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07 December 2007 @ 11:20 pm
[fanfic] 30 First Kisses - Kiss #19  
Title: 30 First Kisses - Kiss #19
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG for brief language
Summary: Apologies to any Republican readers I may have out there. Spoilers through 2x11.

This is the 19th of 30 possible ways Matt and Mohinder could share their first kiss, written for the 30_kisses challenge. The theme was "red" (aka). Previous kisses are here.



He'd returned home a changed man. It had been a joyful reunion, to be sure, and the moment when Molly flew into his arms had been just as heart-lifting as he'd hoped, but Matt was different. There was a purpose behind his eyes that Mohinder had not seen before.

Some of it was obvious. After hearing what had happened to them, he'd resolved never to leave Molly again. He would stay around, be a good father, take care of her, provide for her. And after hearing what had happened in Texas, Mohinder understood that Matt had been through hell and back. He'd listened to the story of what they'd discovered, how they'd resolved to take everything public, to stop visiting the sins of the fathers on the younger generation, and then how that resolution had been shot through the heart with four bullets.

"What is it about four bullets, anyway? Will they be haunting me the rest of my life?" he said aloud once when he thought no one was listening.

But Mohinder had his own cross to bear. Sylar was back, and sooner or later he might return for Molly. Matt insisted that he was ready for him this time, that Sylar, with all the abilities he'd amassed on his killing sprees, had never shown any signs of telepathy or persuasion, and that rendered him vulnerable to Matt's newfound powers of suggestion. But more than even his fear, Mohinder was wracked by guilt about Niki's death. Had he been able to get the vaccine to her in time, had he not hesitated in California but done what needed to be done, had he left Bennet for dead and had the remainder of Claire's blood still available-- if he had made just slightly different choices, Niki would have been cured, would have had her strength, would have been able to escape that conflagration. But he'd made exactly the wrong decisions. And that killed him a little bit each time he thought about it.

One of the first things he'd done was inquire after Micah. He'd been assured that the boy was well cared for, had family in the area, and was being monitored by the Company, just in case.

"Just in case what?" he'd asked, horrified (as he was periodically) at Bob's methodical tone.

"In case the trauma of losing his parents causes him to make some bad choices. Micah is a very special boy, Doctor. It would be a shame to see his abilities go to waste." It was the cold smile that threw Mohinder. Bob sometimes reminded him of a crocodile.

"I'd like to go see him," said Mohinder. "To offer my condolences." And, he added inwardly, to let him know whose fault it was that his mother was dead.

"I don't know if that would be such a good idea, Doctor." The way Bob said the word "Doctor," with a sort of click of the jaw between syllables, was downright creepy. "We were actually hoping you'd be able to go down to Texas and see what you could do about Nathan Petrelli. His brother's blood should be sufficient to synthesize a serum that might help him recover."

And then Bob leaned over and said, "We also think it's a good idea for you to go as a representative of the Company. To let Mr. Petrelli know that the Company does, after all, have his best interests at heart."

At that moment, Mohinder knew who was behind the shooting. He made plans to fly to Texas, but he booked the return flight through New Orleans.




"Hey, Matt." Molly was at the computer. Matt was trying to write something down, but he kept muttering and scratching letters out. "Is it true that that guy was shot by animal rights activists?"

"What?" The question had come out of left field to hit him in the eye.

"That's what this Web site says. But that doesn't make sense, because if you are into animal rights you also think a person is an animal, so you wouldn't hurt them, right?"

"What Web site is this?" Matt left his seat, came up to stand beside her. "Redstate.org?"

Molly shrugged. "I just did a blog search for Nathan Petrelli and came up with it. People on this site think he has some information about the president and she had him shot because of it."

Matt laughed. "Wow. They are so wrong."

"They usually are on this site," Molly said disdainfully. "But it's kind of funny. Look, there's a whole section here on why evolution isn't real."

"Mohinder would love that," Matt mused.

"Yeah. You should see some of the stuff they're coming up with." Molly scrolled through the pages of speculation. Matt caught the phrases "liberal media" and "communist" and "New York City libtards" but didn't bother concentrating hard enough to read the rest.

"Can't be any weirder than the truth," he muttered.

"I dunno," Molly said. "There's always something about aliens, too. Did you meet any aliens in Texas?" She grinned.

"Hah! Maybe I did, squirt. You never know." Matt ruffled her hair and didn't bother telling her that those weren't the kind of aliens the blog was likely writing about.




An elderly woman with the regal air of a queen answered the door at the Dawson house. Her back was straight and her eyes sparkling. "Can I help you?" she asked with a genial smile.

"My name is Doctor Mohinder Suresh. I worked with Niki Sanders. I was hoping to speak with her son."

"I haven't seen Micah today," she said apologetically. "He's been a tough little kid over the past few weeks, but it's hard for him. You know."

"Of course," Mohinder said uncomfortably. "In that case, might I..."

"Doctor Suresh?"

The voice behind him was bright, jubilant, youthful. Mohinder turned.

Monica was looking just as radiant as she had when they first met. But she seemed leaner, more toned, and Mohinder couldn't help but wonder if she'd been more active in the use of her gift. "Miss Dawson. Nice to see you again."

"You too, Doctor! What's goin' on? What are you doin' back here?"

"Back?" The elderly woman's eyes turned sharp and cold. Mohinder instinctively reached out for and caught Monica's elbow. Somehow he knew it would be a bad idea for this woman to know the Company had contacted Monica.

"I was hoping to speak with Micah," Mohinder said. "Would you know where I could find him?"

"Micah said he had to go away for a few days," she answered, tipping her head to the side. "He said someone was coming to town he had to meet. Oh, don't worry, Doctor. He's a good kid. He stays in touch, too. You can always get him on e-mail."




The previous night, Matt had been on the phone with Peter Petrelli. Nathan was still in a coma, and although Mohinder had come by earlier that day to attempt to prepare an infusion of Peter's blood, the potency of the regenerative gene seemed to be lost in translation; it wasn't enough to rouse him. It was a huge disappointment for all involved.

