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25 December 2007 @ 09:33 pm
[fanfic] 30 First Kisses - Kiss #25 (PG-13)  
(Edit: I am fixing a few gaffes in this.) I have the feeling I rushed this one too much, but the concept stands up even if the storytelling doesn't... so what the hell. Y'all are a captive audience at this point anyway, right? :wicked grin:

Title: 30 First Kisses - Kiss #25
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG-13 for brief innuendo.
Summary: It was about learning to live with someone who affected you.

This is the 25th of 30 possible ways Matt and Mohinder could share their first kiss, written for the 30_kisses challenge. The theme was "fence." Previous kisses are here.

It'd hadn't seemed like something problematic at the time. Granted, the precedent was far from definitive, but it rather tended in the other direction. When he'd offered living space to Molly, everything had clicked. Of course, at that point he'd spent day and night with her at the lab anyway, researching, comforting her, getting to know her, falling for her like the proverbial ton of bricks. So after Kirby Plaza, when she came home with him, it was no problem. She was there with him, but nothing significantly changed. She was a child with nowhere to go, and she readily agreed to the ground rules he set. It worked out fine.

But when Matt came it was totally different.

For one thing, he soaked his dishes for a whole day before washing them. So Mohinder would go to the sink to wash a glass and would be up to his elbows in soapy water before he knew it. And Matt snored. Long, tiger-growl-like snores that sounded from down the hall like a low, periodic rumbling, like a sleeping dragon cultivating the furnace in its belly. It was unbearable when he fell asleep in the easy chair (Mohinder's easy chair!) or the couch when Mohinder was trying to do research or calculations at the desk nearby.

It wasn't that Matt was a bad guy, or even a bad roommate. He didn't leave tracks on the floor when it was muddy out, or refuse to plunge the toilet, or anything horribly shameful. It was more that Mohinder was just always aware he was living there too. His roommate at university hadn't been nearly this obvious. Part of it was, of course, that Matt had settled in while he was lecturing half a world away. And when Mohinder had returned home from his travels, he found an apartment rife with the marks of another person's habits. Everywhere he turned there was a sign of Matt's presence. Unlaced shoes at the door, his preferred coat hanger taken, the TV set tuned to a different channel than Mohinder expected to see when he switched it on. Slowly, these things began to build up in his head to a mountain of annoyances. Still, he managed to keep his calm. Until that night.

For the past several days, Mohinder had been up late trying to work with a few numbers, out of the blood work of a virus patient in Ohio, that refused to make sense. He'd been researching and thought he had half the problem solved, but he hadn't quite figured out which of thirteen strains of the virus was the one his system was responding to. For the sixth night in a row, it took nearly impaling himself on his pencil due to drowsy nodding before he realized that yes, it was time for bed. Tapping the pencil idly along the wall, he wandered down the hall toward the bedroom.

His pencil tapped on wall, then doorway, then bare Matt chest.

"If you're going to tap that damn thing, could you do it against the other wall?" He was in the doorway, wearing nothing but boxers, his eyes squinting slits and his hair looking like something out of a monster movie. "Can't go to sleep."

Mohinder fell backward against the wall, finding himself rather too close to a sleepy, nude police officer than he'd like to be at any time or place, much less his own apartment near midnight. "Put something on," he snapped. "What's the matter with you?"

"It's too hot in here," Matt whined, the slitted eyes opening slightly.

"You're insane. It's freezing." Mohinder was wearing a sweater. "Anyway, perhaps you should stay up longer. That way I could manage to fall asleep before you start snoring." He was frustrated and volatile, and he knew he was starting something, but he didn't care. This guy had a lot of nerve complaining about temperatures and irritating habits when it was out of the goodness of Mohinder's heart that he was staying there to begin with.

"What crawled up your ass?" growled the half-naked cop, rubbing his eyes. "Just tap your damn pencil on the other side of the hallway, for Christ's sake. No need to make a federal case about it."

Mohinder felt like a thousand angry red ants were crawling under his skin. He rapped his pencil loudly against the doorway right near Matt's ears, just for emphasis. "This is my apartment," he said, "and I'll tap whatever I want wherever I want, thank you very much. Good night." He harrumphed off to his room and got into bed, listening to the rumbling rhythm of Matt's snores from across the hall and fuming well into the early morning hours.

