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29 January 2008 @ 08:10 pm
[fanfic] Legacies: Prologue (PG-13)  
Title: Legacies
Chapter: Prologue
Author: tiptoe39
Characters/Pairings: Matt/Mohinder; Maya; Elle
Rating: The fic as a whole is rated R; this chapter is rated PG-13 for language.
Warnings: Spoilers for all of Season 2 so far; slash. (The slash is integral to the plot, but it is not the plot itself.)
Summary: We are given legacies by those who leave us, but also by those who stay by our side.

It may have begun, Matt thought, the night Molly screamed and they both came running. The nightmares were getting worse, they said, perched in the doorway like two anxious birds guarding a nest. The frustration and helplessness were palpable in his voice, he knew. Mohinder wasn't much better. He wanted Matt to perform a miracle, wanted him to use his power to divine the secrets in her head. Why couldn't he just reach inside and pull the truth out? Matt tried to explain to him that it didn't work like that, as much as he himself wanted it to. He turned to get the water for her, but lingered a moment in the door as Mohinder went to her, patted her forehead, smoothed her damp hair.

And he began to sing a sort of tuneless melody in a language Matt didn't even recognize. Probably the language of his birth. And Molly's eyes got heavy, and her breathing became deep and regular. She fell asleep before Matt could even bring her the water. Before he could even go get it. Because he'd been frozen, stunned at the facility with which those hands and that voice had brought her peace. It didn't seem fair. Why should he be able to help her? He wasn't special like she was. Like Matt was.

Matt ought to understand her better than anyone. He'd saved her. He'd been there for her. He was getting ready to be a father himself, before all that fell apart. He knew what it was to have knowledge in your head that you didn't expect to have, didn't even want to have. Why couldn't he do for her what this perfectly ordinary doctor could do in a second? And so damned effortlessly? With the flutter of long eyelashes and the passing of a hand over her brow and an artlessly hummed song?

He felt huge and ugly and brutish and like he was always trying too hard in comparison. And worse, Mohinder treated him like he was all those things. He snapped at him. He smirked at him. He held Molly possessively, like she was his by right and Matt's only by happy accident. He was obnoxiously perfect in his every movement. He even spoke like something out of a film, always with perfect grammar and diction. If he was crystal, Matt was mud. They were made out of fundamentally different things. And for the life of him Matt couldn't figure out why this irked him so much.

But then they almost lost her. And it was Mohinder who made the hugely idiotic blunder of bringing her to the Company, and it was Matt who was able to break her out and bring her back home. All of a sudden the tables were turned. All of a sudden Matt was the conquering hero, the one she loved, the one she leaned on. He had saved her again. He had proved his worth. All was well.

And that night he caught Mohinder crying.

And that's when it really began.

He felt bad, invading that space, approaching the moat Mohinder had made of stacks of clothes and papers, suitcase open like a drawbridge, hiding within the ring like it was a fortress. He was leaving the next day for California and he had to pack. Matt had been so angry when he found out. "She's just now back to us and you're leaving!?" he'd roared. "What the hell are you even good for?" Mohinder had snapped back at him about the virus and needing to save people's lives, and now that Matt was back wasn't that enough?

And they'd argued, and Molly had come in and accused them of arguing, and they'd said they were just discussing things. "Fine," she'd said, "but cut it out now, because your discussing is keeping me awake." Matt walked back to her room with her, kissed her, promised he'd be there if anything happened (at least one of them would, he thought with a touch of petulance), and came back out to find Mohinder sitting on the floor with his head buried in his knees, crying.

At the sound of Matt's footsteps, he looked up and hurriedly wiped his eyes on his sleeve, continuing to pack methodically. His eyes were so red it hurt to look at them. Matt felt his heart lurch in his chest, and he was seized with guilt. "Look," he grumbled, not meeting those bloodshot eyes, "I know you've got to do what you've got to do. Sorry I said all that."

Mohinder's voice was still a little wobbly. "No," he said quietly, with a kind of half-smile. "You're right. About all of it. I... I already know I'm most likely no good for her."

"No. No, don't say that." Matt squatted down next to him. "Come on. You know that's not true."

"No, I don't." Mohinder's voice snapped, but the bite was muffled by a choked-back sob. "I don't know it's not true. Not at all."