But Peter was adamant. He did not want to give up on his brother's wish to see their parents' deeds exposed, no matter who was hunting them down. Matt tried to talk him down, told him he'd never be free again. If his particular brand of power was exposed, he'd be in a secret prison in some country ending in "-stan" in no time at all.

"Maybe I'm not the one to tell everyone, then. Maybe someone else needs to do it. Maybe it's you who needs to say it. Or Mohinder, since he has the evidence."

"Mohinder's out of bounds," Matt insisted. "We... Molly needs him too much. He goes public with this kind of information, she's in even more danger."

"Somebody's got to step up!" Frustration and fatigue were clashing in his tone. How many nights had Peter stayed up at his brother's bedside, trying to find the answers? Matt felt a flood of sympathy for him. He'd done just as much soul-searching, but the possibility of pulling down this house of mysteries seemed remoter every day.

"I know, I know," he muttered. "We'll figure it out."

Peter's voice softened. "You're a nice guy, Matt," he said. "I think I know why Mohinder speaks so highly of you."

"He does?" Matt had been sure Mohinder never wasted a word on him.

"Sure. He says how good you are for Molly, how happy she is to have you there with her. She sounds like a handful. Mohinder said maybe I could come over and meet her when this is all done."

Matt's heart sank. "I suppose, yeah. That'd be nice." He was trying to convince himself that what upset him was the prospect of Peter, who could be so easily manipulated, absorbing Molly's power. That it made him just a little too powerful for comfort. It had nothing to do, he was sure, with how long Mohinder was taking to get home and how easily and freely it seemed he was able to talk with Peter. Apparently they'd met before, and the meeting had been momentous. Life-changing, Peter had enthused one night when Matt had dared ask about it. Matt wasn't sure what disturbed him so much. Maybe because he hadn't had that moment of life-changing certainty that Mohinder seemed to inspire in everyone else he met.




Mohinder was unbelievably depressed on the plane home from New Orleans. Other than an unexpected reunion with Peter Petrelli, nothing good had come of his visit to Texas, and his stop by New Orleans had been just as fruitless. He opened his laptop and pulled up a spreadsheet program to start reviewing work. It was all blurring before his eyes, though. Until a window poped up on his screen.

R U DR SURESH?

"What?" Mohinder said aloud. The lady sitting next to him scowled and tried to go back to sleep.

Unsure exactly what was going on, he opened a blank text file and typed into it.

Who are you? _

A moment later the letters came up one by one:

monica said u were looking for me. _

This was impossible. They were 30,000 feet in the air. Wireless communication was prohibited in flight.

why r u lookin 4 me? It was as if someone had remote access to his keyboard and was typing while his eyes were closed.

Are you Micah Sanders? he typed.

Y.

How are you doing this?

its what i do. why r u looking 4 me?

Mohinder sighed. I knew your mother, he typed. I'm sorry.

Mom is_ The cursor stopped, then erased the two words, started again. Y R U LOOKIN FOR ME???

Just to see if you are all right, Mohinder typed nervously.

I DONT BELIEVE U.

Mohinder thought about the vaccine and Sylar and Bennet. There is something I want to talk to you about, but I'd rather do that in person, he typed.

ok cu on the ground.

Mohinder peered into the aisle. No other laptops were open, no cell phones being typed into. There was an iPod or two, but that was it. How was he doing this?

Micah, are you still there? he typed, but there was no response.




His bad luck continued at the baggage claim: There was no sign of his suitcase. Scowling thunderclouds, Mohinder marched toward the customer service desk, ready to raise holy hell. Then he felt a tug on his sleeve.

A grinning, angelic face framed by a ring of tight black curls stared up at him. "Here's your bag," said the boy, whose skin was a creamy copper color. "I saw it was yours and figured it'd be a good way to make sure I met you."

Mohinder grabbed the suitcase and the child in one motion, shuttling them both to the periphery of the crowded room. "Micah? What are you doing here? How did you get here? How did you get on my computer?" he hissed.

In answer, the boy picked up the iPod clipped to his belt and tilted the display toward Mohinder. As he watched, the screen faded and then lit up with eight large letters:

LIKE
THIS

Mohinder's jaw dropped.



When the latch clicked, Matt went for his gun.

"Oh, for God's sake, that's the second time you've done that to me," Mohinder grumbled after nearly dropping his suitcase on his toes.

"Sorry. Still thinking about..." The name went unsaid. Matt turned to put the gun away.

"Hi, Micah!" Molly yelled from across the room. The elfin face peered out from behind Mohinder and waved silently. Both men gaped.

"What's he doing here?" Matt asked.

"You knew he was coming?" Mohinder asked.

"It's called e-mail, DUH," Molly said and grabbed Micah's hands, showing him in. Matt and Mohinder faced each other as they went running through the small kitchen.

"What could I do?" Mohinder said in a hushed voice, walking over to Matt. "He stowed away on the plane. He's just lost his mother. I'm not about to turn him away."

"The more the merrier. Hey, look at all the room we have here." Matt's eyes were slitted.

"I didn't say he was moving in," Mohinder hissed.

"Good, 'cause he's not."

"I'll remind you that this is my apartment!"

At this, Matt fell silent.

"I'm sorry," Mohinder sighed. "It's been a long flight."

"I know, man." Matt clapped a hand to his shoulder. "We've all been through hell."

"Yes, and you're just being protective. I appreciate that." Mohinder rubbed his bleary eyes with one hand.

Matt smiled. Somehow that meant a lot. "Tell you what. Why don't I order some pizza for us all."

Molly and Mohinder looked up at him simultaneously.

"Vegetable pizza," Matt insisted.




Micah was the sort of kid you expected to be the class clown in better circumstances. Even now, he kept up with the conversation, shakily dropping jokes in when he could. But the effort he was expending to keep from crying was slowly breaking Matt inside. He looked at the two kids, who, when they weren't eating, were stubbornly holding hands, and envied their ability to find simple solace in each other's company. A confederacy of orphans under the amateur guidance of a pair of false fathers. What an odd foursome they made. The four "M"s.

