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  • Written by Aury Wallington
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  • Heroes: Saving Charlie
  • Written by Aury Wallington
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780345505040
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A Novel

Written by Aury WallingtonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Aury Wallington


List Price: $7.99


On Sale: December 26, 2007
Pages: 0 | ISBN: 978-0-345-50504-0
Published by : Del Rey Ballantine Group
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“Save the cheerleader, save the world” are the defining words of Heroes, the phenomenal series that has transformed television drama. They are also the cryptic marching orders for the show’s cross section of ordinary individuals united by an extraordinary bond. Each possesses a superhuman ability, and together they must prevent the course of history from taking a terrifying turn. Now, in this original novel based on the TV phenomenon, in a thrilling story that will captivate even those who haven’t seen the show, one of these unexpected saviors steps center stage on a deeply personal quest that will test the limits of his gift, the depth of his love, and the ultimate strength of his will.

Hiro Nakamura possesses the remarkable power to control time. And like his uniquely blessed comrades, he’s on a mission for the good of humankind. But another challenge awaits him: saving the love of his life from an unspeakable death. Charlene “Charlie” Andrews is the big-hearted, small-town beauty whose sunny smile and sweet soul knocked the shy Hiro head over heels. But when Charlie’s young life is snuffed out by a grisly serial killer, their budding romance is brutally cut short.

Or is it? Thanks to his astounding newfound skill, Hiro has the means to do what no tragedy-stricken lover in history ever could–turn back time. And no matter how raw his abilities, or how many twists of circumstance conspire to foil him, he vows to deliver Charlie from the evil poised to claim her. He will be her hero.

But what possible consequences might changing the past visit upon the future? How could saving one cherished life affect millions of others? And what ultimate choice will Hiro make when the power of fate rests in his hands?

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter 1

Hiro Nakamura was in love.

Full-on, balls-out, head-over-heels in love.

Charlie was perfect. Smart, funny, gorgeous—God, was she gorgeous, with that red hair and those small soft hands and that smile . . .

He had waited his entire life to have a girl smile at him like that. And it had finally happened, lightning had finally struck. Six thousand miles from home, at a tiny greasy spoon smack in the middle of Texas, he’d finally met the girl of his dreams.

Charlie. Mmmmm.

Hiro peacocked in front of the men’s room mirror, bringing sexy back. He felt like slaying a dragon or saving a village or pounding his chest with mighty fists—something masculine and rugged and virile, to announce to the world that Hiro Nakamura was in love with Charlie . . . um . . .

Charlie Something-or-other.

Huh. He didn’t know her last name.

Hiro’s shoulders slumped for a second, then he shook it off.

Well, so what? Who cared what her last name was? If he played his cards right, she might just end up as Charlie Nakamura!

He gave his reflection a goofy smile.

Okay, maybe he was going overboard. Maybe love was too strong a word for what he felt, given that he’d known her for less than an hour, and they spoke different languages, and she was probably only talking to him at all because he’d happened to sit down in her section in the diner.

All right, then, he’d admit it: maybe he wasn’t actually in love with Charlie.

But he was definitely smitten. No one could argue with that.


No wonder everyone in America is so fat!”

Hiro surreptitiously glanced around the diner, checking out the other customers to see if Ando was talking about anyone in particular.

A group of chattering women in tennis whites took up three tables in the back; a sketchy-looking trucker with a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, shielding his face, nursed a solitary cup of coffee at a table by the door; a pair of businessmen were anchored down the counter; and two men in police department uniforms lingered over the newspaper a couple of tables away.

The younger of the two, whose bushy sideburns threatened to take over his face, scowled down at the crossword puzzle, erasing an answer so vigorously that he tore a hole in the paper. But the older—and fatter— cop looked up, meeting Hiro’s gaze with a friendly nod.

Hiro smiled back, trying not to look alarmed at the way the sheriff’s chair creaked ominously anytime he shifted his considerable bulk. Then he returned his attention to Ando, who was scowling down at the laminated menu in consternation.

“All there is to eat is waffles and french fries,” Ando complained.

Hiro leaned back in the comfortable padded booth and grinned. “You like french fries.”

“I’ve gained four kilos from french fries!”

Hiro opened his mouth to respond, then thought better of it. Half a dozen replies sprang to mind, each one more hilarious than the last, but he knew that his friend wouldn’t find any of them funny, at least not until he’d had some coffee.