In the morning, when Mohinder left his bedroom, Matt was up (and thankfully dressed) and reading the paper, a pen in hand. "Whatcha doin'?" Molly asked him as she prepared her own breakfast-- apparently adults didn't understand the finer points of mixing milk and cereal; she'd banned them from serving her two weeks ago.

"I'm looking for an apartment," he said. "I don't think I'm going to be able to stay here much longer."

Her bowl clattered back to the counter, and Froot Loops splattered in a multicolored semicircle around it. "You can't move out!" she insisted. "Why do you have to move out?"

"Come here," he beckoned, and, pouting, she went to his lap. "Honey, sometimes it's hard for people to live together."

"You and Mohinder aren't getting along?"

"I think we're getting on each other's nerves a bit too much," he sighed. "He's a nice guy, honey, but he's always in my space."

Still in the hallway, Mohinder bit back a huff of outrage. In his space!

"Well, why don't you guys build a fence or something? Draw a line. Then you'll know whose space is whose."

Matt laughed the sort of sad, adult laugh that meant why can't things be as simple as kids often say they are? "I wish that would work. Truly. But it's not going to."

"Why not? I think it's a splendid idea." Mohinder stormed in. He had bags under his eyes and knit brows above them; this was the face of a man who had not had a decent night's sleep in days. "You're the one who told me to stick to the other side of the hallway, after all. Why don't we just divide the place in half? At least that way you won't act like you own the whole thing."

"Guys, cut it out!" Molly insisted angrily, but there came a point-- usually somewhere after insomnia and before caffeine-- where even the beauty of a child's innocence couldn't save the day.

So before long there was white electrician's tape along the wooden floors of the apartment, making the skinny hallway even narrower on each side. Common areas were the kitchen, the bathroom, Molly's room, and the hall closet, but even the living room was bisected-- right where Molly liked to sit on the couch, so she wouldn't have to pick a side. Mohinder lifted his cinder-block bookcases with a great show of strength, refusing Matt's help, and crowded them all on his side of the study. Sadly enough, that meant the easy chair went on Matt's side, just through sheer economy of space. And of course, bedrooms were off-limits.

When the whole place was divided into the Matt zone and the Mohinder zone and everyone was satisfied with the division of space, Molly declared the partitioning complete and went to her room to doodle annoyed-looking stick figures on her textbooks. And Matt and Mohinder went about the business of making life a living hell for each other, each in his own special way.

Matt favored the brute-force approach. When Mohinder was humming as he worked, Matt would shout at him to keep it down, he was trying to watch TV. Mohinder would snipe back that music was far superior to television. "Except when you're the musician," Matt would counter. "If you can call yourself one."

Mohinder, on the other hand, preferred to be what he called "helpful." As in, he would buy Matt things. Things like a bathrobe so he wouldn't walk around half-naked. An XXL-sized bathrobe. "What the hell does that mean?"

"It means I didn't know your size."

"Do I look like a linebacker to you? Not just XL? Ex-ex-ell?"

"I don't care how many Xes are on it, just as long as it's on you when you come out of your room in the morning!"

They lasted for about a week like this, but when Mohinder, exhausted from a bad day, forgot to look into the sink and ruined the cuffs of one of his favorite shirts in the soapy dishwater left over from last night's Sloppy Joes, it was the beginning of the end. The common areas were getting unlivable, he fumed. So that day he went out and bought a set of disposable paper plates and plastic utensils, putting them in the drawers and cabinets, displacing their more permanent counterparts. He boxed up and hoarded all the ceramic plates and stainless steel dinnerware in the living room, firmly on his side of the fence.

"What the hell's this?" Matt said when he came home late that night and discovered the switch.

"This is so we don't have filthy water in the sink for a day after we cook something." Mohinder stood up from his desk and turned around as Matt came into the living room and stood against the far wall, as distant as possible from the "line."

"Great, that's just great. I take it we're going to put paper pots and pans on the stove, too?"

"You never use them anyway. What do you care?"

"I do so! What the hell are you talking about?" Matt took a step forward.

"Oh, sure. Very believable. It's always take-out pizza and TV dinners with you."

Matt threw his hands up. "Who do you think made those Sloppy Joes?"

"I'm sorry. Did you consider that fine cuisine?" Mohinder came forward to lean on the armrest of the couch. Matt did the same. They were mirror images, challenging each other over a sofa with a white line holding them apart.

