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26 February 2009 @ 08:43 am
[fanfic] the day after the holiday, NC-17  
Author: tiptoe39
Title: the day after the holiday
Recipient: squeebone (V-day gift in heroes_exchange, originally posted here.)
Pairing(s): Matt/Mohinder
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: Season 1 and the general beginning of Season 2, no others
Warnings: Gay sex.
Disclaimer: Heroes belongs to Tim Kring, NBC et al.
Author's Notes: Thank you to kethni for the beta. Posted in main journal not smut journal b/c the point of it is not porn, it's a story with some sex in it. This has been minimally edited from the version posted at heroes_exchange.
Summary: Holidays have been weirdly wrapped up in Matt's life nowadays.

the day after the holiday

Feb. 14, 2007, 7:25 A.M.
Valentine's Day

They can tell he's in a bad mood the minute he walks into the room.

"Happy Valentine's Day," Molly declares.

"Uh, yeah, thanks," is his response. Halfhearted would be an overstatement. When her face falls, he shrugs. "Sorry. It's just not my favorite holiday."

"You don't like Valentine's Day?" Molly asks, wrinkling her nose like she's never heard of such a disgusting point of view.

Mohinder laughs his half-sour laugh. "Of course he doesn't."

"Why should I?" Matt bends over at the waist, hunching his shoulders. He's Scrooge, a month and a half too late. "It's all an excuse for a bunch of card companies to make money and people to eat chocolate until they get sick."

Mohinder smirks slightly.

A second later, Matt's shouting. "I heard that!"

"What did you think to him?" Molly asks, whispering across the table.

Mohinder doesn't answer.

Matt doesn't really care what Mohinder thinks about his marriage. Maybe the divorce was only final a few months ago, but that body's so dead now he can't even smell it anymore. Still, it hurts to think that after what he's given up to protect Molly, Mohinder still thinks so little of him. He shouldn't care, really. But he stews about it nonetheless.

Holidays seem eerily wrapped up into his life these days. Rather, the days after holidays do. He found Molly again, and met Mohinder, the day after Election Day. The divorce went through by the day after Thanksgiving. He was released from the hospital, and stepped for the first time into this apartment, the day after Christmas. And what happened the day after New Year's hurts to think about, even now.

Now Mohinder's leaving on a lecture tour tomorrow, the day after Valentine's Day, and Matt is miserable. He feels like the calendar is trying to tell him something, and he doesn't want to listen.

Nov. 4, 2006, 11:52 P.M.
one day after Election Day

Matt comes from Southern California, where it's warm. He hates the cold. He hates snow, and he hates not being able to feel his fingers and toes. Right now, he's in New York. It's cold, and he can't feel his fingers or his toes, or, for that matter, much of his arms and legs. This has less to do with the cold, though, and more to do with the four bullets lodged in his ribcage. At least it isn't snowing.

He thinks he'll live. He hopes he'll live, not least of all because he's going to get the bastard who did this to him. What was it his friend used to say? "If you're going to shoot a cop, make sure you kill him, because a cop who lives will hound your ass till it's winter in Hell." Matt's going to get this psycho sooner or later. So he's got to live.

He's also got to live because he's found the love of his life. She has red hair and is curious and bright. She's also lived through far more than anyone should have to, and Matt's determined to make sure she never has nightmares again.

So he's bleeding out here on the sidewalk, watching the dark sky through half-lidded eyes and feeling weirdly disconnected about the whole thing. The ground is getting less and less appetizing. Maybe he'll take a jog through the stars.

"Officer. Officer Parkman, can you hear me?"

Hands pressing him down. A dark ring around a blurry circle of face. Matt squints.

"It's Mohinder Suresh. Can you see me? Officer Parkman?"

Matt tries to move his head. He struggles to focus and finally finds a pair of eyes to hold onto. "Hi," he says lamely. A little blood trickles out of his mouth.

"Thank God. Listen, the paramedics are on their way. I need you to stay awake. Can you do that? Stay awake for me?"

Matt thinks he can, as long as those eyes continue to stare at him. They're gorgeous eyes, full and fresh with emotion. Once, his wife looked at him like that. A long, long time ago.

"Molly," he mumbles.

"She's fine. She's fine." Is he tearing up? Why? They barely know each other. Matt can't imagine why a stranger would cry for him. It must be his imagination.

"Sylar," he says next.

A quick breath is taken above him. "I think-- I'm not sure, but I think he's dead."

Matt mutters something else that Mohinder doesn't quite catch.

"What?" He leans down closer. He's just a big, comforting brown blur at this point.

"Your sleeves," he whispers. "All red. My fault."

The pretty brown eyes widen, and then there's restrained laughter. "Don't worry about that. Just stay awake. Stay with me."

Matt thinks he'd be happy to do so. He'd stay with the stunning eyes until the end of the world.

Feb. 14, 2007, 12:15 P.M.
Valentine's Day

At work, and the throwaway remark is still eating at him. Mohinder is one of the least judgmental people he's ever met. Fire extinguisher to the head notwithstanding, he's been nothing but kind to Matt, showing up at the hospital already stammering an apology for the injury. So to hear a slap like that one almost made him want to find out who the body double was standing in for him.

Mohinder is also... well, what is Mohinder? He's unobtrusive. Matt was the one who muscled his way into that apartment, and when he'd insisted he had to be there for Molly, Mohinder simply nodded and stepped back. Even now, even after what happened, he never starts a conversation. But Matt can always feel his eyes on him, patient and steady as a river's flow. More so now than ever. He never does the obvious and digs into Mohinder's thoughts; it wouldn't be fair. And Mohinder is always fair. A little bitchy sometimes, but always fair.

He sort of wishes Janice had been more like Mohinder in that way. He tells you up front when you're being an ass; she held it bottled up and spit it out months later, or worse, she did something about it. Something like sleeping with another man. Or telling you your baby isn't yours.

Now he's cranky. And just in time, some lady cop gets a bouquet of flowers delivered and all at once it's oohs and ahhs in the next row of desks. He closes up further, a turtle retreating from the sun.

Nov. 26, 2006, 11:15 A.M.
one day after Thanksgiving

The divorce papers come through today, and Matt's a free man.

