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28 July 2009 @ 06:22 pm
[fanfic draft] More Than Human (Mylar, PG-13)  
Dear Boss moorishflower, I really rushed the ending on this but if you like my pitch, maybe I'll work harder on it and polish it up into a nice product. I hope you like it!!

I hope this will show as public, as I'm still having trouble getting yesterday's report to actually show up to the public at large. sigh.

Title: More Than Human
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG-13 for what bears do in the woods. No, the other thing.
Summary: The legend of the creature with black wings and the man with the lizardlike skin.

They said a curse was placed on him, but Mohinder knew better.

The elders of the village stood above his sickbed, poking and prodding at the small, dark plates that had formed on his skin. In turn, they stared at him and looked at each other, clucking their tongues and shaking their heads. "He should have known better than to meddle in dark things," said the one old woman decisively.

"It is the creature's work, no mistaking it," said her companion, applying a poultice. It sizzled slightly on his skin, and Mohinder cried out in agony. The elders gaped, aghast at this horrible reaction.

"The holy herbs burn like the devil's own fire upon his cursed skin." moaned the wretched old shaman.

"Him and his modern medicine. We should never have let him in."

"He cured my daughter!" A younger voice among the rest.

"Of course he did, that's how he gained your trust, you little fool." The voice was that of the woman's mother. "I told you, didn't I? Not to let him lay a hand on the child."

Sobbing followed. Mohinder closed his eyes and tried to drown them out in the music of memory.

More Than Human

He'd arrived in this remote place with the aspiration to do some good. It was a badge of honor to say, upon application to the medical facility of your choice, that you had brought modern medicine to some untouched, backward corner of the world. It was an ambition worth his time. And at first he'd been welcomed. The medicines he'd given to ease the elders' aching joints, the speed with which he cleaned an infection that might have claimed a life, were hailed as miracles. And when the day was done he would learn tales of the wild woods that lay on the outskirts of the villages, home to any number of mythical creatures. Boys with cat-tails. Fish that could fly. And when he laughed and asked how come they'd never been sighted, that was when he learned about the creature with the black wings.

They called it Sai'lar, with a hiss on the S and a guttural sound between the syllables that Mohinder couldn't reproduce. The name meant night and the invisible touch of the breeze, but it also meant fear and hushed anticipation.

"Sylar?" he'd asked, trying to repeat the word. They'd nodded, deeming the pronunciation adequate, and cautioned him to be quiet. They were careful to never say the name too loud.

Mohinder had, of course, laughed it off as tall tales. The superstitions of these isolated peoples were the stuff of legend, myriad myths that had never been told to outsiders' ears before. He took them as seriously as he could, wanting to show respect for their culture.

But then a young girl had contracted a fever that was wasting her away. Mohinder drew her blood and, after some examination, announced with joy that there was an herbal remedy long known to be effective in the sap of a particular tree that grew in the nearby forest. He would simply require some--

And that's when the fear fell over the assembled group. "We do not enter the forest," said an ancient man. He was the village shaman, who was treated with great respect by every last soul in the village. He saw their ancestors to peace and protected their homes from black enchantments, and when he spoke, the people listened. "We do not intrude upon the domain of the Sai'lar."

"You must be joking," Mohinder sputtered, shocked. "You would sacrifice her life for fear of some mythical beast?"

The man scowled, and it was as if the rest of the throng had become his mirror images; Mohinder was surrounded by scowls. "Great misfortune comes to he who dares such foolishness," the shaman warned.

"Then let it come to me, because I am not going to let her die," Mohinder declared, and he headed off toward the forest himself.

The trees stretched toward the sky and the fallen branches crackled beneath his feet. So far, the dangerous wild woods of the legend were just like any other. Mohinder even began to hum a soft song as he traveled, stopping to gaze at his reflection in a deep pool of clear water left over from the last rain and smiling at a swarm of bugs pulsing and skittering from a rotten tree stump. Death and rebirth happened here, and as a man of medicine he felt eminently comfortable in this place that naturally renewed itself over hundreds, thousands of years, each time more lush and lavish than the last. He failed to see how any place this beautiful could be home to a creature of nightmares.

He dallied in the woods, watched animals thump their little feet against the ground as he worked the spout into the tree's bark and began to collect its sap. Settling down beside it, he closed his eyes, inhaling the scent of wood and water and listening to the drip, drip, drip of his medicine as it filled the bucket.

When his eyes opened again, it was dark.

A moment of panic sent him scrambling to his feet, looking from side to side quickly, but only an owl's hoot filled the air. There was no fluttering of black wings, no monstrous creature save the ones painted in the stars. Taking up his bucket, Mohinder looked to the zenith and found north from the pattern of the stars. He began to head back, and his trip was unhampered until he approached the pool of water where he'd earlier seen his own reflection.

Something was drinking there.

Again, his fear lasted only as long as he allowed it to. An animal in the woods was nothing to be surprised about. Not wanting to disturb the creature, or alert it at all to his presence, Mohinder ducked behind a tree, sliding to one side and coming up behind the great beast. In the dimness, he couldn't see its shape or the texture of its skin, only that it was large, dark, hunched over. A boar, perhaps, or a panther, he guessed, pressing his face between the two halves of a tree trunk that had been split by lightning. From this vantage point, the moon made silver ripples on the water and, just for a moment, illuminated the animal's face.