"I spoke to Peter Petrelli the other night," he informed Mohinder.

He nearly choked on his pizza. "D-did you?"

"He said you changed his life."

"Well." Mohinder blushed. A baby smile played across his lips. "That's flattering, but I'd say he rather changed mine."

Matt resented Peter even more for this admission of Mohinder's. And he resented himself for not knowing what it meant.




After dinner, Mohinder wanted to talk to Micah alone, but Micah insisted Molly be there. So they gave up the pretense and all four of them sat down. Micah and Molly's hands were still clasped together anxiously. Mohinder began. "I wanted to tell you about the virus your mother had."

Micah's eyes glazed over with tears almost immediately. Matt had grabbed a box of tissues; he tossed it over. Mohinder smiled at him appreciatively. Matt's heart gave a funny thump when they locked eyes, and he cleared his throat and looked away.

"It took away her power," Micah said slowly. "And that's why she couldn't escape."

"Yes," Mohinder said. "But there are some things you should know about how your mother got that virus. It wasn't something she picked up on the street. It was manufactured. By the company she worked for. The company I work for."

Micah got up. If it hadn't been for Molly's insistent hand grasping his, he might have taken a swing at Mohinder.

"It was a horrible time, and she was fighting as hard as she could to keep herself healthy for you," Mohinder said, his own eyes red but his gaze solid. "Sadly, she infected herself thinking that I could cure her. But the strain had mutated, and my blood was no longer able to do so."

"She said you were going to find a cure," Micah said, his tears overflowing. "She believed in you."

"I did find a cure." It was Mohinder's only statement in his own defense. "But I wasn't able to get there in time. I'm sorry." He hung his head.

"How can you work for them?" Micah demanded angrily. "What kind of company makes diseases that kill people?"

"A company we're trying to stop," interrupted Matt. "We're trying to expose them, make it impossible for them to hurt anyone again."

"How!?" Micah demanded.

"We're not... really sure yet," Matt finished lamely. "We'd wanted to go on TV and tell people everything. That's what Nathan was going to do. But they... silenced him. And they made it pretty clear that they'll do the same thing to anyone who tries to tell the public what they know."

This made Molly jump into his arms and whisper pleas into his ear. "Don't do anything, don't go, please don't leave me again, please please please..."

But Micah's smile had returned. "Then don't tell them anything," he said simply.




Several minutes later they were all standing in front of the computer. Micah had his hand on the tower, which was humming happily-- it really sounded happy, Matt marveled-- at him. "So," he started with that cherubic grin, "What do you want to call the site?"

"Um..." Matt still wasn't sure exactly what they were doing, but he knew it had some resemblance to Molly's "red state" page. "Red.... Red File. The Red File."

Micah closed his eyes. "It's available. Theredfile.com. OK? I'll snag it." The computer blipped, and a series of quickly loading Web pages shuffled across the screen. "I'm routing it through a bunch of dummy servers so it will be hard to trace. And I've asked one of the servers on the inside half of the chain to let me know if anyone starts poking around the line, so I can re-route the server trail."

Matt stared at him. "Which in English means..."

"No one will be able to tell it's us making the page," Molly chimed in. "So you're safe."

"Now for the fun part," Micah said. "What do you want it to look like?"

"I don't know, a red file?" At this Mohinder laughed; Matt glared at him. But Micah just closed his eyes. The computer whirred, and in the browser window appeared a red file folder against a black background.

"I won't be able to do this all the time," Micah said. "But I can set you up and optimize your search engine placement, and Molly can plant the seed on a few blogs, so you should get plenty of traffic. And I'll show her the system when I'm done, so she can help you update it and add photos and blog posts and stuff."

"I get the feeling they don't trust us," Matt stage-whispered to Mohinder. "Do you get that feeling? I'm hurt. I think I'm going to pout." Mohinder's eyes sparkled, and he grinned. Matt felt a little ridiculous for how happy it made him. As for Molly, she had to double over, she laughed so hard. For a moment they felt like a normal family again.

Mohinder turned to Micah. "I think that, of all the people I've come across and all the abilities I've encountered, yours might be one of the most fascinating. So you're able to command it to program itself?"

"Well, I know HTML. And Java and Flash and most content-management systems. So I could do it manually," Micah explained matter-of-factly. "But yeah, that's basically it."

"You hear that, Molly? We're not fascinating enough for these two. I say we ditch the geniuses and have some fascinating ice cream." Matt threw up his hands melodramatically and turned on his heel, about to stomp away. Molly giggled harder.

--pretty damned fascinating yourself, just for a different reason--

Matt turned. Mohinder blushed, and his mind went blank. Matt frowned and opened his mouth to speak.

Micah spoke instead. "OK, it's ready," he announced. "What do you want it to say?"





Welcome to
THE RED FILE.com
maintained by the M4 Group

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>> Your thoughts on our forums

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Matt tiptoed into the room. The glow of the screen was slightly pink against Mohinder's face, and his glasses reflected small boxes, text and details flickering in miniature. "You should have seen them," Matt whispered. "Micah started crying when he thought I was gone, and our girl was so strong. She said to him, 'It gets easier, I promise it does.' "

"She's been through so much. Too much," Mohinder said, turning to smile at Matt. His bones were so delicate, Matt noted. The dim, rose-colored lighting was throwing the high cheekbones into exquisite relief, and though Matt didn't know any of those words for it, he knew he was unable to look away.

"Yeah. But this is the kicker. She said to him, 'Any time you need some extra family, come on up and I'll lend you my dads.' "

Mohinder's smile was five miles wide. "She said that?" Matt nodded. "Wow. Has she even called us dads before? Besides the apron, of course." He was absolutely befuddled with delight, tickled pink by the monitor and the concept.

"So what are you working on?" Matt leaned over his shoulder at the screen.