"I don't want to hear that from a guy who would rather eat from paper plates than soak his dishes. What's next? You gonna start wearing paper clothes so you don't have to do laundry?"

"At least I wear clothes. You're practically a nudist before nine in the morning!" Another step closer, and they were eye to eye, separated by an invisible fence over a thin white line.

"How would you know? You're never awake!" Toe to toe on the line, they glared, teeth clenched, fists curled, daring the other to take a step forward.

"I'm trying to catch up on the sleep I lose because of your snoring!"

Matt took one step forward. Mohinder looked down; Matt's gaze followed his. His foot was just over the line.

When Mohinder was young, he'd had a pair of disc magnets, each with a north side and a south side. They fascinated him. He would push the like poles together, feeling the little slabs of metal rebel against his insistent fingers. They did not want to be close to each other, not in the slightest. But he kept pushing them together, and always at the last minute, one would jump into the air and flip backwards, exposing the other pole. And the two discs would suddenly slap together.

And perhaps that's what happened at that moment, because Matt's hands were suddenly on the back of Mohinder's head and on his waist, and his mouth was devouring Mohinder's with an urgency that was nothing short of magnetic. It was as though someone had flipped a switch and the electricity that had been sparking between them was now flowing through them both. Mohinder's tongue was in his mouth and his fingers were in his hair, stroking it, reaching down beneath his shirt where his neck met his back to massage the soft skin there. His back was arched backwards so he bent not once but twice over the line; once where his knees were soft and trembling, one where his head was thrown back in abandon. There wasn't a spot where their bodies weren't pressed together. Matt's feet were just outside of Mohinder's, steady and firm, one on each side of the line of tape.

And then, just as abruptly, they were thrown back. Mohinder staggered. Matt gaped, wiping his lips as though he'd just been doused with water. His eyes were huge globes of shock. They stared at one another suspiciously, waiting to see who would first take advantage of this attack of opportunity.

Brute force won out. "That was just about the stupidest thing I've ever done," Matt spat. "Next to thinking I could live with you, that is."

Mohinder couldn't find the words to reply. His guts were awash in confusion, and he thought he might be sick.

Matt stared another moment, and then turned toward the front door. "If Molly asks, I've gone to a hotel for the night. I'll be back tomorrow to start getting my stuff," he said shortly. A few hurried motions of gathering and donning later, and he was out the door, the doorknob rattling and falling silent again. Mohinder watched the apartment become still and dark, and he suddenly realized that he'd moved forward as Matt had gone, that he was now standing on the wrong side of the fence. Although no one was there to scold him, he found himself retreating carefully.

He tried to sleep that night, but when the clock read a bleary red 4:00, he got up again and stomped to his desk. Still safely on his side of the fence, he pondered.

Here he was, alone and absolutely undisturbed and heartbreakingly, achingly lonely, with Matt's taste on his lips and the feel of him, warm and full, echoing in his sad and empty hands.

Since when had those snores become the rhythm by which he fell asleep?

When had he learned (tonight's episode excepted) to roll up his sleeves and revel in the softness of the soapy water?

And how long had it been since he'd stopped thinking of this apartment as his and started thinking of it as theirs?

It hadn't been, he realized, about Matt being impossible to live with. It had been about becoming accustomed to the rhythms of another person's life, letting them rub against and chafe and erode his own. It was about learning to live with someone who affected you. Whose life, whose existence changed your own.

Matt had been different from his college roommate because Matt wasn't just a roommate. He was someone who'd changed Mohinder's life just by appearing in it.

He was important to him.

He was...

Matt was...

Matt was bursting through the door.

"OK, you're going to think I'm crazy," he said as soon as he saw Mohinder standing there, "but I actually got a hotel room but I couldn't sleep and I realized it was because your pencil tapping is what tells me what time it is and I didn't know it was time for sleep until you did it, so that time never came. So I came home to see if you would tap your pencil at me, and to see if you might want to rethink this whole fence thing because I think maybe that wasn't such a great idea after all, because I think I may-- I think I kind of like living with you, and if you can somehow manage to put up with me, I think we could really make this work, and Mohinder, would you think I was really crazy if I told you I'm not sorry about kissing you and I'd like to do it again and I mean right now?"

Mohinder stepped over the line just about as fast as he could.

Matt ran to him, folded him up in his arms, and kissed him hard. Mohinder's spine arched back and he forgot the world. Forgot himself, forgot to breathe, could only feel Matt above him and around him and so well settled in his heart that it was all he could do to contain his happiness or he might spill over, burst like a water balloon all over the room.

