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22 April 2008 @ 01:03 pm
[fic repost] Episodic Tangents: Collision (PG)  
Series Title: Episodic Tangents
Chapter Title: Collision(Season 1, Episode 4)
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG for language only.
Summary: A chick-flicky waff in the style of ilsaluvsrick and dedicated to her with love.

Part of "Episodic Tangents," a series of one-shots in which we start with the titles of episodes and go in completely different directions.



I.

The first time, it actually was a collision.

Matt was walking down the steps and looking at the sky. Because it was that kind of a day. You wanted to be strolling through Rockefeller Center on your way to meet a pal at Dean & Deluca's while looking up at a sky that had no right to be as blue as it was, not over a major metropolitan center. Then again, he'd spent so long in Los Angeles that he'd almost forgotten what it was to have a city that wasn't ruled by smog.

He was just coming off the steps when they collided. The man was in a hurry and looked rather upset; Matt turned to say "Sorry, are you all right?" but the man had brushed by him with a muttered "Pardon" and headed in the other direction. He was gone in an instant.

But it was an instant that Matt remembered. Because the "Pardon" had the trace of an accent on it, and the man had incredible curly hair that he'd somehow managed to ruin with great honkin' sideburns.

II.

The second time, Matt thought it was a collision. Turns out it wasn't.

When the book hit him in the back, he jumped and let out a surprised howl. "Oh. Terribly sorry," said a voice behind him. Matt turned slightly to wave it away.

"It's no big deal. It's crowded in here, and... hey. You collided with me once before."

There was no mistaking the sideburns. Or, now that he thought about it, the accent. The man looked up. "Oh?"

"In Rockefeller Center. You were in a rush, I'm not surprised you don't remember."

"I do remember," the man said. "I was very rude. I apologize." He shut the book and smiled.

Matt immediately felt weak in the knees. The man's smile was something so dazzling it ought to have a warning label. "N.. no problem," he said. Suddenly his tongue felt like a big dead weight in his mouth. Feeling incredibly stupid, he turned back in line and tried to remember how many cinnamon raisin bagels he'd promised to bring back and how many onion.

III.

The third time was absolutely his fault.

He wasn't watching where he was going. He had three hot dogs perched precariously under his arm. And the steps in the stadium were awfully steep. So while he was watching his feet, he tripped over someone else's and just barely managed to make it his shoulder and not his food that slammed into the man standing and talking on the edge of the row.

"Ah! Sorry! God! F.. freakin' stairs," he cried out, aware that Molly was probably within earshot.

"Careful."

This time he recognized the voice.

They looked at each other and started laughing.

"We're making a habit of this," the man said. Matt really felt like a dumb kid when faced with that smile. "I do hope you're not stalking me."

"A friend of yours, Dr. Suresh?" the man next to him asked.

"No, just..."

Matt interrupted. "We've collided like three times, just randomly on the street."

"Actually," the man called Suresh said, frowning, "we've only collided once. Both objects have to be moving for it to be a true collision."

Well, that burst of complete dorkitude was enough for Matt to regain his footing. "Pardon me. I've got to..." He gestured to the hot dogs by way of explanation and hurried off.

Molly informed him that he looked like he'd just been run over by a truck. He suggested a place she could stick the spare hot dog. And Matt looked back at Suresh. He was chatting animatedly with his friend, not looking down at him. He was a handsome guy. Matt decided that if they collided again, moving objects or no, he was going to at least chat him up a bit. After all, the smile plus the accent plus the curls? Definitely outweighed the sideburns.

IV.

The fourth time, he saw him coming.

He sort of sang happily to himself when the chiseled, dark face appeared, again reading a book, again lost to the world and heading straight for him. What kind of a guy reads a book at Coney Island, anyway?

"That's the ladies' room," he said.

The man looked up, surprised. Glanced at the sign. Glanced at him. And blushed. Matt thought the color that rose to his dark skin brought a barely noticeable glow to his face.

"Dr. Suresh, right?" Matt said, holding out a hand. "Matt Parkman." They shook, and the hand in his was lithe and warm. Like the rest of him, Matt thought, beating back a sudden feverish shudder that was trying to claw its way into his spine. "The way we're running into each other, I figured there's no way God doesn't want us to at least introduce ourselves."

"You may be right." Suresh smiled, and Matt got the goosebumps. Fuck! that was a nice smile. He glanced up at the sign for the ladies' room again, a question in his eyes. Oh, please let that be the question Matt hoped he was asking.

"Uh, my daughter. Molly. Waiting for her."

"You have a daughter? How old is she?"

"Ten. And there she is. Hey, cutie. Say hello to Dr. Suresh."

"Hello, Dr. Suresh," Molly said brightly.

Suresh grinned again. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Molly," he said, extending his hand. Molly shook it, then turned to Matt. "Ferris wheel next?"

