?

Log in

 
 
30 November 2007 @ 02:06 pm
[fanfic] Thirty First Kisses, Kiss #17 (PG-13)  
Title: Thirty First Kisses, Kiss #17
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG-13 for open discussion of sexual orientation, a few should-fly-over-the-kiddies'-heads adult innuendos, and possibly some language
Summary: Mohinder's thoughts are a little too complicated for Matt's simple mind.

This is the 17th of 30 possible ways Matt and Mohinder could share their first kiss, written for the 30_kisses challenge. The theme was "KHz/kilohertz." Previous kisses are here.


Mohinder was not fond of Cheerios. But it was all Matt ever brought home when he did the shopping. So it was breakfast time for the adults, because Molly was watching Saturday morning cartoons and had helped herself to breakfast earlier in the morning, when they were still sleeping. They'd only lived together three months, but she had already pretty much dictated the morning routine for all three of them.

Along with the Cheerios, Matt had bought a little radio. Yet another surprising fact about Molly's hero: he listened to classical music. He didn't know much about it, couldn't tell the romantics from the baroques, but he needed it, he said. It helped his brain make sense of things.

Unfortunately, there would be no classical music today. He was turning the knob, but all that was coming forth from the thing was static. "Damn it!" he said, a fist on the counter. "Every radio I ever buy goes on the fritz. It's meshugah."

That's when a singular idea occurred to Mohinder. "Maybe it's feedback," he said, closing his mouth around another repugnant spoonful of Cheerios.

"Huh?" Matt looked at him with his signature Can you speak in English before 10 A.M. on a Saturday please? squint.

"Maybe that's why you read minds," Mohinder said, downing another gulp of tea. "Maybe you are a radio. Maybe you have a sensitivity to low-frequency waves."

"I thought you were a geneticist, not a cable guy," Matt muttered. The toast popped and he pulled the slices out and onto a plate, wincing at the heat and blowing on his fingers.

Mohinder raised his spoon as though it were a teacher's pointer. "You have to have a very broad knowledge base to go into a science still as close to its infancy as genetics is. You never know just what might end up relevant."

Matt slid into his seat with a grin. "You ass, you're just bragging."

"No, actually, it's an interesting idea. What if the human mind were able to process all the electromagnetic waves it encountered every day? It would be like radio inside one's mind all the time, on every channel."

"Sounds about right." Matt chomped on his toast and took a huge swig of coffee.

"We know, as well..." The cereal got in the way, and Mohinder had to pause to swallow. "Ahem. We know that the increased prevalence of electromagnetic waves, from cell phones, wireless Internet, satellite television, et cetera, has had an effect on human brains. There's evidence, for example, of an increased incidence of brain cancer."

"That's depressing." Matt's look led Mohinder to think he'd finally realized just how bad black coffee tasted.

"A lot of things are, when you look at them closely."

"Good point."

"But what I'm saying is, perhaps you have developed some ability to process low-frequency electromagnetic waves."

Matt tried to look up at his own forehead for a moment, or so it looked to Mohinder, who stifled a laugh at the absurd expression. "But I don't get everything. I have to concentrate. In the beginning it was different, but now I can pretty much control who I read and who I don't."

"You've learned to tune the radio."

"That's another thing." Matt jabbed a half-piece of toast in Mohinder's direction. "I don't get radio stations or anything. I've even tried," he added sheepishly. "I get thoughts, and that's it."

"They're probably out of your range." Mohinder had an answer for everything, Matt noted to himself with a grimace. "They're in the kilohertz and megahertz range, whereas brain waves are only a few hertz."

Matt shrugged. "Except for you. You think in kilohertz for sure."

"I told you not to read my mind," Mohinder frowned.

"I don't, but it's obvious you think a thousand times faster than everyone around you. Besides, why would I read your mind? I've tried before, and it mega-hurts."

Mohinder stopped in the middle of a breath, pointed his spoon at Matt, opened his mouth, and then just shook his head. "That was terrible," he groaned.

"Could be worse. It could killer-hurts."

Mohinder adjusted his stance in his chair, leaned forward, frowned. "Perhaps you should consider genetic therapy so you don't pass on that particular strain of so-called humor to your offspring?"

This was the wrong thing to say. The ink on the divorce agreement was barely dry. "Not likely now, is it," Matt muttered.

"I'm sorry. But don't say that. You'll find someone."

"I know." The mood in the sunny kitchen was dark all of a sudden. "But even so. With all of this... I mean, what if I pass on the mind-reading thing? I'm not sure I want..." He made a visible attempt to brighten. "Besides. I've got Molly. She's as much my kid as anyone at this point."

"Well, you'd be a huge asset to the gay community," Mohinder cracked. "Should I see about getting you an engraved invitation?"

"You know, I really wish you wouldn't joke about that stuff."

"Ugh." Mohinder rolled his eyes. "American men and their penetration anxiety."

"That's not what I'm talking about!" Matt threw his chair back, rose to his feet.

"All right, Matt, sit down, it was just a joke. I'm sorry."

Matt wasn't yet awake enough to stay angry. "Yeah, OK." He dumped himself unceremoniously back into the chair. "What were we talking about?"

"Your power." Mohinder pondered the significance of the shape of Cheerios, but chose not to vocalize it. "And brain waves, and radios, and such."

"Right. Reminds me of Hana."

"Who?"

Matt waved his hand dismissively. "You never met her. Never mind."

An eyebrow arched over olive skin. "An old love?"

"Wait. What?" Matt repeated his signature squint, then frowned. "I really wish you wouldn't do that."

"Do what?"

"Constantly make cracks about my love life, or orientation, or whatever. You're always doing it."

Mohinder sighed and pushed away his bowl, folding his arms over his chest. "I'm sorry. I am being a little passive-agressive, I suppose." He lowered his voice, although the cartoons were plenty loud in the other room. "It's just, Matt, I came out to you three weeks ago and you haven't said a word about it since. That is, you told me nothing is going to change and that it doesn't bother you, but you must be thinking something. I wish you'd just be honest about it."