"I'm composing some text for the introduction," Mohinder said. "I think people ought to know what they can and can't expect from us."

"Hey, uh, Mohinder?" Matt was fairly certain he was blushing. He hoped it would be mistaken for the screen's red glow. "What happened between you and Peter?"

Mohinder was blindsided. He gawked at Matt.

"I mean, he told me you changed his life and then you said he changed yours, and I wasn't sure-- it seemed like something--"

"Peter made it all real," Mohinder said quietly. His eyes were shimmering behind the glasses. Matt fell silent.

Mohinder got up, walked around to the back of the chair to face Matt. "I came to New York convinced of my father's research," he narrated. "But it was blind faith. Idealism. Then Peter showed up at my door and I thought for the first time I'd been misled, and I doubted myself for the first time, and I was able to return and look at it all like a scientist, and that's when it was all real. Everything Peter had told me he could do was real, and suddenly the proof was right there, and I was finally in the middle of that world that I'd prayed and dreamed could exist right under my nose. I might still be driving a taxi and chasing madness if it weren't for him. Instead, I spend every day of my life studying the people my father had made it his life's work to find, helping them, being the one person who can explain to them who and what they are. One knock on my door. Yes, I'd say that qualifies as changing my life."

Matt didn't know what to say. He felt stupid and boorish and not entirely sure what he'd been accusing Mohinder of, anyway, but damned ashamed of having done so. He sucked in a long breath and held it, trying to summon the courage to apologize.

"And I was rather attracted to him, as well," Mohinder added casually.

Matt spit all over the carpet.

Coughing, he banged on his chest, trying to get some equilibrium back. "You we-- w--- what?"

"Are you jealous?" Mohinder asked, tiny, wicked upward slants at the corners of his mouth.

"No, I'm not jealous!" Matt burst out. "So what did you write? Let me see."

"Because if you were jealous, I'd tell you not to be."

Matt pretended not to hear. He deposited himself heavily in the chair before the computer and tried in vain to read the text on the screen. "All we have st-- sw--" he stammered.

He wasn't actually my type to start with.

"Do you mind?" Matt turned around in the chair and got an extreme Mohinder close-up, as the man had leaned down and was now grinning at him barely a few inches away. Suddenly there was no air in the room. Matt wheezed. Had it always been this hard to be around Mohinder? Cerebral, frustrating, annnoyingly perfect Mohinder, who could do no wrong? Who could do calculus in his head and cook everything without burning a thing and speak three languages and look just as good in pajamas as he did a tuxedo, and--

Oh, crap.

He turned back around, and fast. "What does it say?" he asked through a tightly clamped jaw.

He could practically hear Mohinder's smile. A pair of hands came down, hot and claustrophobia-inducing, on his shoulders. "It says the following."

"We are all searching for answers. To who we are, why we are, what we are capable of, unto ourselves and along with our fellow man. How far can we go? If we are able to realize our fullest potential, what great feats might we be capable of? There may be answers out there for those brave enough to seek them, but that is not our mission. We at the Red File are merely keepers of the questions. We leave finding the answers to you."


The computer hummed, but there was no other sound in the room when the gentle cadence of Mohinder's voice trailed into nothing. Matt felt as though he'd just heard a symphony. He wasn't sure if he was supposed to applaud.

Then Mohinder's voice returned, gentle but tentative. "What do you think?"

"Think? I think you ought to do voiceovers." Matt grinned. "It's perfect. I have a feeling Peter would approve."

"You really are a little jealous," Mohinder laughed.

Matt got up and looked around. This place was his home, and for the first time since he'd returned, he felt like it was all right to relax and just be home. He'd done what he needed to do; he'd put the questions out into the public sphere. And now he just had to have enough faith in his fellow man to follow their trail to the answers. It was enough of a first step.

Mohinder yawned, and Matt realized how late it was. "We ought to hit the sack," he said. "We have to take Micah to the airport in the morning."

"Yes," nodded the sleepy scientist. He clicked the mouse a few times and switched off the monitor. Red disappeared into the blueness of dark. The anonymity of darkness was comforting, and Matt felt something in him grow bold.

"Hey, uh, Mohinder?" he said. "I was. A little."

"A little?"

"Jealous." He grinned ruefully. "It's not the first time I've wondered about it, to be frank."

"What, about me and Peter?" Mohinder asked.

"No. About you and..." He stopped, suddenly aware of the beating of his heart in his throat. "Forget it."

Mohinder's eyes were glimmering, twin lights in the dark stretch of quiet. "Good night," he said.




The first hits started coming in shortly thereafter. Molly understood the statistics program and rattled off the list of countries from which people were visiting. Sri Lanka, she said, Myanmar, Singapore. (Mohinder seemed particularly impressed and thought some random things about foreign policy that Matt didn't quite get.) It wasn't long before posts started popping up on the forum, too. Most were of the tenor of "WHAT IS THIS SITE" and "WEIRD," and a fair number contained words Matt and Mohinder didn't want Molly to see. But she was the one who first wrote the simple response, "We will delete offensive posts -The M4 Group" and went through doing just that. Maybe she wasn't innocent, Matt thought with more than a little pride, but the girl had taste.

Mohinder learned how to moderate the forum pretty quickly and took over duties from Molly, stopping by every evening to delete the refuse. "Molly says that in a few months we'll have an idea of which users can be trusted, and we can outsource forum moderation to them," he said to Matt. "Really, these children live in something of a different world from the one we grew up in."

Matt smiled. "So did we, when we were children."

"That is very true." Mohinder got up, put a hand on Matt's shoulder, smiled, and walked away. Matt thought for a whirling moment that the world was a very different place than it had been five seconds ago.




