changehistory: ([Angela] BW)
[Angela is [livejournal.com profile] mapetrelli]

Then

On the other side of town a boy is waiting
with fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal
She drives on through the night anticipating
'Cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel

She rushes to his arms,
They fall together
She whispers that it's only for awhile
She swears that soon she'll be comin' back forever
She pulls away and leaves him with a smile

You can't hide your lyin' eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize
There ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes


The bed is rumpled, still, the sheets probably warm if he bothered to brush his fingers over them. If he closes his eyes, concentrates, he can catch the scent of her perfume in the air, overlaying the musky odor of sex. His skin is sensitive where it's healed from the rake of her nails and the bite of her teeth, marks of passion spent he'll never bear for long, so the room, those pieces of her that linger in his flat are all that he has left. He had to be careful with her, of course, more careful than is his wont, ensuring to leave her unmarked, sending her back to her husband looking untouched, though if he doesn't know where she has been, then he's more of a fool than Adam thought. He has to know. They all know. She's good, but she's not that good.

There was a time, once upon a time, when he thought she could be his. More than these stolen moments, more than an affair in shadows. He likes to tell her she is, remind her of just how far he's in her life, an indelible mark upon her mind and soul that she'll never truly escape, but it's another man's ring on her finger, another man's bed she spends most of her time in, and he has to content himself with these visits. He presses, on occasion, winding words around her with reminders of just what it could be like, the two of them together, always, away from Arthur's poisonous influence and control. But the boy changes things, he knows. She murmurs against his lips, soft promises of someday, if she can find a way, that it's him she loves, that she's his, and one day it will be the two of him. She'll be his Eve in their new Eden. Just wait until they strike, until they can carry out the plan, and then it will be the two of them, she swears it.

He knows she's lying, but he kisses her back softly, and for a while he pretends she's not.

Now

She gets up and pours herself a strong one
And stares out at the stars up in the sky
Another night, it's gonna be a long one
She draws the shade and hangs her head to cry

She wonders how it ever got this crazy
She thinks about a boy she knew in school
Did she get tired or did she just get lazy?
She's so far gone she feels just like a fool

My, oh my, you sure know how to arrange things
You set it up so well, so carefully
Ain't it funny how your new life didn't change things
You're still the same old girl you used to be


It's still chilly enough that he lights a fire in the fireplace, settling in front of it with a glass of whiskey, staring into the flames. There's a feeling nagging at the back of his mind that he shouldn't be doing this, that he's playing with fire. He taught her too well, perhaps. For all his confident swagger, his surety, the truth is she told Nathan to kill him. Things have changed. She's not the girl he knew, but he keeps trying to believe she's in there, his Angela, the one he loved more than perhaps he ever told her, more than he ever told anyone. But she's a woman now. A woman who sent her son to blow up half the city. Who let their son believe his brother was dead--no matter how useful that turned out to be for him. She's become the woman he'd set out to mold her into, and that makes her dangerous.

The others won't approve. They'll call him mad. They'll question his judgment and maybe they'll be right. Claire and Hiro wll be the only two who even truly understand his possible reasoning, and both of them will see every landmine in it, because the reasoning is madness in and of itself. Oh, he can rationalize it. She has information they need. It is better to consolidate than fight a war on two fronts. It makes sense, doesn't it? His eyes fall closed. There are so many secrets, so many lies, so many webs woven through time, and she knows them. Where so many others don't, really, she knows him. Knows him well enough to play him, as he knows her well enough to play her. It makes them worthy opponents; it makes them even better allies.

But he doesn't know which they are. And he doesn't know which is more dangerous.
changehistory: ([Peter] -- Healing)
[ooc: Peter referred to is [livejournal.com profile] hadtobeahero and used with permission]

What it is that pulls him from the sleep he finally managed to fall into, Adam can't say. The fragment of a nightmare, of satin lining or cold eyes or the wheezing sound of a tube in a throat; or a creak as the house settles around them, shifting with age like the grandmother he barely remembers used to in the chair by the fire before everything went to Hell; or the first light of dawn slipping through the shutters and blinds to dance through the dust mites in the air that never go away even when you clean thoroughly. It could be one or all or none, but he shifts in a moment from sleep to waking, breath catching and aware that something is different.

His arms aren't empty. The bed isn't cold next to him. In the space of the heartbeat that realization hits, memory comes as well, and his lips curve in a small smile as he shifts slowly to steal a glance at the sleeping boy next to him. The shadows that have hung over him aren't apparent while he's sleeping. What he's been through, what they did to him...it could just be another nightmare in the peaceful dawn as his eyes roam over the lines of his face like he's never quite seen him before. To be honest, he never allowed himself the luxury of looking. He had a mission, a focus, a target, and Peter had a purpose in it and he couldn't allow long lashes and a crooked smile from lips he wanted to taste divert him from it. But now...