"Your wish is my command," he replied, giving her a sweeping bow. Suresh laughed, and Matt's heart felt doubly light. "Nice meeting you, Doctor," he said, turning toward the giant spinning wheel, the top edges of its spokes seeming to touch the sun. "I'm sure I'll see you around."

"Undoubtedly," Suresh said, a quirky smile on his lips. Matt turned away before he started thinking about what it would be to kiss them.

V.

The fifth time was still by accident, but it was a little bit different than the others.

Matt was behind the wheel on his way back to the station after an assault up in Harlem. The heavens had opened up just before 130th Street, and he was at about 115th when he saw the familiar figure, using a newspaper as an umbrella and getting soaked anyway. He pulled over and honked.

"Get in."

His face was streaked with rain. His curls were matted down, plastered to his head. Matt beat down the thoughts that started rocketing through his head and just unlocked the passenger side.

"Thank you," Suresh shouted through the rain and got in. He looked at the radio and the other bells and whistles with great interest, hugging himself to warm up. His lips looked a little blue. Not that Matt was paying that much attention to his lips. Oh, who was he fooling?

"How far are you going?" Matt asked.

"89th."

"You were gonna walk twenty blocks in this!?"

"I didn't exactly expect it to start pouring," he answered crossly, scowling a little.

"Do you teach here?" Matt asked, gesturing out toward the buildings of Columbia University.

The doctor nodded. "Yes. Genetics. I have to say that of all professions, I didn't expect you to be a police officer of all things. Matt, was it?"

"That's right."

"My given name is Mohinder."

Matt made a face. "I'll tell you up front that I'm never gonna remember that."

"You remembered Suresh." An impish little smile. Matt prayed to the gods of self-control. Damn, but this man was attractive.

"Min... hoder, was it?"

"Mohinder."

"Mohinder. Mohinder Mohinder. Sure. I can remember that."

"I could give you my card..."

"Nope, seeing it written down will help me forget it faster, I guarantee. Hey, there's a way to remember it. It would hinder me more. Mo' hinder. Hah."

"Brilliant!" Dr. Mohinder Suresh clapped his hands, and Matt knew he would not forget that name. It flowed through his mind like a river. Beautiful and always moving.

The wipers beat frantic drumbeats against the windshield. Traffic blared impatiently. They were stopped at a red light. Matt started drumming absently on the steering wheel.

"Your daughter was very nice," Mohinder spoke up. "I hope you don't mind me noticing, but you're not married?"

Matt looked down at his bare left hand. "Nope. That's not happening. Molly's not mine mine, but she's mine in all the ways that count. It's a long story," he interrupted himself, seeing the puzzled look. A glint of admiration seemed to hover in Mohinder's eyes, and Matt was encouraged. Now would be an excellent time to test those particular waters. He took a deep breath before continuing. "But marriage ain't happening. Not until New York gets its act together and follows Massachusetts' lead." He tried to look nonchalant, but his eyes slid toward the other man's face.

Well, that was different. He'd never seen a man look perfectly dismayed that he was gay before. Women, sure, but... He'd better not be one of those Bible Belt types, or worse, a Born-Again Bigot.

"Why... why don't you and your partner go to Massachusetts and have a ceremony there?" Mohinder said. "I've had some friends who've done that. Besides, it's a good excuse to go up to Boston. Or the Cape, which is lovely."

Matt laughed, and in his heart he was cheering. The guy was disappointed cause he thought Matt was attached? Right on! "It would be nice," he said. "I just have to take care of that niggling detail of finding the right guy first." Feel free to volunteer anytime there.

But Mohinder just nodded and was still until 89th. He grabbed up his things and started to go when Matt made a last-ditch effort. "Hey, you know... we keep meeting by accident and something's gotta give. Can I give you my number or something? Just... thought it might be fun to actually know who you are, since I keep bumping into you." Oh. God, that was lame.

Again, Mohinder reacted in a way that he didn't expect -- he smiled as though Matt had just made his day. Was it possible he was interested? Oh please oh please with sugar and five hundred cherries on top? As Matt scribbled down his number, he fervently prayed this worked out, because he couldn't imagine meeting a guy who intrigued him more than this stranger named Mohinder.

VI.

Then, abruptly, Matt met a man who did.

His name was Nathan and he was old money, rich and sarcastic and great fun to banter with. He had a driver-- a driver!-- and a bodyguard. And he was running for state senate, which was pretty impressive. Matt actually first saw him in a tabloid, but he'd looked kind of dark and scary. Still, the headline-- "YES I AM"-- sprung out at him, and he'd opened the paper.

Inside, he grasped the whole story. Somehow the tabloid had gotten wind that the candidate Nathan Petrelli was-- gasp!-- a h-h-h-homosexual, and had actually been married and had kids before he managed to come out, and Nathan had sent a letter signed by himself, his ex-wife, and his two grown sons to the paper saying, like the headline said, yes, he was, his family supported his choices and wanted him to be happy, and now that that was out of the way can we go back to talking about the issues? It was a gutsy letter and used some plain and kind of blunt language, and Matt was instantly impressed. So when he had a chance to work security at one of the Petrelli campaign events, he jumped at it.