Matt's round face was red. "Oh," he said after a long breath. He rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Look, it's not you, OK? You just told me at... at a weird time for me. You know, everything's falling down all around me, I've lost my job, I've lost my wife, and I'm sort of... at a loss, you know? And then you're all 'You should probably know' and I'm thinking fine, whatever, I'm not really that concerned with you right now. No offense."

"I see." Mohinder was suitably chastened. "I'll add selfish to passive-aggressive, then. My apologies." But he looked gloomy as he got up, scooping up his cup and bowl as he moved toward the sink.

Watching him go, Matt felt a swell of regret. He stood, following Mohinder to the sink. "Hey," he said hesitantly, "look, I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Mohinder said dismissively. "You don't owe me anything."

"Yeah, except a place to live."

"You pay for that, though." There was a sort of dark tone to Mohinder's voice Matt couldn't identify. He'd pledged no mind-reading when he moved in, but it was tempting now. With a clatter of dishes, Mohinder turned to face him. "In the end, I'm just a roommate, Matt. I'm not your friend, and you don't owe me anything."

"Hey, look." Matt grabbed him loosely by the elbows. "I don't think that way, OK? You are a friend. You were the moment you offered me a place to stay. I'm the one who hasn't been a very good friend. I'm sorry."

Mohinder smiled weakly. "It's fine." He left the kitchen, and Matt watched him walk into the living room, ask Molly what she was watching, put the whole conversation behind him. Matt was half-glad; another part of him, though, felt an opportunity may have been lost.




The truth was, the day Mohinder came out to Matt wasn't the first time Matt had wondered about his sexuality. Actually, his guess had been that Mohinder was asexual. He'd never mentioned a wife or girlfriend, never shown the slightest bit of interest in anything that wasn't on his microscope slides. Except for Molly, of course, but you'd have to be dead not to adore her. She was just that sort of special presence. So it was more out of sympathy that Mohinder offered him a room, Matt figured-- one sailor who'd been drawn in by her song, offering his harbor to a similarly hopeless soul so neither would have to live without her.

Yes, it was obvious to Matt at first that Mohinder was married to his work. He knew the type. Audrey had been one. That's probably why he felt so comfortable working with her; she seemed too businesslike to ever make a move. Upon this thought, though, Matt was sucked into a frenzy of introspection. Why would he assume, just because Audrey was female, that she might hit on him? Had he become that distrusting of women since Janice's betrayal? Was he being completely chauvinist or egomaniacal to think he was worth being hit on? It practically took pliers to pry Matt's eyes out of his navel, he had been gazing at it with such enthusiasm.

Besides, someone who looked like Mohinder had to be single by choice.

What? Matt had eyes in his head. He was allowed to make an observation. He could say the same thing about either member of Brangelina and nobody would blink an eye. What's so wrong with saying it about someone else?

(So maybe he thought the same thing about Thompson back in L.A. A man can meet more than one handsome man in his life.)

But then Mohinder had to go and you-should-probably-know-that-I'm-gay at him. And Matt was a cop in L.A., sure, so he knew from tolerance, but really he was a suburban cop, and that stuff wasn't talked about on his beat. Or during his childhood. He remembered Janice being absolutely steamed at him when he made an offhand comment at a law firm Christmas party about someone being limp in the wrist. She'd been to school at Georgetown; she'd learned something about how to behave in mixed-orientation company. He was just a blue-collar boy. Well, that was his excuse, anyway. It didn't fly with her, as he recalled.

But Mohinder was probably the first person he'd considered a friend who was gay. Matt figured that was probably why he'd noticed. He'd had the same reaction to her he'd had to Audrey: Someone's interested in people like you, and you automatically think that person might be interested in you. It was damned stupid.

And it was an automatic reaction, too, that he drew his hand back when Mohinder's hand touched his during one conversation about Molly and her condition. And that he thought he could feel the impression of that contact on his fingers for hours afterward. And that he sort of felt his throat seize up sometimes when he came home and saw Mohinder asleep on the couch, surrounded by notebooks and loose paper.

It was nothing but collegial admiration, the same he'd had for Dave. Dave was the captain of the wrestling team in high school, and he had just the most amazing grin and when he was on the mat you paid attention, damn it, because there was nothing in your field of vision that even compared with him. But at that point and in that school you were whispered about just for being on the wrestling team, so Matt wasn't sure his experience was a universal one. He'd never talked to anyone about it. Or about the dreams he used to have about him. Those were some pretty uncomfortable dreams.

But maybe, he began to think, Mohinder could give him a frame of reference. Tell him why that had all been perfectly normal. Same with Thompson. Same, for that matter, with Professor Metzger at the community college he'd tired of after a year. His Israeli accent had made the lecture incomprehensible but nonetheless fascinating, and he had the strangest little gestures that Matt used to follow with eager eyes.

He had been trying to get up the nerve to ask about it, but then he'd had a dream about Mohinder.

Yeah, one of those uncomfortable dreams.




Somehow Mohinder got the radio working later that day, and Matt's proximity didn't seem to break it. So Sunday morning there was classical music and coffee brewing and, to Matt's sleepy surprise, a box of muffins on the table.

"M-morning," Matt yawned, reaching his arms high above his head and hearing his back pop uncomfortably. "What's all this?"

Mohinder had pulled a chair up to the counter and was gazing out the window with a teacup in hand. "I was up early, Molly and I decided we'd had just about enough of Cheerios to last us a lifetime, so we took a trip down to Levin's. I may have let her have a chocolate chip muffin," he admitted with a guilty grin.

"Works for me," Matt said, snagging a blueberry one from the box. "Where is she?"

"We ran into the Gellers on the way back. She wanted to walk their dog with them. It's just around the block, so I said OK."

"Right, that's what's-her-name, Sugar?"

"Honey."

"Too sweet either way." Matt chomped at the muffin and went for the coffee. "So what's this about not liking Cheerios? You could tell a guy."

Mohinder smiled devilishly, his lips hovering just above the rim of the teacup. "Matt, I expect men to be able to read my mind even when they're not psychics. It's a bad habit, I know. It's cost me a boyfriend or two in my time."

The coffee was dark and inviting as it swirled into the cup and Matt wanted to jump in after it and hide from that smile and those implications. "Can't you wait for a man to have some coffee before you start in with that?" he grumbled.