Now everything's different. They're different, both of them tried and tested with new scars no one can see. Peter's changed, and Adam knows he hasn't even scratched the surface of how deep the months have wounded him, or guessed how many pieces he might have broken into. But he's still beautiful, and now he can look his fill, Adam decides, shifting up on one elbow. Reaching out fingers he brushes them through Peter's hair, careful not to wake him, smiling at how rumpled he looks in his T-shirt, burrowed in the covers. He's still stunned that he stayed, knowing what he knows now, knowing the lies for what they were. He still came to him, and he stayed, and Adam can't quite wrap his mind around that.

He doesn't know if he can trust him, given who he is, but, then, he's fairly certain Peter feels the same, given what Adam's done. Arthur might be dead, but Angela's still out there, and while the threat isn't the same, she's still a potential force to be reckoned with, and Adam has no mind to see the inside of a cage again. Hiro could show up at any moment, if he found them, furious Adam ran off, and with Peter near-powerless, what could he do to stop him? He'd do far, far better to just fully disappear. Take a new name, learn Swedish, move to Stockholm--that almost makes him laugh for a moment--and wait out the next fifty years in peace. He gambled, he lost, he almost lost too much, but he's got his freedom...

And he's got a sleeping, broken boy curled up in his bed, who stayed when he asked him to stay, who's been turned on and betrayed by everyone else, who needs him, and, for some reason he cannot fathom, wants him, and, well, if there is one thing Adam thrives on it is being needed and wanted. Snuggling back down in the bed, he curls closer to Peter with a bit of a sigh, pressing close to the warmth of his sleeping form. He should run, but he can't, and he prays to anyone who might still be listening as he presses a kiss to his shoulder that he isn't setting them both up for another fall.
changehistory: (A man in the shadows)
It was possible, and he was willing to admit it in the quieter corners of his mind, that after thirty years of being locked away from it all, he was on the verge of going a trifle bit overboard with the holiday thing, and it hadn't even really started yet. After all, tomorrow was, technically, just the kickoff for the marathon of the four weeks leading up to the main event, just the test run for the larger dinner to come on Christmas, and it was, really, just an American sort of thing, really, and he wasn't even American. Nor was he really a person given to overwhelming shows of appreciation for things. So he had, of course, been very focused on the end game, as per usual. Christmas trees, and parades that ended in Santa coming in, and decorations that needed buying and ice skating and presents and trying to decide if the bubble lights were tacky or brilliant and if Rian's suggestion of so much tinsel would be deleterious to the health of the small furry animals he was fairly certain he and Claire were going to be acquiring in the next month.

But people were arriving and there was cooking and decisions to be made and at some point, in some fashion, well...somehow Sark and Claire seemed to be taking control of the kitchen--there were pies and things chopped--and he was forced to acknowledge that it wasn't just a pre-Christmas parade that was happening the next morning with a meal afterward. People were coming over--rather a lot of people from the looks of it--and not all of them friends of each other, but each of them beloved of someone and at least fond enough of him to suffer the others, to celebrate...something. Not just the beginning of the Christmas season, he was sure, but, what?

That they had survived this year, with all that it had thrown at them?

That they had found each other through it all?

That they had kept their hold on their loved ones?

That they had learned to love, to forgive, to cherish?

That they weren't locked in little cages having tubes and sharp instruments shoved under their skin? That was probably just him. And maybe Sylar. Possibly Peter.

That they were still trying?

That they still believed in something, even if they couldn't quite define it, or couldn't all agree on what that "something" was?

That they each believed that someone else in the room had the potential to be something more than they thought they could be?

That they were stronger together than they were on their own?

He watched Claire and Sark bickering good-naturedly in the kitchen and felt a smile tug at his lips. He might not see the point of running around celebrating an attitude of gratitude, but that didn't mean he didn't realize that he was blessed, this year. Peter had forgiven him, for whatever reason. He had found his granddaughter, and if his son didn't know he was his son and wanted nothing to do with any sort of actual relationship even approaching friendship with him--well. It wasn't like he was reaching out to his daughter, either. He and Claire had each other, and that was something special. He'd found Sark, and a friendship, and Baileigh, and watching the two of them find each other was a reminder that love could overcome a lot of things. He'd met Sylar and found an almost kindred spirit, someone to understand what it was like to struggle, to want to be better, if only for someone else, to fight the darker urges, someone who knew what it felt like to be tossed aside, and the rage that could kindle.

He'd eliminated a threat, knocked out a potential rival, and secured his own future, at least.

And he had the seeds of a plan, of something new, of an idea to thwart the terrible future Peter had seen. Better than that...his own, dear Claire had come to him with it, so he couldn't even say he'd gone and talked someone into it. It needed work, needed thought, needed some planning to come to fruition--but it was a start, and looking at the lineup at his disposal, the people to be gathered around his table the next day, those he had ready to choose from--a new era of disciples just waiting to be converted...A small smirk curved his lips. Maybe this Thanksgiving thing had some merit to it after all. Count your blessings, indeed.