He's amazed at how fast it happened: just a phone call and a fight, and it was all over. Jan was telling him the baby wasn't his, that he should just stay in New York and take care of someone else's child anyway, that he hadn't been thinking about her at all.

Matt thinks she's right. He hasn't been thinking about her at all.

He's been thinking of physical therapy. He's been thinking of painkillers. He's been thinking he's trapped in a hospital room, with a roommate who coughs once a minute on good days, while there's a serial killer possibly still out there and a girl he's helpless to protect.

And he's been thinking about what to do next.

Molly's staying at Dr. Suresh's place for the time being. There's been no recovery of Sylar's body; that much Noah Bennet has dropped by to tell him. That's enough to scare him into promising Molly he would never leave her side again. And that's enough to start the first argument.

"I promised her I was going to take care of her, and I will," he says to Dr. Suresh after she leaves the room. She's told him all about her recovery and how it's all Mohinder's doing and Matt should see all the cool things in his apartment, because she's going to live there forever and learn to be a scientist just like him and use her power to find people who need help and just in general save the world. In the face of that kind of enthusiasm, it's impossible for him not to feel just a little jealous.

"What does that mean, you're going to take care of her?" The doctor puts down his magazine.

"Just what I said." Matt's feeling more than a little testy, having just lost a wife and all, and he's spoiling for a fight and knows it. "If Sylar's still out there, and he's still looking for her, then she needs someone around to protect her."

"Are you implying that I don't?" He sits forward. For a moment he catches Mohinder's eyes and they're sharp, dangerous things. They'd cut him to the bone if he got too close.

"I'm not implying anything," Matt grumbles. "This isn't about you, anyway."

"It is about me," Mohinder says, rising to his feet and circling around the hospital bed. "That girl is doing well living with me. She's stable. I have absolutely no intention of handing her off to you."

"Then I hope you have room on the couch," Matt says firmly.

A very odd change comes over Mohinder. He straightens up and his eyes go from sharp to shimmering. Matt stares at him, waiting for the next outburst.

They both turn toward the door when it opens and Molly pokes her head back in. She takes one look and backs up. "What are you guys talking about?" she asks dubiously.

"Nothing," says Matt.

"We were discussing having Officer Parkman stay with us awhile," says Mohinder.

Matt turns to gape at him. Mohinder turns, and his face is solemn but his eyes have changed yet again. They're laughing.

"We have a spare bedroom," he says.

Feb. 14, 2007. 1:15 P.M.
Valentine's Day

Pink, pink, pink, there's pink everywhere, and red and gold heart-shaped balloons. Matt's driving around town aimlessly. He's supposed to be heading somewhere, some sort of event or accident or something, but his head is screwed on backwards and there's bubble gum inside instead of brains. Who could blame him? The world's full of pink.

Chocolate hearts on display at drugstores. Lingerie in tissue-paper wonderlands. Even the Japanese bakery in midtown, usually so austere, has a Valentine's Day display. What the hell do they know about it? Isn't it some sort of Irish saint who beat the snakes out of the country, or something? When did it turn into a lovefest?

Matt thinks the concept of love is overrated. It's a dead-end street. He's proved that theory himself, because he loved Janice fiercely and held her tight, and up until the moment he left he regretted going. And then he was free and on the road and it turned out he had to remind himself she existed.

What does that say about him? Not a pretty line of thought. He doesn't like it. He's turned into the callous kind of half-there curmudgeon who's convinced the rest of the world exists solely for his inconvenience. He ought to be at least grateful. He's been shown some kindness.

Dec. 26, 2006, 2:35 P.M.
one day after Christmas

"Please don't mind the decorations," Mohinder says as they traipse through the door.

Matt looks up at the awkwardly dangling sprig of wilted mistletoe. "Means nothing to me, anyway," he says.

"I'm not much of a fan of religion, either." It's said cavalierly, but there's relief buried there somewhere.

Molly trails behind them. At the doorway she points up and stubbornly plants her feet. "Mistletoe!" she declares.

Mohinder retraces his steps and swings her up into his arms. "Christmas is over, darling," he protests wearily, but Molly pouts and puckers. He obeys her, placing a chaste kiss on her lips, then turns to Matt with a shrug. "We've been doing this since the start of the month, practically. She's incorrigible."

"You, too," says Molly, thrusting out her puckered lips at Matt.

He chuckles awkwardly. "I'm, uh..."

"Come on," Molly insists, throwing her arms wide and nearly knocking Mohinder into the doorframe. Matt trudges dutifully back to the entrance and gives her a small kiss. She whoops and jumps down from Mohinder's arms, and he grabs his lower back, looking put out. Matt takes a step to follow her into the apartment, but Molly holds out her hand like a crossing guard. "Stop!"

Matt halts, puts his hands up.

"Mistletoe," she repeats, then pushes her two hands together as though demonstrating.

Next to him, Mohinder's frozen solid, his eyes huge white glass beads. Seeing his helpless stare gives Matt the impetus to hold himself together. "Honey," he says, crouching as far as his still-wobbly legs will let him, "men don't kiss other men. Even under mistletoe."

"Some do," says Mohinder softly.

Matt straightens up and turns to him with a scowl. "You're not helping."

Mohinder shrugs. His expression is inscrutable. Matt has a sudden urge to read his mind. He refrains, though. This is the only place he has left to go, and getting kicked out on the first night isn't in his plans.

As they head inside, Mohinder lays a hand on Matt's shoulder. 'You ought to watch out," he murmurs. "She's put it all over the apartment."

"Thanks for the warning." Matt grins, but Mohinder still looks slightly perturbed.

The day passes by like a dream. Molly stays by his side, showing him all of her favorite books, her precious things that she kept hidden away in pockets when the FBI, then the Company, took her off to foreign places and hospital beds. He's touched when she shows him a dollar coin that her mother gave her. Susan B. Anthony's profile is dulled to softness by time and travel.

"She told me that a girl can be anything, too," Molly says proudly, but there is a piece of suffering in her voice, and Matt feels humbled. He's foolishly standing in a place where mythical giants called parents used to tread, and he's not sure he's deserving. It hurts to think that he may fail, that he may not be worthy to carry this burden after all. He's never been a parent, after all. Maybe he should think of it as a job. Just another bodyguard duty, no different than any other.

