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15 June 2008 @ 10:07 pm
[fanfic] Fathers' Day (G; M3 gen; Matt/Mo if you squint)  
Title: Fathers' Day
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: G
Characters/Pairing: M3 gen; Matt/Mo if you squint really hard.
Summary: Why do holiday fics always wait 'til the last minute to show up in my brain? Argh!



Matt woke up alone and aching. For a moment he didn't recognize his surroundings. Everything was so dark, so deathly quiet. For a moment, he was afraid he'd dreamed it all, that the sweet, gentle salvation of the past six months had melted away with the dawn and he was back shivering on concrete, punctured and perishing. No doctor there to plug the wounds, to look at him like he mattered. No child whispering words of sincere hope in his ear. It had all been an illusion.

But an alarm, a mumble, steps of a sleepy lummox lumbering around in a nearby room, and reality returned. He was here. This was the same dusty, cluttered loft he'd been curling his tired body up inside each night. Somewhere behind the shadows there was a girl for whom he'd learned to care more than he cared for his own life. A small, healing presence that had changed him fundamentally.

Sometimes he loved Molly so much he ached inside.

It was a strange thing, this new and overpowering emotion. So different from the patient respect and heartbreaking pity he'd had for his mother, or the gentle and constant giddiness he'd felt in the early days with Janice. It was otherworldly at times. He'd look back at how he'd arranged his whole day around dropoff and pickup times, how money that might have been spent on beer and DVDs was carefully tucked away, how in the very moment he needed it he'd somehow developed the coordination of a juggler and the patience of a saint, and he could only imagine this was the enigmatic force of nature known as parenthood. His own father had never been touched by it, and Matt could only pity him. What a thing to miss out on.

Of course, Matt thought as he rolled from the narrow bed and stretched with a lionlike roar, there was no guarantee Molly considered him a father, even if he was one in his own mind. Nor did he have any right to hope that one day she would think of him that way. Molly had had a father, a real one, flesh and blood, who had done the yeoman's work of raising her into the lovely young lady who'd seized Matt's heart so adroitly. He'd been torn out of her life, and the gaping hole he'd left could never be filled by any substitute, let alone one so ill-deserving as this tired old traffic cop. Molly gave him hope of being a better person, but she also crushed that hope daily by virtue of who she was. Someone like Matt could never pretend for long that he was fit to fill the emptiness that kept her up at night, sometimes, weeping softly into her pillow. Those nights, he would stand outside her door and shed his own quiet tears as the dirge of her thoughts wafted through the wood like distant music.

This morning it was so very quiet. Sunday mornings were never an occasion for quiet, even early on; something about youth made for early mornings. One sunrise wanting to meet another. But there was no sound but for Mohinder's clattering around in the bathroom. He was dead on his feet this early, a zombie dreaming of being a corpse. Some tea and time would wake him, but until then, Matt's roommate would think in a dull gray blur, like the humming of a fan, and his presence would crowd at Matt's thoughts until it became unbearable. It was another testament to Molly's specialness that he was willing to live with such an inconvenience.

No, he wasn't quite an inconvenience, Matt admitted to himself with a grunt as he strode to the closet. He found a shirt and pair of pants and folded them over his arm, returning to sit on the bed and stare at the outfit uselessly. Mohinder was a rival. The two of them rammed each other like bumper cars in this carnival of bizarre domesticity. Each wanted to be the one man Molly couldn't live without, wanted to be the heir to that unfillable throne that only James Walker would ever truly hold. They were like teenagers fighting over a girl, really. Each trying to give her the greater gift, to be there when she needed to cry, to make her laugh more, to bring her closer, to reach that point in the absurd tug-of-war when her flag would slide unmistakably over to the right side and she would declare a winner. When there would never be a winner. They both knew this. And still they sparred.

It was a shame, too, because in that sparring there was an electricity that flickered between them. A sort of understanding, a mutual purpose and a sense of belonging. Matt didn't understand it well enough to know precisely what it meant, but he did get the feeling that they were wasting energy somehow, that if they could only get the current to flow in a different direction they might be unstoppable. But he didn't have the words for it, and frankly, there were more important things to attend to than finding missing words. This, too, was the magic of parenthood; it put your priorities in order.

He passed by Mohinder on his way to the bathroom to brush his teeth, and their shoulders bumped. Their eyes barely met, and again the jolt of elecricity jarred him. There was weariness in Mohinder's stride, and his shoulders slumped as they brushed past Matt's. There was also a trace of sadness in the face. The dark lips had pouted. Matt listened for a moment, trying to tune in to the gray fuzz of thoughts. He heard something he barely understood, and it wasn't until he was in mid-brush that the words fought their way to clarity.

Father's Day.

All at once he was awake and anxious. It was that most improbable of holidays today, that one holiday he'd never thought he'd have the chance to celebrate. He was always either a child without a father or a man without a child, and this year that norm had been thrown out. He was now a man with a child who still wasn't a father, and the pulse pounding in his leaden arms was dull with disappointment and fear. What if Molly had made up her mind? What if even now she was greeting Mohinder with a hug and a Happy Father's Day, and leaving Matt to cut himself shaving and bleed all over the sink, no longer really caring if he made a mess or not? What if she'd resigned herself to being fatherless forever and had made up her mind that she would never celebrate this holiday, leaving Matt without a single hope of ever bridging that gap and coming into his own even as a false parent?

