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19 November 2007 @ 11:41 am
[fanfic] Serendipity (part 1 of 3)  
Title: Serendipity (part 1 of 3)
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG-13 for language, violence & some mild innuendo.
Summary: You always find it when you're looking for something else.

This is written for and dedicated to angeldylan628, who created the awesome icon I use here... A date fic was requested, but some plot got in the way. So we have a bit of a mystery/adventurefic! Who knew?
Anyway, I hope this suffices, oh Deity of the Awesome Icon...


A long time ago, three young Princes of Serendip decided to go forth into the world in search of glory and Treasures to honour their father and gain his favour.

They decided to not travel as high born princes but like everyman, so that no one would seek to curry favour with them or to give them any special privileges.

They found that by travelling in this manner they found much hardship and human suffering along the way. But they also discovered, quite unexpectedly, great and wonderful good in the most unlikely of situations, places and people.

Upon their return home after a number of years of travelling, and telling their father and his court of all they saw and experienced, they decided to commemorate the experience of finding valuable and agreeable things not specifically sought by creating a word.

The word the Three Princes of Serendip created is a word called "serendipity."

(Text from http://www.angelfire.com/emo/serendipityato/three_princes_of_serendip.htm)

Matt was actually looking for the movie listings at the time. Molly had made some noise about wanting to see the newest family flick featuring animated ladies in gigantic hoop skirts that would trip even the most poised lady in real life couldn't handle. It would help if he could remember the name, but he was sure it had Princess or Lovely or Enchanting somewhere in the title. So it was only by chance that his eyes wandered away from the confusing, confusing letters and onto a photo. Photos always seemed to be so much more straightforward.

Except for he was fairly sure he was IN this photo.

It was a print of a painting. Done in a fairly standard, almost cartoonish style, it was a dark scene of a city square. A sculpture, reddish in the dim light, rose up out of the pavement, blocked only by the silhouettes of two figures. And along the fringes of the picture were assorted onlookers, including a man slumped against a wall, another man hunched over him.

It was a scene he was not likely to forget any time soon.

He leaned forward in his chair, concentrated, tried to make the letters resolve into words. It was nearly fruitless. He was able to make out "opening" and "gallery" and "8 PM," but very little else.

"Oh, ain't that something?"

McKay was behind him, gaping over his shoulder and dropping donut crumbs on his lap. Usually this was cause for Matt to grumble at him, but this time he just smiled weakly and nodded. Besides, he wanted to hear McKay's thoughts as he scanned the article. Luckily, McKay was pretty shameless about reading things over people's shoulders, and he took Matt right through the article's first paragraphs like an unintentional tour guide.

"A tragic mystery surrounds the inaugural viewing at the Deveaux Memorial Gallery tonight at 8 PM. The gallery was dedicated by the Linderman Group in memory of philanthropist Charles Deveaux, who died last fall, but its opening took on a new significance only a few months later when his only daughter, Simone, a noted curator and agent, disappeared. The exhibit features previously undisplayed paintings and sketches of Isaac Mendez, the eclectic graphic novelist and painter with whom Simone Deveaux was widely believed to be romantically involved, and who disappeared at almost the same time as she did. Some of Mendez's earlier works have prompted an urban legend to rise up in art circles that the artist had a sixth sense; some of his works, if accurately dated, appear to portray news items that happened several weeks later. Critics of his work counter that Mendez was addicted to heroin and that either the works are not dated correctly, or believers in the urban legend are simply displaying confirmation bias..."

Matt wasn't sure what Mohinder was up to that night, but he figured he'd better call a babysitter, just to be on the safe side.

It was seven and Matt was dressed in the shirt and tie he kept in the precinct's coat closet just in case the Top Brass showed up or he had to suddenly look respectable for another reason. And he was damned hungry, with just enough time to grab something to eat before he had to pretend he knew anything whatsoever about art.

So it was smart to call the babysitter, because Mohinder would be out tonight as well. Smart, but not necessary - he'd already called her, and she took one look at her caller ID and said, "Oh, do you need to cancel for tonight?" Matt was pretty sure he'd disappointed her by saying no.