He made his way to the candidate's side when he had a chance. "Mr. Petrelli, sir, I just wanted you to know I appreciated your letter to the editor. It makes a huge difference for folks like me to see this sort of thing discussed openly. I hope you don't mind me saying so."

"Course I don't mind," Nathan had said, giving him a sly smile. "I have to admit, it was my brother's idea. I'm not usually that candid. But he's always been a great people person and he told me to come clean."

"It's pretty candid of you to admit it wasn't your idea," Matt pointed out before he knew to stop himself, and Nathan did a double take and looked him over, a bit of heat in his gaze. Matt flushed.

"You're pretty clever, Officer..." Nathan squinted to read his badge. "Parkman? Parkman. Huh. I'll have to have you come by sometime. We could use a mind like yours on the campaign."

Matt didn't end up volunteering, but he did end up in Nathan's back office with the blinds drawn later that night. And the next weekend Nathan took him flying upstate, in a little rickety Cessna that was so small it was barely there at all. They bantered, throwing insults right and left, even in public, even while holding hands. Matt actually got his picture in the paper. Well, it was a local paper that barely anybody read, but it was enough to get some ribbing from the guys.

Nathan was a challenge. Matt had to stay focused to keep up with him. He was sharp as a tack and always one hundred percent there, even when he was doing the sixteenth baby-kissing tour that week. And he was nice to Molly and never said a word about how shabby their apartment was, despite the fact that he lived in a Central Park South townhouse that might as well be the Ritz for the way it looked. Matt wasn't in love with him-- far from it-- but he was fun, and it was all so overwhelming and more than a little exciting. Blue-collar Matt, living the high life with his hotshot boyfriend. Who wouldn't enjoy that?

Then, one evening, the phone rang.

"Hello, um, is this Matt?"

It took him a moment. "Who..."

"I'm sorry. Mohinder. This is Dr. Mohinder Suresh. You gave me your number..."

And Matt sank to the middle of the kitchen floor, suddenly incredibly confused. His heart was hammering. He'd called. Mohinder had finally called. Matt had given up on hearing from him after the first few days. Maybe he'd been too forward, and Mohinder had been scared. Or maybe Mohinder wasn't interested in men and his instinct had been wrong from the get-go. He had no idea. But he was a father, and a cop, and that left very little time for introspection. You got up, you dusted off, and you moved on with life. Matt wished he had time to be a philosopher, but let's face it, nobody does these days.

"M-... Mohinder, sure, hi. I'm surprised to hear from you. Glad," he added hastily, "but surprised..."

"I'm sorry. I've been out of the country. I had a lecture at Cairo, and then I needed to stop in India to visit my mother."

Matt had a sudden vision of Mohinder as King Rameses, ordering the building of the pyramids. Loincloth and scepter and... stop stop stop. "Whoa. Y... you're quite the globetrotter."

A gentle laugh on the line that made him feel like caramel was filling his insides. "I suppose I get around, at that. But I wondered if... if you wanted to..."

"Coffee, maybe? Dinner?" Hot sex?

No, God, no! Why did his imagination spiral out of control every time he spoke to this guy? He didn't even know him. And never mind Nathan...

"I think coffee would be a good start," Mohinder said gently. His voice! Every time it took a different tone Matt felt like he had a mouthful of something shivery sweet. "Shall we meet... at the bagel place where we collided that one time?"

"I thought you said that wasn't a collision," Matt chided. "I wasn't moving, right?"

There was laughter and almost a hint of a snort on the line. Matt's heart gave a painful twinge.

They made their plans and chatted a little more. Mohinder told him a little about his trip and asked after Molly. Matt went into proud-papa mode, bragging up a storm. They were on the phone nearly an hour before Matt noticed the time with a yelp.

"Hey," he said shortly before they hung up. "I'm glad you called. I'd wondered what had happened."

"I'm sorry."

"No, don't apologize. Just cause you're a jet setter and I'm a dumb cop." Now he was even talking like they were a couple. He figured Nathan was going to fly over here and kill him in his sleep.

"Don't say that. Police officers are heroes, I really believe that." There was slight sadness in the voice, and the taste in Matt's mouth was now of something bittersweet and precious.

"In any case. I'll see you at the bagel place." Matt hung up the phone and stared at it. Then he raised a hand to touch his own face, which was hot.

All right. No pressure. He wasn't a cheater. He was just meeting a friend. He'd make sure to call Nathan in the morning to tell him about it. Just in case.

VII.

Nathan was cool with it, thank God. He knew how sensitive these things could get. He had a meeting with a friend who was in town anyway. Matt was grateful to have a low-stress relationship with a fellow serial monogamist. Such things were rare. You didn't let go of them unless you absolutely had to.