He got the expected roll of the eyes. "That's another problem with me. I can never wait. Explains a lot, doesn't it?"

Matt had no idea what he was talking about but wasn't sure he really wanted to know. He continued to watch Mohinder's lips. They were still curved up slightly and somehow hypnotizing.

Mohinder's eyes darted toward him like a pair of black dragonflies. "What?"

"Nothing, sorry," Matt mumbled, looking down. What was it he'd been looking at, anyway?

A long silence hung in the kitchen, too long and too silent for a Sunday morning. That's right, Matt realized, Molly wasn't here. This was a rare bird, a chance for an adult conversation that wasn't carried on in whispers. "Mohinder," he said awkwardly, "can I ask you a personal question?"

Mohinder cocked his head to the side. The mane of curls bounced. Matt wondered idly what they felt like.

"It depends on the question," he said, "but go ahead."

"How old were you? When you found out."

"Found out what?"

"You know. What you are."

Mohinder scowled. "What I am? Matt, I think I know what you're talking about, but I don't define myself by my orientation any more than you do by your ability."

"What?" Matt's skin was prickling, his defenses flying up. "The answer is I am gay, so the question is What are you!"

"I'm a lot of things," Mohinder answered hotly. "I am a geneticist, I am a citizen of India, I am a Ph.D., I am quite angry with you right at the moment. But none of those things answer the question you asked me."

"Sorry." Matt ate the rest of the muffin in one bite and gulped it down uncomfortably. "You didn't have to go all afterschool-special on me. I get it."

"Good," Mohinder snapped. There was a moment or two of silence. Matt could hear the edges of thoughts whispering around Mohinder's brain, but he dared not probe it any harder. He'd made a promise, after all.

"Hey, so, um...." he started, trying to push himself out from under the sheet of ice that had settled over the kitchen. "So what you were saying yesterday, about frequencies?"

Mohinder nodded wordlessly. He seemed to be concentrating very hard on his tea.

"Um, is there any way to test that? I mean, I think it'd be kind of interesting to find out. How I work, that is."

"Not without a staff and a great deal of equipment, none of which I have," Mohinder answered shortly. "Unless you want me to apply for a research grant, which would involve revealing your talent, which I assume you do not want me to do. So no, there is no way to test it."

"Oh, well." Matt ran the water over his empty coffee cup. The place was so quiet without Molly giggling at her cartoons or Mohinder running off at the mouth about some project or other. And it was his fault. "Look, I'm really sorry, OK? Bad choice of words. It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last, but I will try to learn from it. That's all I can promise, OK? I will try not to be a gigantic ass."

"High school," said Mohinder quietly.

"Huh?"

"I figured it out in high school." Mohinder wandered to the kitchen table, chose a bran muffin, and proceeded to pick the raisins off the surface and pop them in his mouth one by one. "I grew up on a university campus in London, and the subculture at the time wasn't so terribly sub. You couldn't look anywhere without seeing all your options. It wasn't a very big leap for me to figure out which appealed to me."

"Wow," Matt said. "That's completely different. I can't even imagine."

"Conservative community, then?"

"Sort of. At least where that sort of thing was concerned."

"I was surprised, upon coming here, to hear how many others had similar upbringings," Mohinder noted, now dissecting the muffin in search of more raisins. "I never heard so many stories of denial."

Matt kind of wanted to ask just how many stories Mohinder had heard, and in what context. Instead, he said, "You know, next time you could just buy a box of raisins."

Mohinder looked down at the remains of the muffin and laughed. "Oh well. Yet another one of..."

"...your bad habits, I'm sure." Matt poured himself another cup of coffee. "Wonder what's taking Molly so long."

"She's probably out catching fleas," Mohinder smiled. Finally, that ease of conversation had returned, and Matt let a sigh of relief escape him. He made a mental note to take better care of his relationship with this man. Mohinder deserved more respect than Matt gave him; besides, when he was mad, the world was freezing cold.




Wednesday night at midnight, they met unexpectedly in the laundry room in the basement of the building. Each was carrying a bedsheet.

"Don't you dare read my mind," Mohinder stuttered, and he about-faced, making for the staircase.

"Couldn't if I tried," Matt shouted after him. "You're way too smart for me. You think in kilohertz. Too much for my dumbass brain."

By the time he thought to wonder why Mohinder had said that, the scientist was long gone.




Friday Matt was working the late shift. So after dropping Molly off at school, he went to the store and bought some Raisin Bran. Mohinder was much happier, though he still picked out the raisins when he tired of stomaching the bran part.

Matt had been thinking about this. So hard he swore his brain was ready to boil over. He wanted Mohinder in a good mood-- he did not want to touch him off again. So he waited until Mohinder had some tea and cereal in him, then sauntered to the table with his coffee and toast.

"I was, uh, hoping to talk to you a bit," Matt said, uncomfortable, leaning forward in his seat. "Get your advice on something."

"Sure," Mohinder said easily. "What is it?"

"Well-- the first thing I want to do is apologize," Matt stammered. "Because I didn't say anything for three weeks and now I'm being a noodge."

"Oh." Mohinder's eyebrows lifted briefly. "That conversation."

"That...?"

"I've had it before." He waved a hand dismissively at Matt. "Let's get it over with."

"You've... damn it, I can't do anything without ticking you off, can I? I really need your help here, and you're the only person I can talk to about it!"

"I know, I know," Mohinder said wearily. "Go on."

Matt got up, wandered to the radio, turned it on. It was staticky again. "Jeez, maybe I am interfering with this thing," he muttered, clicking it off again. Still facing the counter, he gripped the surface and forced himself to talk.

"How does a guy who's-- in denial-- figure it out? I mean, someone who's never really thought about that possibility?"

Mohinder's answer was almost practiced, coming without hesitation and sounding almost bored. "The same way you figure out you're interested in a woman." Flecks of hurt and annoyance flung themselves outward from his mind to Matt's, but Matt stuck to his promise and refused to follow them to their source.

"But what if you feel totally different around some guys than you ever felt about a woman? That is, what if you think that women are pretty, and you have a good time with them and you can even sleep with them, but then there are some guys you're around and it's like the whole world goes away and you can't breathe? Is that normal? Oh shit, that's the wrong word, I don't mean it's not normal... but..."