The what-ifs were choking him. He fought past them and thumped his way down the hall, nearly walking into Mohinder, who had frozen at the mouth of the hallway, utterly rigid. Matt saw his face first, then saw what had captured him.

The table was set. There were fresh wildflowers in a paper cup drooping happily over the edges. The room smelled of toast and honey. Orange juice stained the wood where one of two large glasses had been overfilled. Paper napkins, awkwardly placed silverware, and a sunny smile belonging to a little girl, who was holding a small brown box in her hands.

She didn't come out and say it, but they knew it all the same.

Mohinder's hand made a grab for Matt's. Like a man stricken with vertigo, he faltered, wrapped his hand around the two fingers it found and squeezed. Matt rested his thumb on the outside of the shaking palm, himself sweating hot and cold, utterly dumbfounded. He'd had crime scenes to which his reaction had been less extreme. This was the one thing he hadn't for the life of him been expecting.

Somewhere deep in the crevice between their joined fingers, a pleasant heat began to build that pushed them through the static of shock into joy. Together they moved forward, still holding onto each other, fell to their knees, wrapped her up in kisses and trembling arms. Still she didn't say it, still they only whispered I love you and Thank you, two sinners redeemed by the love of an angel. Matt's whole soul was bound up in waves of relief. There was a place for him here. She accepted him. She wanted him. He wasn't just curling up his tired body in the corner of a cluttered apartment; he was coming home each night. This was where he belonged.

When Molly first spoke, it was in chiding tones. "You don't give me a very big allowance," she said. They looked at each other, then at her, speechless. Of all the things to say...

"So I could only get one present. You'll have to share it. Sorry," she finished, holding out the plain brown box. She'd written in careful block letters on the top:

Happy Fathers' Day

The apostrophe outside the S was done with a flourish. One proud piece of punctuation.

Grinning, hopelessly incoherent, they somehow managed to make a mess of the box, and when shards of cardboard had littered the whole floor, they unfolded the fabric and saw words in smooth red that took their breath away anew. It took orange juice and toast with honey to bring their tongues back, and as Molly waited on them like a good little hostess, perky and eager to please, Matt and Mohinder stared at each other in awe.

"We're fathers," Matt said.

"We're the world's best Dads," Mohinder said, glancing at their new apron.

That current between them burst into a moment of full potency, and they laughed. For a moment Matt was frightened; the resonance of his own smile reflected in Mohinder's eyes was like the rumble of a bass drum. It touched him somewhere deep and low, and he couldn't shake it off, couldn't deny it was changing him. But when the fear rolled away like mist, the happiness was too clear to deny.

So Matt raised his glass and toasted the moment.

:end:

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blackdoggy1 on June 16th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
This is just too precious for words. I love this one so much. Great job!
(Deleted comment)
plotbunny_tiffplotbunny_tiff on June 16th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
::can do nothing but cry::
boudecia7boudecia7 on June 16th, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
Aww...love the complicated feelings here, especially Matt's worry that Molly might see Mohinder as the father rather than him. Also, Molly chiding them for not giving a bigger allowance--totally realistic! As a parent, I can firmly attest that kids occasionally make remarks like that. It's really nice to see a fic about the M3 relationship that is so MUCH about Molly, since I especially love to ship her off to a babysitter so some hot porn can go down (oops--cliche!). It's about Molly but not cloyingly cute, and it has that underlying Matt/Mohinder that I crave so badly. It's very very nice indeed to see that it's workable to have all 3 in the fic and still have that underlying slashiness...wonderful!!
A Troop of Rogue Trained Monkeys from LJ's Search: fangirlhanuueshe on June 18th, 2008 01:40 am (UTC)
*huffs and puffs*
Sorry this took so long for me to get to, I was building a livejournal community and somehow I missed your post...

Matt's emotions in this peice were very powerful- I could actually feel them as I was reading the words. His subtle competition with Mohinder, even as they build a connection out of it, and his fear that his desire to be her father is somehow going to displace James Walker or place an unfair burden on Molly.

Molly' comment about her allowance was so wonderful. And-oh! You wrote the apron in! Not very canon, but who the hell cares?
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: thank youtiptoe39 on June 19th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you for commenting! I've been such a rat about whining about comments and I'm not even responding to them... :looks upthread guiltily: I really appreciate your taking the time to read. HUGS!
Lee la Femme: Mohinder is PINK!phoenixfan on June 24th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
The two of them rammed each other like bumper cars in this carnival of bizarre domesticity.

I really love this fic. It's fantastic.
Tiptoe39: thank youtiptoe39 on June 24th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
thanks *so* much. that means a lot.
saavikam77: M3saavikam77 on February 1st, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
Awwwwww!!! ^_^ This was utterly perfect! I so love Matt's thoughts about being a father, the potential rivalry between him and Mohinder, that turns out to be a draw. And this could so very well be a pre-slash fic. Maybe even a 'Thirty First Kisses' fic! ^_~

*applauds*
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on February 1st, 2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
oh, i'm thrilled that you enjoyed this. This is absolutely one of my favorite fics. :D hugs!!