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10 December 2007 @ 04:31 pm
[fanfic] Thirty First Kisses - Kiss #20  
ZOMG I'm in love with this one.

Title: Thirty First Kisses – Kiss #20
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG for language
Summary: It’s like Mohinder said. They’re family. That means he’ll never lose them.

This is the 20th of 30 possible ways Matt and Mohinder could share their first kiss, written for the 30_kisses challenge. The theme was "the road home" (kaerimichi). Previous kisses are here.

When Matt is discharged from the hospital, it’s not a home he comes to. In fact, he has to turn right around and fly “home” to California to finalize the divorce papers and recover his stuff. A lot of it gets put in storage, because there just isn’t room in a three-person apartment for stuff that filled a two-person house. Luckily, Matt’s not a materialistic guy, and Janice is all too happy to hold onto all the crystal and china and ugly wedding presents. Rewards for bagging a sap. It’s funny that they call the divorce a settlement, because it’s obvious she thought she was settling to begin with.

When he returns to the East Coast, all drizzly snowy rain and muddy rivulets of slush on his shoes, he doesn’t feel like he’s coming home. He feels much more like an exile, like Moses in the desert. A very cold, very wet desert. A desert with rude cabbies and barking dogs and ice that you trip on and bruise your butt. A desert with all of a sudden a little girl at the front door of a dilapidated apartment building yelling up four floors that Mohinder he’s home, and all of a sudden there are flowers blooming in the desert.

If Molly says he’s home then perhaps he is. Or on the road there. He’s willing to make a go of it.

The first time he thinks of it as home on his own, without realizing what he’s done, is when they are trying to make plans for New Year’s Eve. Molly is excited to watch the ball drop, and she wants to go out into Times Square and press into that crowd like a little red-headed sardine, but Matt can only think of how nice it’d be to leave all that behind and spend New Year’s at home, and then it strikes him backwards like a sucker punch that he’s thinking about a home involving not a wife and a small dinner party of the partners she’s kissing the ass of this week but rather a faded secondhand couch and a small, grainy color TV that still uses rabbit ears, with a child asleep in his lap, her red hair a curtain over his legs, tiny angelic face tilted heavenward as though trying in vain to wake up so she doesn’t miss the moment. (And with them is a cocoa-skinned scientist whose arms are spread across the back ridge of the couch so that the very tips of his fingers are pressed just inside Matt’s shoulder. His smile is languid and full of a little too much champagne when he says Happy New Year.)

Matt knows it’s just a place to hang his hat, but it feels a little more like home then. Just a half a step closer along that road.

The first time he calls it home out loud is by accident, and he actually corrects himself. In his defense, he has good cause. He’s the rookie in the department and is thus invited out for drinks after work, and he says sorry, but I have to go home, we couldn’t get a babysitter. And about a dozen pairs of eyes go moon-wide and someone says Parkman I thought you said you were divorced, and he lies and says oh not home home, it’s the place I’m staying. My friend is putting me up and it’s his little girl and babysitting is the downside to free room and board. Folks are a little disappointed in that and they disperse, but what’s really surprising to Matt is that he’s disappointed too. He wants to say Molly is his. He doesn’t like handing her off to the guy who, you know, saved her life and gives her a home and is probably more or less legally her guardian. No, that should all go to seed because Matt wants to be a daddy, damn it. He laughs bitterly and thinks he’s lost his way. Will he ever find a place he belongs ever again?

The first time Mohinder calls it his home is slightly more momentous, because they’re surrounded by Christmas trees and Christmas decorations and Christmas everything and Matt’s not a Christian. And he admits this with a sheepish gaze and Mohinder smiles sympathetically in a way that makes Matt’s heart leap in his chest, or maybe that’s just the remains of the antibiotics killing another would-be infection from his scars. That would, after all, explain why his skin feels funny and hot as well.

Mohinder says he can understand that feeling (the religion thing, not the hot skin, Matt’s pretty sure), and he encourages Matt to get whatever he needs to make the holiday season special for him. He says he wants Matt to feel at home, that this is his home too. Matt feels his eyes go all red and itchy, and he protests the need for any holiday decorations. For one thing, Chanukah has been over for days, and for another, what Mohinder has just said has brought Matt closer to feeling at home than any decorations ever could.

