Micah Sanders remembered his first trip to an amusement park, his first baseball game, and his first lost tooth. Those were the kind of memories a boy his age was supposed to look back on fondly. Things like the first time he ran from gunfire, the first time he saw a friend die, and the first time he killed a man...those weren't supposed to be part of the picture. But with the world what it was, those were what he was left with. He and his allies had been on the run for a while now, trying to find more people they could work with and take the fight back to Nathan Petrelli, but as time went on, Micah wondered if they would ever get there. After all, it was hard to take down the bad guy when deep down, your fearless leader loved him more than anything.
People tended to assume Micah didn't understand a lot of things. Sure, he had been smart enough to work as Rebel, organizing the resistance, but people still tended to look at him as a harmless kid who wouldn't pick up on things. And he was fine with that - people tended to open up around him more, which allowed him to get a better understanding of everyone he was working with. He had learned exactly how to talk to Sylar to keep the brittle, tormented man from lashing out. He had picked up on the complex family dynamics between Claire and Peter. And most of all, he had observed the strange dance of combat that Peter and Nathan seemed to engage in every day, each hunting the other but never truly seeming to want to win the fight. They hurt each other, sure - both mentally and physically - but when one saw the chance to take the killing blow, somehow it never happened.
"Everything working fine there?"
Micah snapped out of his thoughts at Peter's words, and he looked up from the cases of weapons to give their leader a thumbs-up. "Yeah, they're all in working order."
"Good. We don't need any of them malfunctioning if..." Peter trailed off as he clearly started thinking about what was likely to come the next time the weapons were needed. "Good work."
Micah nodded as he went back to the guns, doing a quick re-check with his powers. By running his hands over them and concentrating, he could feel the mechanisms within the rifles moving, checking to make sure everything moved smoothly. It was one of the jobs he did for the resistance, and no one else could do it like he did. Micah turned to watch as Peter walked away, likely to go draw up battle plans. He wondered if everyone would make it out today, and how many lives would have to be lost before Peter did what had to be done. One thing was for sure - he was going to do whatever he had to to make sure as many of them came back as possible. He had done it before...and he would do it again if he had to.
The first time Micah Sanders killed a man, he didn't sleep that night. The smell of gunpowder mixing with blood filled his sinuses, and that horrible gurgling sound the man made as he slipped away wouldn't leave his ears, But most of all, what kept him awake was just how easy it was to pull that trigger. He was sure it would have bothered him more, but it didn't...and really, that was what bothered him more than anything. For a long time, he had felt like he was a bystander in their war. But that night...he knew that he was a soldier.
He knew he'd have to do it again. That was what soldiers did in a war, after all, no matter how old they were. The war had claimed so many already, including his mother. The small, strange little family they had built here was all many of them had left. But that didn't make the knowledge any easier. He thought about asking people - Peter, Claire, even Gabriel - what they knew about killing, hoping that they could help him understand what it was doing to him, but somehow he never got up the courage to actually ask. Somehow, he doubted that they really knew much more than him.
Packing away the rifles and sticking his head out of the doorway, he could see their army stocking up for the mission that night. The members of their assault team were gathering the appropriate equipment, and Peter was looking over the schematics for the approach. They had taken everything into consideration for the assault - but you could never be sure. They had been burned so many times. All it took was one variable out of five million that you didn't think of, and the whole thing went to hell. They'd lost so many like that.
They'd be leaving soon. Peter would wake him. They had done this many times before. Micah walked into the makeshift area that passed for his room and crawled into bed. He closed his eyes and dreamed of amusement parks, and foul balls at the ballparks, and waking up to find a crisp new dollar under his pillow. They were the kind of dreams that he rarely allowed himself to indulge in these days, not when the fate of the world could rest in his hands. But right now, fast asleep, he wasn't a soldier in a war. He was a boy, dreaming of the things that boys dreamed of. Maybe one day, he allowed himself to think, the reality he woke up to would be different. Maybe one day, he wouldn't be a soldier. But for now, he was a son of war, and he would do what he needed to. He had trained, he had fought, and now it was time to put away childish things. His mother would be watching over him, and he would honor all who had fallen before them. Every war had casualties, and childhood was usually the first one.