Disclaimer: Tom Kring owns Heroes, not me. That'd be cool though, huh?
A/N: Whoo boy, this one caught me off guard. I was watching an interview with Greg Grunberg, and he mentioned that Clea Duvall wouldn't be on the show for a couple of episodes for plot reasons. He kind of alluded to the possibility that Matt might go rogue, or vigilante, or something. So that got my inner Matt/Audrey fangirl thinking... and this piece of weirdness came out. Trust me, I think these characters are awesome, and I do not want this to happen them... But what if it did? Review if you enjoy it, all right? Oh yeah, no real spoilers in this, and it could take place pretty much any time up to "Fallout."
Audrey was so angry she didn't even bother to wonder how on earth he had gotten into her kitchen. "Parkman," she barked his name, "Where the hell have you been?!"
He looked at her, and suddenly her mind was filled with images- buildings, people, birds, trees- and Matt's voice saying, Around.
She shook her head roughly and fairly growled, "Stop that, Parkman! Don't ever do that! Talk to me. Use your goddamn words."
His gaze dropped to the tabletop, but he looked more amused than chastised. "Sorry, Audrey," he said, "It's been a while since I've spoken. Haven't needed to. My power's getting stronger by the day, and no migraines, not since..." He trailed off and leered at her then, a wholly inappropriate smile crawling onto his face.
Audrey recoiled in disgust, "Yeah, well, while you've been off getting in touch with yourself or whatever, we really could've used your help here. Do you even know how long you've been gone?"
"Aw, did you need me, Audrey?"
She blinked in outright disbelief, "Are you on drugs?"
"Nope," he smiled big and bright, "Just enjoying myself, for the first time in my life. God, it's so good not to have those migraines. Hey, have I thanked you yet? I still don't know what you did, but I've never felt better."
Audrey sat down heavily at the table in the chair nearest to the door, clasping her hands on its surface and studying them. "We have to figure this out, Matt."
She flinched slightly when his hand reached out and covered hers, though he didn't seem to notice. "You did miss me," he whispered. It's a credit to Audrey's complete confusion and growing concern that she didn't react until after he had pressed a kiss to her cheek. She got out of the chair and leaned against the counter as far away from Matt as she could get, arms tightly crossed. He rolled his eyes and looked out the window as if wishing he could be elsewhere. Audrey felt like asking him why he didn't just go.
"Because of some messed up idea that you might want me to come back," Matt responded to her unvoiced question.
Quickly deciding now was not the time, Audrey ignored the casual use of his power, "I really think we need to do something about this, Parkman. You're not acting like yourself. And... I've been hearing things." It was her turn to look out the window and wish she was elsewhere.
"What have you been hearing, Audrey?" The sound of Matt's voice as he asked the question made her alarm grow tenfold. It was cold, steady, and promised nothing good if he didn't get an answer he liked. She tried to steel herself as much as she could.
"I've been hearing about robberies, where a bunch of money is missing from the vault, but nobody remembers anything for a whole twenty-four hours prior. I've heard about your wife, Parkman. Missing for a week, and none of the neighbors even remember her name. What's going on?"
Audrey felt the perfectly humiliating urge to cry welling up inside her. Matt just looked away and smiled. "Honestly?" he said, gaze falling back on her, "I still don't know. I haven't known since you did whatever you did to me." Audrey almost felt nauseous as Matt stared at her hungrily, "You remember, right?"
Of course she did.
The pain from Matt's latest migraine was so bad he didn't even notice where Audrey was taking him until he heard her key turn in the door. He looked through his fingers, which had been pressing against the throbbing pain in the middle of his forehead for the last twenty minutes, at the tidy apartment Audrey had just walked into. She was walking back now, with a glass of water in her hand. Matt took the glass gratefully and she took his arm, guiding him inside.
"Lie down on the couch and take off your shoes," she instructed him, her voice compassionately quiet. Audrey let go of his arm and walked around the coffee table before settling herself at one end of the blue, squashy-looking couch. She tucked a leg under her and watched Matt shuffle over and collapse at the other end. He stared at the ceiling in seeming exhaustion, haphazardly yanking off his shoes. All movement stilled for a while- Audrey watching Matt, Matt closing his eyes and breathing.
