be because there was no strict outline for a plot for me to follow.
Here it is for your viewing pleasure. Hope you like it.
Story and status: Below you see the writing process of the story. If there is no text after the title, then it is finished and checked. Possible updates shall be marked after the title.
Written for Heroes_Contest’s One-shot Challenge 15 (Release).
Deathstars: Play God (Album: Termination Bliss)
Hurt: Wars (Album: Goodbye to the Machine)
A Perfect Circle: Passive (Album: eMOTIVe)
The ground shakes. The horizon shivers. Perhaps it’s a trick of the eye, but I know I’m not moving, and the sound of stone shifting, masses moving beneath me…
Earth bends. Mountains collapse. The noise moves in waves, then clashes together, becoming a vortex that sucks everything in. Noise is everywhere.
Cries of terror.
The ground is still moving – hasn’t stopped once since it began. The earth and sky are on fire.
The night comes, but there are no lights. The horizon is filled with ash.
When it stops shaking, it’s silent. A hushed quiet before the screams start again – and they’re all in my head.
A machine beeps.
“You can’t dream if you’re dead.”
The first ragged breath sounded as painful in his ears as it felt in his chest. His eyes adapted to the bright lights directed down at him. Everything smelled… sterile. The machine had calmed down a little – as had his heart.
He felt his skin healing, body catching up. The hollow sensation was still there, though, deep inside his skull where the metal spike had been. It still felt like the first time… well, almost. The first time, he didn’t think he would ever wake up again.
“Do you know your name?” A purposeful question from someone who didn’t like him; he heard it in the tone, the lack of interest in him. This one hated him for sure.
“Peter Petrelli.” The answer came fluently.
“Do you know why you’re here?”
The flashes came faster than he could think of the response:
“Save the cheerleader, save the world.”
“Together we’re going to change history.”
“We bring the fight to them. With everything we’ve got.”
Peter hesitated. Then: “I am yet to be told why I’m here.”
The man stepped into his line of sight. He smiled, although Peter hoped the expression hadn’t reached his eyes so easily. “Excellent. He is stable; we may proceed.”
More people walked in, removed Peter’s restraints, then dragged him up to his feet. He was taken out through a door that hissed softly as it slid open, then along one clean corridor to another sterile room. He was left standing alone, a neat pile of clothes waiting for him on a bench by the wall. The door was shut and locked, and a high-pitched sound filled the air, barely within Peter’s range of hearing; he recalled it was designed to distract certain parts of the brain and make it a lot more taxing for him to use most of his powers.
They fear us so much… Peter mused, although the truth probably was that they didn’t fear any other being on earth as much as they feared him – and perhaps Sylar.
Sylar… Peter wondered if the other was still alive. There was no reason why he wouldn’t be, but he couldn’t rule out the possibility.
He turned towards the clothes, one hand running down the suit he was in now. It felt uncomfortable on him, sticking to his skin at every movement, but it was an improvement; the first few times he woke up, he had been naked. That was definitely more embarrassing that the slight discomfort the suit caused him.
Peter undressed, wishing he could shower, but that would have to wait. He slid on the clothes given to him, and they reminded him of hospital garments – or prison. Simple, cheap, easy to clean. Durable.
The door opened behind him and Peter lifted his head, not looking towards the new arrival – he didn’t need to. “Mohinder,” he said, softly, then turned.
“Peter,” the Indian replied, his voice different than it used to be.
“You’re… older,” Peter tried to break it to him gently.
Mohinder let out a laugh. “And you look exactly like the day we first met.”
“In a cab in New York,” Peter confirmed.
Mohinder nodded and laid a clipboard to a table beside him. “Your body seems to be functioning well.”
Peter knew why the other was here. “What day is it?” he asked instead.
“Third of May, 2053,” Mohinder said smoothly.
It was Peter’s turn to nod. No wonder Mohinder looked like he had aged a few decades since Peter last saw him, because he actually had. His hair was turning gray, and there were lines on his face. The veins of his hands were visible beneath the skin. He had lost some weight.
Peter sat down on the bench, folding his hands in his lap, and Mohinder took the chair by the table.
“Why am I here?” Peter finally asked. He could have just as well asked what had happened this time, because he was only woken up from the deep sleep – which others called ‘death’ – when something was seriously wrong.
“Sylar has been discovered crossing the Ravine.”
“Ah,” Peter replied. He was alive, then.
“You will be sent out as soon as we are certain you are operational.” Mohinder said it in such a way that it made Peter smile despite himself.