So Hiro simply shrugged and picked up his own menu, happy just to be out of the car.

Hiro and Ando had been on the road since dawn, steadily ticking off the miles on the endless monotonous ribbon of I-20 East from El Paso. Ando was lucky enough to be doing the driving, but for Hiro, it was the most boring morning of his life.

There had been nothing interesting to look at, scenery-wise—just scrubby brown earth, divided by barbed-wire fences that seemed utterly pointless to him—what were they trying to fence in? There was nothing there!

At one point they’d passed a squashed armadillo by the side of the road, and after that Hiro hadn’t been able to look out the window at all. Yet there was nothing else to do—he’d read all the manga he’d brought along a million times already. His 9th Wonders! was in tatters, he’d memorized every word of Tengu Ninfuuden Shinobu, and he’d flipped through Robogirl so often that the pages were all coming loose.

He’d tried to buy the latest issues when they’d stopped for gas the day before in Las Cruces, but the woman running the little newsstand had no idea what he was talking about, even with Ando translating for him. She kept trying to press a copy of something called Fish & Stream on him, which as far as Hiro was concerned was worse than having no reading material at all. She was so insistent that he’d finally shelled out the $3.95 and taken it, just to get her off his back, but the second he was out of her eyesight he tossed it into a trash bin.

And even though Ando had turned out to be a far better traveling companion than Hiro had expected—really, a better friend than he ever would have dreamed—he was grouchy in the mornings and never wanted to talk until the caffeine from his coffee had fully kicked in.

He didn’t want to listen to Hiro talk, either, and had even snapped at him to stop humming, “because it’s interfering with my driving.”

Hiro wasn’t sure how his practically inaudible humming could affect Ando’s ability to steer the car—in a perfectly straight line, no less— but whatever. He wasn’t going to fight about it. So he agreeably folded his lips inside, then stared silently up at the cloudless, unremittingly blue sky. It had been that way for hours and hours, until finally, on the outskirts of a small town, they’d spotted the faded red sign of the Burnt Toast Diner.

Ando flicked on the turn signal and pulled into the parking lot.


Hiro bolted out of the car before it had even come to a full stop.

“Breakfast!” he crowed, and hurried to the diner’s front door, stopping to hold it open for Ando.

Hiro loved diners. He loved the food, loved the retro chrome-and- vinyl décor, loved the little individual jukeboxes sitting on each table. He always flipped through the playlist, even though he had yet to recognize a single song. What he loved best, though, were the menus, which frequently had pictures of the food printed next to their descriptions, so you knew exactly what you were going to get.

It was just like Tokyo, where every noodle joint in Shinjuku had plastic models of each dish displayed in the window. It made ordering a lot easier, and it was one of the few things he’d encountered so far on this trip that made Hiro feel at home.

It was especially helpful in a place like this, where the dishes were given colorful, incomprehensible names and descriptions. Hiro wavered back and forth between the Oil Rigger breakfast sandwich—scrambled eggs, cheese, and Canadian bacon, pressed between two waffles, dipped in batter, and deep-fried to golden gooey perfection—and the Strike It Rich special, with pork-and-apple sausage patties piled on a fresh homemade biscuit and smothered in country gravy.

He was so absorbed in the menu—did he feel more like the fried square thing or the white creamy thing?—that he didn’t even notice the waitress bustling up to their table until she spoke.

“Anything looking good, guys?”

Hiro glanced up and froze, thunderstruck.

Standing in front of him was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.

Eyes like a baby koala’s, strawberry-blond hair that swooped fetchingly down her shoulders, a body you could toast marshmallows over. She looked—holy moly, she looked just like Robogirl, the main character in Hiro’s all-time number one favorite manga, brought to life.

And Hiro worshipped Robogirl. Since he was twelve years old he’d devoured every issue about the sexy female robot with weapons for hands and sadness in her heart. And now here she was, standing right in front of him.

But instead of having lethally sharp stilettos or spiked clubs at the end of her arms, this girl had two coffeepots clutched in her hands, one of which had an orange spout. She held them up invitingly.

“Yes, please!” Ando begged, righting the upside-down cups that were preset on saucers on the table, and quickly pushing his in her direction.

The waitress poured, then turned her smile onto Hiro. “Would you like some coffee?”

Hiro just stared at her, a foolish grin planted on his face. Even if he knew the English words he needed to answer her, he didn’t think he could speak.

She lifted a shoulder in a little half shrug and reached across the table to pour him a cup anyway. As she bent toward him, Hiro saw that she had a name tag pinned to the left pocket of her pink blouse.


He studied the name, deciphering the unfamiliar combination of letters, attempting—why didn’t I pay more attention in English class— to sound it out, when—ouch!—Ando kicked him under the table.

Hiro scowled at him, indignant. “What did you do that for?”

Ando answered in a low voice, in Japanese. “Stop leering at her!”

What? “I wasn’t,” Hiro protested, but then a second glance at Charlie made him realize that, yeah, he kinda had been.

Oops. But he stole another glance anyway, noticing the necklace Charlie was wearing, a filigreed heart-shaped silver locket nestled in the hollow of her pale, slender throat.

“Tell her I like her necklace.”

“I will not.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s a completely transparent excuse for having been ogling her.”

“I wasn’t—”

“Hey, I don’t blame you. But I’m not going to help you hit on some poor defenseless girl—”


Charlie, who was looking back and forth between them as they argued in Japanese, raised an eyebrow.

“Wow, you two are a long way from home,” she said, interrupting their discussion. “We don’t get a lot of tourists out here.”

“How you know we tourist?” Hiro garbled, then kicked himself. Duh.

“Just a guess,” she answered, managing not to sound too sarcastic. “What’s that on your shirt?”

Her eyes moved to the white kanji lettering on the pocket of Hiro’s dark blue jacket.

“Bachigai,” she read, carefully sounding out the unfamiliar symbols. “That means ‘I don’t belong here,’ right?”

Hiro’s jaw dropped, and he straightened up in his seat, delighted.

“You know Japanese!” he exclaimed—then stopped dead and spent an excruciating moment wondering if that meant she had understood them talking about her.

But no, she was smiling, so it was probably okay.

“I got a Japanese phrase book for my birthday six months ago,” Charlie explained. “I started poking through it last week.” She cleared her throat, then carefully recited in Japanese, “One bento box with shrimp, please.”

Hiro clapped. “Very good! High grades.”

She smiled and lifted one shoulder in a modest little shrug. “I’m still learning.”

“You learned that from a book in just one week?” Ando asked, looking amazed.

“I remember lots and lots. Just something my brain started doing lately.” She paused, then added, almost to herself, “Whether I want it to or not.”

Her smile faltered, just for an instant, but then she gave her head a little shake and the cheerful look returned.“So, what’ll it be?”

“You pick,” Hiro told her in English. “Something delicious for me.” He glanced at Ando out of the corner of his eye, adding, “And for my friend, he need food for fato fato.”

Ando’s mouth dropped open in protest.

But Charlie piped up before he could say anything. “Got just the thing,” she said. “One chilaquiles . . . and one cottage cheese plate coming up.”

She gave Hiro a flirtatious little wink and twirled away. He watched her go, a dreamy smile appearing on his face.

“Who says no one in America is nice?”

“Oh, quit staring at her,” Ando snapped, then he buried his face in his coffee cup.

“The dance floor lights are cool,” Charlie said, covering the phrase book with her hand and reciting the sentence from memory.

“Perfect! You ready for disco!” Hiro cheered. He threw one arm into the air in a haphazard John Travolta move.

“I got it right?”

“Yes. Almost.”

After twenty minutes of picking dispiritedly at his cottage cheese platter, Ando had demanded a waffle after all. Hiro happily took advantage of the delay by joining Charlie at the counter, quizzing her on her Japanese.

“Don’t let me off easy now,” she said, so Hiro repeated it slowly, correcting her pronunciation.

She tried again, and nailed it. Then the next one.

“I don’t like this song. Let’s get a drink.”

Hiro’s eyes widened. “You learn very fast.”

“I sort of remember everything I read. At least lately I do.” She self-consciously dropped her eyes, flipping to the next page in the phrase book with studied casualness. “It’s kind of a skill, I guess.”

Hiro knew exactly how she was feeling, better than she ever could have imagined, he thought. But a crowded diner in the middle of the breakfast rush wasn’t the right time or place to go into it. So—

“My own skill much more complicated,” he said lightly.

“Oh yeah? What can you do?”

“I can teach Japanese to anyone.”