So why the hell was he torturing himself standing outside the window of the bagel shop, looking at Mohinder Suresh like he was the best item on the menu?

I'll take one with everything, please. To go. He laughed at himself. He should just stand him up, walk away now. Leave him reading his book. This was unhealthy.

Even if he hated the guy he couldn't do that to him. Matt was a hopeless Nice Guy. He'd just have to trust himself to be a Good Guy as well.

He sauntered inside and got his bagel and coffee, then threw himself squarely into the back of Mohinder's chair.

Rattled, the man looked up, then smiled delightedly when Matt said, "We just keep bumping into each other, after all."

He sat and they shook hands. This time Matt was amazed by his sure grip, despite the slender fingers. It made him feel a tad fluttery. "So, ah... I'm really glad you called," he said.

"You mentioned," said Mohinder, putting away his reading glasses and shutting his book.

"What are you always reading?" Matt asked. "You can't be reading textbooks all the time, can you?"

Mohinder blinked. "No, not as such." He held up the book for Matt to see. Silver letters on a black binding. They flashed and danced before his eyes.

Matt sighed. "That doesn't help. I'm no good at reading when the text is that color. I'm sorry."

"Dyslexia?"

"How'd you know?"

"I've had students. In any case, the book is a a Jonathan Swift anthology. I read him in my college days, and enjoyed him, but these days I find I have a greater appreciation for the social commentary. It's rather... biting."

"Is that so?" Maybe he should introduce him to Nathan.

"It's also difficult. I'm a scientific person. I don't appreciate things like art and beauty as much as I should. So I try to keep myself from ignoring it altogether."

Well, yes, when you look like you could have inspired half the paintings you see, it must be hard to appreciate them, Matt thought. "I don't appreciate it enough either. So I watch slasher films and avoid anything classic like the plague. Well, classic rock I like. If that counts."

Mohinder laughed. Matt briefly considered becoming a volunteer stand-up comedian so he could watch this man laugh for the rest of his life.

Then he looked Matt straight in the eye. "You never fail to make me laugh. I'm not sure why."

Matt blushed beet red and shrugged. "I'm, uh, just a funny guy?"

"You must be a wonderful father. I'm a little jealous. I've often wondered what it would be like to have a little girl of my own. But that's because I lost my sister a long time ago. Sort of a ridiculously transparent psychology, I know, but..."

"Oh. Man, I'm sorry." He could feel the sadness like it was his own. Everything this guy did or said affected him. It was insane.

"Don't be. I was very small when it happened. I've had thirty years to recover from it."

"Still. That sort of thing never really leaves you." Matt was suddenly aware that they hadn't broken the eye contact, that they were staring at each other in a very raw way. It was like a cord between them was being pulled taut. They couldn't move, couldn't look away. He could feel the tension vibrating through his eyes. "Anyway, I'm sorry, I don't mean to be asking..."

"I brought it up, not you."

"Yeah." His mouth was dry. He couldn't say anything else. They looked at each other in silence for a long, long moment.

"So. Um. How's your search for the man you'll take to Massachusetts?"

That broke the contact. Oh, man. Wrong fucking question. "I am... kind of seeing someone," Matt said, biting down his anger both at Mohinder for raising the subject and him for not being able to answer the way he wanted to.

"Oh?" Mohinder sipped his coffee. "What is he like?"

No, no, no! Do not take an interest! He wanted to separate Nathan and Mohinder into two distinct worlds. He wanted to have a foot in each without them ever coming together. "He's very nice. A bit of a public figure, which is tough."

"A... a public figure? Who is it? Elton John?"

Matt laughed nervously. "Heh. No, not quite that public. Besides, Elton's not my type."

"What's your type, then?"

Dark curly hair, British accent, staring at me over bagels. "I suppose, the quiet type. I'm a homebody. I'm a dad. I like someone who appreciates domesticity. Privacy. The things that matter that you don't need to talk about, but they're important anyway because you depend on them always being there." He'd never realized until now just how antithetical to that Nathan really was. But Mohinder didn't need to know that. "What about you? What's your type?"

Mohinder laughed. "O positive." This made Matt smirk. "Seriously. I can't remember the last time I actually thought about dating. I've been in academics so long I think I might be hopelessly in love with the sound of my own voice. Thus is the peril of the Ivy League. You begin to believe everything they say about the school, and figure it applies to you by extension."

"Ah. Sounds like the opposite of police academy. You don't watch it, you get called a lazy lard-ass one too many times and you start to believe it." Matt reached for his coffee and realized it had gotten cold. How long had they been sitting there? He'd finished his bagel long ago. But he still couldn't look away.

"I'm... uh." Mohinder fidgeted. "I'm terribly glad I met you. That is, you're rather nice. To talk to."

"So are you," murmured Matt.

"Thank you." Still. His eyes. The whole world was his eyes.

Matt fastened his hands tight around the coffee cup to keep them still. The cup was cold, but his hands were hot.

It was Mohinder who first found the will to break the hold. "I should probably get going," he said, getting up and pulling his jacket on. It was so casual and simultaneously so graceful a movement that when Matt got to his feet, he was sure he must have looked like an elephant by comparison.

They stepped out side. There was a chill in the air. Mohinder shuddered. Matt's arms immediately started aching.

He forced himself to just hold out his hand. "Thanks for meeting me," he said. "It was nice to actually talk to you a bit instead of just bumping into you."

Mohinder took the hand, but didn't shake. Instead, he just sort of stood there, leaned in a little bit close to him. Their hands joined between them as a kind of bond. A universe of wanting tumbled through Matt's mind at that moment, and he shuddered and caught his lower lip between his teeth. The pain brought him control and he was able to break the grip and turn to go.

"I..."

He turned back. Mohinder was blushing fiercely. His hands were fists. "I'll call you again," he blurted out.

Matt smiled. "Please do. I'd like that." And this time, he managed to walk away before collapsing against a wall, his hand on his heart.

This was not good. This was so dangerous. This was... something Nathan needed to know about.

VIII.

"Nathan. We have to talk."

"We'll talk, Parkman. After the primary, we'll talk." There was noise on the line. People. Campaign workers, advisers, most likely.

"It's important. It's about us."

There was a brief silence. When Nathan's voice returned, the background was gone, and his tone was gentle and low and even. "Parkman, listen to me. I have never for one moment thought that I was the guy you couldn't live without, that I was supposed to be your happy-ever-after. I know you want something more, I really do. I get that." There was some regret in his voice. "So when the primary's over, we'll talk. I swear. But right now I really need you to stick with it. This isn't about me, OK? It's about New York. I have a chance to make a difference here, and I really have to play all my cards right. You understand."

Matt couldn't argue with that, not really. He knew what he was getting into by dating this guy. "It's what, two weeks away now?"

"Week and a half. Nine days if you're counting."

"And if I ever knew a guy who was counting..." Matt had to grin. He'd ribbed Nathan about his obsession with counting down to primary day.

The voice was tinged with real concern. "Can you wait that long? And then I swear you can go off and find that perfect guy you're always looking for. If that's what you want. Until then, let's have a good time. We always have a good time, you and me. Don't we?"

Matt had to agree with that. Another brilliant example of just how decent a guy Nathan was, and just how wrong the two of them were for each other. Well. He could wait until the primaries were over. Nathan deserved that much.

That week and a half rolled by, and although Mohinder did call, Matt ignored the ringing phone. If he could just keep those two worlds from colliding until the primary was over, then everything would be fine. As much as he ached to see Mohinder, talk to him, he knew this was the best way to keep a disaster from happening.

Thank God he had Molly. Without her, without the PB&J day-to-day routines of fatherhood, he might not have made it. Without the wisdom that came from putting on a strong face for his child, he might not have been able to fake it well enough to survive.

IX.

Nathan won the primary.

It wouldn't have been occasion for a huge party, except for this was a Petrelli family victory, which meant a Petrelli family style victory celebration. So Matt donned his tux and showed up at the townhouse.

Nathan was in his element, and that meant lots of eyes were on the two of them. Matt grit his teeth and smiled and greeted. It was an awful burden to know he was obligated to stay a happy couple for the cameras. The irony of it was, Matt thought, if he and Nathan had managed to have that conversation-- if they were able to resolve things between the two of them-- he probably would have a much easier time playing lovebirds with him. Oh, well. He'd promised. He just had to trust that Nathan would keep his end of the bargain.

But he was a decent guy, really. At one point, he leaned over and whispered in Matt's ear, "Stick with me, buddy. We'll be done here soon, and then you and I will have that talk. Now laugh, as though I've just told you something really dirty." Matt did just that.

The worst part was looking the rest of the Petrellis in the eye knowing that things were most likely over. Nathan's brother, Peter, was a sort of naive, idealistic sort, and he seemed convinced that Matt and Nathan were soulmates destined for the altar. Then again, he also thought Nathan would be governor, then president, next. It was sweet, but kind of infuriatingly stupid. (Nathan's mother also thought he'd probably be president, but he got a chilling sense that it would be because she had rigged the polls or murdered his opponent. The lady freaked him out.)

So he passed most of the time crowd-watching, seeing local celebrities and occasionally a national face move across the marble floors and congregate on the edge of the staircase. In the background was a really God-awful jazz combo that was doing elevator-music renditions of the most eclectic group of songs he'd ever heard. The singer wasn't bad, but the arrangements were. Really bad. Cut-off-my-ears-and-call-me-Van-Gogh bad. First there was Buddy Holly, then a truly painful Lloyd Webber melody. And now, Matt noted with a hint of chagrin at recognizing it, the band was butchering '80s two-hit wonder INXS.

I...
I was standing,
You were there.
Two worlds, collided...


He felt the crack of impending doom when he heard the lyric. His gaze flew across the room. He knew instinctively where to look, knew exactly what he was about to see.

And they will never tear us apart

How he made his way over there he wasn't sure. The beat of the music and the champagne's low buzz in his brain probably propelled him. He just knew that suddenly, in a crush of people, they were face to face. "Mohinder," he said.

"You still remember my name." Already those eyes were gripping his. Already the magnetism that surrounded this man had him trapped.

"It was easy to remember." Matt was reminded vaguely of West Side Story, how when Tony saw Maria at the dance, she appeared in a pastel bubble and the rest of the world faded away. He couldn't see anything but the man in front of him. "We, uh, we meet again, I guess."

"So we do." Mohinder answered him immediately. Barely a breath between their words. They continued to overlap each other. Like they knew what the other was going to say.

"I haven't seen you in a while."

"I tried to call."

"I'm sorry. I should have picked up, but I... I'm seeing someone and..."

"Yes, I know. It's all right. I don't want to give the wrong impression."

"But it's not. That is, I wanted to... Mohinder. I have to tell you..."

Then there was a hand on Matt's arm. He looked up, jarred. It was Peter Petrelli. Matt stuttered. "Oh. Pete. Hi. Um, Peter Petrelli, Dr. Mohinder Suresh, Mohinder--"

"You're Dr. Suresh?" Peter enthused, his eyes wide and admiring. "It's an honor. I really enjoyed your last paper on human regenerative potential. I'm a registered nurse, so any progress on that front is so important to my patients."

"Well... thank you." Mohinder looked between the two of them helplessly.

"Oh! I almost forgot." Peter turned back to Matt. "Nathan was looking for you."

Mohinder's eyes went round. He stared at Matt. "The man you were seeing... the public figure was..."

Matt's heart shattered. Despite his best efforts, his two worlds had collided.

Mindlessly, lost in the absolute mess of it all, he waved a hasty goodbye to the both of them and went to find Nathan. When he looked back, Mohinder and Peter were chatting happily. He thought for a moment he saw sad eyes dart up to catch his, but he wasn't sure.

The rest of the night was a blur. He felt like he was being sucked into that blurry, bubbly background, just another stuffed shirt there for effect. Nathan was the starring role; he was the window dressing. He applauded when Nathan spoke. He held his hand. He looked into the distance and wondered if there was anything left to hope for.

Despite all that, the evening ended on a good note. For when the caterers cleaned up and all the guests had gone, Nathan took Matt up to the bedroom and sat him down on the bed. "Now, Parkman. Tell me."

Matt looked at him. "You sure? It's your night, you should be happy..."

"I'm sure."

He kneeled in front of him, took both his hands. It was perhaps the most intimate gesture he'd ever made. Even though they'd slept together. Right now, Nathan was expecting honesty from him. Even honesty that might hurt.

"It's just..." Matt fumbled for the words. "You know what you said about my happy-ever-after? The one guy I can't be happy without?"

Nathan nodded.

"I think... I think I've already found him," Matt said helplessly. The words were like a rush of cold air, and he shivered.

But Nathan just smiled and pulled him into a one-armed hug, kissing the top of his head gently. "That's great news," he said. "Go get him, Matt." A rare use of his given name. It made Matt's heart hurt to hear. But when Nathan pulled back, he was smiling.

"You're not angry at me?" Matt said, dumbfounded.

"Course not, buddy." Nathan smiled. "All I ever wanted was for you to be happy. I enjoyed being the guy who was able to do that for a while. Someone else can do it better, I want you with him. It's that simple."

"You are gonna be president someday, you know that?" Matt said, smiling slightly.

"I expect an endorsement from the police if I get that far," smirked Nathan. "Now go to sleep. I'll drive you home in the morning. And when you get this dream guy of yours, I want to hear all about it."

X.

Matt wanted to go get him. He wanted to drive over there the very next day. He wanted to call him. But a big splash of cold water greeted him when he realized he'd actually never managed to get Mohinder's number. He could stalk 89th Street until he found him, but that was just over the line of creepy. And when he picked up the phone thinking it might be Mohinder and it was a reporter for the City News asking about his breakup with Nathan Petrelli, Matt decided it was probably prudent to wait until his fifteen minutes of fame were up.

Once the gossip columns had moved on to note that Nathan had taken up with a savvy ACLU lawyer from Savannah, Matt figured the coast was clear. He headed up the first chance he could to 89th, a huge grin on his face. He'd dropped Mohinder off on 89th and Broadway, so he figured the man had to live within a block of there. He had no doubt he'd find him. After all, when had they ever failed to collide?