Turns out, he was a very lucky man, after all.
changehistory: (Peter -- Here we go again)
Looks like the rain's pouring down on me
It's drowning me now
And all I want is to come back home
And this old corduroy coat is not keeping me dry
But I can't think of what else to try
That's why the best thing I can give to you
Is for me to go
Leave you alone
You got growing up to do


Sometimes he wondered if he should go. Not out of a lack of feeling, not by a long shot, but...was he helping? Did anything he say, do, feel, get through? Was he banging on glass, desperate, still caged in a world where nothing made sense to the boy on the other side? Sometimes he thought he'd managed, and then the same arguments came flying back at him, the words even the same, nothing changing or showing that he had grasped Adam's point at all.

It was a sideways way of thinking. Adam knew that, understood it, but it came from age, from experience, and watching the boy rip himself to pieces with guilt and angst hurt when if he would just listen. But it was ever the province of the young to think they knew better than those who have come before, especially when they disagree with them. Adam's frustration didn't help, he knew. And he knew that it was something that time would alter. Oh, the boy might not ever become him, but eventually he would grow up or he would be destroyed.

Adam was hoping very hard for the former rather than the latter, but to get him there, Adam had to wonder -- was he standing in the way? Was his experience, his point of view, clouding the boy's judgment and ability to grow? Was he pushing too hard, saying too much, destroying their chance at having anything by his own need to save him from himself? If he went away for a year, two, a decade, two, a century...would it change? Would he change until they found themselves more in line with one another, truly partners instead of this twisted mentorship where the mentee had no desire to learn?

Adam didn't know. But the thought plagued him sometimes.

Maybe he should go. Not forever, but for a while. Come back later, when the boy had grown up. It might be best for everyone, that way. Put distance between other things as well. But every time he tried to leave, his feet wouldn't move, and Adam found himself waiting, suspended, holding his breath and hoping more than he thought he had left to hope that it would be enough.
changehistory: (Kensei - Yesterday's grave)
1671

"I will change history."

He tried. His carp--the word burned in his head now, and never, it seemed, truly his--had told him how the story went time upon time. It was his destiny, to defeat White Beard, to save Japan. He had passed all the trials, had he not? Fought cannibals and bears and climbed frozen water falls and gotten shot full of arrows more than once. He'd done his part, as he was told, to make the legend a child in the future would hear become truth, in fact. Only, there was nothing in the story about betrayal, a kiss under cherry trees, a heart ripped out before he was ready to give it to the dragon.

Realization that he was nothing more than a puppet in the boy's game galled him, the taste of it bitter in his mouth. He was Takezo Kensei, and somehow the child had convinced him that the name meant something before he took it all away. So, Kensei would make it great. He would take everything the boy had told him, twist it up, and rewrite the story to come out the way he wanted it to. White Beard would rise, and then Kensei would take his power, as well. The princess--princess, indeed, she was nothing more than a merchant's daughter, as he had once been a merchant's son--would die at the dragon's hand, because Kensei would not raise a hand to save a faithless whore. The hero would become the dragon, and the dragon would make Japan shudder under him and yield.

Fire came in a flash of pain, anguish, as he lay on the floor, the last curse still on his lips. White Beard's defeat seared through him, body and soul, and he screamed with it. He healed, but the story was still told, again and again. Takezo Kensei, savior of Japan--the boy had taken his name, his identity, as surely as he had taken his love, all of it ripped from him until he was nothing but a man laid bare, shivering as the wind caressed over new-grown skin. The stories grew, and with it, his resolve.

Some day, somehow, he would have his vengeance for his decimation. Lifted high, exalted, then thrown aside like a broken doll he might have been, but it would not always be so. It would take time, it would take patience, it would take cunning. He had all three.

"I will change history."

He could wait.
changehistory: (Burning thoughts)
[AU 'verse]

The journal is a modern style, with a magnetic flap and fake leather faked to look old and distressed. Of course, now it is, and how they had kept it all this time still amazes him, but it had been something precious in a way--proof that Peter was who he said he was, from when he said he was--so Adam had kept it wrapped in oilcloth, kept from the elements and preserved. It's falling apart now, the ink nearly illegible, preserved like other old books, and almost never taken out, never touched. He's copied it, though, so as not to lose it, painstakingly writing out each entry that spanned four weeks that never happened, but carefully document the reasons why it never occurred, why a boy came back to save a man he loved from becoming a monster.

He's read it enough over the years that each entry is nearly memorized, but he pulls out a copy again. The code was a simple one, one he and his siblings had worked out as they learned to write. It had been Mary who'd thought it up and taught the boys, letting them work it into their compositions for the school mistress, saying all sorts of things they oughtn't. A child's game, but with that...it tucked into the journal entries, carefully worded in ways Peter would never have deciphered should he have picked it up. The code had been what convinced him the boy was telling the truth, because for all he now knew a code breaker could probably sort it out fairly quickly, then...no one else would have known.

Tonight is different. He hasn't visited the pages in over a year, as if reading them could bring them into being as the dates on the pages coincided with those on the calendar, evoking events he has no knowledge of outside of story and Peter's memory. He tucked the pages far away in the back of his desk at home, bound up to protect the present from becoming what it was, had been. But it is past, now, the last date, and things have remained as they have made them, and so he pulls forth the pages again wondering if tonight they will make more sense in truth, in fact, than just in words he translates in his head.

