Let it be known, once and for all:

Mohinder Suresh is not a romantic man.

He's a scientist.

And romance is to science as oil is to water, at best.

At worst, it's as Godzilla is to King Kong. Though, admittedly, it's difficult to say which is which.

Once the hypothetical, highly flashy CGI battle is concluded, with no determinable victor yet an abundance of innocent casualties and a city or two annihilated, there are numerous analogies that still remain to be drawn between the two - ones that would involve mythological beasts and flying saucers, flamethrowers and ice sculptures -- but they all point to a single, crystal-clear conclusion.

Science and romance don't play well together, and that's all there is to it.

So no, Mohinder Suresh is in no way romantic.

He is, however, intensely bored.

---

A secret underground organization, dedicated to finding people with extraordinary abilities; to helping and protecting those Specials.

Sounds fascinating, right?

Wrong.

Well, not entirely wrong, of course. It's all very Men in Black. Except for the black.

And the aliens.

And the budget.

It's all very exciting, often in creatively painful ways, when there's actual work to be done and actual discoveries to be made.

But it seems that every line of work has its dead zones, and this one is about to turn into a full-fledged zombie.

Or maybe it's just himself he's thinking about.

Which isn't to say he's about to go on a brain-munching spree, as enticing as that prospect sounds at the moment. The most plausible course of events from this point onward would likely involve him staying right here at this very spot, bent over a microscope, for a length of time that would exponentially grow into eternity, until nobody knew where he started and the microscope ended.

And people across the globe would come to witness the Sleeping Geneticist, a legendary monument of brain-numbing boredom.

But he can't linger on that line of thought, even though he must admit that it holds a morbid sort of appeal.

He has a job to do.

Which is, apparently, observing a cell in the process of… being a cell; and shockingly continuing being a cell; unwaveringly refusing to be nothing but a cell; going about its daily cell routine – doing cell shopping, driving its cell children to school, and at night, cloaked in the shadows of deceit, carrying out missions for the cell mafia to which he quite obviously secretly belongs -

Alright, so maybe that last part isn't entirely true, but if it was, it would've made this activity marginally less tedious.

He considers coming up with a breakthrough theory that would dispel the existence of cells altogether. All he needs is a sufficiently paradoxical concept, a catchy title, and -

"Making progress?"

The voice, in all its aggravating calm, startles him into nearly giving himself a black eye through unorthodox use of a microscope.

No – not that kind of unorthodox use, thanks very much.

He straightens up, giving Bennet a disapproving look for managing to sneak up on him. Again.

"Tremendous progress. What are you doing here?"

"I thought I'd check up on you."

"Right. You're saying you have no ulterior motives for coming down here."

He doubts Bennet is capable of motives that aren't, at the very least, decoratively camouflaged for good measure.

Bennet makes a minimal attempt at a facial expression - one that consists of vague movement in the forehead area and a questionable curve of the lips.

"I didn't say that."

He figures he has roughly three seconds before Bennet-collision, so he decides to dedicate that precious time (elusively stretched over several paragraphs of contemplation; mind-readers are requested to suspend their disbelief) to a quick overview of the evolution of their… relationship.

So here it goes.

From an exercise in cat and mouse, to a game of broken telephone (rigged by destiny), to an armed standoff, to a crash course in corpse relocation, to a reluctant working relationship, to a… well, less reluctant working relationship - it's been quite the odyssey, really. Space odyssey, if you take the surreal factor and Bennet's personality into account.

And then there's the sex.

It's not even a part of their relationship, to be accurate, because – well, the man is married, for God's sake - and he needs to justify it somehow - so it's just a convenience.

Or, in most cases – his back connects with the table at an odd and not quite pleasant angle as Bennet moves in for a kiss - an inconvenience.

A highly experimental, sometimes destructive (especially for nearby furniture), occasionally acrobatic, and always stimulating inconvenience.

There's no good explanation for it. No logic to be found - at least, not the brand of logic a normal human being could possibly hope to decipher; Bennet might have a pretty good chance, actually.

There's attraction of a dubious sort, he can't deny that – not with Bennet's hand traveling across his lower back and subsequent shivers passing throughout his body, centering in one area in particular - and he admits to having grown to almost - no, like doesn't have the right ring to it; too mundane; far too sane. Affectionately tolerate him, maybe. Though the 'affectionately' part of it is reserved for special occasions, and is often replaced by 'barely', 'irrationally', and the enticingly recurring 'with a hope of one day running him over with a taxi'. Not lethally, necessarily. But painfully. Very painfully.

He reclaims some initiative, hooking his arms around Bennet's waist, pulling him closer -- until the world turns unexpectedly horizontal.

All meager attempts of rationalization aside, there's only one major drive behind the whole thing.

Pathological curiosity.

A disease they're both deeply plagued with.

There is no cure.

It's quick and messy and leaves the lab floor in chaotic disarray.

Sadly, the diabolical microscope remains unharmed.