Well, this was a weird predicament. He had to reassure the man he resented that he was a worthwhile father. "Look. For what it's worth? I do. I'm actually... really kind of..." The sharp beady eyes were on him, he could feel it. "I can't think of the word. But the point is, you're a good person. You're a good father to her. So don't do anything stupid in California, all right?" Shit. That's not what he'd planned to say. He could see Mohinder freezing up already. The defenses were coming back online.

"Thanks," Mohinder mumbled, looking away from him. "I think." I guess that answers that question, in spades. Who knew he thought that little of me.

"Jesus-- no! That's not what I'm trying to-- damn it." Matt slapped his palm to his forehead. "I think--" He heard what he was about to say in time to be horrified, but not in time to stop it. "I think the world of you. OK?"

Mohinder stared at him.

Now that it was out, it seemed easier to justify. "That is-- you're brilliant, you're a doctor, for God's sake-- you're a good father, you're a-- a good guy. I kinda--" He squinted, as though it might help focus his thoughts. "I kinda like you. Surprisingly enough."

"That is a surprise." There it was, that half-smirking tone that drove him up a wall. Matt immediately felt nervous, and he wanted to look behind him to find a safe place to retreat to. But, on the other hand, he was kind of relieved--at least Mohinder's confidence had returned. It was disconcerting to see him as vulnerable as he'd been. "I..." I rather like you as well. "I appreciate the thought."

Matt was blushing before he could hide his reaction. Mohinder looked at him, saw the panic in his face, and quickly made excuses. "Not. Not like that. I... just meant." He heaved a sigh. "The point is, I'm terrible at showing it, but I do appreciate what you've done here. For her." He swallowed. "And I'm aware that I'm difficult to live with."

"Not really, considering you're never home," Matt said before he could help it. "Shit, I need to learn to bite my tongue."

"Fair is fair," Mohinder shrugged. There was an actual, genuine smile, not a smirk, lighting his features. "You know something? I think this may be the first actual conversation we've ever had."

"You may be right." Matt let himself smile back.

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence. Matt could hear each tick of the second hand on Mohinder's watch.

"We, uh. We never really took the time to talk about all this, did we?" he said finally, looking away. "Or anything. I just sort of showed up and wouldn't leave her alone, and somehow it ended up like this."

"We were not terribly mature about the situation, no," agreed Mohinder.

"I don't regret it," said Matt impulsively, his eyes rushing to the man's face.

Mohinder smiled again. Again, it was warm. Perhaps just the warmth that comes in the aftermath of tears. But it was an odd sensation to see that warmth angled toward him. "No. Neither do I," he said. Matt realized then that the warmth was in his voice and gaze, not just his smile. And he felt a twinge and a rush of something that made him very, very nervous.

He got up, dusting himself off. "Well. I'll let you finish packing. You don't want to miss your flight," he admonished as he headed toward the doorway.


The voice was oddly clarion clear. Mohinder barely ever addressed him by name. He turned.

He was struck again by the warmth, but also by the fragility of the man who sat there. Mohinder was twisted toward him, chin angled up as though in supplication, and the smile on his face was tinged with sadness. He looked like he might break apart or melt away if the wrong tide were to come in. "Would you mind terribly... keeping me company for a little while? It's..." He looked down, to the side, around, as though the words had scurried with the cockroaches into a dark corner of the room. "It's very quiet in here late at night."

Matt felt another unnameable emotion. He stomped back and took a seat on the desk chair, backwards so his legs spread wide against the back of it. "Sure. I guess better late than never, right? Us talking, that is."

"Yes." The eyelashes flickered again. Damn, but the man had long eyelashes. What a thing to notice, though. "Yes, it is."

Mohinder continued to fold clothes into the suitcase. It was a wonder to Matt how small he was able to fold them, how compact they became with just a few deft motions. After a while he looked up. "Well. Now that we've agreed to talk, we seem to be excellent at not doing so," he observed.

"Sorry. Sorry, I just spaced out a little." Matt racked his brain. "So... what do you want to talk about?"

"I don't know. Anything." But the thought came leaping to the fore. Tell me about your power.

Always the scientist, Matt thought. "Um, what do you want to know about it?"

Mohinder looked at him and blushed. "That's right. You can do that," he said, surprised. "Mostly I'm interested in how and when it first manifested. But anything you can tell me. You've seen some changes recently, am I right?"

