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01 January 2008 @ 08:28 pm
[fanfic] 30 First Kisses - Kiss #27 (PG)  
Title: 30 First Kisses - Kiss #27
Author: tiptoe39
Rating: PG for maybe it's a little scary for little kids.
Summary: Mohinder has a scare and possibly a breakdown.

This is the 27th of 30 possible ways Matt and Mohinder could share their first kiss, written for the 30_kisses challenge. The theme was "overflow" (afureru). Previous kisses are here.

My mind moves at breakneck speed. That isn't a boast; if anything, it's more of a complaint. I can't imagine what a wonderful respite it must be to think of only one thing at once. In my head, ideas, concepts, theories run by five at a time, at least. It's practically a computer inside my head. The only difference is, a computer has the decency to break down when the data it's processing becomes too much for it. I think I might give anything to have the inside of my head suddenly go blank but for white, pixelated letters telling me ERROR: STACK OVERFLOW. Ignorance would be bliss indeed.

Matt has told me he never moved beyond hearing words in people's thoughts. No images, no nonverbal concepts. This is something of a comfort, as the great majority of my thoughts are, like the proverbial rolling stone, moving too fast to gather even words to describe them. Still, it worries me sometimes that he will hear something I'd prefer to keep private. Not that I can think of anything in particular. It's just a general anxiety. Probably an irrational one. I don't have a lot of secrets, not really. Not from him, that is.

I've asked him sometimes if my mind is audible. He says yes, yes it is, but in the way that a television one room away is audible: it's noise, but the words are unintelligible. And he has gained a lot of control of his ability in the past few months. Still, he has admitted that he prefers it when I'm gone; at night, when he is sleeping on the ratty sofa or staying up with Molly after a nightmare, he says, his control is considerably eroded. I hardly blame him for that. It's difficult, though, to have to walk on eggshells in my own house.

So that's one reason we likely don't get along. I've wondered about it myself, why when we're home at the same time (seldom as it is) we always seem to be at each other's throats. I'm surprised we're able to keep our cool as well as we do in front of Molly, but I do worry about her long-term emotional health. Children are particularly perceptive. There is no way our bickering doesn't affect her, no matter how well we conceal it.

I actually feel quite bad about it. He is a good person. I rather like him. There are times when I feel he's infinitely more qualified to take care of Molly than I am. But then he pulls something monumentally stupid like asking her to find his father and we are all about to kill each other for several days as she lies in a white-sheeted bed with electrodes on her temples. But I will say this for Matt Parkman: When he makes a mess, as he frequently does, he discovers within himself the capacity to clean it up. I have to admire that.

It's a complicated relationship. We're not just two men sharing an apartment. We have to relate in order to raise our girl, who's not even really ours. I can imagine the chuckle my friends in Madras would have if they were to learn of our arrangement. "We know you too well, Mohinder," they'd say. "You can't tell me that is all that is happening."

Well, yes, I can. Because that IS all that is happening.

How I feel about that fact, of course, is another matter.

But there are people to save and vaccines to synthesize and killers to be wary of, and my thoughts speed by five to a lane and don't have time to dwell on what I think my feelings are toward him and what I might like, in an ideal world, to happen between us. So those feelings are pushed toward the back, never given voice, or, thankfully enough, even words to describe them.


It's a Tuesday night and in true multitasking fashion I am watching the eleven o'clock news at the same time as I am reading a paper brought to my attention by a mailing list I am on regarding the splicing of lizard DNA into amphibians at the same time as I am tidying up the study and considering the menu for the next three days' dinners. The television reporter is excitable as usual as she informs me and the rest of TV-news-addled New York about the drama unfolding in midtown as a man is apparently on the roof of his office building threatening to jump, and officers are on the scene.

I vaguely wonder what it is about this town that makes everyone want to do things bigger, more conspicuously, more publicly. One can hardly have blamed my father for coming here when he set out to find his "Patient Zero." If it is extraordinary, if it is larger than life, it can be found here in New York. That formula worked for my father, rather better than he'd liked, perhaps, considering his first successful "find" ended up killing him. And here again, we have on display a man who would not be content with simply hanging himself in his bathroom. (Yes, Mohinder, you have become just as cynical and crass as the city you inhabit.) No, he must bring the full resources of the police department to bear, not to mention a number of media helicopters, before he bows out. Not that the vultures circling above aren't feeding delightedly on his misfortune.