These were his words. This was his plan. This dark bitterness, softened only by Peter's presence, but even that not enough to stop him from his murderous purpose. Kaito's death. Angela's attack. The feel of the gun in his hand and how it felt to watch Victoria fall, blood pooling around her, the shock on her face, the fierce sense of accomplishment at it's doing...and the excitement that laced each line as they drew closer and closer to the goal. He was giddy with it, it seems, hungry to watch the world fall around him, to build it anew, drunk on rage and vengeance and righteousness, a sense of being so far above those around him that their lives mattered not. Worry, some, that the boy would fall away, that he might lose him, rambles on how to keep him by his side, to not lose this opportunity, but only here and there, and more of a sense that it must be done, and he would find a way to fix it with Peter after.

He wishes he could toss it away and say he doesn't believe it, to toss off the fetters of the life that now never was. It seems the journal should have disappeared, never written, because that man never existed, but it remains here, in his hands, tangible proof of who he was. Who he was. Because it was him, and he was that person, and it is useless to deny it. The guilt that weighs on him isn't rational, perhaps, but he sometimes thinks it isn't for who he was that he feels it, but because it is who he could become. Even now, even with a past filled with love and laughter, and partnership, it is hard not to think he is better than them, to not be certain that he and Peter are meant to rule, not guide. They are everlasting, and his father's words, words Peter couldn't erase the way he erased the other boy's betrayal, still echo. The arrogance in the words on the page, he recognizes. The anger, he knows, if not so bitterly. The injustice in the world, he wants to rectify. The sense that it is all spinning out of humanity's control, and that something must be done, he shares.

There is no virus; Peter saw to that. There is no deadly weapon at his hand save Peter himself, and in that, perhaps they differ, because to use Peter is to him unthinkable, where to the other, to the man he was, it was necessary and inevitable. That angers him, sometimes, knowing what Peter risked, what Peter gave up to save...this man, who wrote these words, who had these thoughts, and who didn't care what he demanded of those who followed him...and knowing, still, that he still does that, daily, weaving his webs of words around his still faithful followers. He's learned from journal what not to do, what path doesn't work, what plans have to fail, and how to succeed. He's learned from his past mistakes, from his past self, but the lesson learned might not be the one that some might hope.

Because no matter the anger at the fool he thinks he was, he knows, reading those words and hearing the soul behind them, that when you strip away the man he's learned to be, and the man he once became with their lives so differently lived...his once past and his now present are not so far apart as one might think.
changehistory: (Nothing ever changes)
The best way to predict the future is to invent it. -Alan Kay
I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom. -Bob Dylan

It is all I have ever wanted to do--to set the course of my own destiny, taking the ideas that were planted and moving forward into something new. I didn't want to know my course through time was set, predetermined, in stone because someone from the future said that it was so. Even now, I feel that flutter of dread that one day one of them, or another like them, will appear from another four centuries in the future to tell me what steps are next to fulfill the course that fate has set.

Time is not immutable. They have changed it in the past, knowing what was coming, warned by the future, and adjusting their course of action to switch the outcome to one more palatable. Kirby Plaza. Odessa. A moment of foreknowledge, and paths shift and a new future is created. Every day, every choice we make, we are creating what comes after. The world Peter saw existed -- it happened, somewhere, in some time line, in some way, but then it changed. He changed it, or Hiro changed it, or I changed it by seizing it as my own. Perhaps it never was mine. Things can be changed and destiny may set a course, but even those from the future cannot say that the world in which they exist is predetermined.

It's a terrifying thought, that--people existing in possible futures, and the one in which we walk each day is only a possibility that is an iteration of various choices in the past. If we were to go back, change one thing, would our entire world disappear, or would it split itself off into another reality and the consequences of both choices exist simultaneously on separate paths, one never knowing the other slinks alongside it, each moment mutating it into something else, pulling them farther apart, or perhaps bringing them closer until one could almost think they might merge.

They can do that, they have that power. The power to reshape the world with one change in the past, to prevent futures from ever occurring, or, at the least, shifting them to someone else's timeline to deal with. And I...I move ever onward, looking to the future with a keener eye than those around me, because I am one who will have to live in it. For too long, humanity has said, "It isn't my problem." They want their cars, their products, their food, their technology and the problems it causes spiral onward but they will not have to live in the world they ravage. It will be for their children to deal with, their grandchildren, their great-grandchildren.

And me.

I have seen the consequences of actions taken, of choices made. And because I understand where the world is headed, because I can see the long-term ramifications...Just as they do, when they see the future with their own eyes...I have a responsibility to act. I must act. I must find a way to shape a future that is better than the one toward which we are hurtling. If humanity itself will not think of its future, of the lives its children will lead...then I must, if only because it will be my world then, as well, and their choices will be consequences I must live with for eternity.

