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06 September 1998 @ 09:58 pm
Drabble dump - Mattmo, M3 (post 2)  


"You're going the wrong way," Molly informs him.

For a moment Matt panics; he can never remember whether it's odd streets or even that go one-way in this direction, but considering he's in bumper-to-bumper traffic and is not being honked at from all sides, it looks like he's safe. The light changes and the car speeds up. "I am not going the wrong way," he informs her with the slightly wearied tone of a parent whose child thinks she knows everything.

"Yes you are, he's not at that one."

"He said he was in front of the McDonalds on 7th."

"He said a McDonalds, and look, he's not there!"

Matt almost curses. "Oh, for crying out loud," he finally said. "Why wasn't he more specific?"

"Maybe because he left the message with me?" Molly sighs.

"Well, why weren't you more specific, then?" Do other fathers have to put up with this, or is he just alone in the world?

"Sorrrrry. Hurry up and turn around, he's probably freezing!"

Grumbling, Matt does. Mohinder better be plenty thankful for all the things Matt does for him. Like putting up with a GPS system that says a whole hell of a lot more than just "turn right here," and says most of it sounding annoyed.

But when a snowy and shivery Mohinder runs to the car, looking for all the world like his life has just been saved, Matt's anger evaporates. And when the man pulls both of them into a fierce hug, scooping Molly onto his lap and dropping his head onto Matt's shoulder, Matt feels downright lucky for what he has to put up with.

"Oh, for chrissake. Mohinder!"

The balding man turned, wrinkled his mustache. "You don't have to shout, I'm right here."

"Have you seen my glasses?"

"Aren't they on the table?"

Matt looked down, squinted, shook his head. "I'm losing it," he muttered.

"Your daughter would tell you you lost it years ago." Mohinder wrinkled his nose; his mustache, dry like sandpaper, itched at his skin.

"Yeah, shut up, Masterpiece Theatre. Just because you still have all your senses intact." He grabbed the glasses in one fist and an apple in the other, biting into it. "Maybe if I try really hard I can convince myself it's potato chips," he said, scowling at the fruit.

"Now you're showing off." Mohinder harrumphed, adjusting his dentures with a glimmer of envy in his piercing, sunken eyes. "Captain Crunch."

It was 8-year-old Jimmy who'd come up with the names for them. Masterpiece Theatre because of the way Grandpa Mohinder talked; Captain Crunch because Grandpa Matt still had all his teeth. Little Niki, who loved to imitate her older brother, had a tendency to say Mappy Suree and Capunch. But you couldn't fault her for her pronunciation. She didn't have very many teeth either... for a different reason.

"Yeah, yeah. Gonna turn the game on. You want to watch?" Matt cursed his back as he crossed the room and switched on the set, settling into the couch cushions with a groan.

"Might as well." Mohinder looked at him crossly, but settled in right beside them, and as Matt flipped on the game with the remote in one hand, he slung his other arm around Mohinder's shoulders. It was an OK way to pass a Sunday afternoon, all things considered.

A character becomes wiser during the story. During the story, a character discovers an item they thought they had lost.

It fell out of an old issue of Journal of Abnormal Physiology while Matt was cleaning and fluttered innocently to the floor. Interested, he bent to pick it up. "Hey, honey," he called across the room, "who's this?"

Mohinder came over to look. When he saw the photograph, he turned white. "Oh," he said. "I thought I'd lost that photo."

"One of those put-it-somewhere-for-safe-keeping moments, I bet. She's very pretty."

"She's, um..." Mohinder foundered.

Matt smiled lazily. "An old girlfriend, right? I figured as much. From India?"

"Yes. Um. It was many years ago. I haven't spoken to her in ages. Really." White had turned to red, and now he was desperate, his hands spread wide as though he were being arrested.

"Please. You think I'm worried about her? Have her over for dinner tomorrow, for all I care." Matt handed the photo to Mohinder and shut the magazine, depositing it in the nearby pile.

"I'm sorry, I didn't tell you..."

Strong arms came around him. Matt bumped his forehead against Mohinder's. "What, that you have a past? Well, geez, you're right, I'm shocked. Here I thought you were born yesterday and I was your very-very-first." He leaned in to kiss him. "I'm. Not. Worried. You think I threw out every photo of Janice?" He turned pale. "Oh, shit... do you want me to?"

Mohinder had to laugh. "No. No, not at all. Thank you. You're far wiser than I am sometimes. Thank you for being an adult."

"Well, don't stress about it," Matt said, letting him go. "Besides, I have collateral."