“Spoken like a true scientist,” Peter finally decided and stood up. Mohinder still sat in his chair, looking up at him. There was something in his eyes, and when Peter strained his brain enough to snatch a thought from his head, he could tell the other was sorry. “Do you still remember the speech you gave me when this all began?” Peter said. “Men like me… there’s no way to punish us. There’s no law against crimes like ours.”
“That was a long time ago,” Mohinder shook his head, standing up. “I am going to step aside soon, Peter. I’m old. Time has caught up with me.”
Peter had never thought of this day, but then, he had expected to be dead long before it. It saddened him to know that the next time he woke up, the last familiar face would be gone. “I’m sorry to see you go,” he said honestly.
“What is it like?” Mohinder asked.
Peter knew what he meant, but honestly, he didn’t have the answer. “I’m not sure. It’s seems awfully quiet… but then, I’m not sure if I’ve ever really been dead.”
They both knew that was the only answer Peter could provide them with.
The helicopter shook and shivered around him. Peter stared out through the window – which he had been doing ever since they took off. He would have flown faster, but the military wanted to make sure they had their eye on him every step of the way. So, Peter sat there, bound to his seat so that he couldn’t have moved even if he had wanted to, and looked at the scenery sliding past them.
They passed areas that looked quite like he remembered the cities used to be; cars and people moving on the ground, living their lives. Then they flew over ghost cities, and Peter could see the soldiers gazing at their radiation detectors, their minds a jungle of nervous thoughts. They were protected in their uniforms, and Peter was protected by his powers when they flew through contaminated areas.
In the distance he could see the barren land that spread on either side of the Ravine. Hundreds of miles where nothing grew, and the earth was upturned as if some great beast had dug it inside out.
“We’re closing in on the target,” the pilot informed them.
Peter could feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise, and it wasn’t just the anticipation doing that. “You should let me out,” he suggested kindly, knowing that ordering them what to do wouldn’t help.
“Shut up,” one of the soldiers snapped.
Peter didn’t offer any kind of witty response in return. He merely closed his eyes, held his breath and an instant later the helicopter exploded into pieces around him as a ball of fire hit it. There was a second when everyone screamed, then silence, and then Peter took flight, leaving the falling wreckage behind, knowing everyone inside was already dead. His body was already mending the damage done to it, fixing burnt and torn skin, pushing out pieces of metal.
Sylar hovered in the air above him, grinning. The man looked just the same.
“What are you doing here?” Peter demanded once he was within earshot. They both had enhanced hearing at their disposal, but it felt like cheating to Peter to use it this soon. And besides, he didn’t want to listen to the wreckage of the helicopter hitting the ground below them…
“But Peter, you make it sound as if I’m not welcome here,” Sylar replied, a mocking undertone ever present in his voice.
“You’re not.” Peter didn’t have to elaborate on that.
“It’s awfully lonely out there on the other side.”
“Well, that’s what you get, tearing a continent apart,” Peter snapped back.
“Oh, but don’t you remember? We did that together!” Sylar chided. “That’s almost like the sort of thing that brothers do.” He paused, and Peter knew that whatever came out of his mouth next wasn’t going to be pleasant. “Did you and Nathan do stuff like that?”
There. Peter felt his temper start flooding his judgment.
“Of course not,” Sylar laughed, still mocking him. “He was too busy locking you up and disowning you.”
“Go back to the other side,” Peter tried one more time. His hands were growing hot, preparing for a strike.
“See if you can make me, Pete,” Sylar whispered, and sped towards him.
Peter moved to the side, sending a blast of radioactive fire after him. Ice met his attack, and Peter changed to electricity just in time to meet a crackling assault from Sylar. They were equally matched, and Peter let out a shout of frustration, sound waves crashing towards Sylar and pushing him back momentarily.
Sylar recovered fast, speeding towards him again. This time Peter waited until they would collide, but Sylar stopped just before that, a telekinetic punch propelling Peter backwards through the air. Blinking, Peter stopped time, and regained his balance. He floated back to Sylar, the other frozen in place. How easy it would be… But Peter had never killed anyone like this, and he wouldn’t start now although the idea was very tempting.
Focusing, he resumed time and gifted Sylar with a solid punch in the jaw as Peter turned his right arm into metal. With the other temporarily shocked, Peter grabbed him and they both plunged towards the ground. Sylar struggled, then began to laugh. Peter just gritted his teeth, and when they hit the earth, he phased through it. He counted five seconds, then let go of Sylar and concentrated extra hard as he floated back to the surface. Once there, he took a deep breath and waited.