"Uh, yeah." Actually, it had been Molly who'd told him about what Matt had been able to do. She'd mentioned it as the three of them went home from the Company earlier that night. Almost immediately, Mohinder's mind had begun buzzing with the possibilities of it, and some of the thoughts Matt heard there had scared him. "The first time I... Well, the first time I knew I used it was when I heard her voice. Molly's. It's because of her that this whole thing happened, kind of."

"The invisible hand of destiny at work, I suppose."

"Hm. Maybe. And now it's changing, which is strange. I don't really remember it changing before. I'd never done those things before, what I did with my dad." He sounded like he was making excuses, like he'd done something wrong.

"It's not unusual, however." Something seemed to animate Mohinder, light him up like a candle. "One thing I've noticed is that these abilities seem to alter in response to major life events. It's quite extraordinary to think about, actually. At some point I'd like to do a detailed analysis of the phenomenon."

"Of what, changing?" Matt shifted in the chair. "Isn't it the same as anything else? The rest of us changes as we get older, learn stuff. Why would this be any different?"

The gentle hands stopped in midair. Mohinder seemed to quiver a little bit. "You may be right. I hadn't thought about it that way."

Matt shrugged dismissively. "Well, don't listen to me. You're the scientist."

Mohinder watched him blush and bluster, a spark of amusement in his eyes. "No, it's a valid point," he finally said. "I've always considered our genetic legacy to be somewhat static. We receive our DNA from our parents, and it is permanent. But that doesn't mean that, just as our hair turns gray and our bodies develop, the manifestation of that legacy doesn't change. I don't see why it shouldn't be the same for genetic abnormalities as it is for normalities."

"Uh. Right." Matt wasn't sure he hadn't gotten lost along the way. "I really wouldn't listen to me if I were you."

"No, not at all." The response came along with a wide smile-- a strange contrast with the still-red eyes. "You don't have to be a scientist to have a hypothesis," he said. "There's no reason your idea shouldn't be considered, if it holds water. Which, at first blush, it appears to do."

"Well. Thanks, I guess."

They fell into near-silence, just the rhythm of Mohinder's adept folding of the clothes and Matt's stare and both their breaths budging at the corners of the stillness. Matt cleared his throat. "So, uh, how's work been? I mean. Before all this happened. Were you working on anything interesting?"

"I've been researching the virus." From stillness back into animation, so quickly. It was as though a switch could flip him from off to on. "The mere fact that it's reappeard after more than 25 years is startling. The pathology makes very little sense. Niki notwithstanding, a strain of it presented in Haiti. How on earth it could migrate there without any intervening infections is puzzling, to say the least."

"But wasn't the guy who got it connected to the Company?"

"Well, yes. But he'd been at home for at least a month. Apparently he'd made some sort of mistake, and they-- what's the word-- relieved him of active duty."

"Benched him."

"Yes, that's it. The procession of the virus appears to have been quite rapid, more so than Molly's was when she contracted it. So it appears unlikely that the Company infected him, at least, not here on the mainland." He'd begun gesturing with a pair of socks, completely unaware of how bizarre it looked. Matt fought back a chuckle. "Which brings me back to the original problem, which is: How did it find its way out there? So I'm attempting to track the epidemiology of it..." Mohinder looked up and finally saw Matt biting his lip. A lopsided, tired grin found its way onto his face. "I'm boring the living daylights out of you, aren't I?"

Matt shook himself out of the sort of hypnotic trance he'd fallen into watching that pair of socks dance about. "I'm here to keep you company," he said genially. "You don't have to entertain me."

"Very selfless of you." Mohinder was more than a little amused.

"Hey, pretending to understand things I don't get is my forte. I've done it my whole life."

The conversation dried up for a while after that, but as Mohinder folded up the last of his shirts, he commented, "We have rather a lot in common for two people who've never sat down and talked before."

"You flirting with me?"

He laughed. "I'm afraid I don't have those inclinations. I hope you're not too disappointed."

"OK, good," Matt said quickly. "Because you never know these days." At the same time, he realized he'd been watching Mohinder's hands all this time. Something about the way he folded a shirt was fascinating.

"But I am glad we talked."

Eyes met his, and Matt felt a little like he'd been given a gift. "Yeah. Me too. Kinda nice to have..." He trailed off, but Mohinder finished his thought.