A few blocks from the gallery's address, he ran across a diner that looked cheap and quick enough for his purposes. Now if he could only keep the grease off his shirt, he'd be all set to check out the creepy exhibit. He slid into a booth and squinted at the menu, which was written on a chalkboard in a scrawled hand. As though printed menus weren't bad enough. He nearly knocked a waitress over as he got back up, trying to squint through the unkempt mess of curly black hair sitting at the bar to see the specials.

Then he realized what he was trying to look through.

"Mohinder? Is that you?"

The scientist turned, raised his eyebrows. "Matt? I thought you were going out tonight."

"I am. Can't you tell?"

"Yes, come to think of it, the shirt and tie is an unusual look for you. Is it a date?"

"No, just something in town I was interested in. Getting a bite to eat first. You want to join me?" He made a general gesture toward the booth.

Mohinder waved him off. "No, that's fine. I'm in a hurry."

"Come on." Matt wasn't sure why he was being so friendly. Perhaps he was a little nervous about what this exhibition was all about. But he thought at least having a familiar face around for a few minutes might be a good thing.

"All right." Mohinder picked up his coffee cup and came to sit in the booth opposite Matt. "I have somewhere to be in a little less than an hour."

"Yeah. Me too." For a while, the only sound between the two was the clinking of the spoon as Mohinder absently twirled it around in the half-full mug. "So. Um. How's work?" Matt finally said. "You making any progress on that vaccine?"

"Not really, no," Mohinder sighed. "It's an extension of the same problem a lot of pharmaceutical developers are having, actually. Our tendency toward antibiotics is breeding more resistant pathogens. This is just more of the same, in a slightly different context."

"I'll just pretend I understood that," Matt shrugged. Mohinder's eyes flickered up toward his briefly, and Matt noticed for the first time just how long his eyelashes were. The kind that were absolutely wasted on a man. A woman with those eyes and those eyelashes would be on the cover of a magazine.

They ordered and ate hurriedly, exchanging only a few pleasantries about Molly's schoolwork and this month's rent. Matt was feeling deeply uncomfortable, as though he were under a spotlight. And it wasn't because of Mohinder's presence or the looming mystery of this exhibit, either. There was a thought in the air, just a prickle of a thought from someone somewhere nearby, that was making him bristle. It happened every so often, when he had let down his guard and allowed his mind to open a little. Passersby, drivers in nearby cars, hot dog vendors -- all the people around him were constantly thinking, and most of the time it was a pleasant, low buzz, no more noticeable than a slight breeze. But occasionally there would be a thought with malice in it, and it twanged a dissonant chord in that medley. The thought he was picking up on now was truly dark.

Still, no reason to alarm anyone. So there were schmucks in New York, same as LA. Not a big surprise. "I got this one," he said, passing a credit card to the waitress.

"Thanks, I think." Mohinder's lips twitched. "Assuming you're able to pay the rent as well."

Matt feigned offense. "I live within my means," he declared, "thank you very much. Hey, whatcha got there?" Mohinder had unfolded a square of paper in his hands and was gazing at it.

"Directions to my engagement tonight," he said, his eyes darting over the page.

"Where are you headed?" Matt almost immediately backtracked. "Don't mean to pry. Just asking."

"It's an exhibition," Mohinder said clinically. "Some paintings by an artist who had an unusual ability."

"Isaac Mendez?"

"You knew him?" The big eyes blinked.

"No, I just -- I thought it looked interesting," Matt finished lamely. He leaned to the side to access his pocket and brought out the snippet of newspaper. "And I'm pretty sure that's me."

Mohinder took the clipping, gazed at it intensely. "That's us," he corrected. "I had never seen this one. Extraordinary."

Matt laughed. Having someone else goggle at the picture made him feel a little less weird. "Well, this is unexpected," he grinned, "but it looks like I've got a date tonight after all."

Part II is this way
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