The television cuts to a live view from one of the choppers, and, as I pass the set for the seventh time (because really last month's journals should be all together on the top shelf and not mixed among this week's and earlier this month's), I see little blue-suited ants on the rooftop. I do hope they get him down safely, but nothing is certain in this town, or in this world, for that matter. I let that line of thought drop, and another springs up in its place. This one has to do with an untied loose end in my citizenship application process. I've been attempting to establish permanent residency so I can be a legal as well as a de facto guardian to Molly, and of course there will be further complications and considerations once that hurdle is cleared, but I feel as though I have got to at least make the effort. And I finally have comprehended that damned sentence after reading it three times and have moved on. And I think it will be stir-fry tomorrow and possibly vegetarian chicken nuggets the night after that.

There seems to be some new excitement on the television screen, and the reporter is shouting in a tinny voice about an altercation and an officer down and another struggling with the suicidal man and one false step and it's a twenty-seven-floor tumble, but I'm not all that interested at the moment, because there's still Friday's dinner and the unprocessed application to consider, as well as this month's rent, which I think I submitted, but I'll have to double-check. The paper puts forth a fairly interesting hypothesis, but I'm not sure the evidence supports it, because the rejection rates in the control group are not part of the data. And...

And then Molly gives a little scream from the bedroom.

I spin. Now I have five parallel racers on the track of my thoughts. What's wrong? is in the lead, followed closely by What should I do? and Is it a nightmare or something more? Trailing behind them are the stragglers, Oh dear God what if she's sick or hurt? and Am I even remotely qualified to handle something as abjectly terrifying as a little girl in pain?

She's out of her bed and heading for me when I open the door. "Mohinder!" She gives a high whine on the middle syllable and twists herself against my waist, head buried in my stomach. I run a hand over her hair, trying to calm her. When she tilts her head up, her eyes are swimming with worry.

"Shh, shh, what's the matter, sweetheart? Another nightmare?"

She shakes her head. "Matt," she says, her brow furrowed in concern. "I checked on where he was 'cause he wasn't home when I went to bed and I woke up missing him and he's in a lot of trouble, Mohinder! We have to help him!"

My heart begins hammering. Immediately two of my thought lines dip into the question of why that is. "What kind of trouble?"

"I'm not sure," she says, still clinging to me. "But he's up very high, and--"

All of my thoughts shut down.

Everything I was thinking of. Gone.

Just gone.



Molly shakes me a little with her tiny fists.

"Come on," I hear myself say.

I know I'm shuttling her out of the room. I think I'm bringing her into the study. I think the TV is still on.

I watch her because I can't look at the TV, can't directly confirm the dreadful suspicion sitting in the pit of my stomach.

What I see-- one hand pointing at the TV, the other clapped over her mouth; eyebrows high and taut where they come together; forehead full of wrinkles of fear-- is the sort of image that immediately etches itself on one's brain forever. I feel rather than hear her scream of terror. "Matt!"

I have to look. Even though I can't look.

The choppers have zoomed in on the action. The man is dangling from the ledge. We can't see his face but he is flailing and the camera is shaking as though channeling his terror. Several police officers are leaning over the edge of the rooftop railing. One is on the other side, inching his way along the precipice, one hand reaching out into space toward the dangler. We don't need to see his face. We know by the movement, by the silent screaming of our hearts who it is.

She's on my lap and we're watching with our hands folded over each other in a four-layer lock. The anchorwoman is babbling. I can't spare the brainpower to decipher what she's saying. I have none. My brain isn't working at all.

He pulls away from the rooftop to swing toward the man. Their hands miss. The anchorwoman gasps. I forget to breathe. My heart forgets to beat. I think I'm breaking down.

I forget that I don't believe in God and I make a bargain with Him that if He brings Matt back to us safely I will never snap at him again.

Of all the officers in New York why did the bravest one have to be ours?

Molly has covered her eyes and is peeking out from between her fingers. I curse that I am too old to do the same. My hands wrap around her waist as though I need to keep her from flying away.

He's shouting to the man now. I can tell by the way his chest is filling up with air.

Why can't the news choppers come down to get this man? Why are they just hovering there?