A friend.

"Yeah. A friend." Matt grinned.

Mohinder shut the suitcase with a bang. They said their goodnights and went to their rooms.

Maybe that was the beginning. Or perhaps it was just the prelude. Because then there was California and there was Texas and it was all on hold until Matt came home to a frightened girl and an angry man and a strange woman, and the wheel began to turn.

Next: When he came home.

A bit of an author's note: I'm posting to heroes_fic and heroes_slash as well as my usual communities for the first time, so I'm a little nervous. At the same time, I am hoping to get a few more readers than I've had... so hello new people! :waves:
mercaquemercaque on January 30th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
That was perfect! Matt's envy and later "victory" over Mohinder were palpable. I hated reading it, which is a compliment, because you so perfectly captured what that feeling is like. You really made Matt and Mohinder seem like real people, in both their ugliness and their sweetness, and your dialogue is so smooth and in-character it just swept me along. I cannot, cannot, cannot wait to see what you come up with next.
Tiptoe39: washuutiptoe39 on January 30th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I really appreciate the feedback. Did you come from one of the newer communities? I don't remember seeing your name on my lj before. Welcome! I hope you'll kill some time by perusing my other fics nice to see you! :wave:
The Soul says: - mercaque on January 30th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
GQMF NICOLE: Heroes - Matt&Mo heart by erykarmadownurgun on January 30th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
Oh, this was such an adorable prologue! It just flowed and I liked seeing them start to talk with each other and actually become friends. I can't wait to see where you're taking this!

And don't worry, I'm sure you'll get a good reception at heroes_fic and heroes_slash!

Edited at 2008-01-30 02:03 am (UTC)
Tiptoe39: matthindertiptoe39 on January 30th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
God, I hope so!! The plot hasn't started yet, thus it is a prologue, but I loved this dialogue so much I couldn't not-post it. thanks!
boymommytotwoboymommytotwo on January 30th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
you never cease to amaze me with the tiny little embers of a story - a feeling - a thought/consideration/reaction - you can begin and undoubtedly they will fan into a flame. i love the way you build your stories and i always look forward to more. more more more more more more...
Tiptoe39: mattmo canontiptoe39 on January 30th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
Oh good, that's exactly what this is, embers -- the fire has yet to start :)
Renéerogueslayer452 on January 30th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
Oh, I liked this introduction. You gave a nice beginning, between the parental jealousy and the sniping back and forth between each other to them just having a casual conversation for the first time since living together. I liked that whole section, of both Matt and Mohinder just talking rather than bickering. I also liked Matt's reactions to Mohinder, noticing his long eyelashes and watching his hands. It's so cute, even when he doesn't realize that yeah, he's having a beginning crush on this man. And vice versa, too. I quite liked that Mohinder asked Matt to stay just so he wouldn't be alone. That was sweet and opened up more to what could be between them.

Again, you captured both Mohinder and Matt in their realm, particularly at this moment where Mohinder has to got to California and where Matt has to deal with the advancement of his abilities and the incident in Texas. I can't wait to read the upcoming parts. I have a feeling this is going to be another amazing story, based on this prologue alone.
Tiptoe39: matt listentiptoe39 on January 30th, 2008 03:50 am (UTC)
Thanks, the story part of the story is coming soon :-) I always love your feedback. thanks so much!!
crystal_mkcrystal_mk on January 30th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
Ohh, poor Matt, all jealous of Mohinder. And yay for Matt saving Molly! Poor Mohinder, feeling all guilty.
*hugs them both*

I love the set-up you have here. Though when I read the line about Mohinder not having those "inclinations" my jaw kinda dropped and I was all like "what?!?"

Can't wait for the next part!
Tiptoe39: yaoitiptoe39 on January 30th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Don't worry, don't worry. He doesn't have those inclinations... yet. My basis for doing this story was to try to capture a little more realistically how their relationship might start. Slowly, tentatively (Tentatively was the working title before the rest of the plot appeared and it became Legacies), hesitantly. Sooooo.... I promise t3h sl4sh w1ll h4pp3n!
plotbunny_tiffplotbunny_tiff on January 30th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
I really love the slow buildup of this. It reminds me of the Seurat painting, the one made up of thousands of tiny dots? That's what this is: a multitude of little things, emotions, glances, words, thoughts, and they don't seem like much but as you pull back they are creating a whole picture.