The ground began to tremble some seconds later, rock and dirt rising from the ground as Sylar erupted through it. Peter stood his ground, eyeing his opponent. “We can do this all day,” he said at last.
Sylar spat dirt out of his mouth, then drew a stained sleeve across his equally dirty face. His eyes were ominous, staring at Peter. Then, finally, he took flight and headed west.
Peter didn’t for one moment think he had won. He had perhaps annoyed Sylar enough to make him return to his side of the Ravine, but the other would be back.
He sat down, looking around. Every time he wished they would pick a better spot. Something that was closer to civilization. A place where Peter could see that not all hope was lost, instead of this dead land. But his very existence was probably a national secret, and the chances of seeing a city vibrant with life was near to impossible.
An hour passed before he could hear another helicopter in the air. It landed as soon as they spotted him, armed men approaching him as if he was going to explode. Peter knew that there was no point telling them he was going to come peacefully; they were here, the Ravine in the horizon, and all of them could remember all too well what he was capable of.
“And he gave you no reason for his presence?” the man asked once again. He was clothed in an army uniform, but Peter didn’t know if he was a high ranking officer or just some middle man.
“None other than that he was lonely,” Peter answered truthfully. He was leaning heavily on his chair, hands and feet bound. His head and chest throbbed, the drugs in his system making it hard to focus on talking. In the back of the room he could see Mohinder, looking weary. How many of these post-operation-interrogations had they both sat through?
“It makes no sense,” the army official muttered.
“With all due respect, Sylar usually makes no sense. He is one man, with no agenda. He is holding onto West America, and as far as we know, there is no one else alive out there,” Mohinder spoke up.
“We have information that he might be gathering a following,” the man from the army noted. He gave Peter a suspicious look, as if he was going to get up and join Sylar.
“Collecting powers is what he is addicted to. That makes it hard for other specials to follow him. Other than that… if someone’s crazy enough to set foot on that side of the Ravine, can we do anything about it?” Mohinder argued. “If he’s such a threat, go hunt him down. You’ve been planning on doing that for as long as I can remember.”
The man muttered something, and Peter would have chuckled had he been able to. All these years he had heard big words about taking Sylar down, but whenever he showed up on the side of East America, Peter was the one who was sent out. Today had been a good example: normal human beings and their technologies were no match to the latest stride of evolution.
“They tried to take him out with missiles five years ago, but the bastard still breathes,” the army official finally growled. “How is that possible?”
Immortality, Peter thought. Ultimate, endless power. He is a god… we both are.
“We’re done here. Send him back to preservation.” The army man exited the room, and Peter was released and moved over to the table that was just as hard and cold as it had been the first time he was laid on it. Some things, although decades had passed, didn’t change…
“Goodbye, Peter,” Mohinder said softly, touching his hand after he had been secured.
Peter just smiled, then saw the Indian move slightly and a burning pain filled his senses as the metal spike slid through his skull to his brain.
His fingers grasping onto Mohinder’s tensed then relaxed as his eyes glazed over.
Does it exist merely as something bound to religion, or is it an idea of strength and power not from this world?
I have never been particularly religious, other than on a few occasions when everything else seemed to fail. Still the true existence of the Lord of All piques my interest.
On occasion people are declared saints. Does that mean they are one step closer to God – or is it just an illusion of the church?
When one looks at it the right way, God is a simple matter of power. All-powerful. That is what they claim God to be. And if one is to achieve that, are they thereby God themselves?
“What can you do these days, Peter?”
I have regained my empathy after a long struggle, all the abilities at my disposal. Sylar, following my trail, gained those powers and left a bloody path in his wake.
We are like gods…
We are evenly matched. There is no weapon to overcome us. We are both immortal, unable to die. A war is declared between us, uncontrolled and unstoppable – until…
None who lived would ever forget that day.
It was July 13th. Sunday. Not that it mattered to them; Sylar wanted to fight, and he made sure Peter shared that particular desire by killing Hiro. He didn’t even take his power, which amazed Peter somewhat. But Hiro was dead, and while Peter knew he could go back in time and fix it, fighting Sylar was so much simpler than that. So much more… satisfactory.
After years of struggle they no longer exchanged physical blows. Touch just wasn’t required. It was almost like modern warfare, with their missiles and long range weapons. Only, they didn’t need guns; they had their own means of mass destruction gifted by nature.