The other officers have extended some sort of harness. Matt grabs it, extends it out to the man. He makes a swing for it and misses. We all gasp.

At the next swing he catches it, but his weight tumbles both men off the roof and they are clinging to the harness suspended in space.

Suspended in space.

And Matt's moving again. Down to secure the harness around the man's wrists and shoulders. Is he mad?

What if he stumbles?

What if he falls?

What if we lose him?

Then all at once they're both back over the railing and safely on the roof, and the man is crying, and Matt's arms are around him, and as the anchorwoman talks and the camera cuts away all I can think is that I am going to hug him like that when he gets home because he deserves it, because he is a hero, and because after all that if he needs comfort I want to be the one to provide it.

My brain is moving again. But slowly. Too slowly to find the words for why I want to be the one to comfort him.

Still, I think I know.

Molly's silent. I bend over to look at her. She has tears streaming down her cheeks, but she's not making any noise. I squeeze her tight, and that's when the sobs come.

I offer to let her stay up until he comes home, but now she's very, very tired, and she's practically asleep before she even falls back into bed. I pull the covers over her, kiss her forehead, and turn out the light.

As I walk back into the study my brain begins its frantic whirring again. What a night, what a harrowing ordeal that was. And what a curious thing my mind did. For a moment I really and truly couldn't think. The last time that happened was, my God, when? When I thought Molly was lost to us, perhaps. Any time, any other trauma that happened was still accompanied by the same endless revolution of a million thoughts. Even when I thought I'd killed a man it was the same. I couldn't stop it. What were the moral implications, would I be sought by the authorities, what about the family, could I trust someone who'd asked me to do this, would I ever be trusted by anyone again... the questions had piled up not in sequence but in parallel, a thousand at once, and I was overwhelmed.

It seems that the only terror my brain is not immune to, after all I've seen and all I've done, is the terror of losing those who are most dear to me in this world.

A few months ago I would have put only one name on that list. Now it seems I'm up to two.

How did it come to this? When did I learn to care for him? We're always at each other's throats. When we even see each other, which is seldom. So we take care of Molly together. That doesn't lead to any meaningful interaction. I can't figure out where this feeling originated. It makes no sense whatsoever.

I can hear my friends in Madras now. "Of course it makes no sense, Mohinder. Since when does this sort of thing ever make any sense?" Yes, but even for something nonsensical it makes no sense. I should not feel tied to him in any way whatsoever. What do I know about him, really? He's divorced. He can read minds. He is a police officer. He has just suspended himself twenty-seven stories above the city to save the life of a man he never met before and will likely never meet again. What kind of a man does that? See, I don't even know the answer to that question. How can I possibly know him well enough to...

Do I have to give it that name? Most of my thoughts don't insist on words. Why is this one begging to be named the one thing that's most frightening to say? I try to banish it. No, you pesky thing, I will not give you the satisfaction. Better to read some more and plan the next week's worth of meals and for that matter the shopping list than to dare give it another second. I ignore the obnoxious pounding of my heart.

Dear God, I almost lost him.

We. We almost lost him.

My brain may be having its long-overdue breakdown.

Then there's movement at the door and I'm up and there as the knob turns and he comes in looking weary and somewhat sick and my arms are as open as the door and he falls forward into them. We both go to our knees. Neither of us can stand.

He's in my arms and leaning on me.

My palms are flat on his back.

His breath is heavy on my neck.

I've lost all thought again.

"Thank God you're home," I breathe.

"Thank God," he echoes.

For a moment all I can hear is breath in my ear.

"Y-you went through hell tonight," I say shakily. "We watched the whole thing. Molly, too, I mean. We're just glad you're alive. Come inside. I'll make you some tea and..."

"N-- no tea. Just this." This? This, my arms around him? That this? "This and bed. So tired," he grunts. He's speaking in clipped sentences like a figure in a comic book. I try to ignore how that makes me feel. How his weight on my shoulder makes me feel.

We help each other to our feet and he smiles wearily. I walk him to the sofa and sit him back down again. "You were very heroic tonight," I say, pulling away from him.

He doesn't let me go. "Wasn't even thinking about it. All I could think about was getting home. To you. And Molly."

His arms are still around me. I don't know what to say.

"Shh. I hear. I know."

He knows?

How does he know when I don't know?