"I beg your pardon!?"

"I can always use Molly as a bargaining chip if I need to go into a jealous rage. So be forewarned." He winked to indicate the joke and went back to cleaning.
The story must have a lizard in it. The story must involve some medicine in it. During the story, there is a dramatic revelation.

"Mohinder is sick."

Molly was pouting. She pointed into the cage. The lizard was lying on his back. Matt suspected he was more than sick.

"Sweetheart," he said, dropping to his knees, "I think he's dead."

"Wha-at?" Her eyes filled with tears. Matt's heart ached for her. Even after all the death she'd seen, her heart still went out to an animal. And not even a particularly cuddly one. "He can't be dead! He was alive yesterday!"

"Molly," he said, scrunching up his face, "I don't know how long lizards live, but I bet he was very old. Sometimes it's just your time."

"No!" She ran into the bathroom. He heard the jangle of bottles of pills. "I'm gonna find some medicine, so he'll be OK!" came the muffled voice behind the door.

Matt got up, strode to the bathroom door, knocked carefully. "Molly. Honey. Come out. When Mohinder gets home we'll go bury him in the park, OK? We can say goodbye to him as a family."

Molly came to the door, a bottle of liquid Tylenol in her hand. "I'm gonna go give him medicine," she said, and avoiding Matt's hands trying to grasp her shoulders, she rushed back into the bedroom.

A little shout of surprise came next. Matt hurried back to see what had happened.

Mohinder the lizard had opened his eyes and managed to scramble back onto his feet. He was looking at Matt reproachfully, in fact.

As was Molly. "TOLD you he wasn't dead," she said.

Well. Next time check to see if the thing is breathing before you scare her half to death, he thought ruefully, and shrugged.
The story takes place twenty years into the future.

"Stop fidgeting!" Molly hissed, stamping a high-heeled shoe onto her dad's foot.

"I can't help it, I'm nervous!" he said, rubbing a finger against his balding head.

"Don't do that, you're going to look like a hard-boiled egg," she frowned, adjusting his bowtie as the photographer waited for the two of them to stop bickering and just pose already.

"You wait 'till it's your turn. You won't be able to keep still, either," he muttered.

"Not going to happen anytime soon," she retorted.

"Yeah, yeah. Career woman. I know."

"Hey, if you could wait this long, why shouldn't I wait a few more years?"

"Because you didn't have to?"

Molly turned and glared at him. "DAD. It's been legal for like fifteen years now. You were just too stubborn. Now shut up and smile."

Matt looked to the man waiting in the back of the room, who nodded. Listen to her. She's better-educated than you.

Grumbling, he flashed a smile for the camera. But he stepped on her foot lightly anyway. Because he wasn't going to be the only one in this wedding with scuffed shoes.
The story takes place in the winter. During the story, there is a rebellion against the ruling order.

It had taken them months of secretive planning. A lot of it made possible by Elle, who could a) be a double agent and b) knock out any electronic surveillance in the area whenever they met. Matt had grudgingly taken on the task of monitoring her loyalties. Luckily enough, he never had to alter them; she was traumatized enough by what she'd learned about her father and had had just about enough of his brush-offs anyway. Matt had been sure that probing her would be like cliff-diving into a swimming pool, but her emotions actually ran far deeper than even she herself realized.

Of anyone's loyalties, Matt worried about his own. First of all, what they were planning was far from legal and probably involved some collateral damage. He prayed nobody got killed. But more importantly, he had something now that he was afraid to lose. Wouldn't it all be simpler if he, Mohinder, and Molly just ran away to some godforsaken island and sipped drinks out of coconuts the rest of their lives? Leave the rest of the world to deal with... the rest of the world?

But Mohinder was too good a man. He knew what he was doing, and he had no compunctions about what was necessary to achieve it. So the night before it was all to start, as the snow fell in huge chunks outside the window, he took it upon himself to give Matt a pep talk.

They were on the couch, huddling together beneath a huge, knitted throw with delicately stitched flowers on one side. Mohinder had insisted on giving Matt a foot massage, despite Matt's protestations that his feet were huge and ugly and probably biohazards.

"We're going to get through this," he said as he kneaded Matt's feet steadily. "And then we'll have people we trust in charge of that Company, and we won't have to run anymore."

"I know, I know," Matt grumbled darkly. "But doesn't that... I don't know, miss the point? I mean, taking over the Company isn't the same as bringing it down. Shouldn't we just destroy the place, if we're going to do anything?"