TL;DR: Awesome, craving more. ^_~
Tiptoe39: lovetiptoe39 on January 31st, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
Thank you, that's a lovely description! I am definitely hoping to create a similar impression. Goodness, I love your metaphors.

Samanthor: Matt & Mohinderkleenexcow on January 30th, 2008 07:53 am (UTC)
I really love the tone of this. The nice, slow way you're taking it, the reinvisioning of the season. And oh! Their first real conversation was so nice to read. I think you really captured the concept of the characters in a more canon way that we usually do in this fandom, and, lo, it is excellent.
Tiptoe39: mattmo canontiptoe39 on January 31st, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
That's sort of the point :-) I am excited to get the plot going, though...
Trini: Awesometrinipedia on January 30th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC)
I don't know if I did or did not tell you that this is the best MattHinder fic ever, and that I can't wait to have it all printed on paper to read it over and over again...

If I did, I do tell you once again: thank you for being the best *_*
Tiptoe39: washuutiptoe39 on January 31st, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
Stay tuned, there's way more to it now than when I posted it as a WIP. ;-D
The Soul says: - trinipedia on February 1st, 2008 10:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
Carmexgirlcarmexgirl on January 30th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
I really like the awkwardness that you convey between the two of them, especially in the dialogue - I like the way that although they're totally committed to caring for Molly, they're still really unsure of each other. I also like the way they're not sure of their feelings around each other, and that although there is something almost tangible there between them, neither can put their fingers quite on what it is, nor would they need to at this stage.

I like that your kinda keeping true to the plot as well - can't wait for the next one, and the inevitable smooching that just so has to happen!
Tiptoe39: awakeningtiptoe39 on January 31st, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. That's exactly what I was going for, so that makes me happy.
imeru on January 30th, 2008 10:12 pm (UTC)
This was awesome! It ended with that little bit of suspense which makes you want to read the next chapter, and, I don't know if it's wrong or not, but I just love the image of crying Mohinder, really, it's so sweet, I feel like I'm melting everytime I imagine it.
I loved dancing socks, and how Mohinder didn't get why Matt's was about to laugh. That's so Mohinder.
Tiptoe39: mo prettytiptoe39 on January 31st, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)
I love it too. He can be so vulnerable. :hugs crying boy:
carma_baby: wake up gaycarma_baby on February 1st, 2008 03:16 am (UTC)
The first story of yours that I ever read was "Unexpected" on ff.net. I was struck by how beautifully you managed to capture the newness and how hard it is to let yourself love someone. Since then, I have constantly been amazed by your ability to not write the same story a thousand times.

This seems to have nothing to do with your newest story, but I wanted you to know... You still have the golden touch, my dear.

I love how you manage to create this atmosphere of tension, as well as the feeling of give-and-take competition between them. There is this lack of comfort that slowly dissipates as they talk and become slowly more innocuously attracted to each other.

As a response to people who say M&M shippers live in a candy-coated world of sugar and delusion, you have succeeded. Thank you so much for sharing this loveliness. You rock a lot.
Tiptoe39: caketiptoe39 on February 1st, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
Thank you honey!!!!! :hugs you: what lovely feedback. I am having a good day and hearing this totally takes the cake. :tells icon to give cake back to you:

The Soul says: - carma_baby on February 1st, 2008 04:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
pixieladykuwdora on February 3rd, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
Mmmm, lovely first taste of what's to come.
Tiptoe39: thankyoutiptoe39 on February 3rd, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
thank you so much!
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: dramatiptoe39 on March 3rd, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
oh my.

:runs around screaming in circles:

ok ok ok ok ok no big deal no big deal this is not a pity review because she knows you have a massive complex about her. relax. relax. relax.

Erm. Um. Thanks. Uhuhuh.

Please make me your monkey boy!

:runs away:
saavikam77: Molly's Heroessaavikam77 on March 20th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
Well, I may be a few days behind, but I'm here! ^_^

I love this opening, with the little thread of connection they seem to be making. Of course, the image of Mohinder waving his socks around sort of has me hypnotized, too. :p
Tiptoe39: mo prettytiptoe39 on March 20th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
It's part of his pretty power. It's his amazing pretty sock-waving attack.

I think I have just made him into a magical girl. Oh dear.