Hiro materializes in his backless hospital gown, three years ago on the street outside the Burnt Toast Diner in Midland, Texas where the love of his life, Charlie Andrews works as a waitress. Stealing clothes off a clothesline, Hiro is caught by pint-sized sheriff, Pistol Petey. Hiro apologizes for stealing, explaining that destiny sent him to save the life of the woman he loves. Hiro tells Petey the whole story: boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy travels through time to save girl's life. But no matter how hard he's tried, the Brain Man always kills Charlie. This time however, things will be different!
Pistol Petey points out that good guys wear white hats like him; bad guys wear black hats, like Sylar, who makes his way into the diner, and sits in Charlie's section. Back at the Carnival, Samuel is upset. Time traveler Arnold is dying. Samuel needs Hiro to fix the past now. Lydia bares her back and Samuel conjures up a tattoo of Charlie. Samuel doesn't think the fact that Charlie is dead is a problem, but rather an opportunity. Lydia warns that there's much more, as tattoos of Sylar, Claire and H.R.G. pop up. Samuel realizes that he must travel back to the past, even if Arnold is killed transporting him there.
Hiro hides behind a newspaper spying on Charlie and Sylar, who chat. Charlie recognizes Sylar's watch, piquing his curiosity with the many facts she knows about it. Charlie explains that she's been remembering everything lately and has become her own personal wikipedia. When she recommends the Tahitian pancakes, Sylar asks if her genius memory is a result of the blood clot in her brain. He explains that he has the ability to see how things work and fix them if they're broken. Samuel appears to break Hiro out of his reverie and pull him outside for a talk.
H.R.G. meets with fellow agent Lauren Gilmore at the Burnt Toast Diner for breakfast. Sandra calls, warning H.R.G. that he better not miss Claire's homecoming game. H.R.G. wishes he could tell Sandra the truth -- that he's hunting a deranged serial killer to save Claire's life. Lauren can relate; she knows how hard it is to have to lie to family as part of the job. H.R.G. is happy to have a friend in Lauren -- no lies here, just pure empathy. Lauren thinks their twice weekly out-of-town breakfasts are more like flirting than friendship, and slides a motel key across the table. H.R.G.'s phone rings, calling them back to work.
Hiro demands to know what the Butterfly Man, a.k.a. Samuel is doing in Texas; Samuel asks Hiro the same question. Hiro explains that per Samuel's directive to right the wrongs of his life by stepping on a few butterflies, he's come to save Charlie's life. Samuel claims he's come to protect Hiro, ensuring that he realizes the magnitude of his endeavor. Everyone in the diner is on a specific path, and it's a minefield. One mistake and kablooey! History is screwed. It's an awful lot of trouble for Susie Flapjacks. Is she worth it?
Hiro is just promising Samuel that it is worth it when he realizes Sylar has disappeared. Hiro rushes to the back storeroom where Charlie is opening a giant can of fruit cocktail, just as Sylar raises his finger to take her life. Hiro stops time, duct tapes Sylar to a hand cart, then wheels him to the bus station to stash him in a luggage compartment under a bus. Now Sylar will go on his path, Peter will stop him and save the cheerleader. The future is back on track, and Charlie and Hiro will live happily ever after!
Hiro runs back to the diner, where time is still frozen, and hits a snag. If Charlie doesn't die, he won't go back in time to save her, and they'll never fall in love, i.e. history goes kablooey. Hiro snatches a photo of Charlie's birthday party off the wall, shocked to discover he's no longer in the picture. Hiro rushes into the bathroom to find the younger version of himself. Future Hiro tells Younger Hiro that he has to go back six months in time to preserve the space-time continuum. The fate of the world depends upon it!
At Primatech, Eden escorts H.R.G. to a room where Isaac Mendez and his paintings are being held. H.R.G. explains that Isaac has been painting his daughter Claire. He needs Isaac's help to find Sylar the serial killer, who's murdering people with abilities. The only problem? No one knows what Sylar looks like. H.R.G. breaks down, distraught over his need to protect Claire. Later, Lauren admits to eavesdropping on the conversation with Isaac. Promising that they'll nail Sylar, Lauren gives H.R.G. a deep kiss. When he breaks away, she apologizes and offers to "Haitian" H.R.G. The kiss however, is a memory H.R.G. doesn't want to forget...
Unfreezing time, Hiro exits the men's room with a headache. When Samuel asks if anything's wrong, Hiro offers the birthday photo as proof that he's fixed history. Samuel reminds Hiro to attend to details, so he runs over to talk to Ando, introducing himself as Future Hiro. Hiro explains that Ando's Hiro is six months in the past, but he'll be back soon. Ando should wait for him.
Overjoyed that his plan has worked, Hiro finds Charlie in the storeroom, and offers to take her on a trip right now, wherever she wants to go. Charlie decides she wants to go to Otsu, Japan, the home of Takezo Kensai. Suddenly, Charlie's brain gets stuck in a loop, and she starts spewing facts about Otsu. When she comes around, she realizes that her brain aneurysm is rupturing. Charlie's started dying.