"There's far too much information there to lose it all," Mohinder reminded him. "Imagine facing down your father if you didn't know what he could do. We need that knowledge. We just need it in gentler hands."

"Great," Matt groaned. "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Big Evil Company of Doom, now under new management. ITALIAN management."

Mohinder whacked the sole of his foot. "That's cruel."

"You still have a crush on Peter. I'm jealous."

"Oh, come off it." Mohinder laid his feet on the couch and began to crawl up his body to rest on him.

"So's Nathan, for that matter. Jealous, I mean."

"That joke was old before you made it," Mohinder yawned, settling his head into the crook of Matt's shoulder. "How could I possibly have a crush on anyone else? You're so warm."

Matt kissed his temple, smiling. "So are you. I might fall asleep right here."

"That'd be OK," murmured Mohinder happily. "Big day tomorrow, after all."

"Very big day."

"...wonder if a flying man in a wheelchair can still fly..." With that half-formed thought, Mohinder had dropped off. Matt leaned his head back on the cushion and watched the snow fall for a time. He didn't want to sleep, not yet. This could be his last moment of peace, and he wanted to savor it.
When the lights went out, Mohinder yelped.

You'd yelp, too, if you were in the shower and the lights went out.

"It's OK," Matt called through the door, trying not to wake Molly up. "It's just a blackout."

The voice was a loud whine. "It's pitch dark in here Matt I can't find my towel and I'm dripping wet and I can't see a damned thing."

Matt opened the door a crack. "Mohinder, don't tell me you're afraid of the dark," he said.

"Of course I'm not," snapped a cranky voice from deep in the blackness.

"Of all the spooooooooky things that might be lurking in the darkness." He tiptoed forward a few steps.

"Matt, this is not funny, now hand me my towel before I catch pneumonia..."

"Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh." Matt gave a high, tinny cackle and scraped his fingernails against one of the tiled walls menacingly.

There was a wobble in Mohinder's voice. "Cut that out right now or I--"

Matt threw the shower curtain open. "Boo!"

"ACK!" Mohinder jumped back against the side of the tub. "Damn it! Don't surprise me like that. You're such a ch-ch-child." His teeth were chattering.

"Sorry, sorry." Even though he wasn't the least bit sorry. Matt reached forward, touched a warm, wet, trembling arm. "C'mon. Mind the edge of the tub."

Gingerly Mohinder stepped forward, carefully stepping out onto the bathmat. Matt found both his hands in the blackness and pulled him forward. But still spooked, Mohinder stumbled, and all at once there was water seeping into Matt's shirt but a warm, bare chest on his and wet, tangled hair smelling of shampoo against his nose and mouth. He did the only thing he could do. He threw his arms around him and held on for dear life.

"Why, Matt," teased Mohinder, smiling into his shoulder. "Are you afraid of the dark?"
"I swear to GOD--" Matt said from beneath the desk.

Mohinder started. "I'm sorry, what?"

"--freakin cords so SMALL--"

Mohinder got up, putting his magazine down. "Dare I even ask what you are doing?"

"I'm trying to fix the--" A sickening thud. "OW!" Mohinder winced sympathetically. "--damned computer-- says it can't see the mouse, but the mouse is plugged in... I think..."

Walking over, Mohinder surveyed the scene. Matt was doing his best Wicked Witch of the East impression, with his legs stuck out between the legs of the desk chair. His head was God only knows where, probably somewhere behind the tower, and above him on the desk the monitor was declaring NO SIGNAL.

"Freakin' nuisance is what it is--" came the voice from the depths. "--wish people still used typewriters--"

"Occasionally when the mouse cord gets loose it loses communication," Mohinder offered helpfully.

"Yeah, that's what happened," Matt grunted. His jean-clad legs were wiggling rather comically. "Only I plugged it back in, I thought, and the computer didn't see it..."

"Even when you restarted it?"

Another thud. "OW!"

"Matt, please, don't try to sit up!" Mohinder had trouble restraining his laughter. "Please don't tell me you didn't even restart it."

"Is that all it takes?" The wiggling legs fell still. Mohinder didn't need to see his face to know he was staring straight up at the underside of the desk, defeated.

"Most of the time." And, seized with a wicked idea, he straddled that pair of blue jeans and sat down.

Thud. "OW!"

"Please, Matt..." Mohinder said, his hands going to his zipper. "Don't move."
Based on this photo:  http://flickr.com/photos/91792971@N00/2157224457/

They were lost and it was raining and there were no lights on the highway. How on earth were there no lights on the highway? It didn't matter. They were pulled over and there was no chance they were going one mile further until the rain let up. Visibility was so bad they were practically seeing behind them.