The first time Matt calls them his family is Christmas Eve. They have been saying every day that they’re going to get a Christmas tree or lights or something, not because they want it of course but because of Molly, because it’s her first holiday without her parents. But then it’s upon them and they’re desperately sorry and decide they will apologize to her because they are such lousy caretakers that they can’t even manage a Christmas tree (Mohinder slyly suggests Matt don a Santa suit, at which point they laugh and drop that idea like a hot potato). But Molly scoffs at them. Her parents were hippies, she says. They preached no gospel to her but that of John Lennon (imagine no religion...) Matt considers this a supreme cheat and says that every child deserves a holiday season, so he’s going to treat the family to a Jewish Christmas: Chinese food on Christmas Eve, and the movies on Christmas Day. He sweeps them out the door and they order hot and sour soup and never think twice about the fact that he’s just called them his family.

Mohinder is much more momentous about saying words like these, Matt has learned, and he proves it again because when he calls Matt part of his family for the first time, it’s late at night on Christmas Day and he actually starts the conversation with it. He thanks Matt for making it such a nice day for the family, that he hopes it’s OK that he thinks of them that way, and Matt nods and agrees with gusto. And Mohinder leans forward against the table and says it’s kind of ironic given the irreligious nature of the three of them, but he thinks it’s time to make a leap of faith. His hands are on Matt’s on the tabletop and Matt is nervous and stares at them, then up at Mohinder’s eyes. Mohinder’s leap of faith is to tell Matt that Molly’s not the only reason he considers him family, and that if Matt were ever, ever to consider Mohinder something beyond a roommate and friend and co-parent, well, Mohinder would be OK with it.

The words sort of deaden Matt’s hearing when they’re out. He stares at him without a thought in his head, much less words to reply. It’s a blank, blinking moment. Mohinder blinks in reply, says look, think about it, this is the thing, I think of you as family, so you don’t need to worry about rejecting me, nothing’s going to change. This seems silly to Matt because everything’s already changed and he is sitting across the planet from the man across the table, and he thinks he might jump out of his skin, and home has never seemed so out of reach.

The first time Matt gets homesick it’s New Year’s Eve and he’s on that faded couch with beer and popcorn and Molly and Mohinder, laughing abut something or other. Mohinder’s eyes are deep and full and inviting, and Matt keeps thinking about his offer, about the fullness and humor Mohinder has brought into a life that had been an empty shell. If it were not for the sticky question of gender, he wonders, would there be anyone on this earth he’d more want to spend his New Year’s Eve, or his daughter, or his life with? And that’s ducking the question to some extent, because the gender thing has never been the problem. It just has never been an issue. Honestly, the religion thing is more likely to be a problem to him than the gender thing, and they dealt pretty well with it earlier this month. And when Mohinder sees Matt regarding him with heated eyes, Matt hears a swell of hope creep into his mind. And that is both exciting and terrifying.

But this isn’t when Matt gets homesick. Not at 10 o’clock when the chief on duty calls and says he needs someone for a domestic call in Chinatown. But it’s New Year’s Eve? That’s why he’s short on bodies, the cop barks into the phone. Use your head, Parkman, unless you’d like another year to go by before you get your badge. Matt gets up and gets his coat, and Molly looks like she’s about to die of agony. Where are you going, she wants to know. He has to go to work. But you’re gonna miss the ball drop!

He kisses the crown of her head and promises to be back in time to wish them both a happy new year. She makes him pinky swear. He asks her how come the littlest finger is the one you use for the biggest promises. She has no answer and wrinkles her nose in concentration, the same way Mohinder does. He tells her he expects a an answer by midnight and leaves her there to stew.

But it’s not then, or on his way, that he gets homesick. He still has a lot of confidence in his ability to get home in time. The call is a simple noise complaint, college students having a New Year’s party that most definitely smells of pot and sounds like an atomic bomb. Matt raps on the door, is greeted with an expletive, and says those are his thoughts exactly. That there is no cop in the world who wants to be out busting a coupla kids having a good time. So they’re pretty damned lucky they got him, because another cop would have already had three unpleasant calls and wouldn’t have any patience left for this shit. So maybe they want to think about being just a little smarter about getting stupid, so they don’t end up with a cop who has a bug up his butt and sends them to the clink for possession? With testing and searches and all of that nastiness that is, in Matt’s view, completely unnecessary?

It’s a good routine, and it works. The kids agree, and the atomic bomb lessens in strength to be just a locomotive. So Matt’s not homesick.

No, he starts to feel it when it’s 11 p.m. and he’s lumbering down the stairs and there’s a gunshot and a woman’s scream and he realizes it’s going to be a longer night than he thought.