Mohinder was silent. Matt glanced back and instantly regretted it; the other man was staring at him open-mouthed with shock in his eyes. "Matt, are you talking about someone in particular that you felt you were attracted to?"

"I never said me!" Matt snapped.

Mohinder sighed. "I have had this conversation before, Matt."

Matt came over to the table, sat down heavily, looked at his big, clumsy hands. "Just... a few people," he admitted. "A guy or two in highschool, a professor in college, a few guys at work. And... um..."

He looked up to see sad eyes. "Don't," said Mohinder. "I know."

"You know?"

"It happens every so often when you come out to someone," Mohinder said. "Especially someone who's not... who's vulnerable, let's say. I've had a lot of straight men confuse coming out with coming on to them. And when you start thinking someone is interested, you start wondering if you're interested back. It's flattering, Matt, but it's not real." He gave Matt a wistful smile that made his heart hurt.

"How do you know it's not real?" Matt asked, the question coming out flat and not at all challenging.

"Because when I gave in and allowed them to use me to experiment with their sexuality, it never ended well. I lost a few very good friends who couldn't look me in the eye after they realized what they'd done. I will not go there anymore."

"Ouch." Matt winced. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to..."

"I know."

"So there's no way I could--"

"People don't come out of the closet in a day, Matt," Mohinder snapped. "It takes years sometimes. And their first relationship is never their happily-ever-after. If you did decide you were interested in me, and I were to get into a relationship with you right off the bat, it wouldn't last, and then we'd be in a hell of a situation here in this apartment. I won't have that." His eyes were starting to line with the red glaze that promised tears to come, and Matt was too rattled to say anything further, much less mention to Mohinder that his feelings for him had started long before Mohinder had come out.




Saturday morning Matt lay in bed and stared at the ceiling. He was replaying the conversation in his head. He should have avoided telling Mohinder everything. He should have stuck to stories about Dave and Metzger and Thompson. He should have kept it in the past.

But he didn't understand. Mohinder seemed to be several steps ahead of him in the conversation. He was answering questions that hadn't been asked yet. If Matt decided he was gay. If he was interested in Mohinder. If Mohinder was interested too. If they got together. If something went horribly wrong.

It was just like he'd theorized, really. Mohinder was busy thinking in kilohertz, and Matt was trying to read him, and he was getting nothing but garbled static like a radio that wouldn't tune. He just couldn't think on that level. For him, it seemed simple: He'd never before thought that what he felt could be attraction. But now that the possibility was there, it seemed increasingly likely.

Just for kicks, he thought back to Thompson. What would he have thought if it had occurred to him to try to kiss Thompson? To pull that hard, athletic body toward his and put his hands in the tangle of golden hair that always seemed so shiny? To run his fingers down the chest that always seemed just too perfect to be real? To touch another man the way he...

He sat up straight and thought about baseball statistics for three whole minutes.

Then he thought about kissing Mohinder and had to do another five minutes' worth.

Matt Parkman, he said to himself, you big jackass, you're a gay man. How could you have taken this long to figure this out?




When Mohinder left his room late Monday morning and saw the huge bowl of raisins on the table along with the muffin box, he rolled his eyes and nearly went straight back to bed. The smell of the tea was just a little too inviting to resist, though. "Must you do this first thing in the morning?"

"You sound like me," Matt said dryly. He'd taken a chocolate chip muffin.

"I thought those things were too sweet for you."

"Maybe I'm just a sweeter guy than you thought." He gave a wicked grin to Mohinder, who harrumphed uncomfortably and sat.

"So what is it now?" he asked, taking a huge spoonful of raisins and a corn muffin.

"It's thank you," Matt said, making Mohinder's always-expressive eyebrows do another seventh-inning stretch. "For helping me figure myself out. I'm sorry you had to have that conversation again, but I think you may have saved my life with it."

"Ah, I see," said Mohinder, though his eyes and lips were both wavering with a sort of suppressed sadness. "Glad you got things straight."

"In a manner of speaking."

Mohinder shook his head. "That sort of pun gets old."

"I guess I'll find out."

Dark eyes snapped up to his. "What?"

"You know, how the orientation puns get old after a while. I've never been on the other side of it before."

Mohinder got up. His teacup spilled brown liquid onto the tablecloth. "Don't," he said. "I told you not to do this."

"To do what?" Matt's voice flew to a shout. "Figure out what I am?"

"And that's why I know it's not true!" Mohinder shouted back. "It's not what you are."

"But it's part of it," Matt insisted. "You're right, man, I'm a lot of things. I'm a cop, I'm a psychic of sorts, I'm a big ugly Jewish guy, I'm the father of a little girl who's thankfully safe at school and not watching us argue, and I'm gay!" He was shocked a little at how easy the phrase came out of his mouth. "Wouldn't it be stupid to leave that out?"

"Not if it's not true," Mohinder said, biting his lip. "And maybe you can't tell the difference, Matt, but I know these things. I know what you think you're feeling is a fake, and I know that what you want won't work out."

"You know, you know, you know! That's all you said last time we talked about this, was 'you know'! Maybe you don't know, Mohinder. Maybe just this one time, you are wrong. Maybe this is my happily-ever-after. Maybe I don't like you because I think I'm gay, all right? Maybe I think I'm gay because I like you." His voice softened. "Maybe I've liked you for a long time, but it's just now that I've found a name for that feeling. And it's thanks to you that for the first time in my life I really know what it feels like to fall in love."

Mohinder turned to face the wall stubbornly. Matt waited for some motion, something, but it was like a tomb in the kitchen.

"Why won't you say anything?" he asked finally.

No response. Matt felt anger tightening in his chest like a big red fist.

"Do not make me break a promise to you," he said slowly, "but I swear I will read your mind if you don't talk to me."

At this Mohinder spoke, his back still turned. "Don't. Please."

"I don't want to, but I will. I don't know any other way to figure out what you're thinking."

"I can't afford to hear this. I can't afford to have this conversation."

"Why?"

He approached him, put a hand on his shoulder, turned him around. "Mohinder, why?"

His voice broke. "Because it means I will lose you eventually and because that will break my heart!"

