2007-02-23: The Time Traveler And The Psychometer


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Summary: Hiro comes to Mara to tell her how Virginia Gray died. Reluctant to believe, Mara asks to see Hiro's sword instead. He discovers her ability, she discovers his and the two end up at a Starbucks somewhere in Nevada, much to Mara's chagrin.

Date It Happened: February 23rd, 2007

The Time Traveler and the Psychometer

Police Department

Hiro Nakamura had some strange decisions to make. His plan, to head to the police station and make contact with the Commissioner, was perhaps too idealistic. He realized, fortunately, that he couldn't get in to the station with a metal sword in his case, which is not at all x-ray proof. So he had to cheat a little. Fortunately, he is very good at that. Hopefully, nobody asks him to open that big plastic case.

Either way, Detective Damaris has been notified that a little Japanese man claims to have a lead on the Virginia Gray case, and that he'd like to speak to a police officer.

Detective Damaris is seated at her desk and looking mildly… Well, she would say knackered. But hungover might be a better assessment. She's paging through a file, one elbow propped up on the desk with her hand resting against her forehead in a look of concentration. Or she's making a visor to block out the light. Six of one, half a dozen of the other? She takes a drink of coffee from a mug with a Union Jack printed on it.

Hiro wanders around the police station, looking for the detective in question. Normally, his statement would have been taken at the door; depending on credibility, he might be shown to a questioning room. He told a little white lie and said that he worked at a nearby convenience store and saw something through Virginia Gray's window. Karma, hopefully, will work out for him in the end. He's escorted by a beat cop who keeps an eye on him.

"Detective? This is the guy. Says he's got a lead on that weird case of yours. You want to talk to him in #3?"

Mara looks up slowly with tired eyes. She nods quickly. "Yeah. I got it from here." Despite the lack of a chipper demeanor, the woman smiles genuinely to the Japanese man. She digs through a meticulously organized file drawer and produces her file on the Virginia Gray case, tucking it under her arm before picking up a notepad, a purple pen, and then her mug of coffee. "Please. Right this way, Mister, ah…?"

"Ah! Oh. My name is Hiro Nakamura," says the short little Japanese man carrying the elaborate courier tube, sort of wandering confusedly through the very busy police station. "You are Detective Damaris? Hello!"

"It's nice to meet you, Mister Nakamura." The detective makes a gesture for the man to follow her as she leads the way toward what would seem to be room number three. "Have a seat," she offers. The room is painted a pale green, almost the sort one sees in hospitals. "Can I get you anything? Coffee? Water? Tea? A soda?" She sets her file on the table, the notepad and pen on top of that.

Hiro shakes his head as he heads into room number three. It's the same sterile, no-exits sort of interrogation room that these police stations are usually honeycombed with for convenience. "No, thank you. I am fine."

"All right." Detective Damaris shuts the door behind them, taking her seat and smiling once again to her vistor. Out of the noise of the main room, she's already perking up. Or maybe she's just excited for the chance at a big break in her case. "You said you have some information about the death of Virginia Gray, Mister Nakamura?" She clicks her pen, pressing the tip to the white paper to write down Hiro's name, the date, and after checking her watch, the time.

Hiro nods once, taking a seat where indicated. "Yes. I know who killed Virginia Gray. It was her son, Sylar. He is a very bad man. But the murder was an accident. I saw everything." Hiro doesn't seem to know Sylar's real name, which may be at least some cause for confusion.

"Sylar?" Detective Damaris jots this name down on her pad. "Did you get a good look at him, Mister Nakamura? If I show you some photos, would you be able to pick him out?"

Hiro nods again. "Yes. But-" he says, trying to work his way around what would be difficult to say, even in his native language. "—Sylar is not a normal man. If you go after him, he will kill you. I came to warn you. And to get your help."

"Excuse me?" The woman shakes her head as though this might somehow clear up what he's telling her. "What do you mean he's… not normal? Aside from Virginia Gray, has this Sylar killed others?" An arrow is drawn beside 'Sylar?' to point to the right where 'Gabriel Gray?' is then jotted.

And this is the part where Hiro tends to lose people. He's been learning to reel back his enthusiasm about telling people all about his powers, but sometimes you can't get around it. "Sylar has… abilities. Special abilities. It is why he cannot get caught. He showed them to his mother, and that made her afraid. That is why they got into a fight. I said he was a bad man, and that is true, but he did not mean to kill his mother."

It may occur to someone at a later point that Hiro just inadvertently drew a line between the FBI's top-secret Sylar case and the NYPD's Virginia Gray case.

Mara adds to her notes almost as fast as Hiro speaks. When he's finished with his explanation and she's finished with her notes she looks up and fixes Hiro with a steady gaze. "Mister Nakamura… This is all very hard to believe." But that's all she says on the matter for the moment. She opens up her file and fishes out a photograph which she then pushes in front of Hiro. The photograph is of Gabriel Gray. "Do you recognize this man?"

Hiro looks at the photograph for a long moment. Not because he has difficulty recognizing Sylar, but because it looks so… normal. He looks like a frumpy, geeky guy with glasses.

Kind of like Hiro was. What is it in a person that makes one person Hiro and one person Sylar?

"Yes. That is Sylar."

For a moment, Mara is at a loss which question to ask first. She withdraws the photo, tucking it back into her file. Finally, she settles on, "How did you see Missus Gray's death, Mister Nakamura? And why did you wait this long before coming forward?" There's a healthy dose of skepticism, but it's obvious that Detective Damaris is making the effort to believe what she's being told.

Hiro's lips press into a narrow frown. "I was watching from outside his window. I was there," he says, weighing truth against little white lies. It's hard. Hiro isn't a liar by nature. It makes his secret identity difficult. "I was there because I wanted to stop Sylar, for good. I hesitated too long to save Mrs. Gray." That might explain some nebulous bits from the crime report. Two extra, nebulous sets of foot prints. Strange patterns of frost and water. Hiro doesn't know about the nuclear bomb mural painted in blood, though, at the same time. "I did not come forward because I was…" And here's the really hard part. "… Unable."

Mara pinches the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger. "Okay, you were spooked. Lots of people get freaked out when they see someone get killed." That's one explanation for "unable" at least. "So you were outside the window. Could anybody else have witnessed this? Can anyone back up your version of what happened?"

There is /one/ person, but Hiro can't drag him into this. As it stands, Ando can still at any point return to his normal life. Hiro, meanwhile, has probably been marked out as too much of a target by too many people. Not that he'd choose that. "I was not afraid!" he says, and it doesn't take a telepath to tell that he still blames himself for his failure that day, even if he made good in the end. "Well, I was then. I hesitated and Sylar got away." Still, the alternative is to tell her that he was unable because he was trapped in Feudal Japan. "There is another, but I cannot tell you who he is. I am sorry."

Mara sighs softly and looks over her notes. "May I ask you a question, Mister Nakamura?" She taps her pen absently against the notepad, leaving small dots of purple ink in the corner.

This is it. The 'are you a total maniac?' question. Hiro nods his head, once, slowly. "Yes. Go ahead."

"What's in the tube?" Mara inclines her head slightly. Maybe she's just trying to steer conversation in a different direction to give her a chance to think.

Hiro looks at his tube, which sits behind his back. Uh-oh. Okay, he's going to have to try to lie, here. It's for the good of everybody. "Um, n-nothing," he says.

He could have told her anything. Snacks. A poster. Playboy magazines. Anything but nothing. "All right, Mister Nakamura. Let's have a look." Detective Damaris is not making a request, she's giving an order.

But Hiro is an atrociously bad liar. That's something he'll have to work in, for the future. Hiro clutches the tube to his chest. Well, maybe this won't be so bad. He starts to unscrew the cap until it pops off. And there is, sure enough, the grip of a very long, and probably very sharp sword. How the hell did he get in here with that? "Please! It is not what you think. I could not leave it behind."

"Bloody hell!" Mara reaches out to grab the hilt of the sword with the intent of checking to see if it's real and not some silly prop thing. Maybe he's just a Kill Bill fan or something.

Hiro might be able to stop time, but it's no good if you're surprised, which Hiro absolutely is. Mara draws the sword from the sheath, which is fastened to the inside of the case with elastic straps, with a click and a smooth slither of steel on steel. Sure enough, it is a full-length, very sharp katana, which seems to be in mint condition despite everything.

And a long and very storied past. In addition to anything else that might happen, she is hit with a stream of impossible images. Hiro Nakamura pointing the sword at a white man in samurai armor in… well, not anytime recently.

A stern-looking man with a white beard and white hair, putting the sword away into a box for safekeeping.

The scene of Virginia Gray's murder. Gabriel Gray, breaking the sword, frozen.

And, for good measure, Hiro, pointing the sword, at Hiro. Mara's colleague, Matt Parkman. … Some kind of FBI man? And a second, older Hiro.

The detective gasps as her hand touches the hilt. Her eyes roll back in her head and the weapon goes clattering onto the tabletop just before Mara goes tumbling to the floor, apparently in a dead faint.

No one will see it, but Hiro — concerned, perhaps, that Mara might stab herself with the dropped sword… catches it. He's fast. Preposterously fast. Not that anyone will notice. Perhaps later Hiro will also reflect on the expertise with which he sheaths the blade before crouching beside the detective.

It will be bad if someone finds him in here with a sword and an unconscious police detective. "Detective?" he asks. Please don't be dead. He pokes her a bit, on the cheek, with his index finger. "Detective?"

It's a long moment after the initial poking before hazel eyes flutter open. They fix on the little Japanese man with absolute astonishment. "What the- What was- Oh my God." Mara sits up carefully. "What. did. you. do?" She's a little spooked, but she isn't panicking or calling for help at least.

Hiro leans back. "I didn't do anything!" he says. "It's not my fault. I am sorry. I did not mean to! Are you okay? You just touched the sword and fell."

"That sword is ancient," Mara observes. Her wide eyes are fixed on Hiro, unblinking. "You should be. But… But you aren't. How…? I saw-" She looks extremely frightened now. "I'm losing my mind. Please- Please tell me I'm not crazy. I could see- See it all. Ancient Japan, samurai… Virginia Gray."

Hiro's eyebrows furrow as he holds out a hand to help the detective up. "That is why I could not come to the police before," he says. "Because I was in the past. I said Sylar has special abilities. I have one, too. I can fold time," he says. "I got lost in the past, but I am back now. Please. You have to believe me," he says, and looks at the sword, and then Mara. "I think you have an ability, too."

"My partner thinks I'm crazy." Mara climbs to her feet with the man's assistance. "The force is waiting for me to be diagnosed with a brain tumor." The detective swallows a lump in her throat. "Maybe I am going crazy. C- Can you prove to me that you have this ability?" She's betting he can't. It's written all over her face. But there's that spark in her eyes that begs him to prove her wrong.

Hiro tries to think, for a moment; he seems abruptly lost in thought. Once he opens his eyes, he points at Mara's little notepad, assuming she recovered it and looked at is since she regained consciousness. There is a note written at the bottom. "Yes", it says.

"What the-" Mara looks at the notepad and then back at Hiro. "No. No, you wrote that while I was out. You- Uh uh. No." It's clearly the only explanation. "I…" She sits back down in her chair heavily. "I need a drink."

Hiro gets lost in thought again. And then there's a cup of coffee sitting on the table. "I do not know how you drink it, so I gave you milk and sugar." If she sips it, it'll be very, very, very, sweet. Hiro doesn't really understand coffee.

Mara takes the coffee and brings it to her lips with shaking hands. She sets it down and stares at Hiro as though he's sprouted a second head. "I see things, sometimes, when I touch objects. Vivid things. Sometimes, terrible things. How- What-" She closes her eyes tightly, not quite unlike Hiro is wont to do, trying to make sense of things. "What am I?"

Hiro starts to understand. "Just like Psychometer Eiji!" he says, his expression brightening. "You can see the past by touching things. You are like Abe Sapien," he says. He sits down, and is about to answer her question — 'You are a psychic!' is the logical answer. Instead, he leans forward, a broad smile crossing his face, and say something else. He's found another one. It must be fate.

"You are a hero."

You are a hero.

Mara rakes her fingers through her dark hair once. Twice. Three times. "We have to get out of here. If someone hears this, they're going to think we're both nuts. There's… There's a Starbucks… Would that be an acceptable place ta meet?"

Hiro nods his head up and down. Score! "Yes. I know where it is," he says. "Do you want me to take you there?" he asks. Wait, what is he implying?

"Take… me?" Mara tilts her head to one side with a curious expression.

Hiro stops to think. He's been to a Starbuck's before. He knows how this goes. So he holds out a hand. "It is my ability," he says. "It will look less suspicious," he reasons. Which isn't precisely true, anyways.

Mara gathers up her notebook and pen before taking Hiro's offered hand. "Less suspicious?"

As soon as Mara takes Hiro's hand, everything changes. Hiro closes his eyes, and thinks: Starbuck's, Starbuck's, Starbuck's. He's been to a Starbuck's before.

And there's a little change in the lightning, a slight pop of air pressure in their ears, and sure enough—they're in a Starbuck's. And then one might look out the window. Why do all those cars have Nevada plates? "… Oops," Hiro says, to himself. "I think I missed." They've materialized in the hallway to the bathroom, which is, thankfully, unoccupied.

"Oh. My. God." Mara looks around frantically. "What did you do?! What did you /do/?!" She apparently has enough brains not to say that too loud, and not to go running around like a chicken with her head cut off, despite her instincts to do so. "Mister Nakamura! What just- How did we- Oh my God."

"I think I missed," Hiro says, sadly, looking out the window. "This is the only Starbuck's I've ever been to. I didn't think," he adds. "Please calm down. We should have a cup of coffee. I can bring us back," he explains. "I think."

"You think?" Mara looks as though she would like to cry. "What do you mean you /think/?" She runs her fingers through her hair again. "I- I'll be out in a minute." She dashes off to the women's bathroom.

Hiro lingers in the hallway, whistling. Someone walks past and into the men's room. "Hello," Hiro says, cheerfully. Nothing to see, here.

Mara slinks out of the bathroom after about two minutes. There's evidence that she's splashed water on her face in the fact that the tips of her bangs are damp. "Coffee," is all she manages before grabbing the man's hand and all but dragging him along with her to the main part of the shop.

Hiro is caught in a funny sort of situation. "Er. I do not have American dollars," he confesses.

"My treat," she assures. "You drink coffee?" By the time they've reached the counter, she's let her voice slip into an easy southern drawl. Mara drops Hiro's hand and fishes her wallet out of her back pocket. She orders something called a double Venti soy caramel mocha with whip. "Maybe chai?" After she orders whatever Hiro's big heart desires, she sits down at a table with her notepad and a fresh piece of paper. "Start from the beginning. Tell me everything. Tell me about your powers. Tell me what you can about my powers." Then, perhaps the most important of all…

"Tell me about Sylar."

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