I would rather live with the consequences of my own actions, to be responsible for my own choices, than to live mired in theirs.
changehistory: (Evil smirk)
He likes to find them young. Not children, by any means, his inclinations have never slid that way (though there is something of an urge to see what raising one, molding one from that young would be like). But his lovers he prefers to find, to take, to seduce when they are still young, balancing on the cusp of adulthood. It isn't a physical preference in such a way as to discriminate against those older as society seems to dictate in ways he finds abhorrent. Having taken a lover, or a wife, he has more than once stayed with them to the end of their natural lives, faithful and true and never straying. But it is the start of the thing, the place it begins.

The young are so easy to mold and manipulate. Affection, attention, treating them like adults when the world still treats them like children (you may die for your country, but you cannot handle beer; you may drive or buy a vehicle, but you may not rent one). They are so impressionable and so very eager, that it makes him smile just to think of it. They are a canvas waiting to be turned into a masterpiece, growing in the direction he dictates to become stronger than they ever imagined they could be. (She is proof of that, he thinks, proud of her even when they fight, proud of the woman she has become, of the force she is to be reckoned with. And the other...ready and on the verge of finding herself, stepping into her own strength, her own power, confident because he is confident of her. She, too, will become a woman of strength and courage, with the vision to guide those around her in just the way he would like them to go.) His vision, imprinted, burned into their minds, fed out from them to those around them, carrying further in exponential growth until the world changes under their powerful hands.

He likes to find them young. He likes to mold them and watch them grow. And he loves to watch what they work in the world, as decade by decade his endgame stretches toward its conclusion.

[ooc: More meta than verse specific, and I hesitate to call it "canon" because we don't have all the facts. So...metaish speculation?]
changehistory: (Nothing ever changes)
We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom. -Stephen Vincent Benet

He can look back now and see all the places, the twists and turns where they all got off track. Beyond his ideas, Linderman's, Angela's and Arthur's, the hubris of the entire group of them shines through the shadows of the centuries. Observing the Company, the parts of them that are in the vault, in the files, in the memories of the surviving members, almost hurts. Whatever form it took, they had come together with the best of intentions to save the world. They had power, they were chosen, they were special. All of them, each in their own way. He had chosen them carefully for what they brought, the gifts they had to share. Disciples, children, friends, each. He remembers the early meetings, intense, faces alight with passion as they discussed plans, ideas, tossed around solutions to the world's various problems. Why would they have such power, if not to use it?

Only here they are, now, with this. It doesn't matter, really, what their intentions had been to start or how they had clashed. There is only the result. Thirty years of imprisonment, of torture, for Adam. Only three of the twelve left, and one of those incapacitated, caught in a nightmare of his own making. Reviled by their children, a generation of heroes ready to rise against them. Somewhere they had all gone wrong, and Adam knows he cannot fully take the blame. He was gone, not influencing them for three decades. What the Company has become is nothing he ever envisioned. They fractured themselves and it, and the intentions that had pulled them all to each other.

It hurts in ways he won't admit, to turn on what was his brainchild, the thing he tried to change the world with. But what it has become is not something that can be allowed to remain. It's a hydra with many heads, twisting throughout the world, but his new goal, his new driving force is to see it gone, his mistake wiped clean.

Only then can he really start again.

359 words
changehistory: (Emo)
Forget...

...The way her eyes were bright with unshed tears when you told her what you had done. The words you tried not to say, love him, always, forever, trying to phrase it so carefully, but knowing the truth was sliding out of you unbidden with each shard of her heart you saw break.

...The way he looked at you, like you were some sort of monster he could not understand, when you hungered for the blood of your tormentor, and vengeance roared through you in barely leashed fury. The promises pulled out of you, when the two of them combined. Can't lose them, can you, chained by need you don't want to hold you back, but you let it anyway.

...The shattered look in his eyes when he told you the truth that ripped his world apart, calling into question all he thought he knew about who he was, what his life had been. You want to tell him that blood doesn't change things, not truly, and a parent is more than blood and seed. You think of your granddaughter, of the man she calls father who isn't the one before you, and wonder if the two of you will ever share that common bond, understanding, pain, but you don't say anything like that, not now. Maybe not ever.

...The feel of wood and stone surrounding you, the weight of the Earth pressing down, suffocating you as the air thins and visions dance before your eyes. The blood that ran down your skin where you slammed your hands into the wood, ripping skin that healed, pushing splinters back out. Nothing impure allowed to remain, except everything that's in your soul. The taste of bile and tears and the stink of fear and loss as darkness comes.

Let it go.

Forget... )
changehistory: (Upset/looking down)
Because of you
I try my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you
I don't know how to let anyone else in
Because of you
I'm ashamed of my life because it's empty
Because of you
I am afraid

I'm forced to fake
A smile, a laugh everyday of my life
My heart can't possibly break
When it wasn't even whole to start with

I watched you die
I heard you cry every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me


His name was Stephen.