The hammering like heartbeats of raindrops was almost comforting now that they weren't trying to navigate the storm. Matt climbed with great bluster into the back seat of the small car and reached a hand to help Mohinder through. The smile he got in return was blindingly bright, and his heart leapt to his throat.

They sat in the back seat, watching the drops streak against the panes, fingers tangled together. The car was warm with the heat of driving and their two bodies in the cramped space. Matt kissed his forehead, brushing aside the tangles of hair. Mohinder gave a small, happy sigh. They turned to the windowpane and their eyes caught it at the same time: two raindrops streaming together from opposite angles, just for a moment hanging together in the shape of a heart before fusing into one larger drop and running down along the pane.

"That's us," Matt said. He wasn't sure where the cheesy cliche came from, but he couldn't argue it wasn't true.

"Yes," Mohinder breathed, his mouth misting breath against the side of Matt's neck. Lithe fingers were at his collar, stroking the smoothness and the scratchiness at the base of his jaw.

Matt closed his eyes to hear the beating of the drumming raindrops and his heart. Dancing in a frenzied rhythm. He reached for the only comfort he knew.

And fusing into one, they waited out the storm.
"Can I have some of these?"

Mohinder looked down at the little girl with the outstretched hands full of purple, bulbous fruits. "Darling, those are figs. You've never had them."

"But they're cute. I bet they're good." Molly batted her eyelashes. "C'mon."

"They look like they ought to be planted," Matt said, taking one from her and sniffing it suspiciously. "Are you sure these aren't turnips, or truffles, or something?"

Mohinder snorted. "Yes, I'm sure. Which is why you should stick to apples and bananas, where you belong."

"I want some fags!" Molly shouted.

The entire Whole Foods stared.

"Figs, darling," Mohinder said, though so much blood had rushed to his face he was surprised he could even move his mouth. "They're called figs."
Matt had been sick for a week. It was awful timing, because they had rented a little cottage on the coast for a summer vacation, but Matt had spent most of the week shut up in the attic bedroom, tossing and turning and moaning ridiculous things in his fever.

Toward the end of the week he started to talk about seeing ghosts, and that's when Mohinder decided it was time for him to get some sunlight. Matt slept in the back of the car as they carted him to the beach.

He was still half-asleep, walking around with closed eyes, dragging his feet on the boardwalk. Finally, Mohinder propped him up, hands on his shoulders, and said, "Open your eyes, love. Look. We're at the beach."

Matt opened his eyes. He groaned and closed them again.

"That didn't work," Molly said, her arms folded.

"Matt. Come on." Mohinder kissed his ear, something that never failed to make him jump when he was well.

Finally Matt responded. "Mohinder," he croaked. He opened his eyes again, and the sunlight on the water blinded him as though he were emerging from that dim attic. "You look a perfect fool in all those jewels."

"What are you talking about?" Mohinder stared at him.

"You know. The pretty shiny lights all around you."

Molly and Mohinder looked at each other.

"He needs to go back inside," they said in unison.
Matt came out of the bedroom that morning to find Mohinder strangling himself.

He was halfway behind the television, halfway underneath the stereo, generally turning the entertainment center into a giant pretzel. Matt watched as he took out the bread and popped two slices into the toaster.

"I hear you snickering at me," said a muffled voice somewhere in the vicinity of the entertainment center.

"I thought you were a geneticist, not a cable guy," Matt muttered. The toast popped and he pulled the slices out and onto a plate, wincing at the heat and blowing on his fingers.

"I thought you were a policeman, not a stand-up comedia--- ack!" There was a crash, and wires went everywhere. Mohinder came out from behind the cabinet, rubbing his head. "That is definitely going to bruise," he said ruefully.

"What the hell are you trying to do over there, anyway?" Matt wandered over to inspect the damage to Mohinder's skull.

"I was trying-- ow, your fingers are hot!-- to set up the VCR to tape video from my laptop. I wanted to bring some of the model footage into the office for-- ow!-- peer review."

Matt stared at him blankly. "It's a laptop. Bring IT into the office," he finally said flatly.

Mohinder blinked. After a moment, he sank into a chair. "Would you please make us some coffee?" he begged. "I'm afraid I might be rather foggy right now."

"Excuses, excuses," Matt said cheerfully as he backtracked into the kitchen.

The challenge was to take a movie quote and use it in a drabble.