After he puts her to bed and perhaps-- he won't admit it-- sheds a few tears, he comes back out to the kitchen area to find Mohinder on a stepladder, taking down the mistletoe.

"I can help you," he says, tapping the doorframe above with his knuckles.

To his surprise, Mohinder snaps at him. "I can do it, thank you."

Matt's going to leave it at that, but for whatever reason, he doesn't. "Well, what can I do? I feel like I should... I mean, you're putting me up, and--"

"You insisted on that," Mohinder says, his voice sharp as a metal file. "I didn't offer."

"Yeah, I know." Matt tries to ignore the blade in his voice. This afternoon Mohinder acted almost friendly. Now he is bitter and withered. "That's why I feel like I ought to do something."

Mohinder descends the stepladder and walks up to him. His dark eyes turn up just slightly to meet Matt's. "You don't owe me anything," he says quietly. "I don't need or want anything from you. Remember that."

Matt frowns. He reaches out and touches Mohinder's arm gently. "What 's wrong?" he says. "Did I do something? Because I know I've probably got really bad habits, but--"

He breaks off because he can already see a change in Mohinder. He shakes, and his jaw comes free from its staunchly locked position. "I'm sorry," he says. "It's been a long day and I'm tired."

"So am I," Matt says, smiling a bit, trying to put some light into the room. "She wore me out. I can't imagine how you must handle it every day."

"Yes, perhaps it's us that need protection." Mohinder looks rueful, and although he tries not to smile his cheeks still bunch up round and rosy around his eyes. "It's not nearly as easy to get things done around here anymore."

"Your bachelor days are over," Matt says, gazing in the direction of Molly's bedroom door.

"I wasn't exactly living the bachelor lifestyle," Mohinder corrects him. "I was working, the whole time I was here. I think I once called you from this apartment. I spoke briefly to your wife, I think."

Matt nods. "I remember her telling me about it."

"At the time I was trying to warn you about Sylar. " He walks away from him now, following the circumference of the room to an open doorframe that leads to a makeshift study. He leans into the room with his back to Matt. "Don't misunderstand me, Molly's wonderful, but I'm at a critical point in my research and just can't afford distractions."

"A critical point?"

"It's academia. It would bore you."

"Try me." Matt walks over to stand beside him in the doorway. Mohinder straightens up abruptly and leans against one side, maintaining a step's worth of distance. "I'm serious. If it's not written down for me to read, I can understand most anything."

Mohinder's looking up with a slight smile on his face and doesn't seem to hear.


A single finger points. "Mistletoe."

Matt laughs. "Let me get it." He reaches his arms above his head and grabs hold of the awkwardly taped plant.

Halfway down, he suddenly stops. "Unless you wanted to..."

Mohinder looks paralyzed again.

"I'm kidding," Matt says. "Relax." He walks to the garbage can, deposits the sprig and wishes Mohinder a good night, heading down the hallway toward bed. The feedback from Mohinder's mind as he goes tells him that Mohinder's nowhere close to taking his advice.

Feb. 14, 2007, 7:45 P.M.
Valentine's Day

Molly greets him at the door with "Hi, Mohinder says he's busy packing so could you put me to bed please and by the way there's leftover green curry in the fridge if you want some."

"It's against my religion to eat anything green," Matt says, patting the top of her head when she giggles. He still feels flattened and dead, and Mohinder leaving him a message through Molly feels an awful lot like a disguised I don't want to talk to you. And what if it is? Why should he feel personally rejected when a man who never talks to him anyway doesn't want to talk to him again tonight?

He finds a TV dinner to heat up and scowls at it the whole time he's eating it. The center is still cold.

At nine, he puts Molly to bed. "Do you still hate Valentine's Day?" she asks him as she slides between the covers, pulling her hair to the side and feathering it out beside her on the pillow.

He shrugs. "I don't hate it, I just don't like it. But if you like it, that's enough for me." He forces a smile and says, "Happy Valentine's Day, Molly."

She stares at him blankly until he realizes his eyebrows are pressed together and his cheeks are sucked in, and altogether he probably looks like something between a lemon and a prune. He tries to relax his facial muscles, and she laughs.

"Valentine's Day was my mom's favorite holiday," she says, her head lolling sleepily to the side on the pillow. "She said it was her favorite because she loved so many different people, Dad and me and Grandma and all her friends from work, that they were all part of her family and she had a day to tell them all she loved them. She said it sounds like a lovey-dovey holiday, but really it's about family."

Her eyelids drift closed as she murmurs dreamily, "I miss Mom... hope she had a good Valentine's..."

Matt watches her breaths rise and fall for a moment, her eyelashes fluttering slightly. Then he kisses her lightly on the forehead, turns out the light, and steps out into a hallway that's slightly blurred.

He wipes the errant tears away with embarrassed haste, though the hallway is empty. He thinks he knows now why he's been in such pain this whole day. And he thinks he knows what he needs to do.

Jan. 2, 2007, 11:23 P.M.
one day after New Year's Day

He's nursing a beer and watching Letterman when Mohinder gets off the phone, walks a few paces, then turns around and kicks the wall, hard.

"Shh!" The admonition is reflexive.

"Don't shush me in my own house," Mohinder snaps at him, but he does it in a whisper. They both look toward Molly's bedroom, but there's no sound.

Matt gets up and switches off the TV. "What the hell happened?" he asked.


"Yeah, right, nothing. Nothing's why you just jammed your foot into the wall."

They're similar in height, but Matt has the advantage of bulk; he can tower over Mohinder if he gets close enough. He takes a few steps, and the closer he gets, the wider Mohinder's eyes become. It's as if the rest of him is shrinking and the eyes are taking over. Soon they will swallow his nose.

"It's nothing that concerns you, Matt. It has to do with my work." The bravado is undermined by trembling.

Matt shrugs and stomps back to the couch. "Sorry," he says.

This is as much as they ever talk; it's always quick, clipped, words and it's always pushing away, never pulling together. And more often than not it's about Molly. She has a tendency toward nightmares, something Matt didn't know before he got here. Three out of the past six nights -- that's as long as he's been here, only six nights -- he's been woken by a scream like something from a horror movie. She's trembling and pale and incoherent when she wakes; it's all Matt can do to hold her and comfort her. He's powerless against this kind of a monster.