There was a long silence. Mohinder's eyes were overflowing with tears. Matt stared at him, dumbstruck.

Then, just very quietly, he said, "But what if you don't?"

"I will." Mohinder was already across the room, wiping his eyes on a paper towel.

"But what if you don't?" Matt repeated insistently. "I mean, that's the same with all relationships, isn't it? You go into it knowing you might get burned."

In answer, Mohinder turned on the radio. Static garbled the sound of violins. "You can't even make this thing work," Mohinder said quietly. "What makes you think you can jump into your first homosexual relationship and it's going to be perfect? It's going to hurt you, too. No matter who it is, it's going to be confusing and you're going to get hurt."

"Then I want it to be you," Matt said into his ear. Strong hands pulled him around and Mohinder was suddenly staring into a face that was very, very close. "I can't imagine being confused and hurt by anyone else." He leaned in.

"Don't," begged Mohinder, putting his hands up to shield his mouth. "You do this and we can't go back."

Matt grabbed both his wrists, forced his arms down. "You didn't tell me you don't want it," he demanded. "Why?"

The gaze faltered. "You know why."

"I want to hear you say it."

"I can't. Read my mind if you need to hear it."

"You're giving me permission?"

A sigh. "I don't have any other choice. You want to know why."

So Matt did.

Because I want it... because I want you... because I love you and I shouldn't...

"You're an idiot, Mohinder."

Matt had straightened up. Blindsided, Mohinder stumbled, nearly falling on the kitchen floor. "W-what?"

"Let me get this straight. We both fall madly in love with a child who can't live without either one of us. You help me figure out that I'm gay after a lifetime of denial. We're attracted to each other and we are living together and we have a beautiful child and you shouldn't love me? That's idiotic."

Mohinder stared. It was all he could do. It sounded so simple and fairy-tale when Matt said it, but nothing had ever been simple and fairy-tale in his life...

"Maybe that's why it never lasted."

"What?"

"Maybe the right one is supposed to be simple and fairy-tale. Maybe you just haven't found it yet." Matt tapped his forehead, prompting a gasp of exasperation from Mohinder. "Hey, you never told me to stop reading your mind. Although if you keep thinking in kilohertz I might have to, because your thoughts are so complex they give me a headache."

Despite himself, Mohinder snickered. "But I'm afraid of thinking simply. Because it 'hertz.' "

The gentle laugh that escaped Matt's lips was like a song to Mohinder. "I think the humor may not be genetic after all, doc. We should test our drinking water."

"Damn, that means Molly's infected too." Mohinder's heart was still pounding wildly. Desperately he tried to tamp things back down to humor. "I guess I know what vaccine I'm working on next--"

And then he couldn't be funny any more because Matt had grabbed him by the shoulders and his mouth was on his. Mohinder's eyes fluttered closed; it was too much sensation to take in at once, with the chocolate-laced sweetness of the man's lips and the sort of gingery scent of him and the arms holding him close and the unmistakable sensation that his dreams were coming true. His hands reached out to cup Matt's face, run his fingers through his hair. It felt good. It felt right.

Their lips parted and Matt said huskily, "See? You can think simply once in a while."

Mohinder nodded mutely. He wanted to believe in this. He needed to. For once in his life, he needed to believe in something he couldn't foresee or estimate or hypothesize the consequences of. The good news was, he thought to himself as he pulled Matt's face down to his again, if he was going to free fall like this, this was the man he'd trust to catch him.

He was broken now. He was done fighting his love for this man. Besides, the static on the radio had finally given way to glorious symphony. Perhaps, once in a while, things really did fall into place.

:end:

Notes: I thought a lot about what kind of notes I wanted to give this chapter. I basically want to say that this is somewhat a romanticization and extension of a conversation I had with a friend of mine a long time ago, so while the sentiments and the experience might not be universal (and the outcome was very different), it is meant to be a slightly more realistic take on how this relationship might start. Note "slightly more" realistic, not objectively realistic, so ... it is still kind of WAFFy. I hope this doesn't strike anyone as hopelessly inauthentic to the point of being unreadable, and I don't want to characterize the coming-out process as something that is done painlessly. I've seen how painful it can be. But this is still slash, right? So I'm allowed some poetic/romantic license? I dunno, your thoughts are appreciated.

 
 
 
JLB: intermissionbaehj2915 on November 30th, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
First of all, on your notes at the end, the entire time I was thinking about the realism and how it was very different than most of your fics. And no, it is totally real-like, with a little bit of WAFF in tact of course.

The level of giddiness or angst wasn't as high in this as in other fics, but I think that's what made this more realistic and refreshing to read.

Loved it a lot!

Second of all, as a side note, Metzger? Metzger as an Isreali professor? I thought he was an aryan... :D

~love from WI
JLB
Tiptoe39: huhtiptoe39 on November 30th, 2007 07:51 pm (UTC)
Hm, that's funny i couldn't think of an israeli surname so i used the name of the one hebrew teacher i had who was obviously an israeli native... who knew? i didn't want to use Shalom or something really dorky like that. Maybe I will change it to Ben-Gideon which is my sister's last name mahahah no, that's too weird....

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
A showdown between a cowboy and a volcano: Hiro- bends time and spaceepiclevelregina on November 30th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
I don't think this story was inauthentic at all. Maybe a little stylized, but in a thoughtful way. It reads like a quality romantic film (ie As Good As It Gets), where the characters are being very eloquent for speaking off-the-cuff, but it's in a way that better communicates the complex emotional relationship.

That being said... YIDDISH!PARKMAN OMG AWWW!!!
Tiptoe39: matt mind meldtiptoe39 on November 30th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
hee hee, i couldn't help it, he started getting all jewwy on me.
Dee: Mohinder/Parkman00smut on November 30th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
"I don't, but it's obvious you think a thousand times faster than everyone around you. Besides, why would I read your mind? I've tried before, and it mega-hurts."

*cheers* I adore bad jokes.

