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Lydia watched her daughter Amanda scowl at her before walking away and searching out one of the many boys who wanted to date her and would help her practice her fire abilities. Lydia didn’t like that her own daughter had succumbed to Samuel’s charms, which made her more desperate to save her friends and family and stop Samuel’s plans, whatever they were.

Walking through the buzzing and frenetic carnival, Lydia spotted Samuel leaving and knew that he’d move them all soon to pick up Vanessa and bring her here. Lydia had errands in town, and she was thankful that the prying eyes of Eli would be with Samuel and away from her.

She spotted one of Samuel’s new recruits working on beautification duty that had recently belonged to Claire Bennet. Santiago was a speedster, and seeing him made Lydia long for Edgar even more. She hoped that by ousting Samuel, Edgar would return and help her put this family back together.

Until then, she needed Santiago for something Edgar would reluctantly do for her, after some arguing of course. Lydia wasn’t going into town that day; though, she’d go under the guise of doing so, but she needed an eager recruit to their carnival too naive to ask questions about her true motives.

She glided toward him, and she saw his eyes sparkle as he looked her over. She smiled warmly, coming close to him and putting a tender hand on his arm.

“I’m sorry to bother you, Santiago, but I need your assistance,” she said, giving him a pleading look.

“Of course, anything Ms. Lydia,” he said in his heavy Chilean accent. His eyes sparkled at her in anticipation.

“Samuel asked me to go into town to get more ink while he’s gone, but I want to buy him more special colors, so I was wondering if you could rush me to New York City for some shopping and race us back before his return?” she asked, and she hoped that by mentioning Samuel, the new speedster would jump at the chance to do a favor for the famous barker.

“Of course!” he said, and as she predicted his enthusiasm, she hoped that he was naive enough that she could convince him to speed off alone for awhile and leave her by herself. She had a plan to see Peter Petrelli (against Samuel’s knowledge), and she really didn’t want to draw Santiago into the deception any more than she had too.

“Great,” she said with another sensual smile. “Let me just get my shall.”

Santiago bounced happily beside her, and when she was ready, Lydia felt the young man's shaky arms wrap around her, picking her up as he sped off. While he held her and carried her through the whoosh of air, Lydia thought of Edgar again, wishing he was holding her instead.

.xxxxx.

 

It was easy to convince Santiago to let her be for a few hours of boring shopping, and the youth was content enough to visit relatives that resided in Queens. He promised to come back to Lydia and meet at the same place where he’d dropped her off. Despite still having to get supplies she had less than three hours to locate Peter Petrelli in the city.

She’d have to tap into her ability for that, and when he’d been so far away before, it was just as hard to find him now, digging deep through the sea of chaotic minds and hearts of the people in the bustling city.

First, she started walking ahead, letting her senses pull her in the direction of the sliver of his signature that she’d honed in on the first time she connected with Peter’s mind.

When her feet drew her to a hospital, she sighed in relief, knowing that she was on the right track since Peter was a paramedic.

Gliding stealthily past security and nurses, doctors and patients, Lydia found the locker room of the hospital and felt her heart tense as she pulled on a faint signature from Peter Petrelli. She looked around frantically, feeling the minutes of her time here ticking away.

She was desperate to find Peter. She had to appeal to him to save her family. He was the only one who was a perfect fit to take Joseph’s place - a powerful empath, and someone who could stop Samuel.

Lydia rounded a corner of lockers, knowing she was in a men’s locker room now. She tried to be quiet, but her luck of going unnoticed only lasted so long.

“Hey, what are you doing in here?” Lydia spun around to the male voice, feeling deflated the voice didn’t belong to the person she needed.

She turned around into the dark stunned eyes of another paramedic. He was tall, with handsome boyish features and subtle nuances of a Middle Eastern decent. She felt his eyes roam over her, followed by a tinge of arousal, and then his brow furrowed at her as his emotions shifted back to serious concern.

She smiled at him, sashaying toward him as she gave him a pouting, demure smile. She held her hands in front of her body and swayed her hips, evoking a non-threatening presence. Body language was everything, after all, she thought.

“I apologize, I am just looking for my friend...Peter Petrelli. Do you work with him?”

The man scratched his head. “Oh, um, I’m sorry but you just missed him. He left about twenty minutes ago.”

Lydia frowned, and he noticed her dissatisfaction immediately. “He didn’t stand you up for a date, did he? Because if he did, I can save him a hell of a lecture the next time I see him.”

She shook her head, laughing slightly. “No, no lectures are needed. I’ll just meet up with him later.”

“Did you try his cell. No wait, I know you did and got his voice mail. Happens a lot with him. Sorry again,” he said, then she saw his eyes shift. “If...Peter stood you up and you’re still free...”

“Oh...no, sorry. I’m not in the city very long,” she said and prompted, “Ah...”

“Hesam,” he said, holding out his hand. Automatically, she took it for a friendly shake, feeling more from him (and of his relationship with Peter) than any normal person would feel. He smiled sweetly at her, and Lydia almost wished she did have some time to spare.

“I’m Lydia,” she said.

“And my partner is the probably the unluckiest guy in the world for missing you,” he said, and Lydia lightly laughed again.

“Or I'm the unlucky one,” Lydia said with a defeated sigh, and he gave her another charming grin before he released her hand. Lydia began to walk away as Hesam trailed beside her toward the exit door.

Hesam snuck in a flirtatious goodbye before they parted ways, and she headed down the streets back to her meeting place with Santiago. Inwardly, she felt disappointed in not finding Peter Petrelli on this risky trip. She only hoped the connection in their minds from before had worked, and soon Peter would come to her aid and rescue her family from Samuel.

Of course, if Peter had people in his life like Hesam who cared for him and obviously mattered to him, she wondered if Peter really could help her. Lydia was afraid Peter wouldn’t want to join them and take over for Joseph after all, and that he had a much better life here that he couldn’t possibly leave.

END