He looks up expecting to see an empty room, but Mohinder's still there, still looking at him. He clears his throat and scoots over on the couch. "Sit?" he asks, and if he looks half as dumb as he feels, offering a man's own couch to him, he might as well pack it in.

But Mohinder starts, then moves toward him. He pauses at the end of the rug, looking down at the space between them. Still standing, he says, "I'm trying to book a lecture series."

It's like ancient Greek. "A what?"

"A lecture series, to educate the scientific community about the potential for genetic mutation and the threat of the virus." Mohinder's got tentative eyes on Matt's face. "I'm sorry," he adds. "I haven't really told anyone the details. Very few people would understand, and those who would aren't likely to believe a word I say. That's what happened on the phone just now. I was rejected. Again."

He pushes a foot against the edge of the rug, which curls upward.

Matt doesn't know what to say, so he just says, "Sit down." Mohinder does.

"You want a beer?" Matt says. Mohinder shakes his head, which is good because Matt's brain can't comprehend the idea of Mohinder and beer together. There hadn't been a drop of alcohol in the whole place when he moved in last week.

They sit in silence for a little while. Matt laces his fingers together and lets his forearms hang loose between his legs, elbows on his kneecaps. He thinks about Mohinder. The three of them spend all day together in that apartment; Molly's school transfer is approved, but she couldn't start classes until today. And if it weren't for her, it would feel like two apartments entirely. Mohinder's always writing something or typing something or watching molecules rotate on a laptop screen, his glasses on. Occasionally he's even drawing lines on a map. It's like watching birds call to each other and fly back and forth over a parking lot. There's some sort of sense to it, but he'll never understand just what it is that's going on, what drives them to call when they do and take off and land where they do. It just seems random. That's what Mohinder's work is like.

He worries. He hasn't seen Mohinder take many phone calls, or give them. He knows it hasn't been that long since he was in India, most likely with friends and family. Here, he has Molly, but other than that, he's all alone.

Matt's all alone, too, but it doesn't bother him. Right now, it seems to be really bothering Mohinder.

He feels the urge to do something about it.

For a moment his spirits war. Do it to Don't. Why not? to Why now? Why wait? to Why bother? Then, loud and golden strong-- Just go!

As though pushed forward, Matt leans over on the couch and puts an arm around Mohinder's shoulder. Doesn't look at him, doesn't say a word. Just drapes his arm over the back of the couch like a teenager trying to make a pass on a date. Lets his hand drop onto Mohinder's shoulder.

A little burst of breath comes flying from Mohinder's mouth at the contact. He turns, not just his head but neck and shoulders, too, angling in toward Matt. Transforming the gesture into an embrace.

He whispers something.

"What?" Matt bends closer to hear.

"This will never happen again."

A flash of eyes, the heat of a palm, breath and fire, and Mohinder's kissing him.

All the heat in the world shoots through Matt in a flash. His mind turns off. All the thoughts of right or wrong, man or woman, love or lust are annihilated. All he knows is a mouth open to his, skin under his skin, and the ancient forever yearning for more-always-more that is ripping his every nerve.

He overpowers Mohinder, throws him to the couch cushions and settles over him, both hands coming up to cradle his face. The kiss lingers, long and hungry. Then Mohinder breaks away and cranes his neck upward to layer thick kisses along Matt's neck. Matt growls, pushes him down and follows his lead, kissing Mohinder's jaw and neckline until the choked cry next to his ear brings him momentarily back to reality.

"Never again," he says. "It doesn't mean anything."

"I swear," Mohinder whispers. "Please."

Matt pulls off his own shirt, then Mohinder's. If his mind were working he might care that the chest below his is flat rather than curved, that the swelling bulge between his legs is meeting another of the same kind with every tortured roll of hip. But his mind isn't working, and he doesn't care. He just wants to devour and conquer. He lowers his lips to dust briefly across Mohinder's skin.

Mohinder is whimpering and thrusting his hips up to meet Matt's, and Matt eventually loses it and undoes his own pants, takes his cock in hand, burying his head in Mohinder's shoulder and giving a groan. It's hot, it's hot, it's so damn hot-- and then something alien moves by his groin. Mohinder's hand is over his, replacing his, palming his erection with smooth firm strokes. Matt grunts and bites down hard on Mohinder's shoulder. Mohinder gasps.

"Do you know how to do this?" Matt hisses.

Mohinder nods. "Do you?" Matt shakes his head.

"Then this is enough. Here." The dangerous fingers pause on his erection, then pull away. Matt gasps for breath, aching already. Then Mohinder's fingers find his, and guide them downward as Mohinder wriggles out of his pants. It's a shock when his fingertips come in contact with Mohinder's cock, but it's one he doesn't have the time or patience to process. He needs release, he needs this so badly he's ready to beg for it. So he wraps his hand around the foreign thing that is another man's erection and begins to pull and push rhythmically with the gasps and hitches of breath he hears next to his own.

He's breathing now in time with Mohinder, and as feeling swells around him in a deepening pool he grows accustomed to the strange synchronicity of it. It's so natural that they should move and breathe together. That Mohinder knows immediately when to drive nails lightly along the base of his cock, when to pass tender touches over the head. That he knows instinctively when Mohinder shifts and moans and drives his hips upward that he should go a little faster, rub with more urgency. His legs are trembling. For an instant he fantasizes about getting Mohinder onto a big bed where they can lie together relaxed and stroke each other lazily to completion. But that means there would be a next time, and they're doing this on the condition that there be no next time. That realization pinches at his gut.

No, this is just for now, this is just because they're so lonely and lost and alone, and they're not doing this to be together, they're doing it because they'll never be together. Because they don't get along. Because each is in his own shell, afraid to crawl out into the sunlight. So at night when nobody watches, they find each other and cry out into the darkness.

Matt grits his teeth and whimpers as he comes, sudden and fast and over too soon. Mohinder pants a little longer beneath him, and as he finds his release Matt stares too hard at the arm of the sofa and wonders what the hell just happened and how his life goes forward after the apocalyptic shift his world has just made. He feels himself crumbling along with it.

Feb. 14, 2007, 8:13 P.M.
Valentine's Day

Matt steps into the room. Mohinder doesn't show any recognition that he's no longer alone; he simply presses a stack of folded shirts into an oversized suitcase and rises to take more shirts from his dresser.