It was a human face. And its eyes, black and piercing, found his in the reflection and did not look away.

Now panic set in to stay. Mohinder ran. scrambling over fallen branches and cradling his bucket of precious medicine with all his might, though sweat and fear were blinding him and draining the energy from his limbs. A swoop above him blocked out the moonlight and then the creature was in front of him, black eyes and enormous wings, stepping toward him menacingly. Mohinder reversed course, began to run again, but again a swoop and a thud and his path was blocked. Another step backward and Mohinder fell, clutching the bucket for dear life and feeling his tailbone bruise as he hit the forest floor. The creature approached again, step by awful step, blotting out the sky.

Black eyes stared at him curiously. A hand reached out. Its fingers bore pointed, sharp nails, but it did not move to slash or strike. Mohinder was just being looked at. That was all.

"Human," the creature said unsurely. Mohinder's eyes widened.

"Yes," he whispered. "Yes, I am human. Are you?" Foolish question of a beast with black wings and talons, but his mouth moved before he could help it.

"I was," it said. "Now I am more."

Mohinder swallowed. The curiosity in the black beady eyes gave him some strength. He set aside the pail and shifted up to his knees, looking close at the lean face, the tuft of hair. "You are still mostly human," he said, leaning forward as though to examine him. "Only the wings, and the hands and feet..."

One claw hastily retracted, and Mohinder put up his own hands, spreading his palms wide. "I'm sorry," he said hastily. "I didn't mean to..."

"Do you have a name, human?" the creature asked, a tremble of some foreign emotion in his voice.

"Mohinder. And you are Sylar." He reached out again, slower this time. The creature let Mohinder take hold of its hand.

"I am."

Note: here's where things start to get rushed. I'd love to rewrite this second half of it...

Mohinder returned home at dawn and mixed the sap into a solution with clear river water and some antibiotics. The girl lay in bed through much of the day, tossing and turning, but her fever broke that evening as the sun went down, and the relieved sighs of the village were a pleasant music in Mohinder's ears. He'd done it. He'd saved the child. He knelt near his bed and thanked the gods and the stars for his luck.

And then he returned to the woods.

Dark and foreboding as they were at night, dangerous though he knew it was to the hospitality he'd been extended thus far, he could stand to be nowhere else. He stood among thick trees and waited for the voice to sound behind him.

"You shouldn't have come back."

Mohinder turned. "I know," he said. "But I had to."


"To see you," he answered, "of course."

"No one has ever come to see me."

"They fear you."

"As they should."

"You used to be human. What should they have to fear?"

"I am not human any longer. I am superior. I fly through the air. I hunt my prey. I do not show mercy for humans."

"But you do not raid the village."

"It is only humans that destroy for the sake of destroying. I am a higher being now."

"What is it like to fly?"

At this, Sylar did the most human thing he had done so far: he stuttered and gasped. "What?"

Mohinder drew closer. Close enough that feathertips tickled his ankles, that the edge of a talon bit a scratch into his skin. "I want to know," he said, and his eyes sparkled.

At the end of the night, Sylar deposited him on the edge of the forest. "You must not return," he said.

"Don't say that."

"I mean it. Mohinder. Stay away." His brows furrowed. "You don't know what you're doing. This place changes people."

"Like it changed you?" Mohinder cupped Sylar's cheeks, ran hands down the peach-fuzz skin. How very human, still, that skin. "You said yourself you are more, better than you were. How can I fear that?"

Sylar looked away. "You should. You should fear these woods, and you should fear me. I am a monster."

"You're beautiful," Mohinder breathed, without a thought.

Black eyes darted to his, and feathers rustled. At once Mohinder was folded up in great black wings. "You are."

Giving a cry of release, Mohinder folded both hands against the back of his neck and pressed his lips firmly to Sylar's, his whole world eclipsed by the warm embrace of feathers and flesh. The clawhold of talons bit into his arms and drew blood, exquisite pain. He moaned, and Sylar made a similar noise. Their bodies pressed together needily, muscle on muscle.

"Please," Sylar said, "stop before it's too late."

"I can't," Mohinder said. "I need you."


Another groan. "Say my name again."

Sylar did. And he said it again in a reverent whisper, and again against hard naked flesh, and again as trees bent and stars fell.

The scales appeared almost immediately after he returned. They said it was a curse, but Mohinder knew better. He'd soon be something else, something more than human. And when it happened, when the pain of the transformation had passed, he would disappear from this place and this life and join Sylar in the forest of legend. Free from pain, free from want. Two great creatures, so much more than human.

He could hear the flapping of black wings now.


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Moorishmoorishflower on July 28th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
Although the second half does feel more rushed than the first half, it's still got incredibly lush imagery and I adore it. I've got such a love for myths and legends, and this reads like something out of a book of fairy tales! I love it, sunshine. Thank you. <3
levitatethis on August 5th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
What an interesting story! Rushed or not I think you succeed in creating this otherworldly experience. If you were to approach this again I'd love to see you expand on the conversation between Mohinder and Sylar that leads up to Mohinder turning.

Very cool!