Charlie laughed. “You’re sweet,” she said, her Japanese flawless.

Hiro ducked his head shyly, looking for the phrase on the new page in the book. But it wasn’t there.

“Sweet,” she repeated, this time in English. “It means nice. Cute.”

Hiro looked confused. “That not in book.”

“No,” she said, turning a light shade of purple as she met his eyes. “It’s just true.”

They grinned at each other, looking like two little kids sharing a secret, he guessed. Hiro’s heart gave such a loud ker-thunk, he was surprised everyone in the diner didn’t look over to see what had made such a ruckus.

The order bell dinged, interrupting the moment.

“Sorry, someone’s Denver omelet’s up.” She slid off her stool and touched his shoulder with her hand, gesturing for him to stay put.

Ker-thunk! Ker-thunk! Ker-thunk!

“Be right back.”

Charlie disappeared into the kitchen, and Hiro swiveled around on his stool to face Ando, who was sprawled in their booth, reading a newspaper.

“I’m sweet!” he shouted in Japanese, and threw his arms joyfully up in the air.

Ando rolled his eyes and went back to his paper. But Hiro spun his stool around in a circle, beaming.

Sweet. How awesome was that?

Hiro had never been lucky—not in games, not in timing, and especially not in love.

His attempts to flirt with girls were generally met with some combination of laughter, pity, and blank stares. And on the few occasions when he did manage to ask a girl for her phone number, by the time he’d summoned up the courage to call her she’d either forgotten who he was, disconnected her phone, or just met her future husband.

From the Hardcover edition.
Aury Wallington|Author Q&A

About Aury Wallington

Aury Wallington - Heroes: Saving Charlie
Aury Wallington lives in Los Angeles, California.

Author Q&A

Interview with Aury Wallington author of Saving Charlie

Question: You’re both a novelist and a TV writer. Which of these modes of writing is most fulfilling for you, and why?

Aury Wallington: Both types of writing are fun and fulfilling, albeit in completely different ways. I love the camaraderie and collaboration of a TV writers room, while novel writing can feel really solitary–just you, alone, at your kitchen table, day after day, for hundreds of pages. But there are freedoms that come with writing fiction that you don’t have in TV–novels have fewer rules about page count and structure, so there’s more room to explore, to really dig into the story and the characters’ pasts, to go off on side tangents, etc. I’ve been really lucky so far, in that I’ve been able to switch back and forth between TV and novels–it’s really the best of both worlds!

Q: Then writing the first novel based on a breakout TV hit that’s still growing in popularity must have really been a dream job for you.

AW: I’d been a gigantic fan of Heroes from the beginning, and am lucky enough to be friends with one of the show’s writers, Aron Eli Coleite. Aron had read and loved my novel POP!, so when the show decided to do a novelization, he suggested me for the job. It was definitely a labor of love; they had a pretty tight deadline for when they needed the book to be done, so I basically spent six weeks immersed in the story 24 hours a day. I’d wake up in the mornings already thinking about it, spend fourteen hours every day at my computer writing, then go to bed and dream about Hiro and Charlie all night. I usually have a million projects going at once, so it was amazing to set everything else aside for a month and focus exclusively and wholly on Charlie and Hiro’s story.

Q: Is Saving Charlie a straight novelization of the three episodes from the TV show that featured Hiro’s relationship with Charlie, or does it break new ground?

AW: The set-up of the story stays true to the show–Hiro meets Charlie, goes back in time six months, has his first kiss with her, then accidentally teleports away–but from there the story takes off running through completely new ground. The book shows what really happened during those six months, follows all of Hiro’s adventures going backward and forward through time as he attempts to save Charlie, and really delves into Hiro and Charlie’s growing relationship (both the emotional and physical sides!). It also explores in depth Hiro’s own past, his childhood and relationship with his father, and his time-bending superpowers. There are a ton of surprises, and lots of cool, funny, sometimes-tragic secrets get revealed–not just about Hiro and Charlie’s time together, but about Hiro himself.

Q: You’re clearly the author of Saving Charlie, but the title page lists many collaborators, including Jeph Loeb, who is co-executive producer on the show. Did the two of you collaborate, or did you work from an outline he provided?

AW: When I got the assignment, I sat down with Jeph Loeb and producers Michael Green, Aron Coleite, and Mark Warshaw, for a few hours and talked through the story. They answered the million or so questions I had about Hiro and his powers and the world of the show, and also told me specific things they did or did not want to see in the book. Jeph had created the wonderful character of Robogirl, who is featured prominently in the novel, and he and I also discussed how Robogirl could affect Hiro’s story. Then I went home and wrote an outline for the book, which led to another discussion, and from those notes, I started to write. As I wrote Saving Charlie, Jeph and the other writers were an amazing resource to run ideas and questions past (“How exactly does the space-time continuum work?”), and I consulted a lot with them and the show’s script coordinator, Ollie Grigsby, to make sure all of the specific details in the book stayed true to the world of the show.

Q: It sounds like you had a lot of freedom.

AW: I had lots of freedom inside the basic framework of the story. I was able to move around those six months (and also a couple hundred years in the past, and a couple decades into the future) as much as I liked, as long as it stayed true to the tone and world of the show and didn’t contradict something that would happen in a later episode. Like, I couldn’t have Sylar accidentally get run over by a car and die in the book, because obviously he is still alive on the show. But within the confines of the story we saw on TV, I was pretty much able to do what I wanted (after checking the major points with the producers, of course!) . I had the most fun and the most freedom writing the chapters about Hiro’s childhood. Scenes from his awkward adolescence are sprinkled through the book–him asking a girl out for the first time (and getting turned down!), having crushes and trying to figure out what girls want and having his heart broken–all the funny, sad parts of Hiro’s romantic past that made him who he is, and made Charlie his perfect first love. I loved writing those chapters.

Q: Is Hiro your favorite character in Heroes? What do you think it is about this comic-book-loving geek, so wonderfully portrayed by the actor Masi Oka, that has captured the hearts of so many fans?

AW: I completely adore Hiro. Masi Oka brings such sweetness and vulnerability to the character (and is such a hottie!)–I just want to hug him forever! I think what makes the character of Hiro so popular is he’s really relatable. He’s occasionally awkward and clueless–aren’t we all?!–but he also has such hope, both for himself and for the world. And of all the Heroes, I think Hiro takes the most delight in his powers–he doesn’t second-guess them for a minute. Hiro knows that having superpowers makes him a hero, and he is going to use them to be a force for good. I think he captures the way we’d all like to think we’d behave if we woke up one morning with superpowers. Nobody dreams about slicing people’s heads open and taking their brains like Sylar–no way! We all want to be Hiros.

Q: Keeping all the time-travel paradoxes straight in your head while writing this novel must have been challenging!

AW: “Challenging” is a good word for it! There are places in the book when Hiro has to worry about running not just into his past self, but also his future self and a couple different versions of his present self! It helped to keep in mind the three big dates in the book–Charlie’s birthday, the night of their first kiss, and the date of her murder at the Burnt Toast Diner–and then figure out, each time Hiro jumped through time and space, where he was in relation to those three events. I also needed to make sure that Hiro in the book stayed true to where he was at on the show during the Charlie episodes–he hadn’t gained control of his powers, gotten Kensei’s sword, or learned he could bring another person along with him through time yet, so I couldn’t have him teleport Charlie away with him. Luckily, the wonderful editors at Random House had a good eye for that sort of thing, and were a huge help in keeping my timelines straight.

Q: You obviously had a lot of information on which to base your characterization of Hiro, since his role on the TV show is so central. But Charlie’s character was much more of an open book, so to speak. How did you flesh her out?

AW: The show’s writers had set up such a wonderful character in Charlie, and because she isn’t recurring on the show, I had a lot more freedom to invent the details of her life and past without worrying about how those details would affect later episodes of the show. All the questions Charlie’s character had raised in my mind–how did she get the blood clot in her brain, when did she discover her memory power, why was she so obsessed with taking a trip around the world, what was it about Hiro that let her fall in love for the very first time–I got to come up with the answers to those questions that I liked best. I hope they’re answers that will satisfy the readers too!

Q: Will you be doing more tie-in or original work with Heroes?

AW: I hope so!

Q: As a Los Angeles—based writer, what are you doing to keep busy during the writers’ strike?

AW: I’m trying to appreciate the silver-lining of being on strike: the picket line workout! After being locked away at my computer for a couple months writing this book, it’s good to get some exercise, and marching in a circle for four hours a day has got to have some health benefits, right?!

Q: Er, yeah. Right!

From the Hardcover edition.

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