Determined to save Charlie's life, Hiro runs back to the bus station, but Sylar is nowhere to be found, until he TKs Hiro up against a bus. Hiro freezes time, then reappears to talk to Sylar. Sylar told Charlie he could fix things, and Hiro needs him to fix Charlie. Despite his killer headache, Hiro plays a game of cat and mouse with Sylar, freezing and unfreezing time. Finally, Hiro offers to tell Sylar about his future if he promises to save Charlie's life.
Hiro returns to the diner with Sylar in tow, promising Charlie that he can fix her aneurysm. Charlie's reluctant; if it's her time, she's ready to go. Hiro takes her head in his hands, holding her still so Sylar can do his work, and distracting her by reciting Ryokan haikus. No matter what happens, they'll always have their love. Sylar slides the blood clot to Charlie's eye, which sheds a giant tear of blood -- Charlie is safe!
While participating in a pep rally at the bus station, Claire is surprised to see her dad across the street. He explains that he might miss homecoming tomorrow, so Claire foregoes a bite with the girls for a milkshake with dad. Claire can't believe H.R.G. loves selling paper, as he claims. What did he want to do with his life when he was in high school? H.R.G. admits that he wanted to teach Shakespeare to high school students, surprising Claire. She thinks H.R.G. should do what makes him happy. When Claire skips off to rejoin the cheerleaders, H.R.G. pulls Lauren's motel key out of his pocket.
Now that Charlie's safe and sound, Sylar wants Hiro to make good on his promise to foretell the future. Hiro reluctantly admits that Sylar will die alone. He'll collect a lot of powers, become the strongest of them all, but in the end, it won't make any difference. The other heroes will gather to stop Sylar, and no one will mourn his death. Hiro wishes things could be different, but now it's time to put Sylar back on his path. With a blink of his eyes, Hiro transports Sylar back to the alley by the bus station where the pep rally is underway. Sylar suffers a moment of fateful contemplation before heading out in search of his cheerleader.
Lauren is waiting anxiously in a room at the Midlands Motel when H.R.G. arrives. When H.R.G. explains that he can't do it, Lauren protests. This isn't a quickie at work -- they care about each other. Don't they deserve a chance at happiness? As much as H.R.G. lies to his family, he still loves them. One day he hopes to tell them the truth, and he doesn't want to destroy that possibility. Besides, he needs Lauren's help with Sylar and Claire. Lauren promises she'll always be there, and the couple head back to work.
As Charlie and Hiro exit the diner, Charlie admits that she has a knot in her gut, and Hiro put it there. She was okay with dying, but now living feels like cheating. Hiro tries to tell Charlie it's okay, but she doesn't think so. What about Sylar? He's going to kill a lot of people, and plenty more people die every day -- why does Charlie deserve to live? When Hiro explains that it's because he loves her, Charlie accuses Hiro of being selfish and leaves him standing miserably in the street.
Back at Primatech, H.R.G. is in the break room when Lauren comes in with an envelope for him that was left on her desk by mistake. When H.R.G. opens the envelope and takes out the motel key, Lauren asks if he's planning on staying there. It seems like she doesn't remember that she was just there. A note in the envelope explains: Lauren has had the Haitian wipe her romantic memories of H.R.G. -- it's better this way, and more professional.
Hiro sits at a bar, drowning his sorrows. Down the bar, H.R.G. wonders in Japanese whether they've met before. "Not yet," Hiro says, lamenting that he may have ruined his one chance at true love. H.R.G. can relate. Charlie appears to apologize for her behavior and thank Hiro for saving her life. She loves Hiro and wants them to live happily ever after, too. Charlie walks out of the bar first, but by the time Hiro reaches the street, she's gone, and Samuel is standing in her place.
Samuel admits that he's done something very bad; he had to steal Charlie, and now Hiro has to transport them back to the Carnival in the present. Surrounded by serious-looking carnies, Hiro demands that Samuel take him to Charlie. Spying Charlie's nametag on the ground, Hiro searches frantically, stumbling into a trailer where Arnold lays dead. Samuel explains that Arnold had a brain tumor just like Hiro. The last thing Samuel asked him to do was trap Charlie somewhere in time -- that's what killed Arnold.
Hiro accuses Samuel of murder and demands to see Charlie. Samuel knows if he reveals Charlie's location, he'll have no leverage. He respects Hiro as a man of honor, but needs his help to fix the past, or else all his good work at the Carnival will unravel. Samuel knows where Charlie is, and Hiro can save her, but only if he does exactly what Samuel asks. He made a mistake about eight weeks ago... Samuel flashes back to a scene in a fiery motel room, eight weeks ago, where Mohinder lies riddled with bullets -- dead!