Peter Petrelli came over for dinner the following week. Matt put aside his resentment and welcomed him in, and Molly was charming, as usual. But when Peter insisted on helping Mohinder cook, and Mohinder put on his apron, Matt started to feel antsy. What was worse, Peter picked up on it. Halfway through the conversation, he put up a mental shield around the two of them so Matt couldn't "eavesdrop." Annoyed, he paced in the living room, looking up every so often to see the two of them laughing and muttering in hushed voices. When Molly wandered through, she made the casual observation, "Wow. That's almost too much pretty for one room." Matt stared at her a moment, then looked at the pair and, with a sinking heart, decided he agreed.

But dinner was good, a sort of Indian-Italian fusion cuisine where spicy saffron and rich marinara melded into a thick orange residue on all their plates. Molly complained loudly that her tongue was on fire, that she needed something icy and smooth to cool it down. Everyone saw through it, and when Matt brought her a tall glass of ice water, to her obvious disappointment, she was forced to admit, "I was thinking maybe ice cream."

"I know what you were thinking." Matt tapped his forehead meaningfully. She pouted. Peter was in stitches.

"I really needed this," he said at one point. "You can go crazy down there, in a hospital in a city you don't know, waiting for something to happen that never does. It's like being frozen. It's really nice to get back to something like normal, even if just for a night."

"I can imagine." Mohinder reached out and squeezed his hand on the table. Matt felt his throat get tight. But then Peter shot Mohinder a warning look, and he withdrew his hand. A little too late to hide it, Matt thought angrily.

"Oh! Oh, I meant to tell you!" Peter suddenly snapped his fingers. "There's someone out there who's doing the same thing we are, trying to expose the Company. I couldn't beleive it when I saw it, but there's this Web site. The Red File. Whoever runs it knows all about the Company and all the things they've done."

Molly clapped her hands over her mouth. Mohinder leaned forward. "Really?" he said, sounding truly surprised. "Where did you find it?"

"It was on the news!" Peter said. "Just a local station in Texas, but they were going on about 'What company is the site talking about'? And I realized it had to be Primatech because there was an item on there about Nakamura, too. Hiro's dad, the one who was killed."

Don't let on, Mohinder shot mentally in Matt's direction. But that was his mistake, because Peter's jaw dropped, and he stared in utter shock at the pair of them. "It's you?" he said.

"He can hear thoughts too, genius." Matt harrumphed and got up, grabbing up his and Molly's plates and stomping to the sink.

Mohinder smiled embarrassedly. "Don't ask me what crawled up his pants and died there."

"But it is you, isn't it?"

He shrugged. "The secret is out."

"That's incredible! Who came up with it?"

"Micah Sanders, actually," Mohinder said. "He's the fourth M in the 4M Group."

"Who's that?"

"He's the young son of a former co-worker. You... never knew her." Even over the running water, Matt could hear the sorrow in his voice. He sighed.

"I love the idea of a 'red file,'" Peter said. "It's very intriguing. Whose idea was that?"

"That was Matt's creation." To Matt's great surprise, Mohinder's voice was glowing with pride. "He has run the whole thing, really. He's very good at figuring out just how much of a clue to give people."

"But why give clues?" Peter asked. "Why not just tell everyone the truth?"

"You know the answer to that," Mohinder said darkly.

Matt heard Peter take in a sharp breath. "...Oh."

"So that's why the site provides no answers. But the idea is that people will find the answers themselves..."

"...if they know the right questions." Hearing this, Matt scrubbed the plate he was working on a little harder. Did they have to finish each other's sentences?

Abruptly, Peter burst out laughing. "Mohinder, excuse me for a few minutes." He came toward Matt in the kitchen and dropped his plate in the sink, then picked up a dishtowel and began to dry the silverware Matt had already finished with. Matt did his best to keep his thoughts incoherent and stormcloudy. With any luck, he'd drive him away.

"He's crazy about you, you know," Peter said suddenly.

Matt dropped the glass he'd been washing; Peter gave it a good look, and it paused in midair and then gently splashed into the water below. A few bubbles popped into the air. "Watch it," Peter said.

"Wh-- wha--- wha---" It was all of a sudden so, so hot in there. Matt wanted to dunk his head in the dishwater.

Peter laughed. "What are you, deaf? Mohinder. He wants you in the worst way. It's hysterical to watch you two run rings around each other."

"Stop messing with my head!" Matt exploded. "I have no idea what you're talking about!"

"Which is why you're red as a beet," Peter said slyly, his small eyes narrowed to slits.

"Look, you've obviously got the wrong impression," Matt grumbled, leaning forward and turning the running water up, just in case. "But I guarantee you, he's all yours if you want him. I'm not making any trouble."

"Me!?" Peter was incredulous. "What on earth would I want with.... ha!" He laughed loudly, throwing his head back, as Matt desperately yelled stop, stop, shut up, shut up! into his mind.

"It's pretty obvious from the way you two talk," Matt said. "It's fine. Really. As long as Molly has a stable home."

"I would have an easier time believing that if you would stop imagining squashing me like a bug."

"I'm not--" He was, though. He so was.

"Besides," Peter said, grabbing another dish to dry, "he told me so."

That was it. Matt gave up even the pretense of washing the dishes. He dropped the scouring pad in the middle of the saucepan and just gaped.

"Yeah, so that's why I blocked you out earlier," Peter said, reaching into the water for the sponge and gently nudging the dumbfounded Matt to the side. "He wanted to ask my advice on how to approach you. For all he knew, you weren't even into men, though we both agreed the gaydar was blinking red on you."

Matt blushed. Crap. He'd sworn at 18 that he'd stay closeted until he'd convinced himself the closet was a five-room suite. Hell, he'd almost made marriage work. But one dishwashing session had thrown that idea right out the proverbial window. He grabbed the countertop and stared hard at his hands.

"I told him to let it come naturally, see where things went. But you just seemed so miserable earlier today that I had to butt in. I can never stay in my own business. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not, because you're obviously so excited. But I'll let you know what I will do." He winked, one corner of his mouth turning up. "I'll take off early tonight and leave you two some extra time to work it out. That deserves a pardon from the bug squasher, right?"

Matt couldn't face him, but he nodded.