"Not tonight, OK?" he pleads.

Sure, that's fine.


Except it's not.

Except it's overflowing and I know he can hear it and there's no point anymore in pretending.

"But tonight I thought I'd lost you. I thought we'd lost you, and I had to be strong for her, and it was so difficult to do."

Is my voice breaking or is it that I'm already broken?

"How do I know I won't lose you tomorrow? How do I know you're not going to leave for work one day and not come back? I can't take that. I can't leave it be. Not like this. Not anymore."

His eyes are raised to mine and they're so serious and I can't think. I'm not thinking but I keep talking and I don't know what it is I'm saying.

"I feel terrible because I know we're always fighting. I know I'm on edge when you're around. I don't trust myself when I'm around you, because you make me feel so weak and hopeless. I feel so small in comparison, when you're this hero. But if I were to lose you..."

"OK. OK." He's touching me, his hand is in my hair. "I hear you. It's been a tough night. Say what you need to say."

What DO I need to say?

My friends in Madras would tease me. "You know perfectly well what you need to say," they'd tell me. I'd blush and deny it.

I can't deny it. But I can't say it, either.

Then there are hands at my waist. There are eyes on mine. There's a forehead pressed against mine.

"Say it," he insists.

How does he know?

Oh. That's right. He can read my mind. I knew that.

"I love you," I say.


"I love you, too," he says.


His hand's on my face.

He's so close.


His lips are dry on mine. Dry but insistent and strong. My eyes are closed. He breathes slowly in and out and I feel the movement of the air across my face. My hands are moving. Grabbing his shoulders. Clinging to him. I'm trembling. My body is alight like a thousand candles are burning steadily within it.

We let go and look at each other and smile shakily.

"Was that so hard?" he asks.

And there's another beat of silence, and then I'm in his arms and he's folding me up and I feel safe and he's kissing the top of my head and telling me something with the word "always" in it and I can only think one thing.

One thing that keeps repeating over and over.

I'm happy.



Au's note: I have no idea about police procedures and have made the whole rescue up out of whole cloth.
ilsaluvsrickilsaluvsrick on January 2nd, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Heroic Matt I love you so!!

This was lovely and I know exactly how Mohinder feels as I too am a sometimes neurotic chronic overthinker. Wish I had a Matt to make it all go away.
Tiptoe39tiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Yes, me too. I really do write Mohinder as Me sometimes.

I'm working on something right now that will have a piece of it dedicated to you. :hugs.:
shara50 on January 2nd, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
Excellent and a wild ride!!
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:10 am (UTC)
thanks much!
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:11 am (UTC)
thank you! I will sure try!
Robyn: housecameronmagickaldreamer on January 2nd, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
There are no words for my love of this installment.

No words. ♥
triedunture on January 2nd, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
Hello, awesome icon. Are you and I friends yet? B/c we totally could be!
The Soul says: - magickaldreamer on January 2nd, 2008 04:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
triedunture on January 2nd, 2008 04:16 am (UTC)
gah! Mohinder POV! I wish we saw it more!

Gah! 30 kisses almost done. I will be sad.

gah!! Cop Matt doing cop things is so hot.

GAH!!!! This is a good, good one.
Tiptoe39: matt mind meldtiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:14 am (UTC)
Yes, cop Matt doing cop things is awesome. You Gah'd a lot. Are you OK there? Not gagging too much?
Veet Voojagig: Heroes Fascinatingveetvoojagig on January 2nd, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. That was intense. I love the style you used on this.
Tiptoe39: pridetiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much!
The Soul says: - animegirl07 on January 3rd, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - veetvoojagig on January 3rd, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on January 4th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - veetvoojagig on January 4th, 2008 03:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
boudecia7boudecia7 on January 2nd, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
This was AWESOME. Right from the start, I was in love with this line:
This is something of a comfort, as the great majority of my thoughts are, like the proverbial rolling stone, moving too fast to gather even words to describe them.

and then by the end my palms were a little sweaty 'cause I'm scared of heights. I loved the whole thing, and the whole series, so I'm sad it's nearing the end. Great job!
Tiptoe39: happytiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
Oh, sorry to induce your palm-sweat! Thank you! and your dandelicon (<-- i just made that up) makes me smile :)
crystal_mkcrystal_mk on January 2nd, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
Brilliant as always my darling. I love everything you write and can't seem to find something to say without repeating myself.