This was real, sweet and awkward... all the better. Thank you for sharing this!
Tiptoe39: animalstiptoe39 on November 30th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
I lie, you know... it IS genetic. I know cause my dad's jokes are even worse than mine, and his dad's jokes are even worse than his. :D
crystal_mkcrystal_mk on November 30th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
Very sweet. Mohinder in love with Matt is so lovely and I love how Matt's sure when Mohinder isn't.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on November 30th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC)
Yay, thank you.
Ttriedunture on November 30th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
Oh! Oh! Oh my! This wasn't inauthentic or, or, or offensive to anyone who's been through The Process. I think there's so many amalgamations of The Process that you truly have to see when someone's describing it without prejudice, and this is it. Oh, broke my heart.

IMO, pretty darn realistic.
Tiptoe39: saitiptoe39 on November 30th, 2007 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. That means so much to me. I am really glad to hear it.

True confessions time: I was the person Mohinder was afraid Matt was becoming at one point in my life; a friend of mine came out, I was lonely, and I projected that loneliness onto her. Our friendship survived, thank God, mostly due to her maturity about the situation. But that's where the story comes from. Incidentally, now that she has been a bridesmaid at my wedding (to the wonderful hedgehog39), I get to be a bridesmaid at hers! (thank you, massachusetts!)

Edited at 2007-11-30 09:39 pm (UTC)
The Soul says: - triedunture on November 30th, 2007 09:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on November 30th, 2007 09:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: cmere youtiptoe39 on November 30th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC)
Awww, i love the rambly. And the icon but you know that already as i have already told you so eeevvvery time you post with it. Thank you for such wonderful feedback!!!
imeru on November 30th, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC)
I've been waiting for this fic ever since the 16th kiss came out, and now that you've post it I can't read it, as my roommate suddenly decided to become the noisiest person on planet Earth and I need to be focused on the subject to enjoy one of your wonderful works, as I totally LOVE them. I wanted you to know that I'm also translating them (in Italian, as I'm Italian of course), and trying to spread your genius among my friends who love Heroes obviously less than me, and obviously adding your name to every translation I complete. Sorry if I didn't comment the work itself, but I want it to be read in a proper way, and this is definitely not the best time. *ç_ç*
Tiptoe39: shuichitiptoe39 on November 30th, 2007 11:44 pm (UTC)
You've been *translating* them?!?!?

Oh my god, that is the coolest thing EVER!! YAY! I'm an International Superstar! :pfffttt: I hope they are enjoying them. :lols: you have made my night, seriously.
The Soul says: - imeru on December 1st, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 12:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
thebackwardnilethebackwardnile on December 1st, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
Really good, I like it. It was a lot of akward moments which I usually makes me feel uncomftrabel (I'm freaky like that I leave the room when somebody is emberassing themself in a tv serie or a movie) but I read trough this whitout any mayor issues whit that (Yes this is a compliment).
I really liked the breakfast food things that was cute.
And the idea about Matt's abilitys being a radio was intersting and funny, and it was slightly amusing when Mohinder compared it to brain cancer, (thought in ah morbid way I guess cause cancer shouldn't be considered amusing, I'm not making any sence now am I?)

Anyway this was my atempt on a reviwe thingy, hope it wasn't to crappy.
Tiptoe39: saitiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 12:45 am (UTC)
I totally know that feeling of feeling embarrased when someone on a TV screen is being humiliated. It's awful in movies where they have what i like to call "painful humor." Like "Meet the Parents" or movies like that where it's just a good guy meeting bad circumstances and ending up looking like an idiot.

About the cancer, like Mohinder says, a lot of things get depressing if you look at them too closely. But you have to pull back a little bit and be able to laugh. So I think it's fine.

Finally, don't ever be afraid to review things. Reviews are what make writers want to write more. I want every person who reads my stories feel this: "When YOU are reading a story of mine, you are the person I'm writing for, you and no one else. So nobody's opinion is nearly as important as yours."

Your reviews don't get reviewed, you know! It's just a chance for you to say what you think and it's always appreciated! :hugs:

the girl in your icon is cute. is she from naruto?
The Soul says: - thebackwardnile on December 1st, 2007 01:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
ilsaluvsrickilsaluvsrick on December 1st, 2007 12:56 am (UTC)
This was way more realistic and tense and complex than any of your past kisses and I really enjoyed the change in tones.

Mohinder's fear and anxiety over being Matt's experiment hurt so much especially since I've seen the exact same thing happen with a dear friend(who sadly did not have it all end as happily ever after as our boys.)

And Matt's slow realization after all that time denying and trying to convince himself that everything he felt was 'normal', again so painfully real.

Fabulous.
Tiptoe39: wonderful lifetiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
Thanks! I have been influenced kind of by some of the "softer"/"calmer" fic out there like what out_there writes, and thinking I couldn't do subtle. Of course in the end I succumbed to bombastic again but for a while it was kinda subtle, I guess...

Yes, a similar thing happened to me (read upthread for the sordid story) and I thought I could draw on that a little but give it a happier ending.

So glad you liked.

I am answering your classic movies icon with one of my own.
carma_babycarma_baby on December 1st, 2007 12:57 am (UTC)
Wow. I just want you to know that...this was not inaccurate at all. Maybe inaccurate is the wrong word. It is very true to life. I had a similar experience to this where I was Matt, and it ended up relatively close to this. That relationship was one of the most influential experiences of my life. We dated just over three years... {Realizes might be going into too much detail. Oops.}

Just wanted to say that, you are amazing in that you are able to get the hesitancy, the insecurity, the joy of knowing how you feel.

And Mohinder yelling at Matt when they meet in the laundry room. Classic! {Wonders if maybe they had somehow shared the same dream...}

Anyways, thank you so much for sharing another gem! I can't wait for the next one!
Tiptoe39: idealistictiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Any review that starts with Wow fills me with the happy.

I had a similar experience too with a different ending. I'm really astonished as to how universal this experience seems to be, you're at least the 3rd person to say 'hey that sounds familiar.' I guess it really does happen a lot.

I am glad you liked the laundry room scene. I kinda liked it, brief tho it was, and I have no comment on whether it was the same dream.
teecub on December 1st, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
Your stories of Matt and Mohinder figuring out that they love are perfect together just keep getting better and better! This was sooooooooo cute! Poor Mohinder, he's so scared but it doesn't look like Matt is considering taking this idea back. Mmm, thank you for sharing! <3
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm happy to make you emote hearts :)
Sarah: mohinder hotnesssaharafic on December 1st, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
Dammit. That made me cry. Yeah, super realistic. And ya know what? I had that conversation too...I was Mohinder, and my friend that I came out to very quickly decided she too might be interested...and I thought, damn, another one night stand and broken friendship.