Matt clears his throat. Still no response.

"I heard what you thought this morning," he says.

"I know," Mohinder says, folding another shirt.

"You thought that it was no wonder my wife left me."

At this, Mohinder turns to him. "Listen, I'm sorry. It was a careless thought."

"You do know why she left me, right?"

"Yes." He looks distinctly uncomfortable. "It was because your son... the child..."

"Wasn't mine, yeah," The floor is suddenly a much more interesting sight than Mohinder's face. But he forces himself. "I lied about that."

Again, nonjudgmental Mohinder just blinks. "You did?"

"I mean, the baby isn't mine, she told me that. But I don't know if it's true. We were fighting about something else and it just came out of her mouth. Maybe she meant it, maybe she didn't. I don't know."

Mohinder's eyebrows arch, then point downward. "What was it, then?" His voice sagged with doubt.


Another blink. "This?"

Matt sweeps awkwardly with his hand, from one side of the room to the other. "I told her I had to stay here. To protect Molly. She, uh, didn't understand."

"Of course she didn't!" The outburst shocks Matt into stumbling backward a step. Now Matt has his full attention and all of his outrage in the mix. He looks as offended as if he were the one Matt had wounded. "You told her you'd rather be with some stranger's child rather than at home with your wife and baby?"

It doesn't make sense that Mohinder should be angry. Matt chose Molly, didn't he? Wasn't that a good thing? "I didn't have a choice. Sylar's body was missing, remember? He could come back and kill her anytime."

"Yes, I remember. It had to be you, because I couldn't be trusted."

Matt clenches a fist. "Which one of us is going halfway around the world tomorrow, me or you?"

"Which I wouldn't be doing if you weren't here, of course."

"There's my point. You need me."

Mohinder starts to speak, then withdraws, stepping backward and folding his arms over his chest. "I'm sure you didn't come in here to start an argument. The fact is, you're here and I'm leaving, so I need to pack." Turning in a series of slow steps, he faces the dresser and pulls open one of the drawers.

"Right. I'm sorry." Chagrined, Matt tries his best to turn around himself and leave the room. It doesn't work. Something desperate and hungry is pounding in his chest.

Mohinder sighs loudly and continues to pack with sluggish hands. He freezes when Matt coughs.

"You need me," Matt repeats.

"You mentioned."

"I need you, too."

The words are tiny and Matt's not sure for a minute what they even mean. Mohinder turns halfway to meet him, then reverses course and returns to the dresser, not packing now but just leaning against it. "Don't say that," he says.

"Why not?"

"Because things are fine as they are now." The spindly arms came up to his hips, then crossed over his chest. "We do our part to take care of Molly without any other strings attached. You're able to go about your work and I mine. We don't have to pretend we care."

But he thinks, We have to pretend we don't care.

February 3, 2007 8:25 P.M.
the day after Groundhog Day

Matt's fairly sure he's seen this movie before. It was a comedy, a romantic comedy, about a poor fellow who's destined to live out the same day over and over. A clever idea, and the rat- racing, cubicle-dwelling Everyman can always see himself in the repetition, the monotony.

Outside of the movies, though, it ceases to be comic and starts becoming painful.

He tried to sit down with Mohinder twice in the first week after it happened. Both times he was shut down faster than he could get started. There was a dangerous gleam, like a knife point, that shrieked quick as a strobe through Mohinder's eyes and crumbled his resolve. "It will never happen again," Mohinder had said the first time. The second, he wouldn't open his mouth.

And Matt feels like he's been living Groundhog Day ever since. Every day the same halfhearted conversations, making sure everything is coordinated on the Molly front, every day the same cold, noncommittal greetings and brushoffs. And every night the sensation of Mohinder's eyes on him, following his movements from dining room table to couch to bedroom, with Matt unable to say a word or find out what's behind it all.

It's just as well, really. Mohinder's finally got his lecture tour, and he's leaving soon. And as for Matt, he doesn't need anything right now but his job and his little girl. He's done caring about people, he's done with relationships, and he's sure as hell done with people who stare at him and don't tell him anything until it's too late. He won't be the first to crack. He won't be the first to admit that he can still hear the panting breaths in his ear, feel the tight muscles against his. He's done this before, after all. He knows how it ends.

Feb. 14, 2007, 8:20 P.M.
Valentine's Day

It takes Matt a minute to realize the words of the thought are in a different order than they'd been spoken. He puts a hand to his head, placing two fingers at the bridge of his nose as though stricken with a sudden headache. "You just thought that differently," he says. "Not like you said it. You thought, we have to pretend we don't care. Right?"

Mohinder's pupils shrink, and his face seems to vibrate like he's tuned to a taut string that has just been plucked. "I'm leaving tomorrow," he repeats firmly. "I have to pack."

"No, no." Matt comes back into the room, sits on the bed. "You're right," he says. "We do pretend we don't care. We pretend that what happened last month--"


"--Well, we do, don't we? We pretend this isn't a family we're in. We pretend there's nothing between us, that this is just some sort of Good Samaritan arrangement because she's a kid and we can help. I did it, too. I told myself, she's just a job. She's just another thing you protect because that's what you do for a living. Because this place, Molly, that's all I have right now. I'm so afraid I'm going to screw up, and then I'll lose her. I'll just come home one day from work, and you'll both just... be gone."

"Matt. Please."

He looks up. Mohinder's shoulders are still quivering. He looks like he's about to faint. "I'm having a difficult enough time as it is--"

Matt starts. He hasn't been paying a lot of attention, but now he can see Mohinder's face stretched with the pain of holding back tears. He can see the bags under his eyes from nights of torturous worrying. Mohinder doesn't want to leave. After all his talk and all his excitement, he doesn't want to leave. Is he afraid, too, that he'll come home and it will all be gone?

"She'll miss you a lot," Matt says.

Mohinder nods. "I know."

"I'm, uh... probably going to miss you, too." It sounds so lame, so pale in comparison to what he really wants Mohinder to know. But his words are pale as dust. He's got to do better. "I won't know who to talk to. You know. About things I can't tell a kid."

"I don't know what you're talking about. We've barely spoken." Mohinder pulls away. "But I appreciate the sentiment."