You stole my originality too!

*shrugs* Oh well, I still reap the benefits1
Tiptoe39: xellostiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
I have no originality! It ceased to be originality the moment I stole it!!! :grin:
Artsy: Heroes: House of Mhiddenfantasy on January 2nd, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
Hero!Matt is love. Overthinking!Mohinder is love. Breakdown!Mohinder is even more love. <3 Kiss #27 is ultimate love.

That's all I gotta say. :D
Tiptoe39: lovetiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
Your feedback is love, my dear.
Samanthor: Matt & Mohinderkleenexcow on January 2nd, 2008 06:04 am (UTC)
Lovely, as always. <3<3<3

My two favorite parts were when you illustrated Mohinder's crazy train of thoughts with:There seems to be some new excitement on the television screen, and the reporter is shouting in a tinny voice about an altercation and an officer down and another struggling with the suicidal man and one false step and it's a twenty-seven-floor tumble, but I'm not all that interested at the moment, because there's still Friday's dinner and the unprocessed application to consider, as well as this month's rent, which I think I submitted, but I'll have to double-check. The paper puts forth a fairly interesting hypothesis, but I'm not sure the evidence supports it, because the rejection rates in the control group are not part of the data. And...
because it SO perfectly show what you've been saying. With the quick sentence changes...gah, it makes my head hurt to read just this little bit. Poor Mohinder and his crazy thoughts

And my other was the two error messages that were real computer ones followed by "CANNOT BREATHE." That was SUCH a brilliant move.

I have so much love for you!

(And P.S.S. I don't do any police work, but I am trained in aerial rescue. That's probably not how they would handle it, but you know what? The fic was so well written that even after all of the rescue simulations I've done, I didn't even notice that there might be inconstancies with the rescue until I got to your author's note. So don't you worry about a thing.)
Tiptoe39: shuichitiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:45 am (UTC)
I have so much love for you too! And wow, you're trained in aerial rescue? You're so cool!!!
The Soul says: - kleenexcow on January 3rd, 2008 02:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
out_there on January 2nd, 2008 06:08 am (UTC)
There was a really interesting rhythm to this piece and it worked really well.

On a random note, the mentions of Mohinder's friends in Madras made me happy. If only because he seems quite... disconnected, quite lonely (in some ways) in NYC and it's a nice, subtle touch to remind us that Mohinder isn't always as he appears.
Tiptoe39: mo and mollytiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
Thanks! I doubt he's as much of a loner as we would believe. I think Matt's probably more of a lone wolf than Mohinder is, naturally, but circumstances have just thrown him into this unusual world.

I hope they get friends.
rogue equestrian: Heroes:: what did you just think?elvinborn on January 2nd, 2008 07:35 am (UTC)
I love this deeply.
the only thing wrong with it, in fact, is that it means there are only 3 to go to 30. ;)
Tiptoe39: nerdytiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
I will ask God to create New New Math and get back to you. :D
imeru on January 2nd, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC)
This was so sweet. I loved the part when Mohinder and Molly are watching the news together and hoping Matt will be safe. And I loved when they confess, say they love each other, and the 'computer error' thing. ... perhaps I loved everything of this fic. God, so moving. ;///;
Tiptoe39: fanfictiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
Yay, so glad you liked :)


Trini: copcartrinipedia on January 2nd, 2008 01:01 pm (UTC)
I love you, adore you and worship you.

I guess this is the perfect moment to give you my present.


I wrote it for you *blushes* sorry for my horrible English, I just wanted to give you something in exchange for what you give me everyday...
Tiptoe39: fanfictiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
WAI! Everyone go read! It's lovely and beautiful!!!!
The Soul says: - trinipedia on January 3rd, 2008 10:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 11:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - trinipedia on January 3rd, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - trinipedia on January 3rd, 2008 12:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - tiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Soul says: - trinipedia on January 3rd, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Trini: fangirlingtrinipedia on January 2nd, 2008 01:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, I also befriended you. Sorry if I didn't ask first *headdesk*
Tiptoe39: cmere youtiptoe39 on January 3rd, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
ahahah! it's a free country! backatcha!
The Soul says: - trinipedia on January 3rd, 2008 10:13 am (UTC) (Expand)