We were 6 years in August. Matt is right, it only takes one fairy-tale moment if its the right one.

Beautiful work.
Tiptoe39: starry-eyedtiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
Oh my god. That's so beautiful. More than any other feedback I've ever gotten that makes my night, because it means not only has the experience happened, but the happy ending can happen too.

:hugs you so much:

Thank you and much happiness to you and your true love. :)
(Deleted comment)
The Soul says: - saharafic on December 1st, 2007 04:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Artsy: DT: Lay herehiddenfantasy on December 1st, 2007 04:54 am (UTC)
I adore this kiss. The way you wrote Mohinder's pain and confusion about Matt thinking he was gay and then figuring it out was done very well! It's a hard process coming to terms with ones sexuality, especially when it deals with the same sex.

Well done.
Tiptoe39: epiphanytiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 12:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :D
Renée: GG. Blair. Squee!rogueslayer452 on December 1st, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
This? This is a prime example of why I adore your writing. The amount of realism you put into your works, from exploring the boundaries of their relationship, to healthy sex to the beginning implications to how Matt and Mohinder would've started out. It's more than simply a piece of fanfiction, and I really love how you explore all sides of the equation of how they could've possibly gotten together. And these "30 First Kisses" fics are done fantastically to achieve that.

Okay, enough rambling on that, I loved how you wrote Mohinder and Matt. Quite a different take from the previous ones. Mohinder being open about his sexuality while Matt questioning his own, the tension between them about "that conversation", the kiss in the end...just, wow. Incredible.

I have nothing else to say really. This is just a fantastically beautiful piece and you should be proud. :D ♥
Tiptoe39: epiphanytiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 12:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! That means the world to me. I love writing That Moment, I love reading it. I'm so excited that I get the chance to do it 30 times. :)

Edited at 2007-12-01 12:24 pm (UTC)
that weirdo with the notebook: cookiesfool_of_ships on December 1st, 2007 09:27 am (UTC)
Realism FTW. But what really got me wasn't The Conversation; it was Matt's reflections and navel-gazing. All the little telltales throughout life, even when you think you know what you're looking for and think you aren't finding it... I was reading through with my mouth hanging open, whispering, "How does she know?" (Yes, I am in fact happily married; my own look back down the garden path happened after a rather abrupt realization that I was crushing on a female friend--who hadn't come out and was most definitely giving off straight vibes, which were confirmed when she started dating a male ex-friend of mine. My husband appreciates that we can girl-watch together.) That history, and his patterns of thinking about it and how they changed, really hit home for me. The rest of the fic is fantastic too, but I thought I should mention this because it doesn't look like anyone else has yet.

I'm sorry these cookies don't appear to have raisins. I'll have to get you a box. ;)
Tiptoe39: caketiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 12:25 pm (UTC)
Hee hee, that's fine, I have cake :points at icon:.
Yes, I'm amazed at how much this fic has really brought out the personal stories in everyone. I wasn't as sure about the navel-gazing bit, whether it would ring as true as the stuff that was actually based on my own experience (see upthread for the not-really-a-sob-story) so I'm glad it did.
rabbitwrathrabbitwrath on December 1st, 2007 09:25 pm (UTC)
I can't believe that a few weeks ago I'd barely dabbled my toes in the Heroes fandom. There is so much brilliantly written fic here, and I thought yours was among the best even before you wrote kiss #17.

(this is helped by the fact that I have a real weakness for 'first kisses'. When I saw you were writing thirty of them I nearly exploded with glee!)

This particular fic, though...Matt and Mohinder were both perfectly in character; there was tension and misunderstandings, humour and some truly dreadful puns. Add to that longing, love and a blade-sharp look at what it's like to come out after a lifetime of denial, and I can't believe you've done it in only five thousand words. I have read novel-lengths that don't come close to having the impact - or content - that this did.

I can't say the story makes me bubble with happiness - I'm with Mohinder, I don't have a lot of faith in their relationship working out. But your exploration of Matt's coming out is something I'm going to be thinking about for a while. I'm very glad you wrote this. Thank you.
Tiptoe39: cmere youtiptoe39 on December 1st, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you, what a beautiful review. Of course they are my OTP so I believe they will work out, but that's the beauty of fiction, we can all make up our own minds. I'm really struck by the feedback on this; I am really glad it worked out, because I am not writing from really any personal experience other than what my friends have told me their coming-out process was like.... so to hear this is ... well, very gratifying thanks so much.
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: kensei & hiro singtiptoe39 on December 2nd, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)
Yay, thank you so much rosie! I do want them to be satisfying... I guess I want it to be damned obvious that they are good together, so I wanted to lessen the tension before the kiss happened. Because a kiss out of frustration is often less than satisfying. But I am being a monday morning quarterback... I can't say I thought of any of that while I was writing; the boys just sat in my head and told me what happened. :D
imeru on December 2nd, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
I guess now's time for some comments! Just finished reading the piece (as my roommate suddenly decided to turn off her voice), just finished thinking, as this fic was the one which most made me do that.
Homosexual Mohinder who's had lods of relationships kind of sounds weird to me, but I guess this is just because I see him as a pure, kind, gentle man who's never dared to think about having sex occasionally, as he considers it to be something wrong for him and something hurting for others he's got the relationship with. And Matt finding out he's gay also sounds weird to me, but i think everything sounds weird because I have this idea of love being something not-labeled but just happening between two people, it's kind of ... abstract and quite nonsense.
ANYWAY, the kiss was awesome, love it.
Looking forward to the 18th!, and going to translate Gardenias.
Tiptoe39: matthindertiptoe39 on December 2nd, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
Well, a lot of the other fics especially slash fics out there do treat it as just sort of "love has no gender" so I wanted to do something different with it, just as one of the possible scenarios. If you read some of the comments you'll see that I seem to have hit a nerve with some people; I have definitely got the most interesting and personal feedback out of the lot with this kiss, so I'm pretty happy with that. I think there's room in slashdom for honest exploration of all the possibilities. But there's also room for fans like you who really want it to be genderless and magical and I think that's probably OK too. So I guess the short version of what I'm trying to say is "I hear yas, and let's hear it for having 30 chances to do this! Yay!"