When they'd finished prying up all the tape from the floor, tossing it away triumphantly and washing their sticky hands together in the kitchen sink, Matt grabbed a small plastic bag he'd brought in with him. "Bought you a present," he said. "Just in case." Mohinder reached inside and brought out a small package of bright orange ear plugs.

"Just trying to be helpful," Matt shrugged.

Mohinder arched his eyebrows and then laughed, nodding. "These have the potential to be very helpful." he said. "If they're strong enough."

"Because my snoring is that damn bad?" Matt laughed. "Damn. I'm glad I can't hear myself."

Then he shuddered. There was a scientist with his arms around him and a wicked glint in his eye. "Because you are not sleeping all the way across the hall tonight."

I had fun once and it was awfulvisiblemarket on December 26th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
*snerk* I shouldn't have enjoyed them being snippy at each other as much as I did, but...I very much did.

"At least I wear clothes. You're practically a nudist before nine in the morning!"

Hee! Awesome.

Loved the magnet metaphor, too.
Tiptoe39: annoyedtiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 03:09 am (UTC)
Thanks. I am doing a lot of snippy-at-each-other bits these days. Must be my womanly curse finding vicarious life through fan fiction...
Ally, at your service!animegirl07 on December 26th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
I don't think I've ever told you this, but you are IN-CRED-I-BLE. I LOVE you (in the "OMG! *FANGIRL*" way, of course). You are really good, and I love the way you write them, especially with the nerdy things like the magnets and such. (I personally loved to push the same-pole magnets together as well, so that just made me really happy. ^^)

*adoration and love* Keep it up! You're my hero! ^^
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)
yay!!!! thank you so much! i had those magnets too....
himhilienhimhilien on December 26th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC)
Another terrific installment. I'm sad you only have five left.

Personal experience of life of hell with an awful roommate surprisingly made this fic more enjoyable. I actually do some of the stuff Matt does in this fic and I'm shocked my roomies haven't killed me for doing them.
Tiptoe39: hanging aroundtiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
Well, I wanted to pick things that weren't necessarily horrible things, just different routines, because the whole point is not that one is the roommate from hell but they need to get used to being in each other's lives and space and hearts. So I doubt your roomies are interested in killing you.
ilsaluvsrickilsaluvsrick on December 26th, 2007 04:06 am (UTC)
Did you ever see that episode of the Brady Bunch when the boys divide their room with tape?

Yeah, that was not nearly as freaking awesome as this.

This rocked! Love that you allowed them both to be stupid and petty and wrong but so right for each other. Love the romantic comedy moment of arguing and then all of a sudden kissing madly. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that your amazing talent made it not feel like a cliche.

Tiptoe39: lina gourrytiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC)
Ahaha, I know it was a cliche, but I couldn't help myself. I wanted to write the fightfightfightKISS. I almost never write that because I think it's pretty much bullshit and I never believe it when it happens in other media, but I have 30 kisses to do so at least one of them might as well be cliche. :D
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: xellostiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)
That's what I figure -- you're a captive audience at this point :snerk:
Artsy: Heroes: MattMohinder!Laughinghiddenfantasy on December 26th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
I love it when the two are at each other's throats when it comes to their daily habits, 'cause it always leads to something, whether it be a kiss or sex (mmm, sex :D)

I recall doing something similar with my sister in my youth. It only helped to escalate things. Silly boys for thinking tape would work. XD Oh how wrong they were.

This was adorable. I loved it.
Tiptoe39: dashtiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
Mmm, sex, indeed. :tries to think about next piece of smut; has plotbunny but unsure how it may develop:

I know, it's so childish but such a fun plot device ^_^
out_there on December 26th, 2007 05:37 am (UTC)
"OK, you're going to think I'm crazy," he said as soon as he saw Mohinder standing there, "but I actually got a hotel room but I couldn't sleep and I realized it was because your pencil tapping is what tells me what time it is and I didn't know it was time for sleep until you did it, so that time never came. So I came home to see if you would tap your pencil at me, and to see if you might want to rethink this whole fence thing because I think maybe that wasn't such a great idea after all, because I think I may-- I think I kind of like living with you, and if you can somehow manage to put up with me, I think we could really make this work, and Mohinder, would you think I was really crazy if I told you I'm not sorry about kissing you and I'd like to do it again and I mean right now?"