The birds were singing. Seriously. There were birds. And they wre singing. And the sky was blue again. Just like the first time they'd met. It was that beautiful a day. Matt was absolutely sure he'd run into him. And tell him it was over with Nathan. And tell him all the things he'd been feeling all this time. And if God was on his side, and how couldn't he be, maybe Matt would even get to kiss him. The thought of kissing Mohinder was all kinds of delicious. Nothing could ruin his mood.

Except, perhaps, for the very person he wanted to see.

Because when Matt finally saw him, he was standing there with Peter Petrelli. Holding both his hands. Looking into his eyes. And smiling and flushing and looking utterly smitten.

Matt couldn't tell his legs to stop walking. He was still on autopilot. His brain was busy running around frantically inside his head looking for the off switch. All expression had left his face. When he was finally able to stop moving, it was too late. Mohinder had noticed him.

He dropped Peter's hands abruptly and turned to him. "Matt...!"

The sound of his name was like a gunshot. Matt snapped into reflexive action. He turned and stalked off in the opposite direction.

At the corner he hailed a cab and went thirty blocks south, his thoughts circling like angry hawks. Didn't Mohinder know? Was he trying to get revenge for Matt's inability to make a move earlier? Of all people, Nathan's brother! Had he inadvertently led the man he'd been looking for all his life to another's door? And what were all those collision if not a sign? Was he just destined to fall like a ton of bricks and then get buried under the very landslide he'd triggered?

XI.

Before he knew it, he was wandering through Rockefeller Center again. On another beautiful day. He stood and watched the ice skaters below and thought about how weirdly circular life could be.

He was here on the day he stopped being alone. And he was here again on the day he went back to being alone. This was how life was, after all. People collide and then bounce off each other like pinballs, like bumper cars. Attract and repel. Ricocheting through life until the inevitable fall.

Matt sighed and closed his eyes. His hands fast on the railing, his shoulders heavy with sadness. He was alone again.

Until someone bumped into him from behind.

And stayed there.

Arms around his waist. A face pressed into his back.

Matt couldn't breathe.

"Peter has been a good friend to me," said a quiet voice. "He knew immediately when we met how I felt about you. That I couldn't take my eyes off of you." A deep sigh, and the air hit Matt square in the spine. It felt like a living thing, crawling down and planting heat in the base of his stomach.

"He told me when you broke up with Nathan," the voice went on. "I wanted to give you time before calling you again, thinking it might have been hard on you. But he came to me today and said his brother had confided in him about how you'd found someone special. I knew then. And I was so happy. But then you came around at just the wrong time. We have terrible timing, you know that?"

At this, Matt turned slowly in his arms. "I guess we do," he said, though he thought maybe their timing was about five shades better than perfect.

Mohinder's face was bright. The sun was twisting its rays through his hair. His eyes were soft and full of emotion. Matt's hands found his waist and pulled him closer. Holding him was just like he'd imagined it would be.

"I'm sorry I was so quiet," he said.

Matt whispered, "No, no, quiet is my type, remember? I told you that." He could barely speak. Mohinder was so close.

"I'm not good at these things," Mohinder confessed. "But... I like you too much to let you just run away. You're the kind of man I could fall in love with. Too, too easily."

"I think I'm already falling in love with you," Matt murmured. Their words were overlapping again.

"I've felt the same way," Mohinder breathed, "and it's kept me from calling you when I wanted to, even though it's been eating me up inside, and--"

It was as far as he got. Because at that moment, their lips collided.

:end:


Previous comments:

carmexgirl: Oh I want tp squish this fic up in a big ball and take it to bed with me!

I'm such a sucker for romance, and this was so perfect - Matt being the absolute gentleman and not wanting to let those two worlds collide; Mohinder biding his time and trying not to be too forward. The pacing of this had me hanging on right until the end. Part eleven was just too beautiful for words - I loved it.

baehj2915: I have to say, after spending the better part of two days writing angry con, dub-con and non-con, this is really what I needed.

So waffy and cute! And a pretty interesting set up, as it was atypical. It was pretty romantic comedy, there was even the part where he sees momo with someone else and thinks he's moved on. nice.

i liked it. it made me all shmooshy inside. :D

JLB

kleenexcow: Oh man oh man. I love this fic a lot. THEY KEEP BUMPING INTO EACH OTHER! THEY ARE MEANT TO BE! :D:D:D <3

And how awesome was Nathan? It's my personal canon for this fic that eventually he and Matt become BFF.

ilsaluvsrick:I love this so very much.

It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and happy.

I want to see this rom-com on the big screen.

paxlux: This made my day! I had a long, boring, tiring, sickly day and this is just made it so much better. Beautiful. Amazing. *happy sigh*

saharafic: OK really? I think I love the Nathan/Matt almost as much as the Matt/Mohinder! OK, not as much, but it was great too! Oh I love this Nathan, can I keep him?

How great would it be to see that headline/article for real? Ugh.