And I don't think Mohinder necessarily has had "loads" of relationships. He probably had boyfriends on and off throughout his life just like I did before I met "the one" and got married. And I like the idea of closeted gay Matt which I did first in the above Gardenias and felt like it really clicked, so I wanted to use it again and explore it some more.

So those were some of my thoughts in doing this... and I am really glad this fic made you think! :D
The Soul says: - imeru on December 2nd, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on December 2nd, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
echoingdivinity: Harry Potter- Luna Lovegoodechoingdivinity on December 3rd, 2007 04:48 am (UTC)
Ugh! The feelings I got in my chestal area (heart?) hurt do much ;~; This piece is simply beautiful, I almost cried myself. I love this series, and to have an angst/serious installment amongst all of the fluff (albeit delicious fluff) was just what I needed. I hope there is more angst/fluff fics in the future, but in moderation to fit your needs of course. I loved this, it is definitely going into my memories. Keep up the fantastic work. <3!
Tiptoe39: cmere youtiptoe39 on December 3rd, 2007 01:07 pm (UTC)
I'm trying to hit everyone's kinks with this series; this is the beauty of having 30 chances, you may just be able to please all of the people some of the time! :snicker:
Danisummerkins on December 3rd, 2007 06:29 am (UTC)
jzfkbjx I'm so very late, and behind on commenting and stuff, but i felt the need to comment on this. It's so so so sooo realistic. Speaking from experience, I know how Mohinder feels (to an extent at least heh) From being used as an experiment and the awkwardness that can ruin friendships to....jdgj Just all of it was so amazing.

I don't know how you do it, I really don't, but you've done it again! My Favorite kiss so far, or maybe tied with the Sims one :)
Tiptoe39: saitiptoe39 on December 3rd, 2007 01:07 pm (UTC)
Yay, thank you sweetie! Your comments are always so nice and I still get the squees from that icon ^_^;;
The Soul says: - summerkins on December 3rd, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Samanthor: OMG Sendhil is so hotkleenexcow on December 3rd, 2007 07:23 am (UTC)
I don't really understand how I forgot to review this, so I hope you won't mind the lateness. This is absolutely my favorite of your kisses so far because I really feel like it explores their relationship in a way that hasn't particularly been done before, from this totally serious, real angle. And it still ended up lovely! And there were puns.

Some lines I liked:
Matt looked at him with his signature Can you speak in English before 10 A.M. on a Saturday please? squint.
Because Matt had slipped out of English less than two lines earlier.

Mohinder raised his spoon as though it were a teacher's pointer. "You have to have a very broad knowledge base to go into a science still as close to its infancy as genetics is. You never know just what might end up relevant."
I can picture Sendhil saying this in his Mohinder voice, and verily, it is hilarious and full of dry Mohinder snark.

"Matt, I expect men to be able to read my mind even when they're not psychics. It's a bad habit, I know."
*snorfle*

Then he thought about kissing Mohinder and had to do another five minutes' worth.
Matt Parkman, he said to himself, you big jackass, you're a gay man. How could you have taken this long to figure this out?

First of all, Matt and the baseball stats, teehee. Second, his big realization? Absolutely wonderful and very Matt.

Also? The first time Matt mentioned Thompson, I thought "Matt had the hots for Mohinder's boss? The one who almost killed him? Aaaaawkward."

And I totally agree with your comment upthread about how interesting closeted gay Matt is. I hope that you might bring him back for another kiss or two before it's all said and done.

The verdict: Another amazing fic!! A++. Something you'd expect an internation superstar to write.

(Edited to fix a verb tense)

Edited at 2007-12-03 07:24 am (UTC)
Tiptoe39: washuutiptoe39 on December 3rd, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
You're adorable. :hugs:

Random thoghts on the lines you mentioned:

1) Yes, I have the feeling Yiddish is more English than science speak in Mattland. :D

2) Sometimes I know the concept of what I want Mohinder to say but I have to shut my eyes and listen to how he'd say it.

3) Mohinder is a high-maintenance boyfriend! Uh-oh!

4), yes, I was very pleased with how Matt's moment came out. Also, I had completely blanked on the existence of Thompson which is very funny because I'm writing another fic in which he shows up... so mea culpa. :D

Why do I have the feeling the international superstar comment is gonna haunt me from now on?
saavikam77: Molly's Heroessaavikam77 on December 5th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
Wow. Just... wow. O_O

Sorry I didn't get to this sooner - it's been a hell of a week.

Anyway, I'm totally blown away by this one, for the sheer *realness* of the story. For a guy like Matt, all American tough guy from the suburbs, it doesn't seem like it would be too terribly easy to come to a realization like that. But like you said, this is still slash, so it doesn't all have to be brutal epiphanies. :p There's room for WAFF. ^_~

*loves this* ^_^
Tiptoe39: fanfictiptoe39 on December 5th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
I am so all about the hell of a week thing. This one is shaping up to be the same for me.

Thanks for giving me room to WAFFle.
Xandri the Gate-pirate: Matt and Mohinder - morphine angelxandri on December 9th, 2007 06:25 am (UTC)
Okay, I want you to know that I got up to the "I swear I'll read your mind if you won't talk to me" bit, and then I had to go to work!!!!!!!!! >_< ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH. And the WHOLE WAY I was like "OMG. OMG. I JUST WANT TO FINISH THE DAMN FIC. JUST FIVE MORE MINUTES." ksdljfdh.

This was just brilliant.

And I also want you to know that it is very believable, at least to me. There are so many fics out there where characters have traumatising coming out experiences, and for Mohinder to not have been traumatised by it is the believable bit.

I'm gay. I realised it about the same time he did, in high school, and it wasn't traumatic for me. So I'm very grateful that you wrote this perspective. To me, the fact that you aknowledge their different backgrounds and the different possible outcomes is what makes this fic, and the whole series, believable.