It was nearly eleven before the dishes were all dried and put away. Matt's fingers were like prunes. Mohinder was patiently clicking through the site, deleting troll posts and updating headlines. It was a nightly routine that took longer and longer each day, as the site found its way to the seven thousand corners of the Internet and drew conspiracy theorists from all walks of life.

"Mohinder Suresh, Webmaster," Matt said, a laugh in his voice, as he flicked some excess water from his fingers onto Mohinder's face.

"Better than dishmaster, I assure you," he said, getting up and removing his glasses. Matt had grown to love those glasses. They seemed just as small and delicate as the rest of his face, as though they'd grown from his bones. He was sad to see them removed, even though Mohinder's eyes were brighter and fuller without them.

"Each to his own," he shrugged. "How's Red File?"

"Very red," Mohinder said. "Someone has actually brought up the name Linderman."

"Uh-oh."

"Yes. It's not a far reach from Linderman to Petrelli, and then we're all in hot water." Mohinder had little frown lines crossing his brow, and Matt found himself staring at them, thinking about smoothing them out one by one, or all at once, top to bottom, inside to outside, in circles...

He shook himself out of it. "We just have to remember, that's what we want."

"We ask the questions; others find the answers, right?" The voice was unusually soft, and Matt felt heat welling up inside him. His system was blinking red, too.

"Hey, I have a question."

"We all do." Mohinder seemed to be relishing the role of the cryptic gatekeeper. "I can't promise you any answers, though."

"Are you really crazy about me?"

Mohinder nearly stumbled. He grabbed the back of the chair and held on tight, his fist shaking and rattling the whole computer desk.

Matt couldn't feel anything but heat in his face. "Peter said you were crazy about me."

"I... I might have to kill him the next time I see him," Mohinder murmured.

"So is it true?" He had to force himself to walk forward, but his hand fell onto Mohinder's naturally, holding it firm and steady against the chair and stopping the rattling. His eyes searched Mohinder's face. "My God, it is true, isn't it? I thought you two had teamed up to bullshit me."

Mohinder shook his head. "We're not that clever."

"Says the genius." Matt rolled his eyes.

"I have a question," Mohinder said suddenly, raising his free hand.

"I can't promise any answers," Matt grinned.

Mohinder glanced at the hand on his, and Matt could feel exhiliration pulse through his mind. He paused on the edge of his question, then plunged.

"Are you going to kiss me?"

Matt surged forward, slipped his arms around his waist. He started to speak, then stopped. He leaned forward slowly, as if afraid of hitting the wrong angle. The computer monitor was tinting both of their faces slightly red.

"Well?" Mohinder asked.

But Matt couldn't breathe, much less speak or move. He kept staring at the pink tint on the fleshy edges of Mohinder's lips. They were almost transparent.

Then those lips pursed slightly and vibrated outwards. The tongue flickered and the mouth opened and closed again. Sound followed sight closely behind. Mohinder had said, "Please?"

Please?

There was no force in the universe that had ever moved so fast or so powerfully as Matt did to claim his lips at that moment. His vision went scarlet. Hands found his face, trailed fingers along his cheeks, fell to his shoulders. He breathed in for the first time a scent he would never forget.

"Sorry, I don't have any answers for you," he said softly when the first kiss had ended.

"I don't need answers," Mohinder breathed, leaning in to kiss him again.

TheRedFile.com BLOG

Some of you are closer to the answers than you have ever been before. We pause now to give you two warnings. One, the truths that you will soon discover are ones that you are not expecting, but they are no less truths for that. The second and more important warning is this: Despite what you may think or what others might tell you, the discoveries you make and the destinations you reach are no more important than whom you choose to share your journey with. In the end, all of our truest answers lie in one another.

Posted at 12:03 A.M. by The M4 Group


:end:
 
 
 
carma_babycarma_baby on December 8th, 2007 04:59 am (UTC)
Wow. Just. Wow. {is disappointed in self because usually capable of more coherent comments, but...} Wow.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
Yay :) Just yay :)
del_writes: Heroesdel_writes on December 8th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC)
I think this may be my favorite of these yet. The relationship slips along at a nice pace in this story, and the rest is incredible. I love the idea of them finding a safer way to get the message out, and Micah's assistance. Also love the reference to Mohinder doing voiceovers. Really just an incredible job.
Tiptoe39: sendhiltiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks. The voiceover line was my husband's idea ^_^
ilsaluvsrickilsaluvsrick on December 8th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
You write great Micah. I wanted to hold his hand too.

And matchmaker Peter is made of so much win.

I love proactive Matt continuing to fight the good fight.

PS: I noticed in your universe Hilary has already been elected. I'm afraid we're going to have to agree to disagree there, dear.

Barack all the way!!
Tiptoe39: raphaeltiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 12:50 pm (UTC)
Actually, I support Edwards... but I couldn't help myself, it was too tempting to put Hillary in there.
Samanthor: LIKE WHOAkleenexcow on December 8th, 2007 05:11 am (UTC)
I have tears in my eyes. This is an absolutely amazing piece of work. Worth waiting all day for because I'm fairly certain that this is my favorite piece of fic that's been posted in this community. I like it even more than I liked Kiss #17, which I hadn't expected could happen.

Your characterization--amazing. I was so pleased by the way that you portrayed not just M3 but also Bob and Micah and Monica and Peter and everyone else. You've created this gritty post-Powerless world where everything seems so much more real because the world is spinning faster and everything is at stake. And love blossoming out of angst? Nothing more beautiful.

And the fact that it's plot-driven? Wow. Just...WOW. And what a good running use of your theme throughout!

Peter as the little matchmaker? HILARIOUS. Awesome. Even better that Matt was so jealous.

Time to pull some quotes!
Peter gave it a good look, and it paused in midair and then gently splashed into the water below.
A nice moment.

Micah was the sort of kid you expected to be the class clown in better circumstances. Even now, he kept up with the conversation, shakily dropping jokes in when he could. But the effort he was expending to keep from crying was slowly breaking Matt inside.
Heartbreaking. And perfectly describes your tone set, too. I think in some ways that this is how all of your characters feel.

"Sorry, I don't have any answers for you," he said softly when the first kiss had ended.
"I don't need answers," Mohinder breathed, leaning in to kiss him again.

An amazing ending. It was poetic and deep and striking AND it referred back to earlier in the story, to boot. I don't know what your other four ways from Sunday were, but this one honestly and truly WORKED.

I <3 the in-jokes. The apron reference? Classic. And "Think? I think you ought to do voiceovers."? ZOMG. *dies.*

P.S.S.: "No, I'm not jealous!" Mohinder burst out. "So what did you write? Let me see." Is it supposed to read "Matt burst out."?

Well, now...back to my own post-Powerless fic. It seems to be the cool kid thing to do lately.
Tiptoe39: rentiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 12:50 pm (UTC)
AH, thanks for the typo correction! I was staying up so late correcting typos because this took me so long to write, my husband was basically yelling at me to go to bed. Will fix.
highly visible ninja: <3 companion cubelunais_cross on December 8th, 2007 05:11 am (UTC)
So, after reading this, I immediately went and looked for TheRedFile.com.

http://www.theredfile.com/

It exists!

...Just not in the way I want it to. >_>
Tiptoe39: annoyedtiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Damn. I had originally looked up something slightly different, either plural or without the the or something, but then I decided theredfile.com was the best permutation. Oh well, thus 'tis fiction.
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: milotiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It was my first time writing many of them so I was hopeful I could capture it. But both Micah and Peter started *talking* to me in that way that MattMo usually do, so I was pleased.
Dee00smut on December 8th, 2007 05:27 am (UTC)
Plenty of love for this. First of all, I love Petrelli's in any way, shape or form. Your Peter had me cracking up.

Also- Mohinder speech always translates into narration to me, with that pacing, and that you called him on it... Breaking the 4th wall with style.

These kisses just keep getting better <3
Tiptoe39: robinhoodtiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC)
Heheh, credit hubby hedgehog39 with the voiceover line idea :)

I love that icon, btw.
saena17: petersaena17 on December 8th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC)
I loved how this was more than just a kiss; it was an entire plot arc. I loved all of it- the M4 goodness was amazing (and would be awesome on the show, although it would make a future Micah/Molly pairing more unlikely- oh well, it's not like the fanfic writers won't do it anyway), all the Peter moments were awesome, and the kiss itself was so sweet. I loved the last little "blog post" quote you put in. :) Wonderful, all around!

Sarah
Tiptoe39: milotiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, I desperately wanted to write end-of-show narration ^_^

And it grew a plot all by itself! Agh!
I know how to use my talky round hole: M3irish_heiress on December 8th, 2007 05:50 am (UTC)
This was so great! I was actually commenting after the finale that the writers needed to ship Micah off to go stay with Matt, Mohinder, and Molly, so it was awesome to see him with those guys. And the website...GENIUS! And jeez, how much do I love nosey, match-making Peter here?! SO MUCH!

Anyway, you are wonderful, and I think this might've been my favorite Kiss fic so far! Thank you for writing!! :D
Tiptoe39: milotiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, Peter is a little yente, isn't he? He's so funny when he's got that snide dry little humor thing going.
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: milotiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks! *hugs you* It was too much fun to write Peter...
crystal_mkcrystal_mk on December 8th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
Seriously, I think I might love you. This was absolutely wonderful.

Poor Matt, all jealous over Peter and Mohinder.
I love how it takes Peter playing matchmaker to force Matt to make his move.

There were so many perfect little moment in this one, I think it might be my favorite.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you so much!!!
Mel: heroes - whispered secretsnewkidfan on December 8th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
I swear your kisses get more elaborate every time. This one was especially good. I love your Micah, and Peter as matchmaker is just perfect. <3
Tiptoe39: animalstiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
Hehehehe it grew a plot on its own, I was so mad at it for doing so... :whips fanfic into shape: be fluffy, damn you!!
Artsy: Heroes: MattMolly!Vigilancehiddenfantasy on December 8th, 2007 06:09 am (UTC)
Words cannot express how much I love this one. The whole vibe of it just capture me right at the beginning and wouldn't let go. I love it. Love it, love it, love it. Especially the last paragraph.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, yay, thank you :)
himhilien: Heroes - Matthimhilien on December 8th, 2007 06:12 am (UTC)
This is definitely one of my favorite kisses in this series.

As others have said, Peter playing matchmaker is genius. I love how you made Mohinder feel guilty for Niki's death and how you handled him telling Micah what happened. I really fear for Micah in the series, having both his parents die in such tragic ways and being concerned with family when they died. Oh goodness, Molly will be needing some therapy too. Then there's The Red Files. Excellent idea.

>> Is he a zombie? What does killer want with victims' brains?

This had me cackling madly. And all I could think of when I read this was Sylar asking Ando what he'd want with his brain last season.

Having Monica and Nana in this made me smile, and I can't wait to see them in Volume 3.

Mohinder's speech.... That man can read my organic chemistry book and I'd gladly listen to him talk about aldol condensation reactions all day. Also, him wearing his glasses just makes me so giggly. Why couldn't he be a professor at my university?
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
Everyone in this show needs therapy. I'm glad you liked the "web site," I had fun making up the headlines. Matt Drudge watch out... :D
shara50: wickedshara50 on December 8th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC)
Terrific and I adore your Matt and Mohinder!!
Tiptoe39: cmere youtiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:12 pm (UTC)
They love you back! Thanks!
Renée: Mohinder. Hot in Haiti.rogueslayer452 on December 8th, 2007 09:11 am (UTC)
I'm...I'm at loss for words. Okay, not really, but I was blown away at how nicely constructed this part is, aside from the kiss in the end you gave a remarkable backstory and continuation for after "Powerless" and how each individual character is dealing with it. Micah especially, and Peter, and how they're all still wanting to bring down the Company despite what happened to Nathan. Plus, the TheRedFile.com and "M4 Group" idea is just super cute. It seems odd that they didn't get caught by the Company or whoever by tracking devices and whatnot, but it's a really neat idea nonetheless. I liked your Micah-voice, and although I kind of see him as being a bit stronger in terms of how we've seen him in the show, I like how he emotionally broke down after Niki's death (as I think he would for a time as both his parents are gone), his bonding with Molly and how he bounced right back and was determined to help the cause.

The exploration of the Matt and Mohinder relationship, like how Matt had gotten overly jealous and Mohinder asking Peter for advice at how to approach Matt and so forth, it's all really cute. Matt's defensiveness, and Peter being all devious when they were talking. Oh man, that was awesome.

And of course, the kiss. Always about the kiss, and I loved it as I do all the others. But what really stood out for me was the depth of everything surrounding that kiss. As I mentioned before, it's the preparation of the events around them that's holding all of them together. ♥
Tiptoe39: nerdytiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much :-) Well, Micah is keeping the line of dummy servers long and he gets notifications when there's a trace on the line... it's hard to defeat a technopath in cyber-battle, after all....

So glad you enjoyed :)
teecub on December 8th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
Ooo! I loved it, as always! (Matt resented Peter even more for this admission of Mohinder's.) Mujahaha! Jealous Matt is love.

Omg! And how Matt got so excited when Mohinder was amused by what he said when making the web page? Mmmm! And this! ("Think? I think you ought to do voiceovers." Matt grinned.) *Facepalms* PRICELESS!

("I would have an easier time believing that if you would stop imagining squashing me like a bug."

"I'm not--" He was, though. He so was. ) I almost died. Maaan, it’s a wonder my bf is still asleep. This is just tooooo good!

And then there is the whole plot itself. It's so detailed and perfect! This is totally the best first kiss ever! I know that I saw that pretty often but I really mean it! These get better and better with every one! Thank you SO much! *SNUGS*
Tiptoe39: saitiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
*snuggles you back* Thanks for enjoying those lines; I had a couple in here I liked so I am glad they got some love. thanks so much for enjoying it
Madam Morrighanmadmogs on December 8th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Wow, this was an absolutely fantastic piece of fiction -- and I must admit I totally want a sequel to it because it feels like the start of a much longer story.

I particularly adored your Micah.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you :-)
angeldylan628angeldylan628 on December 8th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC)
"Think? I think you ought to do voiceovers." Matt grinned.

You have no idea how much those voiceovers make my day. lol. I loved this fic. And you included Peter which made it even more lovely because I love him (when he's not being stupid and frying Hiro) and the first intriguing slash ship on Heroes for me was Peter/Mohinder so I loved that interaction. And now I'm just rambling...

Beautiful work!
Tiptoe39: robinhoodtiptoe39 on December 8th, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
i've said it before and I'll say it again, credit my husband with that line, he's the one who thought of it :) you see why i keep him around :D
Jessiejessieflower on December 9th, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
I love the idea of the Heroes (especially with the help of Micah's powers) creating a website to find more Heroes. Its just a little easier than road trips with super villians. ;)
Tiptoe39: nerdytiptoe39 on December 9th, 2007 12:56 am (UTC)
Ya SRSLY Mohinder get your technogeek on and you wouldn't end up in such trouble!
JLB: nerdy heroesbaehj2915 on December 9th, 2007 02:36 am (UTC)
Wowowow! A plot kiss! With plot and I liked it!

I so wish the characters could get their act together this easily on the show.

I loved:
-"You should do voiceovers" lol
-squashing peter like a bug
-M4... dude that's brilliant but almost too much waff and angst and orphans
-capturing the Mohinder voiceover tone perfectly
-too much pretty for one room
-thank you for not definitively killing nathan :D

Also, as a proud blue state dweller, I fully support the redstate.org bashing. They can eat a dick.

~love from WI
JLB
Tiptoe39: raphaeltiptoe39 on December 9th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
Hee hee hee. Love for you for noticing the lines I liked best...

I have absolutely no doubt nathan will survive. because natalie will kick adrian in the balls if he loses his job.
darksheepus on December 9th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
That's just great... Like all your other things, really
Proof? I've been reading all the kisses, and I don't even bother with less than R rating...

You rock!
Tiptoe39: rougetiptoe39 on December 9th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
Re: That's just great... Like all your other things, really
The NC-17 stuff is over at tiptoesmut, in case you missed it ;-D Thank you!
priscillafilmspriscillaf on December 10th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
When Molly wandered through, she made the casual observation, "Wow. That's almost too much pretty for one room." Matt stared at her a moment, then looked at the pair and, with a sinking heart, decided he agreed.


lmfao.
molly = total fangirl
Tiptoe39: mo and mollytiptoe39 on December 10th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC)
Yes indeed. ^_^ Because it IS. Waaaaay too much pretty for one room. :)
saavikam77: M3saavikam77 on December 10th, 2007 04:49 am (UTC)
*sits in awe*

O_O

This was absolutely FANTASTIC!! I LOVE the idea of the Red File website and the M4. And Micah? Brilliant in this. Actually, all your character voices were beautifully perfect here. I'm so jealous of your obvious mad skills. ^_~

I absolutely *adored* Peter in this, with Matt being jealous until Peter told him Mohinder was nuts about him. :p Just perfect.

*bows to the queen of M3 fic* O_O Bravo!!!! *applauds*
Tiptoe39: milotiptoe39 on December 10th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you!! I loved writing Micah and Peter. Since I never write them it was fun that they just came and climbed up into the big loft that is my brain and sat around and told me stories. :D

I can see Peter as being this kind of a selfless guy.

Thank you sweetheart!
imeru on December 11th, 2007 10:24 am (UTC)
--pretty damned fascinating yourself, just for a different reason--

Matt turned. Mohinder blushed, and his mind went blank. Matt frowned and opened his mouth to speak.

I LOVED this. And, well, all the rest of the fic indeed.
Tiptoe39: tiredtiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
thank you :)