I was three when he was born, and even then, I remember wanting to protect him. It's my first clear memory, sitting on the bench in the hall, next to Mary--my sister--while she held him. He opened his eyes, and he looked right at me, and he had my eyes. It was love at first sight. Mary bossed me horribly, trying to play little Mother from her grand old age of eight, telling me not to touch, not to try and hold him, to stop telling him stories like he could understand, but I ignored her as usual. You would have thought he was my personal property. When he took his first steps, they were to try and follow me. His first word was "James." That was my name, then, the one they christened me with. Granted, it came out more "Dame" but I didn't care.

When he threw us out, called her witch and whore and me Satan's spawn, Stephen was five. He didn't understand. He was afraid of the place we ran to, afraid of the men with their hard eyes and the women with their loud laughs and gin on their breath. My mother cried for three days, and Mary lost her virginity against a wall in an alley the first week we were there. There was just me, the man of the family. Just me to protect him, to keep him away from clutching hands. Just me to make up stories in the dark, huddled on the floor under a single blanket. Just me to make sure he ate enough. Just me to fight the older kids who tried to take anything he had, to take the whippings and the bloody nose. Me to teach him how to read, to do his sums. To learn his Bible. To teach him to pray. Eventually, just me to teach him to fight, to defend himself when work took me away.

Me to take it when "gentleman" come slumming started noticing our eyes. Me to step up, to try and spare him that however I could when my mother cried that there was no food. And when that failed, me to show him it didn't have to hurt...that it could be about love and gentleness and relief. We were already damned, whore's get, witch's spawn. What did one more sin matter?

I wanted to get him out, back to the world I remembered, the one we came from, the one he'd forgotten. Where it wasn't cold and we weren't hungry and people didn't expect you to fall on your knees to scramble for coins to buy your daily bread. Where there were lessons every day instead of forced Bible readings under cold eyes of those who told you that you were damned once a week, and a garden to play in, and maybe church was boring, but it was at least warm and you got to sit instead of stand thrust among everyone else in a cold room. Me and him, against the world, doing our best to protect Mother and Mary from the men who came to the house every day and night, make sure no one got too rough, make sure they all paid. I got him a job at the stables, a real job with real wages, and he never knew how, and that was how I wanted it.

Then came the Great Fire, and they were trapped, Mother and Mary, in the house while we were at work, and then it really was just us, and there wasn't anything to tie us there, no one to protect except each other. We talked about a merchant ship, seeing the world. We were hard workers, good fighters, clever and nimble and strong enough to do whatever was needed. A ship's captain hired us on, said we'd leave in one week. We needed money for provisions. He went to his job, I went to one of my myriad odd employments. A horse was spooked. He got kicked in the chest. They sent for me to say goodbye. I didn't know what I was, what I could do, what my blood could do.

A week later I sailed for Japan, alone, and developed a taste for whiskey. I have married. I have loved. I have lost. I have watched people run screaming in terror from what I am, seen a wife commit suicide by alcohol for ever letting me touch her. I have been betrayed. I have been adored. And through it all, I have been alone. I have kept myself apart. A shadow. A ghost. Brushing over lives, and moving on, because when I look in the mirror, I see his eyes. I remember the one person I could have saved if I had known what I was, what I could do. The one person I loved more than anyone, anything, else in the world. The other part of me, bound so tightly I still see him in my dreams 345 years later. The one I failed to protect, in the end. And every time I walk away, I know he's disappointed. I know I failed him in my fear. I know this isn't what he'd want for me, this emptiness, walking the world with a ghost in tow. I know that, and so I try. To find a way to have the life he would have wanted me to have, the life I wanted him to have. The one I have to live for both of us. And I fail again and again, too afraid of feeling that again, of opening myself that way again, of letting someone in that way again. And then I try again. For him.

His name was Stephen.

[Locked to Nathan and Peter (any verse)]

Say what else you like, but please don't say I can't understand. I understand far too many things far too well.

ooc: Lyrics -- "Because of You" by Kelly Clarkson
changehistory: (Hiro -- Wounds aren't healing)
"There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness." - Josh Billings

He doesn't understand it, even now, watching him sleep. His face is so young in sleep, trusting. His hand rests on Adam's chest as it rises and falls, and Adam finds he is loath to move, to pull away, shifting instead to watch him. He curls close, dark hair a mess, heightening the impression of youth, though the bruises on his neck deny that truth. He isn't a child, no matter what Kensei thought at first, but a man. Young still, perhaps, though there are shadows under his eyes that were not there a year ago, longer. The brightness that sparkled in them in Japan 340 years before is gone, dead. It doesn't sparkle, even when he smiles.

He killed it, Adam thinks, knows. First Kaito, then the vault, the virus, the guilt. Hiro had almost died, almost left him, and that he pulled him back from the brink of it all matters, but maybe not enough. He changed the world, their world. Destroyed it, tore it down, and built it back up into something new. That he finds it better, fresh and clean, he knows isn't a view most take. Sorrow laces through his friends and lovers and only Peter can he hope will live long enough and finally come to see it was for the best after all. Hiro will always mourn, and deep inside him, he knows on a level where everyone else only suspects. Adam did this. He did it on purpose. He did it because of all the words between them and all the time that twisted in his head. For vengeance and salvation and anarchy into order. He did this. He killed them all, and somewhere inside of him, he knows Hiro knows, and that he does not understand how it was necessary.