They soared to the sky, air rippling around them. Electricity and fire. Telekinesis and power fields. It wasn’t small, and none of it was for show. Sylar aimed a blast of fire at him, but Peter teleported before it could hit, and when he reappeared behind Sylar, he could see a smoking mountaintop in the distance, several dozen feet of its original height missing. Pieces of stone were still crashing down along its sides.
They clashed again, and again. Peter allowed his rage to fill him, thinking of Hiro’s dead body, and all the others Sylar had killed. But Hiro saddened him most because the memory of him was still fresh in Peter’s mind; he had been a friend and an ally for a long time and his passing was meaningless since Sylar hadn’t taken his power. It was murder just for the sake of attracting Peter’s interest.
Well, Sylar had his undivided attention now.
A blast of electricity hit him, dropping him several thousand feet before Peter’s healing power kicked in and allowed him to fly again. Sylar came closer, tackled him, and Peter gazed heavenwards. Thunder rumbled above them, a flash of lightning reaching down towards them. Peter could feel the pressure in his head, associated with the ability he was using to collect enough power to smash Sylar to the ground; it would take the other a while to recover from that, and it probably wouldn’t storm in the area for the next month.
“Miss your mom, Pete?” Sylar taunted him, grinning. “Miss your brother?”
Peter lost his concentration. A thunderbolt flashed past them, leaving a crater in the ground far below.
“Tell me again how much you love me, Pete,” Sylar went on.
Peter replied with a scream and a burst of radioactive heat. In his head, he could still hear Nathan’s voice. The last thing he had said to him…
“I love you Pete. You know that?”
That was the last time he spoke to his brother. Afterwards it had been Sylar, and Peter could never forget the day he walked into his brother’s room only to find the man he thought they had burned and buried. Sylar told him everything, his appearance still writhing between that of himself and Peter’s brother, but Parkman’s hold had been broken and there was no going back. Peter wasn’t going to go back.
When Angela Petrelli was found dead three months later, her car driven off a bridge to the bottom of a river, Peter didn’t know if it had been an accident, a suicide, or if Sylar had a part to play in it. Peter didn’t know if he even cared. Now, he missed her, just like he missed Nathan.
And Sylar was always there to remind him of it.
“Come now, Peter. You can do better than that!” Sylar shouted up at him.
When Peter had first acquired the power to control and create seismic activity, he never thought of the perks of using it. The idea of stuffing Sylar into a crack in the earth and closing it with him still inside… was tempting. The downside to that plan was that Sylar too had the power, and when they clashed, heedless of the damage they were causing in their attempts to take each other out, the term ‘global disaster’ got a whole new meaning.
It was just like any other Sunday in July. The day was not different from any other day – not before Peter and Sylar clashed, a mile in the air, and Peter wanted nothing more than to rip his enemy apart.
Instead, they tore the whole continent in two.
None who lived would ever forget that day.
By the time they stopped fighting, bloody, clothes torn and burned, bodies healing from massive injuries, Peter could tell something was wrong. Below them on the ground a huge rupture was spreading, heat and gases creating a suffocating cloud around it. The ground was visibly shaking and the rumble grew stronger each second. The rupture was growing, disappearing beyond Peter’s sight like a crack in the ice, and he began to realize something was very, very wrong.
He focused, trying to stop it, but it seemed his power was no longer controlling the earthquake. He could feel it, but it was like watching a shoal of fish escape from your net and their slimy bodies slipping from your grasp…
A bolt of electricity struck him in the back, and he looked at Sylar who was hovering a hundred feet above him. “Stop!” Peter screamed up at the other man. “We have to stop this before it’s too late!”
But Sylar didn’t answer. He was looking at something, and Peter rose higher to see himself. With enhanced eyesight which they had both acquired from a man in Wichita, Kansas, they could see a city up north tremble – then collapse and disappear. Explosions could be heard, and Peter tried to listen harder.
That’s when the screams began. Beneath the deafening roar of shifting earth, he could hear thousands of voices crying out in several languages. Peter cried out in pain, trying to block it out, but it was all too loud. It was as if… everyone everywhere were screaming at the same time.
He didn’t even notice he had started to lose altitude until Sylar grabbed him and stopped his uncontrolled fall. The thick eyebrows were drawn together in a frown, but instead of letting Peter go, he held onto him as the tremors went on all around them. The ground was being torn apart below them, molten rock sliding out through the rupture, spreading heat and smoke everywhere. Explosions echoed in the distance, mingling with the sound of earth collapsing into the gaping wound on the ground.
“We have to stop it,” Peter said weakly.
“I don’t think we can,” Sylar replied.