††††† Despite Andoís skepticism, Hiroís life really had turned into a comic book since he had learned to bend time. Take today, for instance. First he had been invited to dinner at the family estate of a millionaire politician with superpowers, at the insistence of said politicianĎs likewise superpowered, cheerleader-saving younger brother. Now a supervillain had interrupted dinner and Hiro and two other heroes were fighting him.
††††† I really need to find that sword, Hiro thought.
††††† Hiro and the Petrelli brothers had been sitting on the veranda, drinking mudslides (they had asked Hiro what he wanted to drink and then said they would have the same) and talking about their powers and Isaacís paintings. Nathan wasnít nearly as excited as the other two about having powers. ďSure, I can fly, but what will I do when I get there? I donít have a gun, I donít know karate. I can help people a lot more as a Congressman.Ē
††††† The next thing they knew, they were all knocked out of their chairs by some sort of force wave. As they were struggling to their feet, Sylar stalked into their midst. He looked around at the three of them.
††††† ďI feel like a child in a candy store,Ē he said. ďI donít know where to start.Ē
††††† He didnít look like a child in a candy store. There was something cold, reptilian about him. Hiro didnít like the look of the man. He wasnít like a crazed killer from a movie, driven by some unholy pleasure in murder. He simply didnít care. The deaths of others meant nothing to him.
††††† Hiro shivered as he looked about for something that could be used as a weapon. There was a pristine broom that had clearly never been used to sweep a floor, decoratively propped against the wall to add to the rustic effect. Hiro grabbed it and held it ready to hit his enemy with it. At a moment like this, what good was his power? All three of them kept their distance, knowing what Sylar could do if he got close.
††††† Sylarís gaze rested on Peter. ďYour power is the most valuable of all,Ē he commented, and moved with serpentine quickness towards him. Peterís eyes were full of anger as he and his brother rose off the ground. No wonder. He hadnít seemed to like it when he realized that his power was to share the powers of anyone near him, sort of like Animal Man, and now their enemy was the one telling him how valuable it was.
††††† Sylar turned to Hiro, since Hiro was the only one he could reach. Hiro swung with the broom, hitting Sylar on the side of the head, but Sylar moved quickly enough that the blowís full impact missed him. Hiroís comrades came to his aid; Peter and Nathan both flew close, seizing their fallen chairs from the ground and whacking him with them. Hiro saw what Nathan meant now. They didnít really know how to fight.
††††† Sylar looked up at them sharply, and with his telekinesis wrenched both chairs out of their grasp, sending them to shatter against the nearby parapet. A moment later, Nathan reeled away, far out of sight. Hiro hoped he was all right. For the moment, he had to aid the fallen hero closer at hand, because of course when Nathan was catapulted out of sight, Peter had dropped like a stone, right onto the hard slate floor. Hiro screwed up his face (Charlie had told him affectionately that he looked like a chipmunk when he did that, and that chipmunks were the cutest things in the world) and concentrated, and when he heard that peculiar silence, he opened his eyes. His powers, absent for weeks, had returned in his hour of greatest need. Time had stopped, everyone was frozen in place, and Peter was suspended in midair, a few feet off the ground. Hiro studied the scene for a moment, because once he touched Peter time would start moving again. He positioned himself right under Peter to break his fall. Abruptly time seemed to go on fast-forward for a few seconds, as if it were making up for having frozen, and then he was thudding onto the ground, breaking Peterís fall, and they were both all right.
††††† Sylarís eyes widened. ďYou stopped time!Ē he accused. A hunger appeared in his eyes.
††††† Gasping for breath, Peter hauled himself to his feet, off Hiro. Hiro hastily got up too, trying to retrieve his broom but before he could, the decorative slate rocks arrayed throughout the garden had risen into the air and were racing towards them.
††††† Hiro screwed up his face again, and time froze, all the rocks arrayed in midair. Except one, a rock with a sharp edge that was already at Peterís forehead, just breaking the skin. Hiro held his breath. If he hadnít stopped time until one second later, Peter would have been dead.
††††† Gingerly, Hiro moved closer and seized the rock. He threw it away, then dragged Peter behind the parapet, out of the path of the shower of rocks. As soon as they were behind it, time started moving again and the rocks rained down on the grass a few yards past them. There was a jagged cut all along Peterís forehead, bleeding profusely, but if Hiro hadnít stopped time, the rock would have penetrated Peterís skull and killed him. If only Claire were nearby; then Peter could absorb her healing power and the cut would close itself up.
††††† As it was, it was going to leave a big scar.
††††† Peter fumbled to wipe away the blood flowing down his forehead. Suddenly there was an odd whooshing noise, and Sylar landed on his back, looking stunned. The blur that had knocked him over resolved itself into Nathan, hovering several feet above him, glaring down.
††††† ďNathanís all right!Ē Hiro said aloud in his relief.
††††† Already Peter was again off the ground, floating to his brotherís side. For a moment the two of them looked very alike, nearly identical stern expressions on their faces as they sized up their enemy.
††††† Peterís jaw set. As Hiro watched, the rocks rose into the air again and charged, toward Sylar this time.
††††† Hiro wanted to cheer aloud. Perhaps now Peter would realize that against a supervillain, he was their most valuable player.