"You do know what I'm talking about--" Matt lets a little irritation creep into his voice-- "because we have spent every day for a month and a half not talking about it. But even that, it doesn't matter."

"It doesn't matter because it never happened." It's hissed so sharply that Matt feels it cut into his skin.

"Fine, it never happened, then!" he throws his arms up. "Even if it didn't, Mohinder, the fact is, I know you. I know you better than I know anybody else right now. Probably better than even I thought I did. We've spent whole days together. Do you really think I need to talk to you to get to know you?"

"If that has anything to do with your ability..."

"Oh, for Christ's sake, that's not what I'm saying. Listen to me, Mohinder. I've seen you with Molly. I've seen how hard you try at whatever project you're working on. The point is, I consider you family."

This gets Mohinder's attention, and he stares at Matt with black bullets of eyes. "Family," he repeats with a bitter laugh.

"Yeah." Matt's on his feet now, moving toward him. "Family. I mean, isn't that the point? You go away, but you know I'll take care of things here. And I know you'll come back as soon as you can. Isn't that what families do?"

"Not in my experience," Mohinder says darkly. "And you of all people have no right to lecture me."

The jab stings, but it doesn't matter. "I'm not lecturing you," Matt says.

"Then what are you doing?"

"I'm telling you that I care about you."

Mohinder doesn't catch the meaning, or perhaps ignores it. "Well, that's very nice of you to say, Matt. Now if you don't mind--" His arm swings to the side, his palm open toward the door.

Matt grabs that hand and pulls it toward him.

Mohinder loses his balance and topples awkwardly, knocking his suitcase to the side, and ends up with his head pressed into Matt's sternum. He straightens up quickly and begins to brush away the fog of curls that have come dislodged and now hang into his face.

"Stop," Matt says softly, and he interleaves his own hand between Mohinder's forehead and the errant curls, flipping them upward. His hand is slow to come down, and he takes another step toward Mohinder as fingertips brush his cheek.

Finally, mercifully, Mohinder goes blank.

Matt brings his other hand to Mohinder's chin, creating a gentle cradle for his face to rest. He murmurs something neither of them can quite hear, something he doesn't even know the identity of.

Mohinder's eyes are still wide open and blank when Matt kisses him.

They're closed when he pulls away, though, and Matt endures a long fluttering of lashes before Mohinder's gaze rises to meet his.

"This isn't happening," Mohinder says, but his voice is unsteady.

Matt finds himself wanting to laugh. "Yes, it is. It's been happening for months. Just let it happen."

"I can't. I have to leave..."

"Tomorrow. You have to leave tomorrow. We still have tonight." His heart feels unbearably light just saying the words. This is right. It always has been. And here he's been so afraid of it, so afraid he nearly shut down.

"But we had an arrangement, and it was working so--"

Matt claims his lips again to shut him up. As the kiss breaks, he starts speaking in low, charged words, almost a chant. "No. It wasn't working. We were miserable. You were, too. Admit it."

There's a silence. Matt is about to grab his arms and shake an answer out of him.

Then his lips part.

"Yes." It's a small, startling admission. "Yes, I was."

And then Matt's mouth and arms are full of Mohinder again, and it's like a gigantic gorgeous blossom is growing against his body. This embrace is warm and it's giving and it's everything Mohinder has never been to him before. Mohinder's digging his hands into Matt's back pockets, dragging his tongue low against Matt's teeth, and Matt's stunned, kerflummoxed at how intensely this man who until now had pretended he didn't care is kissing him, how forcefully he's holding him. Mohinder's thoughts are so far beyond a kiss, it's embarrassing.

They break apart, panting. Mohinder leans his forehead against the bridge of Matt's nose and struggles for breath. His hands slide out of Matt's pockets and find his shoulders, his elbows folding over Matt's chest. Matt's breath buffets against his eyelids.

Matt's amazed at how intricately they're connected, hands in hollows of bone and feet all in a row, one-two-three-four, like shoes discarded to the side of the foyer just inside a front door. It fills him with awe. This embrace is a doorway, and Mohinder is home. It's where he wants to be.

"I was miserable," Mohinder whispers heatedly. "You were right there and I couldn't even touch you. Truthfully--" and Matt can feel the guilty grin breaking across Mohinder's face-- "I thought about this. I may have even fantasized about it."

"You did?" Matt asks, almost giggling a little despite himself.

"Yes. Many times." Mohinder looks straight at him now, lifting his chin up defiantly. "I wasn't going to let you rule my life. Even though all I wanted to do was... Damn it. I pushed you away so hard, so sure I'd frighten you off."

"Is that why you thought what you did this morning?" Matt's head is whirring a thousand different ways. "Were you trying to make me angry?"

Mohinder's lips twitch. "Perhaps a little. But you were being a brat. Admit that much."

Matt throws up his hands. "Fine, I admit it. But what do you want? I haven't had a lot of luck with Valentine's Day before."

"Until now."

The small smile flashed with those words does something devastating to what was left of Matt's coherent thought.

He steps forward, grabs Mohinder by both arms, and pulls him in close enough to breathe him. "So, this is OK, right?" he says, his voice both a plea and a demand. "We'll do this? We'll be..."

"It seems unavoidable," Mohinder says weakly, but he tightens the embrace, laying his head against Matt's shoulder, and they both let out a breath.

For a while nothing stirs in the tiny bedroom.

Then Matt steps back, puts a hand to Mohinder's face, and gazes at him for a long moment before drawing him close again. This time their kiss is a slow beginning, a gentle exploration. Matt parts Mohinder's mouth with pressure of hands and lips; he tastes the tart end and then the broad sweet flat of his tongue with tentative licks. The taste and texture makes Mohinder moan into the kiss; he pushes up against Matt's chest with his whole body.

Matt bends his knees and draws Mohinder down with him onto the bed.

The weight on top of him has to be one of the best things he's ever experienced. Mohinder, beautiful, unattainable Mohinder, is on him, drawing pattens across his neck with a leisurely tongue. Matt grabs him, groaning. "Oh, my God. Oh, my God." He runs flat-palmed hands down the length of Mohinder's back, clasps his ass and squeezes slightly. When Mohinder jumps, he laughs.

Mohinder raises his head and locks eyes with his. Matt's stunned by the beauty of the dark, soulful features he sees.