"I said lie down," Audrey said after he'd drunk most of the water. Through the agony, Matt cracked open an eye and fixed her with a puzzled look. She patted the calf that rested on the couch cushion, and he fixed that with a puzzled look. "Just do it, Parkman," she commanded. After another moment's awkward hesitation, Matt gingerly eased himself into a recumbent position, with his head lying on Audrey's leg. Once he was more or less comfortable, she started massaging Matt's head.
"Audrey..." he started, but was quickly interrupted.
"I had a boyfriend who got migraines and this helped so shut up. And try not to think about anything."
At that, Matt decided he might as well play along. Of course, he couldn't stop himself from thinking, so he instead tried to focus only on the feel of Audrey's fingers working their way along not only his aggrieved forehead, but all over the top of his head and down to the base of his skull. After only a few minutes, Matt was lulled into a kind of half-slumber, aware of only her fingers' firm but gentle motions. Audrey had made her way back to his forehead when it happened. Matt's eyes flew open and bore directly into hers, and suddenly she couldn't look away. It was like everything that was Audrey- her past, her present, her likes and dislikes, her pastimes, her embarrassments, her fears, her hopes- suddenly rushed into the foreground of her mind and spread out for the inspection of Matt Parkman. Audrey leaped off the couch, breathing hard and shaking. Matt was still lying down, squeezing his eyes shut and opening them wide, once, twice.
"What the hell was that, Parkman?!" Audrey practically shrieked.
"I- I don't know," he replied, sounding only a shade or two less freaked out, "I think you might've... hit a nerve or something. Suddenly I was just- connected- to you." He turned his head to look at her, and she felt that familiar swell of sympathy as she registered the fear in his eyes. He slowly stood up from the couch, and paused, his hand rising to touch his forehead.
"Are you okay?" Audrey asked, almost moving to touch him.
"Yeah," Matt smiled, "My migraine's gone completely." He looked around the room, and his smile grew, "I feel great!"
Matt turned back to Audrey, his face suddenly thoughtful. He took a step towards her, and she instinctively backed away. He stopped, "C'mon, Audrey. I just want to try something."
"Uh, no, I don't think so," she replied, but stopped backing up. She was pinned by Matt's eyes again, though not like the last time. They were filled with such curiosity, like a little boy who'd found a cool bug.
Matt stopped when less than a foot of space separated them. "You know I wouldn't hurt you, Audrey," he said, his voice low and soothing. His hands were rising, moving to cup her face. Her gaze darted from his face to his hands, but she said nothing. "Just let me try..." And then he was holding her cheeks gently, and watching intently as her eyes dilated and her mind- all of it, not just the surface thoughts he usually picked up- unfurled before him like a map. The map of Audrey.
Neither of them knew how long they stood like that, or how much of Audrey's mind Matt did or didn't peruse, but he broke the connection when a single thought made itself heard: This is really something he should be doing with his wife.
He gazed into Audrey's face. Her breathing had evened out, and they both blinked luxuriously, enjoying reunions with their eyelids. "I don't want you to worry about my wife," Matt murmured before leaning in and kissing Audrey. Once again time seemed to wander off for some unknowable span, until Audrey pulled away.
"I can't," she whispered, swallowing and resolutely not looking at him, "I can't do this."
Matt took a steadying breath, "Yeah. I know. You can't." And he did know. He knew everything about her, even the last relationship she'd had with a married man, and how much it had hurt her. "I should go."
She nodded, and he left.
"Matt, did you do those things? Rob those people? Did you... do something to your wife?" Audrey was again sitting at the table staring at her hands in her chair by the door.
Matt leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, "Do you want me to confess, copper?"
Audrey sighed in saddened frustration. She felt very tired. "I want you to..." Get out.
It hadn't been a serious thought, it had just appeared in her head, but it was enough to make Matt lunge back and out of his seat, face stormy and closed off. He rounded the table and paused behind her chair. He put his hands on the back of it and bent until his mouth was next to her ear. Her eyes slid shut as he whispered, "I guess you'll never know."
And then he was gone. She didn't even hear the door shut. Audrey stayed seated at the table for a while before calling her superiors and issuing an APB for Matt Parkman's arrest. She blamed herself, but eventually forgot he'd appeared in her kitchen. Over the next few days, she would forget she had even met him. But Matt never forgot.