Awwwwwwwwwww! That is awesome!
Tiptoe39: chaotiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, that is my favorite part too... I love gushy!Matt.
Easy To Amuse, Hard To Pleasestarlingthefool on December 26th, 2007 06:52 am (UTC)
Hee! This was great fun.
Tiptoe39: happytiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
hooray for fun!
crystal_mkcrystal_mk on December 26th, 2007 07:56 am (UTC)
Darling I love you so much for this. I've had an absolutely awful couple days and this just made me giggle and smile and I am now feeling so much better.

I love that they're snippy with each other but eventually discover that it's the things that annoy them that they've grown accostomed to. So very sweet!
Tiptoe39: kensei & hiro singtiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
Hmmm.... I smell yet another My Fair Lady reference woven into a kiss. Which is weird because I've never actually seen My Fair Lady all the way through..
The Soul says: - crystal_mk on December 26th, 2007 03:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - crystal_mk on December 26th, 2007 04:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - kleenexcow on December 27th, 2007 06:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
Renéerogueslayer452 on December 26th, 2007 10:40 am (UTC)
Hee! I love how you wrote them being all snippy and at each other's throats. I find it completely adorable (same when you see them actually bickering like an old married couple in the show itself, all the more reason why I really want to see more of their interaction how their living arrangement took place). I liked how you had those little annoyances that roommates will find with each other after living together, and how childish they would act to get back at the other. All very well-done, and I did like Molly's advice on taping their boundaries and personal space, but I'm glad things got resolved in the end.

Speaking of, I adored how this kiss was invented through their frustrations and in the heated moment with each other. I liked how despite their annoyances and differences that they really DO need each other. Nice job, as always. :D
Tiptoe39: lina gourrytiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 01:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
imeru on December 26th, 2007 12:31 pm (UTC)
You start understanding the importance of people and things just when they're missing.
I love when Matt comes back and both of the kisses, so impulsive and natural. <3
Tiptoe39: mattmo canontiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Matt is an impulsive guy; of course if I had someone like Mohinder and only tape separating us I might act kind of impulsive too.
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on December 26th, 2007 12:42 pm (UTC)
omg, girlfriend. you make me laugh so hard! i loved the first part so much i hated it b/c they were being so petty and dumb (dumb boys) and then LOVED how matt stormed out and stormed back in... his speech at the end was THE BEST and...

are you sure it's not the 100 kiss challenge???

:love you:
Tiptoe39: creativetiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, his speech was my favorite part too.

I'm sure I will think of something to do when the kisses run out. You know me, always cogitating. Plus I just got the Heroes S1 DVD so I have loads of inspiration...
triedunture on December 26th, 2007 04:41 pm (UTC)

Every time I think, no this is my favorite. Then you top it with the next! Oh god, the classic sitcom tape-divider, it was too funny. Very sweet.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 04:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks! So glad you enjoyed! :D
carma_babycarma_baby on December 26th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
I think maybe you are too hard on yourself, my dear. Because this was absolutely, angrily, lovely.

You managed to create a kiss where is wasn't storystorystorykissend. Instead, it was angeranger{withstory}kissconfusionkiss{hinto'sextocome}end. And I loved it! {Please pardon the bizarre format of ^}

And utilizing a cliche but managing to keep it from being ridiculous and unreadable, AND using all three of the family characters = WIN. And, like many previous commenters, I absolutely adored the part where Matt barged back into the apartment because he couldn't sleep and then basically vomited a torrent of words. It was glorious. Seriously, glorious.

Thank you so much, once again, for sharing, and have a good day at work, my dear.
Tiptoe39: kensei & hiro singtiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 05:10 pm (UTC)
aahaha hahhah does that mean all my previous ones were storystorystorykissend? :laff: Yes, I can make anything into an insult. I have standard American Victim Complex.

So glad you liked it. You're so nice to me. :hugs:
The Soul says: - carma_baby on December 26th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
JLB: tim & mikebaehj2915 on December 26th, 2007 05:50 pm (UTC)
hee hee... magnets.

it was funny and very different approach from your normal kisses. Very enjoyable. *claps*

~love from WI
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, hon! I am glad I am keeping the variety up. Your icon is funny, BTW, even tho I don't know the chars.
The Soul says: - baehj2915 on December 26th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on December 26th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)