"I'm still leaving tomorrow," Mohinder whispers.

"I wouldn't stop you."

"I don't want to go."

"Yes, you do."

"I do, but..."

"Mohinder." Matt raises two fingers to the earnest mouth. Mohinder sucks on them slightly and Matt has to let out a moan before he can go on. "Mohinder. What are you worried about? I'll be here. Where would I go?"

"I don't know." A little whine of surrender came from Mohinder's parted lips along with the admission. "I don't know, and I don't want to find out."

Matt looks at him for a long time, trying to figure out what he can possibly say to alleviate the anxiety that is making Mohinder's jaw tremble and his skin freeze. He draws a patient hand up the length of Mohinder's side, then does it again but under the shirt. "There'll be a next time," he says finally. "I can't promise what comes after that, but we will be here again. Together, like this. I won't let it not happen."

"And you're a stubborn bastard," Mohinder intones, a smile emerging on his lips.

"So trust me," Matt says.

A small, fierce nod. "I do."

"Good. Now shut up." Matt clamps a hand on the back of Mohinder's head and pulls him down for a kiss that's full of fury and possession. Mohinder lets out a groan and starts moving rapidly into the embrace of Matt's legs, his hips giving little jabbing thrusts. For Matt it's like patches of fire; he feels it in a slightly different place with a slightly different sensation every single time. He cries out as much in surprise as pleasure. It's all unexpected and new and desperately delicious.

Mohinder's undoing his belt now, and a rush of nerves plus a hissing finally-finally-finally stalls Matt's brain. His arms fall limp to his sides and he cranes his head back, closing his eyes and concentrating only on the fingers at his waist, slipping behind the rough tight seam and into the soft cotton of his boxers. Oh God Mohinder's about to touch him again, and it might as well be the first time for how Matt nnnghs and thrusts forward into his hand at first contact.

A wicked and wonderful idea lights up Matt's brain, and he slides his hands down Mohinder's pants far enough to wrap his hands around the bulk of his thighs. He nudges the coarse corduroy downward. "Take these off," he whispers. Mohinder nods and shimmies out of his pants, leaving them in a bedside lump, and climbs atop Matt once more. The dark bud of his erection peeks out through the eyelet in his boxers, the shaft bulging against the thin fabric. Matt can't stop staring.

"On your knees," he whispers. "Please." Mohinder obliges, and Matt eases his thighs apart with a strong hand. Mohinder begins to tremble. "Here," Matt beckons, still lying on the pillows. It takes a tugging of his arms at Mohinder's backside to made him realize what Matt wants. His eyes pop open and he scrambles to the head of the bed, almost laughing with every short breath. Matt parts the fold of his boxers and draws his erection out. His first glancing stroke up its length makes Mohinder shiver uncontrollably.

"You don't have to," he protests. "You said you'd never..."

"Can't be that hard," Matt says. And he brings his lips to the tip.

"Oh-!" Mohinder grabs the headboard and arches into Matt's mouth. Matt's fascinated. He never realized that the head of a man's cock was quite so smooth, that it could glide quite so liquidly against wet lips. Even having touched himself, been on the other end of things, he's never realized. The texture overwhelms him. When Mohinder insists on more, jutting his hips forward, Matt closes his eyes and concentrates. The surprising sharpness of the ridge and the strip of rough skin, the slight salty taste when he returns to the tip. And the enormous stretched feeling of having his mouth filled. It's all perfect and familiar and exotic. He moans around Mohinder and pulls him into his mouth with persistent suction, again, again.

He opens his eyes. Mohinder's looking down at him, eyes slitted open and fluttering closed again at every tug of Matt's mouth. He manages to squeeze Matt's name from his belabored lungs.

Matt lets him slide out and Mohinder's fingers on the headboard tense to whiteness for a moment. His face contorts in gorgeous torture, but Matt's worried. "Did I hurt you?"

"No, God, no." Mohinder flies to his face, kisses him sweetly. "But we have one night. One night."

"You're an idiot," Matt says. "We have all the time we need."

Mohinder swats him lightly. "You know what I mean. Matt, I have to know. How comfortable are you with this? That is, how much will you let me--"

"Anything. Anything."

He's frantic, kissing Matt's face, the nervous pulse in his throat throbbing visibly. The smile he gives is aching in its rueful concern. "You don't understand, Matt-- what I want-- maybe it's too much, but--"

Matt surges against him, engulfing him with wide arms. "Just tell me what to do," he says. "God, Mohinder, right now, for you, I'd--"

"Turn over, then." Mohinder says. "Please."

Matt hesitates. He knows his mind should be full of a million hang-ups and fears, but he's stunned by how badly he wants to obey. A single image is hanging in his head like a framed piece of art, dark and lush in its colors and demanding his full attention: Mohinder behind him, arms wrapped around him, a sweaty head on Matt's shoulder, moving against him. Whispering desperate pleas. Exploring his skin with dark hands. His nude form circling Matt's, legs twisted together. Both groaning.

He's panting with just the image of it, and he's so hard he's going to burst. "I want to see you," he says in a possessed voice. "I want to be naked with you. Then whatever you want."

"Oh, God." Mohinder buries his head in Matt's neck a moment. His voice is thick with need. "Yes."

They lose their clothes in one frantic rush, and end up on their knees facing one another. Goosebumps erupt across Mohinder's body. Matt looks up and down, his mouth slack in wonder. reaches out a palm to run along the length of Mohinder's body, from strong sinewy chest down through mid-thigh and back. When he draws his fingers across the length of Mohinder's erection, he elicits a moan and a craning of the neck that invites his lips. He accepts the invitation, crawling over to dot kisses over Mohinder's jaw. Mohinder's hand finds his cock and strokes, and Matt's mind is full of the sensation of another strong male chest against his, another hand touching him with an odd combination of desperation and tenderness. It defies words, but words still tremble on his lips, begging to be said.

"I want you, Mohinder," he whispers. "Want you to be with me. Want you to do..."

Mohinder smiles a bright angel smile and kisses him solidly. "Turn over," he repeats. This time, Matt doesn't hesitate.

