"Ryo-oh-ki." Ando drawled, leafing a hand through Hiro's hair.
"That hairy, mangy, disgusting thing?" Hiro's arms were crossed over Ando's chest and his head lolled to the side lazily. The rumpled sheets lay cool and clean around them.
"Oh, come on, Hiro. He's a cabbit that turns into a spaceship. How useful would that be?"
"It's ugly." Hiro wrinkled his nose. "Be a cat or be a rabbit, but don't be both at once. What about Mokona?"
"Mokona's useless," Ando sneered.
"Mokona has the power of a god!" Hiro declared, his eyes rounding.
"But he never uses it," Ando said. "He runs away until the battle is over. Why do you keep choosing animals from shoujo anime, anyway?"
"The stories are better," Hiro pouted, parting his arms to lay a kiss on the center of Ando's chest. "Fine, if you want a pet that's useful, how about Luna?"
"Artemis is cooler than Luna," Ando replied. "You could go out drinking with a guy like Artemis."
"But Luna is smarter. And her voice is cute."
"You know," observed Ando, "when I run my hand through your hair like this, it stands on end and you look like an anime character."
"Oh, really?" Hiro grinned, climbing his way up to rest on Ando's shoulder, kissing the curve of his neck. Ando groaned. "Which one do I look like? Kenshin? Son Goku? Naruto?"
Ando pulled him close to kiss him. "What's the name of that penguin with the mohawk?" he whispered into Hiro's ear. "From Evangelion?"
"I hate you."
He came bloodied and bruised. The government's goons had come prepared this time, and they'd pinned him with a poison dart-- curare, he suspected, based on the way his mind muddied and went down. They'd put something in him, made him mortal and punishable again, increased his sensitivity to every iota of pain, then beat him within an inch of his life, used razor blades, clubs, a world's worth of pain and torment on him, but he'd played possum, slowly letting the drug clear his system until he was able to use his powers again. It was simple to escape. It was harder to make his way to Mohinder's door. It was the hardest to simply look up at him, leaning on the doorframe, and say "Please help."
But Mohinder had let him in without a word. Just a bulge of his eyes and a shifting of his hands, and the door had opened wide. Sylar staggered forward and collapsed against the railing, Mohinder's hand on his back a firebrand.
He thought Mohinder said something just before it all went black, but he wasn't sure.
Night now, and the traffic wailed outside like a funeral. Mohinder was dressing his wounds when he awoke. He jerked reflexively at the stinging touch of antiseptic, but Mohinder just said "Hold still" and kept at his task.
After a while, Sylar sat up and watched him, the inscrutable expression of concentration on his face never changing. He never seemed to notice Sylar watching, never turned his head to speak.
When he'd gotten up to pour more water over a blood-soaked rag, Sylar said, "Why?"
"You came to me for help," Mohinder responded briskly, emotionlessly.
"Well, yes," Sylar said, falling into silence again.
The silence persisted. Leaving Sylar to rest, Mohinder went back to his work, writing in jabbing strokes with a mechanical pencil in a spiral-bound notebook. Again, he never initiated a conversation, never even raised his head. As though Sylar were just furniture, some odd piece of clockwork whose motions he'd long since learned to tune out.
"Why?" he demanded. Mohinder shrugged.
Sylar rose to his feet, came unsteadily to Mohinder's desk, pounded a fist onto the center of the notebook. The lead snapped on the pencil. Mohinder looked up.
"What am I supposed to think about this?" Sylar demanded. "You don't ask any questions, you don't say a word, you let me in here and you patch me up but you won't answer me? Why?"
Mohinder took off his glasses. "What will you do now?" he asked. "Kill me for being kind to you? Spare my life only to regret it later on? Attempt to forge some sort of unlikely friendship between us? What now, Sylar?"
Sylar returned his hand to his side. "I... don't know," he said slowly.
Mohinder smiled and twisted the pencil to coax more lead out. "That," he said, "is the answer to your question."
And he kept on writing.
"That's what Dad's notebook says, yeah." Dean shut the thing and it gave a dusty thunk against the table.
"So you dance yourself, literally, to death?"
"Get exhausted, can't stop to eat, sleep-- it's a nasty way to die."
Sam frowned. "Perverting something that should be fun. So it's like this?"
Dean looked up. "Like what?" But it was too late.
With an instinct born of mischievous childhood games, Sam had grabbed Dean by the waist and started spinning him around the room. "Whooops! I can't stop myself! I can't stop myself!" he shouted as Dean cursed and struggled.
"Sam, I'm gonna throw up," Dean protested after several revolutions.
"Sorry! I'm cursed!" Sam laughed.
"I'm gonna give you a curse..." In one last-ditch attempt to escape, Dean struggles forward to put Sam in a hold, but he only ends up pressed against him, muscle to muscle and skin to skin, as Sam holds his arms at bay.
And then Dean's body responds in a way Sam can most definitely feel.
"What's that about?" Sam asks, but his voice breaks around the smile he tries to summon.
"I can't stop myself," Dean mutters, leaning forward again.