"I am begging you," said Molly, "please don't tell the story about the two of you getting kicked out of the Moulin Rouge again. You sound like an absolute snob when you do that."

"Ignore her," Matt said as he set out the chips, but Mohinder looked decidedly put out.

"I think that story's hysterical," he said.

"Oh, it's a funny enough story," said Molly, putting in her earrings, "but it's the way you tell it that drags on! Can't you try to sound, I don't know, cool for once?"

"Cool?!" Mohinder sank onto a chair. "I thought it would be rather smart of us to share our misadventures in the Parisian red-light district with your high school friends."

"That's exactly what I'm talking about," she said as the doorbell rang.

It was a few hours into the party that the girls got silly enough to start assailing "Molly's pretty Dad." Molly stood in a corner and tapped her foot in annoyance as her friends crowded around.

"So, like, we hear that you were, like, totally busted in the middle of France or something," said Adrienne, grinning.

"Yeah, and everyone was like, Eww, they're totally gay, but you were all, like, whatever," added Eliza, tossing her hair.

Mohinder looked at the girls. He looked at Molly. He looked at Matt. And he tried to speak their language.

"Uh, yes, well, Matt, you see... he's all, "Hey quit hasslin' me cuz' I don't speak French or whatever!" And then the guy said something in Paris talk, and I'm like, "Just back off!" And they're all, "Get out!" And we're like, "Make me!" It was cool."

The silence in response was deafening.

Matt stared.

Molly stared.

Adrienne and Eliza stared.

"Cool," said Adrienne finally, shrugging. And the girls went elsewhere. Molly, on the other hand, wouldn't stop laughing for at least an hour.

"I take it back. You are infinitely cool," she said to him later. "Just never, ever, ever do that again."

use a movie quote in a drabble…

There are some nights when Mohinder wakes up at three in the morning feeling utterly lost. He is afraid he's been sleepwalking, afraid he is completely out of his depth yet again. He hears the gunshot he wishes he could have stopped but couldn't, and the one he wishes would have found its target that didn't. He hears voices telling him about sisters he never knew, fathers he never understood, and powers he'll never experience. He sees the laws of physics, so strenuously built up as the foundation for a world full of standards and realities, cast aside with the wave of a hand. And he looks around for some normalcy and finds that he is sleeping with another man and caring for a child who's not his own.

It's not where he expected to be. And it's not normal.

It's also not normal that his worries wake up his partner, who comes to the kitchen doorway looking for all the world like a completely normal, slightly overweight, rumpled, stubbly man, and then says "Come back to bed"... directly into his mind.

"I'm so confused sometimes," he says, his eyes wide, as though if he could just open them a bit more, he'd see all the things he is missing.

"You? Nah." Matt wanders to the table, runs big fingers through Mohinder's scruffy hair. "You know everything."

I know nothing, Mohinder thinks. Nothing makes sense.

"Why do you say that sort of thing?" Matt asks, sitting down at the table with him and taking both of his hands. Mohinder watches his hands disappear into the grip. Matt's hands are so big, so encompassing. He wants to hide in them from everything that is confusing him. "Don't put yourself down," he says in a voice like honey. "You're a genius. You have a gift."

"It's not a gift," Mohinder laughs, scoffing at the concept. "It's just a brain. And it's not nearly sufficient to understand everything I've seen. Why have I been brought here?" he asks. The question tastes like tears. "Where did normal life go?"

"You're it," says Matt. His eyes are glittering just faintly enough, like stars through smog.

And Mohinder feels at that moment that he's right. That he can be the pole around which the dizzying world turns. If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, goes an old phrase. So Mohinder depends on himself. And he depends on those that depend on him. If he is their compass, how can he stay lost?

When Mohinder dreamed it was never of a familiar landscape. HE who had lived in the land of the hot and sickly, of loose clothing and bare feet, had a vision of the perfect hideaway, and it was nowhere near the sun. He dreamed of being snowed in somewhere tiny and cozy, say Vermont, or Norway, or Vancouver. He dreamed of waking in a bed with an afghan thrown over it and shivering, then peeking out through the window to see frost painting delicate crystal pictures on the edges of the pane. He dreamed of burrowing down deeper into the covers and curling his frozen toes, and sometimes he even dreamed of letting his head roll onto the warm, smooth chest beside him as a steady rise and fall of breath reminded him that he was warm, that he was safe and sheltered.

Someday he'd make it there. But for now, the magic of New York in winter, diluted as it might be by cars, trucks, slush and mud, was enough.

He stood at the window with a cup of tea and smiled. "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow."