Disclaimer : This is a work of fiction and isn't meant to imply anything about the series, Heroes, or anyone in it.
Jason stared blankly at the motel across the street. It was freezing, and the soft snow landed on his nose and seemed to scorch it. His face felt as if it was burning it was so cold. His body seemed warm enough, but he couldn't concentrate on anything with such frozen hands and feet. He rubbed his hands together tried to warm them with his heated breath. It was a temporary relief, but the cold was soon gnawing at his knuckles again. He couldn't resist the cold for much longer, but he also knew that he had no place at the motel across the road. Yet he had to try, or risk freezing to death tonight.
Crossing the road, he narrowly avoided a truck that would have certainly ended his life. The driver's yells from his opened window were incoherent but he could guess what they entailed. He needed to concentrate if he was going to get anywhere. This was the fourth time he'd tried this at different motels, but he hoped it would be the last. He let his mind wander for a moment, and he thought of a hot shower and a warm bed to sleep in. He could use a shave too, but he tried to convince himself that his week old stubble was there to warm him.
He approached the motel with confidence but as he neared the reception, a wave of apprehension washed over him. He wasn't a convincing type of guy. He had too much pride, and he had a deep inability to lie that stemmed from his childhood. He approached the bored looking woman at the front desk. Even her damn cubicle looked warm. He smiled at her warmly, but her expression was vacant and depressing.
"Yeah?" she said rudely. Not the Hilton.
"I ... uh... need a room for the night please," he said. He tried to say it with confidence, but the fall was about to come.
"Fifty-nine fifty for the evening," she said directly, and her attention seemed to be more on the television in her cubicle and her cigarette than on him.
"I don't have cash," he said.
"Credit cards, whatever," she said, still not looking at him.
"No, not that either," he said. He wanted to blush, but his cheeks were too cold and there was no blood to warm them.
Finally she started to look at him, and her cold look was replaced by a frown and irritation. "It's a motel, buddy, not a shelter. If you haven't got cash, then you need to hit the road."
He exhaled with irritation. How he ever thought this would work was a mystery. He took out his wallet and made his last attempt. "I can offer you this," he said, trying to give it to her.
She laughed cruelly. "And what is that, a souvenir?" Her eyes lingered on the wallet for less than a second.
He looked at it. It had been his wallet, but it was now a solid metallic mass that couldn't open. Even the money inside was rigid and useless. The yellowish metal gleamed and would have looked impressive in any other form, but in this grotesque situation, it had no value.
"It's probably valuable," he said weakly.
"Look man, just leave, before I call someone," she said, finally shedding her last scraps of patience.
Jason sighed sadly and turned to leave. The icy wind hit his face and reminded him where he was returning. Sadness washed over him and he felt alone and desperate. He couldn't walk off into the night. It was freezing and already the cold was licking his bones. He noticed a vending machine far along the passage to the other side of the motel passage, and he walked for it despondently. It would have to do. As he approached it, he quickly turned around to see whether the horrible woman behind the counter was watching to see if he'd left, but she was nowhere to be seen. He sat to the side of the machine and shifted with discomfort. The floor was hard and icy cold, and it froze his butt almost instantly. Sitting against the wall, he pulled his legs up to himself and embraced them, trying to make himself as warm as possible. It worked but his frozen ears and nose were difficult to ignore. At least the vending machine buffered him against the wind and prevented that hag at the reception from seeing him, even if she walked right into the open. He leaned against his knees and his warm breath warmed his face a little. He closed his eyes but sleep came with difficulty. The howling wind and terrible freeze, along with the worst posture imaginable made it a living nightmare.
He felt his shoulder shaking but he ignored it. His sleep had been a trance mixed with vague and pointless visions. His shoulder continued to shake.
"Hey, buddy," he heard distantly, and his eyes opened in alarm. Shit. The police had been called, or that bitch had returned to kick him off the premises. Slowly he looked up and to his right and saw a young guy leaning down next to him, shaking his shoulder. His vision was blurry from sleep, and the darkness made it impossible to identify the guy, but he could see that the guy was wearing a cap.
"Yeah?" he said sleepily.
"Are you okay?" the guy said simply.
"Sure, I'm just sleeping. If that's okay," he said, not in the slightest way ready for any form of hostility. If they threw him off the grounds, it would be fine.
Silence greeted him for several seconds, until at last he looked to see whether the guy had left, but he remained there, looking at him the darkness.
"Listen," the stranger said, "I have an extra bed in my room. Do you need a place to sleep for the night?"
Jason's breath caught. Could such a charitable act really have approached him so directly? He immediately thought that it was some sort of prank or trap, but he was so fatigued and desperate, he was actually prepared to take a chance.
"I would appreciate that," he said. He felt embarrassed again. It was hard to believe that only a few weeks ago he'd never had to rely on charity before, and now suddenly he was dependent on it.
"Come on then," the guy said softly, helping him to stand up. He suddenly felt acutely aware of the pain in all his joints and his ass felt like it had been beaten with a stick.
"Argh," he said.
"You okay?" the guy said.
"Yeah. It's just not the best position to sleep in," he said. "How long did I sleep anyway? What time is it?"
The guy checked his watch. "Just past eleven," he said, as they walked slowly along the passage. He felt the blood slowly return to all those cold neglected places in his body. He'd been asleep for just over two hours. He could only imagine the pain of waking up the next morning. He would have been stiff for days after that. He followed the guy along the passage, unsure of which room was his. Suddenly the guy stopped and started to unlock the door to one of the rooms. He followed silently, and the site of a yellow-lit room with a bed lifted his spirits immediately. How could life have become so bad?
"You can sleep wherever you want to, buddy," the guy said. "I'll just take the other bed."
He turned around to thank the guy. "Dude, I am so appreciative," he said, but the guy just raised his hand.
"No need," he said. "I've been there before. Desperate, I mean."
"I'm Jason," he said, shaking the guy's hand.
They shook hands, and the guy took off his cap and threw it into the corner. Jason's breath caught before he could stop it, but he hoped that it wasn't loud enough to hear. The guy was so good-looking! His eyes were penetrating and warm, and his smile was so amazing he felt he could get lost in it. His hair was dark, but short and cropped which had been made untidy by the wind, and the cap. Jason quickly averted his eyes.
"Peter," the guy said kindly.
"Peter, I really appreciate all you're doing for me. I'm just so tired. You wouldn't find it rude if I just climbed in bed and went to sleep, would you?"
Peter just smirked. "No problem, Jason. There's a shower if you want one," he added.
"I'd love to, and I need one, but I'm so exhausted I think I might fall asleep in there, which would do no good," he admitted honestly. He really did need a shower and the warm water would have been great, but his eyes hung heavily on his face and he knew he must look like hell.
"Okay then," Peter said, who was busy taking off his jacket. It was difficult not to stare, but he managed to catch a glimpse of a really defined body behind a white shirt. He felt his heart flutter but he quickly turned around and took off his own jacket and stripped until he was only wearing a vest and his boxers. He climbed under the blankets and sighed inadvertently at the comfort he suddenly felt. Warmth, softness... it had felt like years since he'd felt it. He reached to turn off his lamp and he felt sleep crash over him. Seconds later he sank into a very deep sleep. It was dreamless but it felt like his body was catching up on years of rest, and then was storing it for the inevitable insomnia that would follow in the future.
He felt his shoulder shaking again, and this time he felt irritated. He'd been asleep for ten minutes and it seemed like Peter was trying to wake him up again. He liked the guy, but he needed to sleep!
"Yeah?" he said, and he realized that he did sound irritated.
"Time to get up, buddy," he heard. This had to be some sort of joke.
"I've been asleep for a few minutes," he said.
He heard Peter laugh. "Jason, it's midday. We need to check out soon or I'm going to be in trouble."
Jason turned slowly, and stared with shock at the bedside clock. He couldn't believe he'd slept for so long, and yet he still felt exhausted. His muscles hurt and his eyes felt dry and unrested. "You've got to be shitting me," he said despondently.
Peter smiled, and Jason found one positive thing about his situation. That smile was so seductive. "I let you sleep as long as I could. You looked really tired."
"I was. I am," he said but he sat up in his bed with a sigh. "Thanks though, Peter. You're a good guy." He couldn't look at Peter's face when he said that but he sensed him smile.
"I'm going to go pay for the room," Peter said. "You can shower and stuff while I'm gone."
"Thanks Peter. Do you have a razor I could use? I don't usually look like this," he said, rubbing his long stubble that threatened at any moment to become a beard.
"Sure, you can use mine. It's in there somewhere," Peter said kindly.
"I feel bad asking you for more," Jason said.
"It's no problem," Peter said, and he walked out the door. He felt a wave of cold hit him and he automatically pulled the blankets up.
