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"My God, I created a monster, Mohinder."

Noah rubbed the indent of his forehead, his chest tight, feeling that haunting guilt that rolled in like a fog, every time he'd ever sparred with Sylar, the echo of his cruel laughing voice far too tangible for Noah's taste. Sometimes it felt like that damned killer was everywhere at once, breathing in the shadows, always waiting....... It was a mistake that he'd never be vindicated of, a sin he'd fought so long against, knowing there could be no absolution. He'd tried every which way to reason with himself, and he already knew what the young doctor was going to say. His company-minded, war-is-war jargon had failed him for years now, and sure as hell didn't help him sleep at night. I was just following orders, being a good soldier, not my crazy plan, it was bad timing, chalk it all up to an unpredictably botched op.......... and the one he still couldn't shake. Gabriel seemed harmless........ But no matter how you spin it, with logic, probability, passing the blame, and hell even perception, it was an irrevocable truth. Sylar Grey was his fault. wedding guest dresses for over 50

"He is the most infuriating, violently sadistic terror that this world should have never known. HE was never supposed to happen! He should have died, he...... would have died, if I hadn't given the order to set him loose. Every Special he's murdered, every innocent that's become collateral damage in his sick little chess game, every power he's harvested, every body he's dropped, it was because of me. It may as well have been my damn finger raised, and my hands covered in blood. Sometimes I really wonder if I'm not every bit as heartless as he is. All those specials I captured, drugged, imprisoned for The Company...... twenty years for what!?!? Hell, forget Hero, I don't know that I'm human."

"You're not his father, Noah," Mohinder Suresh countered firmly. His dark eyes, determined, as he looked back at Noah Bennet, knowing full well where the guilt was actually laid to rest and burried. "He is not your responsibility, the blame is not solely yours, nor are his unspeakable sins. You couldn't have known...... the dangers that lurked behind those impenetrable eyes. The Killer emerged before you'd yet heard the name, Gabriel Grey. He was an assignment, a curiosity-"

"HE WAS NOTHING!!!!" Noah yelled, slamming his fist hard on the desk, making it rattle, brow furrowed, his eyes ice cold. "A funny little nobody watch-repairman from Queens who lived with his mother, and didn't even have one DAMN parking ticket!!! I'd watched him for weeks before I made my move. He wasn't anything special. He kept to himself, tinkering with timepieces, reserved, nervous even. I thought he'd be more afraid of his powers than anyone, he should have been horrified at what he could do!!!"

"Who's to say he's not, Noah...... but wear any mask long enough, and it becomes who we are....... He was an angry, conflicted, deeply troubled young man. With or without his abilities, he was a strained thread poised to snap. A raging tempest, continually building, that could not have been contained, even if he'd wanted it. That kind of repressed anguish is what makes monsters. Coupled with my father's careless hubris, his empty promises, and his own father's scathing betrayal, Gabriel never had a choice. He is his own victim. Sylar killed Gabriel the moment he murdered Trevor for his powers, but it could have been any one of us to facilitate his transformation. He couldn't have stopped it, he's drawn to Specials, like an addict obsessed. It was always going to happen, Noah. As light rises, so does the darkness cast its reaching shadow. You may have inspired his existence, but do not mistake yourself. Sylar's inception began with my father's folly."

Noah took a deep breath, adjusting his horn rimmed glasses. "Don't hate him, Suresh. He paid the price for that. All those dreams he put into that boy's head of hidden power, invincibility, and actually being somebody cost him his life. The student kills the master."

"And when Sylar is dead, my father will at last be at peace. Forgiven. Have faith in yourself, Bennet. I know I have faith in you. We can either live with our demons or turn 'round and face them head on. Once more unto the breach, My Friend."

Noah scratched the back of his head, and then dug around for something in his bottom drawer.

"I've gone over and over tonight's attack plan in my mind, the trap he won't know he's in until it's lights out, the bait he physically can't resist, and it's the real deal....... but I've been burned by a bet on a sure thing before, Suresh. Kirby Plaza, The Primatech Building explosion in Texas, GOD the guy has either eight heads or nine lives. Hell, I saw him dead in front of me and still didn't believe it. Just when I think I've got him, every time I've come so close, he slips right through my fingers."

Noah placed an expensive looking bottle of single malt scotch on his desk, and Mohinder eyed it hopefully. "He was hanging on a noose, Mohinder!!! An actual catch on a hook!!!! That was my chance. I didn't take it. That was my only sure thing."