And yet, still, he curls closer to him in sleep, soft hand brushing Adam's skin. Awake, he stands behind him, guarding, protecting, watching over him, pushing him toward things, people, that make him smile. He frets and makes him sleep, makes him eat, kisses him, calls him his own.

It's almost impossible to bear. He wishes, sometimes, that Hiro would scream, blame him, hurt him, leave--all the things he understands, expects. All the things he knows most would do, if not outright seek his death. He killed Hiro's father. He killed the world. And Hiro kisses him goodnight with sad eyes and a heartbreaking sweetness that hurts more than any biting words ever could.

He wonders if he knows, if that is his plan, this his conscious vengeance, because even as he pulls him closer, snuggling back down beside him and presses a kiss to Hiro's shoulder, Adam cannot believe that anyone could truly forgive him.
changehistory: (Buried alive)
If you were Scrooge and three ghosts came to visit you, where would they take you in your past, present, and future?

The darkness is pressing, suffocating, all around him. It’s complete silence, where the sound of his racing heart pounds in his ears and seems to echo off of the satin walls of his new cage. He screams for hours, he thinks, ripping his throat raw, tasting blood. The wounds disappear only to rip open again as he begs for Hiro, for someone, for anyone, to come. Eventually he simply can’t anymore. No one is coming, and the air is thin. He can’t see anything, but he can feel how near it all is. The weight of the Earth rests on him, the satin a mocking softness, like the pillow under his head. Nails shred it in desperation, only to bloody themselves on wood that he pounds on as tears streak down his cheeks.

How? The question rolls inside of him, again and again until his mind is screaming with it even as his voice keeps its peace. How? Why?

Hours, days, some immeasurable span of time before, it had all seemed so near, so close, the world at his fingertips, ready to be reshaped as he issued in the New Age of Man. Now the air is thin around him, his heart speeding up even as he tries to calm it, breathing slow, shallow, trying to reduce his need for oxygen. He never believed he could fail. He never believed Hiro would stop him. He never thought, even if he did, that it would come to this. Worse than death. Worse than grief. Worse than loss.

It almost makes him scream again, and he bangs against the wood of the lid, helpless in fury and fear, feeling splinters slide into his skin. His body pushes them back out and he bangs again, feeling them gouge deep. It’s a cycle, a rhythm, the pain of it, impaling himself on them again and again and healing in an effort to stay sane, stay here, not start screaming again until there’s nothing left but a shell of the man he was.

Fury. Grief. Loss. Grief. Fury. Pleading, begging, threatening. It’s quiet in his head, yet he feels like he’s screaming still for all of that. Pain, heal, pain, heal, as tears keep falling, and no matter the things he’s done he cannot comprehend that Hiro has left him here, like this, for always. He’ll come. He has to come. He wouldn’t. He would. He’s not coming. He did. He’s gone.

The air thins despite his best efforts. He’s too deep. It’s too close. Everything is seeping out and the darkness is creeping in from around him to replace what was there inside, pushing him out, further away, reaching for even the spark that always burns. His cells can repair themselves, but as quick as they do, his body recognizes the lack of oxygen and they break down again. Visions dance before him, whispers slide through his brain and ghosts’ mouths open with sharp teeth, gnashing through memory, dream and hope.

* * *

He watches him, his conscience, as he sleeps next to the man he barely remembers being in an inn outside a village whose name he's long since forgotten. )


ooc: All dialogue from "Out of Time" and "Powerless"
changehistory: (Lost)
From Alice in Wonderland:
Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."


His throat had healed from the screams that ripped it raw, making him taste blood, as soon as he stopped screaming. Even so, he imagined he could still feel the tightness there, threatening to boil over and rip through him and start him screaming again. Except, of course, that there was nothing to scream about anymore, was there? He stood at the window of a perfectly decent flat in Cardiff, looking down on a city lit up with Christmas lights shining in the dark. Despite the time of the year and the temperature, the window stood open, fresh air blowing in cold over the bare skin of his chest, still red from the scalding heat of the shower.

Every light in the flat was on, pushing the darkness back until even the corners were flooded and bare, with no shadows for anything to lurk inside of waiting to leap from nightmare into life. They were still there in his head, though, all those thoughts that came when the darkness was absolute and closing in around you with a smothering weight of dirt and silence broken only by ragged, terrified breaths.

He’d broken. He knew that. In 400 years, he hadn’t let himself do that, and his own screams still echoed in his head followed by flashes of shame. The wood of the casement was smooth under his palms, but he curled his hands tight over it anyway, feeling the phantom splinters of the shattered casket digging in, though his body had pushed them back out hours before.