He inches across the hallway and listens at the door and wonders, in that one split second, what Molly and Mohinder are doing. Are they watching Dick Clark or whoever does it these days? Has Molly fallen asleep? Is Mohinder massaging her hair with one smooth hand, and is he thinking about Matt and missing Matt and hoping he’ll be home? Or is he just glad for some peace and quiet without the dumb grunt who can’t cook and can’t read and can’t see what a miracle he has right before his very eyes?

That’s when Matt gets homesick.

Then he hears a child crying and doesn’t have the luxury of another split second of homesickness.

He shouts Police, Open Up, and thank God thank God the woman does, her son’s found her gun and shot himself in the leg by accident, please, please help. Matt hates himself for being thankful when the mother’s in panic, but it could have been in the head, could have been her head, could have been deliberate. He radios for an ambulance and kneels beside the boy. His name is Simon. Matt says Simon was his favorite Chipmunk. This makes even teary-eyed, crumpled-on-the-floor, bleeding Simon grin.

It’s 11:30 p.m. Matt looks at the boy and sees his daughter and resolves to put the gun case on an even higher shelf. He feels terrible when the stretcher arrives and Simon asks if he’s coming to the hospital with them and he almost says no. He means to say no. But he can’t. He just can’t.

He holds Simon’s hand in the ambulance. The road home has never seemed so long in his life.

At the hospital he fills out forms blindly; he’s so desperate he can’t see, so he prays things are where they were the last time he filed an accident report. Maybe he can look it over tomorrow. Or the next day. Or oh God if this had been his child how on earth would he handle it?

It’s 11:50 p.m. Simon’s father comes running into the emergency room and goes to his wife, crying. She’s got him in a desperate embrace and Matt thinks they look like two cracked pillars, neither able to stand on its own but somehow stable when leaning on each other. Not just stable. Solid.

It’s 11:53 p.m. and Simon’s mother says thank you, we’ll be OK, my husband’s here so I’ll be OK, don’t you have a family to be with right now, thank you for saving my baby please go be with your family. Hug them, kiss them, she says. Protect them. And Matt hears himself say something with I’m sorry and I have to, and he doesn’t know how he even makes it to the car so quickly but he knows this is the one and only time he will ever abuse his siren, and if he loses his job because of it, so be it. Anything to open up that road.

It’s 11:58 p.m. and he is sprinting up the steps in a way he didn’t think he could anymore. In a way that will surely hit him in 20 seconds when he can’t breathe. His feet pound to the rhythm of two names. Molly. Mohinder. Molly. Mohinder. Love. Home.

He comes to the door and hears three, two, one, Happy New Year! His keys go slack in his hand. He missed it.

He listens to them congratulate each other. Wet smack of a child’s kiss. Soft groan of arms carrying her weight. Happy New Year, Mohinder. Happy New Year, Molly. He is ready to sink down into the earth and never rise again.

And then, shouted: Happy New Year, Matt, wherever you are! We love you!

No pain, no betrayal or heartache, just understanding and love in that child’s voice. Because it’s like Mohinder said. They’re family. That means he’ll never lose them.

The key rattles in the lock and he throws the door open, Happy-New-Yearing at the top of his lungs. Molly’s in his arms in a heartbeat saying you made it, you made it, and despite the fact that no, he didn’t, he’s all bluster and told-you-I’d-be-here. He nuzzles her cheek and she eeks at his cold nose and then decides she will pour him some sparkling cider and jumps down from his arms.

And there is only air between him and Mohinder now. And Mohinder is smiling that gentle observant way he smiles when he’s standing on the sidelines watching the two of them play, when he is the fascinated scientist with his favorite discovery. But Matt has a discovery of his own, and he is not smiling. He is not standing on the sidelines. He is walking.

He is walking over to Mohinder and whispering Happy New Year, Mohinder and sliding a hand into his hair and leaning in and slipping the other hand around his waist and taking a leap of faith.

Molly watches them kiss and watches them stare at each other and smile and watches the new chapter of their lives begin, and then she interrupts because she’s done pouring the bubbly, and they all settle down onto the couch to watch some guy propose to his girlfriend in the middle of Times Square. She says yes, of course, because who’s not going to say yes with cameras rolling?

They fall asleep on that couch, all three of them, Molly’s head on Matt’s lap and Mohinder’s fingers lightly on the back of his neck. And it’s been a hell of a long road, but Matt is home.


Tangles: Mohinderentangled_now on December 10th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)
That was beautiful, and awesome. I loved every second of it!
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
carma_babycarma_baby on December 10th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)
Your perpetual expeditions into new styles are constantly leaving me in a state of awe. And I love it. This kiss is, once again, completely amazing. I love the prompt itself and how you incorporated it into the Heroes storyline without completely doing so, allowing it to be during that time that we know nothing about because of the lack of M3 information during Four Months Ago.