"And now he's fashioned himself another one," Mohinder said with a clever smile. "Do you know the one motivator stronger than vengeance, Noah? It's love. We pursue it, we coax it, we'd do anything to protect it, and ultimately it is love that breaks our hearts far more than hatred. If he'd any sense of self preservation, he'd leave her behind, stay low, and go into hiding. Yet even Sylar, himself, cannot resist the temptation, the forbidden fruit this girl presents to him. Innocence, beauty, redemption. He's had his glimpse of Eden, and he's not about to take his banishment quietly.

Mohinder watched Noah break open the seal on the five hundred dollar bottle of scotch.

"I want you to test her like you've never tested any Special before. Blood, bone marrow, skin cells. If we're going to do this right, I need to know everything about her powers. Find their weakness. We can't take them away, but maybe we can disable them somehow, take apart the engine, flood it, make it stall, at least shoot the tire and blow a hole in that forcefield, slow her down. If she touches him, we're all dead. Speaking of temptation....... Here." Noah slid the opened bottle towards Mohinder, and selected the frosted shot glasses he'd gotten as a birthday present from Claire.

"I've been saving this for something special, I figure somebody should enjoy it, and now's as good a time as any. Either Sylar will be dead, or we will and you know how I hate to waste a good bottle of scotch. Drink up, Socrates."

"Actually I prefer Plato, myself," Mohinder smiled wide, pouring himself a drink. "We're going to win this one I can feel it. Like Wellington before Waterloo. I've never experienced an ability like Miss Watkins' but DNA is a code I can crack. You can't fool science."

"Well, I'm no scientist, but I've always wondered if her powers could activate at the molecular level, microscopic shields, refracting light around her cells......."

"Good! That's good, Bennet, very interesting, like microbiological transmormative abilities in her blood, hiding in plain sight!" Mohinder's eyes went wide, looking astonished, thinking about all the Specials that were in hiding from Nathan Petrelli, even now, including himself. "This...... This could change everything!"

"This is our answer, now we just have to dissect it, and rig a realistic application method. Oh and Mohinder......"

Noah got really quiet, and Mohinder could practically feel how unsettled he was in the silence.

"I want you to examine her closely, and see if she has some sort of tactile manipulation susceptibility present in her hands. I don't care how much lover boy is smitten, she shouldn't have this much of an influence over him. And he shouldn't have been able to stop himself from killing her, not on his own. Not without a distraction. It's bothering me, like an itch I can't scratch. Sylar cares about no one.

"Oh nice, I want in on this! Can I trouble you for a glass gentlemen?" Parkman and Peter appeared in the doorway, and Noah gestured to the set of four shot glasses on his desk. "Normally I'd say no drinking on the job, but in the next few hours, you guys are gonna need it. Help yourselves."

Parkman eagerly poured himself a shot, doing a stunned double take, as he caught the name on the label. Peter hung back in the doorway, far more reluctant. "I'm not much of a drinker, Noah. Really, ask Nathan. Never had a taste for the stuff."

Noah smiled. "Go on, Peter. Just this once. You deserve it."

Peter thought about what the next hours could mean, and felt his hope start to rise. Sylar finally dead, meant he could break through whatever wall Nathan had built up between them. If Nathan were here, he'd insist Peter have a drink. He could hear his brother's voice, as real as if he was standing right next to him, nudging him with his elbow.

"Go on, Pete, you've got to live a little! Remember when we broke into Dad's liquor cabinet, and you dropped one of the bottles? God the whole place smelled like tequila!

"Yeah, you covered for me. You told him you dropped it because you were drunk, and that I tried to stop you. He took away your car, and let me stay out late that whole week. I never felt right about that. Letting you take the blame. You're always looking out for me."

He could see Nathan's smile as the other voices in the room faded away. "I'll always have your back, Kid. This thing, this new world we're in, it won't change that. You'll always be my little brother. Now, go have a drink before dad finds out, comes back from the dead and takes us there with him! Have one for me, Pete?"


Peter rubbed his eye as Nathan's voice vanished and Noah's drew him out of the reverie.

"You know what? What the hell." Peter smiled at Noah and walked over to the crowded desk, Parkman already handing him a full shot glass.

"That's some expensive hooch you've been toting around, Bennet, when did you buy a high roller bottle like that?" Parkman said, picking up the bottle reverently.

"It was a gift."

"What'd you do, bring somebody back from the dead? Who'd give away something like this?"

"Kaito Nakamura. He gave it to me the day I became Claire's father. A thank you present. I didn't deserve it. I should have been the one thanking him. Yes, Parkman, in a way I did bring someone back from the dead. Myself. The moment he placed Claire in my arms is when my life began again."

"That's deep, Bennet. Well then Kaito would want you to have a shot too. Alright everybody together now, we need some kind of toast."

Peter raised his glass as Parkman poured Noah one, and everybody followed suit.

"To the end of Sylar Grey."

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