He was free. He was safe. It was a litany, soft and sure that he kept up in his head. Not in the cell. Not in the coffin. Not in the States. Not in Japan. Hiro could find him here. He knew that, but the kanji burned across his brain and when all trust and all faith were gone, he found he could still cling to a sliver of hope. Only now, only here, in the silence that fell at the center of a busy city when the noises from the street were nothing so much as white, could he fully run his mind back over it, pushing through the horror and the betrayal to the one kernel of fact that stood stark and bright against the night.

He had failed.

It was a thought as empty as the grave, sliding through him and slipping into the cavernous, dark places in his soul. Everything he had plotted for was dust, like so many ashes in his mouth or the dirt that pressed and smothered him so recently. He had his vengeance, empty as it was. Kaito lay buried next to that empty casket, rotting to worms for the sins of his family. Victoria, too, wasn’t coming back any time soon. A cloud of suspicion would hang over Angela, always, and she had lost her power to manipulate her beautiful boys.

His thoughts brushed over Peter with a sharp point of pain, of loss, of something there he couldn’t look too closely at that whispered about loneliness and the long road and the slow path. And Nathan…she had never answered him, when he’d asked her the question years ago before everything went to hell, his eyes resting on the dark haired toddler Arthur had brought in with him that day. Claire seemed an answer that Angela wouldn’t give, perhaps, or maybe he just wanted her to be one, because she, too, had a flush of forever around her and there was a fierceness somewhere inside him that wanted her to be his. Not just like him, but blood of his blood, finally, after all these centuries, his gift reborn in someone else.

Empty, though, reckless thought and hopeless meandering. Angela would never tell him plain, and he would never know, and Nathan lay close to death, and he couldn’t get to him to heal him even without the promises he’d made Jack to stay. To walk in to that room would be capture, would be the hell of being buried again in a cell if not a grave, if Peter would even let him near, with what he had to know now. He could spin it, in another day, another week, twist it back on itself and call Bob and everything else into question, but not today. Not in this hour, when exhaustion clung to him like a specter of the remembrance of death, however brief.

A sound, a door opening, the smell of takeout, sharp and unrelenting and delicious and sickening all at once. The past, the plotting, the present, the despair, the future, the hope all mingled and merged and scored claw marks across his brain, raking deep and drawing bloody thoughts that scabbed and healed and smoothed and left an empty pit in the hollow of his stomach and the atriums of his heart. It hurt to feel so lost, a physical pain almost, as he forced himself to close Jack’s window and step forward.

He wouldn’t be a coward. He wouldn’t break again, no matter how terrifying the whisper he hadn’t heard in 400 years, clamoring for an answer when he had none to give. He let it surface for a moment, turned it over, then stuffed it back into the recesses of himself to ponder when the feel of decay didn’t still cling to him, when he could breathe without tasting dirt and feel himself alive again.

Then, maybe, he’d find an answer to shut up the whisper that clawed itself through each of his cells, asking, What now?
changehistory: (Wounds aren't healing)

I Win by Abra Moore

(ooc: Hiro used w/o permission of his mun and nothing in the ficlet should be seen as binding on any muse unless they wish to adopt it for themselves)

All right all right I lied about loving
A man that I love, a love I won't have.
It's true It's true I'm falling apart
And I can't get you out of my heart.
Kiss me under the table and we'll make believe in love
And dream with me under the table
It makes me feel it makes me feel alive.

Something is filling my heart full of secrets
Something is filling my heart full of lies.
Something is taking my lover for granted
Something is making me cry.
Can't get you out of my heart

OK I win you've finally lost me
You're letting me go, I'm walking away
It's true It's true I'm falling apart
And I can't get you out of my heart
Holding on to something so wrong.

 He’s supposed to want to kill him, Adam thinks, not kiss him.  There’s a way this is supposed to go, and while it involves screaming and tears, it doesn’t end with him cradling the boy in his arms, fighting back tears of his own.  There should be triumph, now, victory at hand after waiting for so long.  He left him, and that can’t be forgiven, can it? So he does something unforgivable, because if Hiro can’t forgive him, he can feel better about the wall around what used to be his heart.

 Except the wall cracks, it crumbles.  Small holes appear of what-might-have-been, if there had been no princess or they’d both been wise enough to pay her not the least bit of mind.  If his arms had wrapped around a different form, and lips paid homage elsewhere than against hers.  Nightmare fantasies and dreams tangle up with a hatred too deep, too ingrained to be uprooted where it settles in his soul and twists around the roots of something too close to love for comfort.

 So he lashes out and does the unthinkable and knows that the boy will have to release his hold, now.  How can he not?  He’ll have to stop with the worship, the belief, the faith that tears at Adam when he can’t sleep at night.  Kaito’s blood stains his hands and seeps inside him, a secret he holds as a weapon to wield, only it’s thrown in his face before the dénouement he has planned.  Eyes hold, something breaks, fingers cling to weapons and skin, and he knows that it doesn’t matter how far he walks away, or if Hiro releases him with all the power at his disposal. 

Part of him will always remain behind.

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Adam Monroe

February 2014

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