He can see Mohinder's face reflected in in the dull brass of the headboard, and blurred as it is, he can't take his eyes off it. It's clear enough that Matt can see his brow furrowed in concentration, his mouth pursed as he runs nimble hands over Matt's lower back, caresses the swell of his rear and darts fingers down between his thighs. When fingertips tickle the base and underside of his balls, though, Matt can't help squeezing his eyes shut, rising up onto his hands and knees with such force that he knocks Mohinder backward.

Mohinder gives a cry of surprise and then laughs, kissing Matt's tailbone. "I'll hurry," he promises before launching himself off the bed. Matt relaxes as Mohinder opens and closes dresser drawers frantically in the background. There's a calm that's overtaken him in this place and time, as serene as his earlier hours were anxious. He's trying his best to be nervous and uptight, to live up to his own expectations for a moment like this, but it just isn't working.

Mohinder's family. And he trusts him.

When he does return, Mohinder lays lips and hands all over him, and Matt feels the cool tingle of liquid against his back, kneaded into his shoulders. "Are you ready?" Mohinder whispers in his ear. Matt nods. "Are you sure?" Another vigorous nod. Mohinder kisses his ear, flicks his tongue against the lobe. "I'll make it good for you, Matt. I promise."

Matt almost laughs -- Mohinder's more nervous than he is. "Mohinder," he pants. "Do it. I want you so bad I can't breathe."

It's the last coherent word he says for a while, because then Mohinder's easing him back onto all fours again and wrapping an arm around him to find and stroke him. Matt shudders and moans, then cries out when he feels wetness trailing backward in a long, sweet line up through and between the cheeks of his ass. Mohinder teases along that trail again, sending tingles and goosebumps all the way to Matt's arms. When his fingers slip into Matt's ass, it's almost a relief. Matt groans as his bones go to jelly. He barely thinks about the specifics of what's going on. It's Mohinder. It's sex. That's all he needs to know.

Mohinder's leaning forward, kissing his back. "Dear God," he says. "I..." And he loses his breath again, panting wordlessly against Matt's ear as his fingers work in deeper, wider, faster. His cock is rubbing hard and ready against the flesh of Matt's ass. When Matt wiggles his hips against him, Mohinder's words return in a rush. "I can't wait any longer."

He lets go of Matt for a second to position himself. Surprisingly strong hands grip Matt's hips.

Then the stretching filling burning begins again, hot and powerful, and Mohinder lets out a cry and throws himself down onto Matt's back, pumping his erection in earnest. Matt throws his weight back, burying Mohinder deeper inside him, and groans with abandon. He's never felt so connected to someone in all his life. Mohinder has him, all of him.

Mohinder's forcing his hips down now, crawling up to kiss his neck, shifting the length of his strokes and thrusts to something more frantic and less tentative. Matt's groans are great low noises. A jolt of lightning seizes him at random, and he turns his head to find Mohinder's lips. It's a kiss like a seal on a promise, burning and full of meaning.

They lock eyes. Sweat's pouring from Mohinder's forehead. He grimaces as he thrusts, but when he sees Matt's look, he smiles. Matt gasps as his mind suddenly soaks up the completeness of the situation. Smile, sweat, shoulders and bodies, all together, all naked, all them. They're moving together on this bed, sweating and intoxicated and moaning in tandem. It's Valentine's Day and they're making love for the first time.

He shouts a warning that comes too late, because he's already bursting, already spasming into and over Mohinder's patient hand. His moan shakes and shatters to pieces as he comes down from the sky, pushing his hips back into Mohinder's in double time, anxious to keep the feeling lasting forever and a half. He grasps the sheets as one final wave breaks over his head, then breathes hard, falls into shadow.

Mohinder has come too, he realizes, and he's chagrined that he didn't even feel it. The sensations were so new, so overwhelming that he didn't even think to watch for it. But Mohinder's pressing ardent kisses all over his shoulders, pulling out and pushing Matt over to stroke his belly with a wet hand. Their lips meet again. This time it's a kiss of gratitude.

"You're a natural," Mohinder says. His eyes are sparkling.

Matt searches for words. All he manages is, "That was really good."

They laugh shakily, staring at each other.

Mohinder takes his face between two dark palms, kisses him. "We could have been doing this all along," he breathes, "and yet we wasted so much time."

"We've got time," Matt says ardently. "I told you, I'll be here when you get back. When you get home," he corrects himself.

"Home," Mohinder says. "Yes."

He takes a minute to ponder the word. It surprises Matt; he'd always assumed Mohinder thought of the place as home. It's Matt who doesn't quite belong here, who's the uninvited houseguest. But when he peeks behind the veil of Mohinder's thoughts, he sees himself and Molly transforming a drafty, empty apartment into a place worth returning to.

Matt walks his spirit through the kitchen in that place to find a calendar hanging on the wall. It's trying to tell him something, and this time he's ready to listen.

"So, uh..." Matt's turning red, he's sure of it. "Happy Valentine's Day?"

Mohinder smiles dazzlingly. "Yes," he whispers. "Yes, it is."

Feb. 15, 2007
one day after Valentine's Day

Matt and Molly grab a hamburger in the terminal before heading home. They were sad to see Mohinder disappear behind the security line, but he'll be back in a few weeks. The day after Saint Patrick's Day. They can hardly wait.

speccygeekgrrl on February 26th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
Ahhhh, Matt/Mo first time denial-and-acceptance fic, so wonderful~~~

Everything about that final scene is perfect, the emotion building like thunderclouds and then breaking into an incredibly sexy, inevitable storm. So fucking hot. :3

You are the reigning queen of Matt/Mo, you know? ♥
Tiptoe39: i'm the queentiptoe39 on February 26th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
nahhhhhh. i just have pretentions of queendom. (don't look at the icon, don't...)

you are awesome squared. love ya.
(Deleted comment)
Tiptoe39: mattmo sexplztiptoe39 on February 26th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
hee! thank you!!! your fic is on my to-read list, btw.
g0shawk: 2 horsesg0shawk on February 28th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
*flails* Soooooo good!! XD You're really amazing at the emotions. And the thoughts, and the descriptions, and, well, everything. I love how you incorporated the flashbacks while having Valentine's Day last throughout. There were so many lines that I loved, but this is one that really stuck out for me: This embrace is a doorway, and Mohinder is home.
Tiptoe39: cmere youtiptoe39 on February 28th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
I liked that particular line too. :D so glad you enjoyed, hon!! :D