Climbing out of bed, he stretched and felt his muscles groan at the attempt. It felt good to stretch but he was also aware of a deep fatigue in his body that would take several sleeps to cure. He looked down and saw his morning hard on tenting his boxers. He made his way to the bathroom instantly, suddenly afraid that Peter would return. He didn't want to be caught like that, even if it was normal for every guy. He stood under the strong stream of hot water for several minutes, soaking up the warmth and the feeling of cleanliness. He washed himself and his hair. It felt good to take a shower, and he thought about how lucky he'd been to encounter a caring soul like Peter. He liked Peter a lot, but he didn't really know him. His morning hard on didn't go away. He was horny. It had been over a week since he'd jerked off, and being around a guy like Peter caused turbulence in his pants. It was weird. He could avoid jerking off easily, but guys like this caused things to start happening down there. The smallest thought and he wanted to shoot a hole in the wall, and he had a hard on which felt painful as it strained for relief. It would take just a few strokes and he'd blast a huge load in the shower. Yet he started to feel guilty doing stuff like that in a charitable situation. It was like taking advantage of the situation, he thought.
He climbed out of the shower and stood in front of the mirror while wrapping a towel around himself. The towel tented, and he groaned as he rubbed against the counter. He was really close and it would feel so good to shoot right now. He shook his head angrily and located Peter's silver razor that lay next to the tap. He picked it up and saw the small black hairs that once belonged to Peter's face. It felt curiously intimate to be around something like that, as if it provided a closeness which he could only dream of. With a sigh he started the process of shaving his face, and it was no easy task. He'd never had so much facial hair, he was sure of it. The rest of his body looked reasonably good after the shower. His hair was dirty blonde and untidy, with wisps of it going down to his eyebrows. His chest was defined and his abs stood out, but they would soon waste away with the absent diet he was following. A small patch of brown hair was present between his pecs and it ran down between his abs and down to the area the towel covered.
After neatening himself up, he actually managed to smirk at himself in the mirror. He looked much better than he did a few hours ago. He put on his boxers again, thankful that his hard on had disappeared amid the distraction. He pulled his vest over himself again. Of course, wearing his old clothes was abhorrent to him, but what choice did he have? He stepped out of the bathroom and saw Peter sitting on the bed.
"Finally," Peter said turning around with mock irritation and a smile, but his face turned serious when he saw Jason.
Jason stopped immediately, and was suddenly terrified that he'd forgotten to put his pants on, or that his hard on had come back. "What?" he said, when he could see nothing wrong with his appearance.
"Nothing," Peter said with a cough as he looked the other way. "You just look different, that's all."
"Amazing what a shower can do," he said with a smile while he started to put his other clothes on.
"Really amazing," he thought he heard Peter whisper to himself, but it was so soft he couldn't be sure.
"I packed up all your stuff in the bathroom, Peter. Thanks for letting me use it," he said.
"It's a pleasure," Peter said, as he stood from the bed and quickly packed the last of his things.
"Thanks for everything you've done, man. I'll never forget it," he said to Peter. He really couldn't think of another human being alive who'd show such kindness to a total stranger who'd fallen asleep next to a vending machine.
"Let's go catch something to eat," Peter said, ignoring his last statement.
"Peter," he said softly while looking at the ground. "You've been great, but I don't have money and I can't carry on accepting your charity. I'm not like that."
Peter put a hand on his shoulder. "I have a good feeling about you. I think we'll be great friends, you and I. Just tag along with me for a while, unless you have better things to do?"
Peter was looking at him with those eyes, and they seemed to analyze his soul. At the same time, he thought there was some anxiety in Peter's voice at the thought of being rejected. "Okay, let's go," he said to Peter, and he visibly relaxed. "But when I get back up on my feet, I'm going to pay you back for all of this. Deal?"
"Deal," Peter said with a wide smile, and for a second Jason thought he was going to hug him. He would have liked it, but at the same time it would be like a fantasy come true and he didn't usually entertain such unlikely odds.
They walked down the passage. Peter had his black leather bag with his things, and Jason had the clothes on his back. Peter led them to his gray SUV and he climbed into the passenger side. Peter had an annoying habit of passing quick smiles in his direction. He wished the guy was unattractive so he could brush them off, but each smile pulled him in for several seconds before he could recover. They stopped at a nearby diner and sat facing one another. After ordering a breakfast and a coffee, they started to chat. He filled his empty stomach but also enjoyed the sight and sounds of the guy in front of him.
"So what are you doing here?" Jason said.
"I was going to ask you the same," Peter said.
"You first," Jason said with a smile.
"I'm on my way to visit my niece. She lives about four hours from here. I was tired of driving so I stopped at the first motel I could find," Peter said.
"Lucky me," Jason said with a chuckle. Peter laughed.
The silence stretched and Jason realized it was his turn to explain his presence. "Well, you wouldn't believe that only a week ago I was a successful financial guy," he said while toying with his egg.
"Try me," Peter said while staring at him with those eyes.
"Well about a week ago I injured my boss accidentally. It was a real accident," he said, before Peter could get any ideas that he'd picked up a serial killer. "I don't know what happened. I shook his hand and suddenly something bad happened, and he collapsed. Next thing I had the police after me for attempted murder. I had to run. I had to leave everything behind. I just don't know what to do anymore, Peter," he said, and his egg was a mess at this stage.
Peter looked at him seriously, and Jason expected the next move to be a quick departure. Peter leaned forward. "You can do things you can't explain. You've done it more and more since then, and you're afraid because you can't explain it. You did it to your boss."
Jason's eyes shot up in shock, and that would have been enough confirmation for Peter. He jumped up and raced outside. He needed air. He walked around and breathed heavily and leaned his head against the door of Peter's car. Moments later he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Get in the car, Jason," Peter said, and he didn't know why, but he complied.
Sitting in the passenger seat, he felt more vulnerable than ever. He dreaded Peter getting into the car next to him, but moments later he had. Peter looked at him seriously.
"Show me what you can do," he said, and his eyes willed it. Jason felt surprised at this request, but it had a calming influence on him.
With trepidation, Jason reached out and picked up a pen that lay on Peter's dashboard. Jason looked at it seriously and concentrated on it. "I can't always make it work, and it usually works when I don't want it to," he said. "Its..." he continued, but he stopped as the black pen started to change. The change started from where his fingers made contact with the pen and spread to both ends, and moments later it had turned into that golden metal he was familiar with.
Peter took the pen from him and smiled. "Cool," he said.
Cool? Was this a normal response to his ability? He opened his mouth to ask Peter what his agenda was, but he gasped and backed away into the closed door as the pen started to change back to normal.
"Holy shit! You can do what I can do!" he almost shouted.
"Not exactly," Peter said, and the pen suddenly floated ... floated! ... to the dashboard and settled down. Peter started the engine and drove off, and oddly, Jason thought about jumping out of the car. Peter was starting to scare him.
They drove in silence along the open road. Peter shook his head and suddenly started to speak. "I fucking knew it," he said, as if proud that he'd worked out some great puzzle. "I knew you were one of us."
"What are you talking about?" he said, completely at a loss. He'd expected Peter to freak out but he seemed more cheerful than ever.
"My razor," Peter said. This made no sense. The look in his confused eyes must have hinted this to Peter. "It was plastic."
"It was silver," Jason said.
"I made it into silver," Peter said. "I wondered where I got it from. You were my first choice. I even thought it was that bitch at the reception. It all makes sense now."
"Peter, what the hell is going on?" he said, now worried whether Peter had lost his wits.
"Jason, there are people in the world with amazing gifts. We're rare, but I have friends and family who can do spectacular things. You're one of those individuals. You can transform objects from one substance to another."
Jason looked ahead. "And you can too?"
"Well now, yes," Peter said cryptically.
"I absorb the powers of others. I have your ability because I was near to you. I can move the pen because I was near to some other guy once who could do that."
"How many powers have you... absorbed?" Jason asked. This was a lot to take in.
"Many," Peter said with a smile, and he looked at him and winked.
"I can't control this Peter. I don't want it. I turned my boss's arm to some sort of sand. He half near bled to death in his office." Keeping the emotion out of voice wasn't easy.
Peter looked at him almost angrily. "Don't give up," he said. "You're stuck with this forever, and you need to embrace it and become good at it. Just accept it."
His voice was harder than Jason had heard before but there was a certainty in it he wasn't accustomed to. Peter's eyes softened. "I'll help you through this, Jason. If it's what you want."
Jason hesitated. "I'd appreciate that, Peter." His world seemed to have turned upside down.
Peter smiled at him and his eyes settled back on the road. They drove along the countryside in the direction of Peter's niece. He looked at Peter and smiled at his perfect face, and closed his eyes and pretended to sleep when Peter faced him. Little did he know that Peter had returned that smile with double enthusiasm.
End of chapter 1
Thanks for reading this, guys. If you like it please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments are welcome. Other stories of mine are Fire and Ice, and Finding Faris.