Ability absorption is the ability to take the abilities of others and keep them as one's own.
- Arthur Petrelli has this ability naturally.
- Peter Petrelli has mimicked this ability in World 3, World 8 and World 11.
- Christopher Reist had this ability naturally before his daughter stole it.
- Daniel Vaughan-Reist-Greene has mimicked this ability from Reist.
- Belleze Crinamorte had a different variation of this ability.
- Lewis' father also has this ability.
- Joshua Evans has this ability naturally in World 1.
Arthur requires contact to absorb an ability. He gains the ability or abilities, but can usually control them, sometimes more skillfully than the original owner, and certain abilities seem to become dormant when absorbed, such as intuitive aptitude. There doesn't seem to be any way to prevent the absorption, except for possibly breaking the neccessary contact. The removed abilities are often displayed as white light, and his victim is usually shown to be physically weakened by the process. The abilities taken do not return naturally, but they can be replaced or made to return. In World 8, he has been shown capable of removing certain abilities while leaving others.
Peter has absorbed this ability from his father in World 3, World 8 and World 11, but is unaware that he has it in World 3. In most of these he is unlikely to use it, unless circumstances arise when he'd want to remove an ability from another. However, he used it once in World 8, to remove all of his father's abilities.
Reist had similar limits to Arthur, but with his ability there was less light displayed. It has been shown that a stolen ability can be partially healed, but only years after it was removed. If an attempt to heal an ability was made shortly after it was removed, the body would reflexively undo the healing since it was still learning to cope with the ability's removal. Reist lost this ability shortly before his death.
Daniel has never used this ability, but ought to have the same limits as his father.
Belleze had a different variation of the ability. He needed to bite an individual multiple times over several years in order to steal their ability, and he could also remove aspects of an ability before taking the whole ability. He stole the precognitive aspect of his sister Ariana's time sensing and is also known to have stolen mental deception from an unknown vampire. The stolen abilities were regained upon his death.
Lewis's father takes abilities in a similar manner to Arthur or Reist, but with him the abilities do not always remain lost. He stated that he could overcome this limitation if he killed the individual and stole it from their brain. He also seemed to struggle somehow to take his son Lewis' abilities.
Joshua has similar limits to Arthur or Reist, though in his case it seems the abilities are more apt to be made to return. It is known that he's taken abilities from his brother and sister.
- Aura absorption takes another's abilities, energy and life
- Life-force absorption can be used to take another's abilities
- Draining can take abilities, along with energy and life
- Absorption can take abilities
- Vulnerability linked power absorption can take abilities from others in certain circumstances.
- Ability negativity can also take abilities