Jonathan Swift? Awesome.

Physics jokes. FTW.

starlingthefool: Okay, this combined with dinner and tea and cookies really made my night.

*loves you*

arabella_w: You keep doing this to me!! just after reading your fics my mind goes blank... And I want to tell how great it was for me to read it, and specially I want to tell it with no mistakes...

but nope my brain just couldn't take it, between the fuzzy feeling and all the "awwwns", "ohh", "squees" and all kinds of fangirl' behaviour there's no room for an intelligent or even a coherent review.

and that's all I have to say...

plotbunny_tiff: Man...well I found the first fic going on my next fanmix.

I mean come on, you give me Swift, Nathan/Matt that turns into Nathan&Matt, Dorktastic!Mohinder and massive tugging of fatestrings. So much win!

Life is beautiful, and it's made all the more so when you write. ^____^

hanuueshe: Yayz!

*dances around happily*

Nathan/Matt. Nathan&Matt. Then, for a moment, I almost thought you were going in the Peter/Mohinder direction (too much pretty nerdiness! Arg, my eyes!) and, finally we get the Matt/Mohinder we've been waiting for.

orangethorne: Seriously, wow. And I never really comment (because I really never have anything clever to say) but damn, this story is so good! I’m a sucker for romantic movies. And the use of the INXS song made me smile. The interaction between our boys you capture perfectly. And their coffee date with the silent longing made my knees weak. God, yeah, just, yeah. This makes me want to more from Los Angeles to New York and hope I bump in to someone like these two. I read this at work like three times already!!! I’m a fan of your writing (you would make a shit load of money if you ever had your work published). I just love everything you write. Mylar is my number one paring (I know I’ll be hanged for that comment), but you are making me change my mind with your stories. Sorry for the long winded post. Sending you a big hug, thank you so much for posting these stories, really you make my day when you post.

prongs_padfoot: I might not be very coherent in writing this because its hard to type when a fic melts you into a puddle of shapeless goo on your desk. I'm just shmooshing through a comment here.

That was so sweet, and the whole thing was just...*warm fuzzy feelings all around* I can't make words form today, but it was wonderful to read!

boudecia7: I've been saving this to read until I had a moment to properly sit down, and now I don't want to leave :will read again, and again:

You did such a beautiful job coordinating all the collisions, adding a little more to their attraction every time--so sweet and squooshy! Gotta love the waff. :D

:love you!:

kimmi_watch: This was so good. If it was a chick flick with these two I'd definitely go see it and recommend it to all my friends. Loved it.

rosiecotton95: Oh wow. I love this. Matt's just a big Teddy Bear. And I love the Nathan/Matt too. And the fact that Nathan's totally okay with Matt leaving. <3<3

It was great!

crystal_mk: OMG am I behind in my reading. I love this, as I love everything you write. My favorite part is the end where Mohinder comes up behind Matt with a hug. It's so intimate and sweet. Love it!

fullonswayzeed: *adds to memories*
I cried, I actually cried.
This fic had me on the edge of my seat,
and it actually made me want to punch Peter. XD
Oh, this was wonderful, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love it.

♥♥♥

saavikam77: EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! ^_^ *dances*

This would be like - what? - kiss 32 or 33? XD I LOVE it!! I don't think I can ever get enough of how these two wind up together. ^_^

I adore your Matt voice here, and I LOVE the format, with all the little snippets of their collisions. Too perfect.

*snuggles this fic*

 
 
 
bellonablack on July 9th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
Hey, I'm just searching around and I wanted to try another one of your fics after seeing you on the comm.

I haven't tried Matt/Mohinder before, but I have to say...I really, really, really liked what you did with these two characters. It felt like a realistic, down-to-earth connection, quiet that says so much. They just clicked so well together, and in a way, I love seeing that reading along...

Wow, I enjoyed just enjoying the fic :-). Nice job on this.

-BB
Tiptoe39: squeetiptoe39 on July 9th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC)
Hey,

Thank you so much for giving MattMo a try. I have done just a hell of a lot of work on these characters, they are really my OTP. One of the things I like about them is the very "real" sense of them. They are two people who are working together to keep their kid safe and in many ways they have led very parallel lives; I think there's a symbiotic relationship that they could potentially build, a yin and yang thing. Perhaps it isn't the spicy stuff of Mylar, but it feels like a lifetime commitment and that's why I like it. Stability is my kink. ^_^

Anyway, long story short, thanks for reading, feel free but not pressured to read more, and squee!!! :D
bellonablack on July 9th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
:-) No problem, I'm glad I did! <3

I like it, I never thought about the similarities, but reading their interactions and then thinking about the show, it does cast a new light on the relationship and the points where they really could connect. And the yin-yang thing is v. true.

I'm going to read more! but I have some tests I have to take care of, but when I get my break, I'm definitely looking forward to reading more.

-BB