I bow before your awesome powers of writing and thank you for sharing!!! {Also can't wait for next part of Lap of Luxury! ^_^}
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
Thanks! I am having fun trying new styles and I am constantly being inspired by the literary talents that surround me in this fandom, you included :D
The Soul says: - carma_baby on December 11th, 2007 07:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
plotbunnytiffplotbunnytiff on December 10th, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC)
::wibbles, tears up, and tries to hide elated tears from nosy co-workers::

...I have to come back when I get home to comment again, because I'm no good right now. But I had to say *something*, y'know?

Tiptoe39: saitiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
Oh, that was plenty, honey! Thank you! :D
EmmyHildy: Matt!Lovedemmyhildy on December 10th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)
*wipes away solitary tear* that was lovely. You are lovely. I look forward to these like you wouldn't believe and this was awesome as they all are :D
Tiptoe39: matthindertiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
I'm so glad I haven't letcha down yet :D

:stares at your icon: god his eyes are something else and oh yum he is just yummilicious
The Soul says: - emmyhildy on December 11th, 2007 05:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
Davey: Writer - mine [carolinecrane]ruggerdavey on December 10th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
This was great. I love the story itself, but also your writing here - the flow of words and the style really lend themselves to the story. Great job.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
Thanks, I had fun writing it :)
pinky0007: Super Mattpinky0007 on December 10th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)

Thank you for that. I've never read a fan fic that made my tear up like that before.

Tiptoe39: sadtiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:26 am (UTC)
aww, don't cry, it's only a fic!
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: caketiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
thank you honey! i'm so glad you enjoyed!
Jessiejessieflower on December 10th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
I loved that Matt's fantasy came true. Nice work. :D
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)
Me too! Thank you!
ilsaluvsrickilsaluvsrick on December 10th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
Massive squee!

Loved Matt's slow journey to realizing what a home and family really are. So many little details I adored; Molly having hippie parents(which would explain her being so ok w/ the two dads), Matt wanting her to be his daughter, the Jewish Christmas, Matt being the cool cop with the college kids, Matt comforting Simon...

Just loved. And not to get greedy, but will there be more Lap of Luxury tonight?
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on December 10th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
not tonight, maybe tomorrow....

On edit, now that I'm home from work, yes, thank you so much for noticing all those little pieces, I rather liked them too... :hugs you:

Edited at 2007-12-11 02:28 am (UTC)
crystal_mkcrystal_mk on December 10th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC)
Love, everlasting love for you and your stories.

I adore Matt; he's so sweet staying with the little boy. And Molly is just so adorable and Mohinder is so sweetly patient.
Tiptoe39: matt mind meldtiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
Yeah, I wanted Matt to go home but he refused, the rat bastard. :D He is just too good a guy.
queenofangstqueenofangst on December 10th, 2007 11:06 pm (UTC)
You are too awesome. :)
Good job.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
You are too awesome too, thank you so much.
JLB: awebaehj2915 on December 11th, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)

Happy New-- Ending! It's only Dec 10, so, yeah

Awwww! That was marvelous. And totally happy ending movie happy.

wonder bar

~love from WI
Tiptoe39: chaotiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
Yeah but this was LAST December right? :D :snicker:
rogue equestrian: Heroes:: Matt n Mohinder smilinelvinborn on December 11th, 2007 12:47 am (UTC)
I love and adore this
I love the style
I love the way it flows and the way it feels
and I adore the story itself.
Tiptoe39: lovetiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:29 am (UTC)
thank you so much for all the love!
A showdown between a cowboy and a volcano: hiro- yatta!epiclevelregina on December 11th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
The best one yet.

he’s going to treat the family to a Jewish Christmas: Chinese food on Christmas Eve, and the movies on Christmas Day.

*lol* I guess Molly is a little too young for a trip to Atlantic City...

She’s got him in a desperate embrace and Matt thinks they look like two cracked pillars, neither able to stand on its own but somehow stable when leaning on each other. Not just stable. Solid.

That's a really powerful image.
Tiptoe39: lina gourrytiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC)
hey, that was everyone's Jewish Christmas up in Newton, Mass. where I grew up!

Incidentally that pillar thing is how my husband refers to the two of us so yeah, I think it's an awesome image and I will convey your compliments to the chef :D
melodyunity on December 11th, 2007 02:27 am (UTC)

I love your Matt.
Tiptoe39: matt mind meldtiptoe39 on December 11th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC)
I love Matt in general, mine yours or anyone elses, he just rocks.