Bennet is back on his feet and in a hundred percent (well, ninety nine might be more precise – his hair still has a fuzz quotient to it) proper shape before Mohinder can even pull his pants up.

"What - where are you going?"

Bennet takes a momentary pause, sparing him a throwaway glance over his shoulder.

"Paperwork."

Bennet departs, and Mohinder's attempt of glaring a hole into his back is met with a blatant lack of response.

Wonderful.

From office sex to paperwork in five seconds.

How romantic.

And with that thought, a spark ignites in his head, soon threatening to release steam through his ears.

Bennet cherishes plans, probably has a whole black (possibly grey) box dedicated to them - so clearly, he should have any objections to Mohinder coming up with one of his own.

He wouldn't call it a plan, of course. That'd be far too obvious.

So he titles it an experiment. A mission, even.

What's the mission, you ask?

It's very simple, really.

By his most generous estimations, romance is to Noah Bennet as matter is to antimatter. And by God, he needs to see the two collide.

And if the universe collapses onto itself in a glamorous reversal of the Big Bang –

Well then, scientifically speaking, it's a risk well worth taking.

2/26/2007, 15:34 PM

Attempt #1

Poetry is romantic.

To be precise, it can be romantic, when it the right combination of words is invoked. Those are usually words that have little to no relation to one another, strung together by a bizarre chemistry and blind luck.

In his lifetime, Mohinder has written countless research reports, articles and dissertations, so it comes as a less -than-pleasant surprise when he finds himself running into… a writer's block.

How bizarre.

But it's not as if a thesis is required here. Simplicity is vital.

He glares accusingly at the piece of paper in front of him.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Your glasses are horn-rimmed;
And so are you.

No, it's definitely lacking something.

Sense, for a start. Not that sense should be a factor, in romance; quite the opposite.

But still, logic demands a token representation, so he regretfully strikes out the horn-rimmed part, takes a few moments to consider the issue in depth, and scribbles something else down instead.

Sounds like corny.

He heads to Bennet's office, encountering a moment of doubt as the door looms before him, abnormally threatening.

But hesitation is not an option.

He's a man on a mission.

He goes in.

Bennet isn't there; probably out applying alternative methods of diplomacy to unsuspecting victims.

So he stealthily places the note on the table and sneaks out.

When he returns several hours later, the note is mysteriously gone, and Bennet is back at his desk, filling out a form he most likely invented himself.

He sometimes wonders whether Bennet is physically capable of boredom, since the man seems to be composed of some strange Zen matter, rendering him entirely unperturbed by ninety nine percent of what the universe has to offer, paperwork included.

Unless he's really pissed off. In which case, he'd make a face resembling an enraged, bloodthirsty hamster. And often wave a gun in your face.

It's quite fascinating.

At the moment, Bennet isn't making any sort of face, and is in fact ignoring him altogether.

He bypasses the desk and leans over Bennet's shoulder.

No reaction.

He decides to earn his attention by giving his ear an experimental nibble.

"Did you want something, Suresh?" the unflappable response finally arrives. "Is it on my ear?"

He sighs, removing himself from Bennet's ear-territory.

"So," he begins, hoping to smooth into the subject subtly. "Did anything interesting happen to you today?"

"Not that I know of."

He should have expected obstacles of this variety. But he's determined not to let it deter him.

"Has anyone left you any," he draws a dramatic pause in a strategic location, "messages?"

"No."

He's doing it on purpose. Mohinder just knows it.

"Well actually, there was a note," Bennet adds as an afterthought. "Something about the sexual desirability of my glasses. I shredded it."

"You shredded it."

"It was probably a prank," Bennet explains levelly. "Kids."

"Right. Kids."

He yearns to smack Bennet over the head with the nearest available blunt object. But he restrains himself.

It's not constructive. Nor is it romantic.

Tempting, though.

Excruciatingly tempting.

As he turns to leave, he can swear Bennet is grinning silently and gleefully behind him, but when he turns around (unexpectedly!), Bennet successfully pretends to be deeply entranced by a large pile of paper.

Mohinder leaves the office grudgingly, swearing to never write again.

Attempt failed.

3/4/2007, 19:06 PM

Attempt #2

The beach is romantic.

Judging by Bennet's facial expression, he isn't aware of that fact.

"Why did you want to meet here again?"

"I thought it would be a welcome change of scenery."

"I didn't know the scenery required changing."

"Well, I just thought it would be nice."

"Nice," Bennet repeats dubiously, as if measuring every ounce of the word and finding it entirely unsuitable.

"Yes."

"Right."

Mohinder settles on the eclectically colorful blanket he's brought along, and Bennet squints at it with a distinct air of suspicion before doing the same.

He doesn't even remove his shoes.

"So what exactly are we supposed to be doing, in this exciting new scenery?"

"Well –" Mohinder pauses – the answer should be simple, really, but… "I don't know."

Damn it.

He knew he'd forgotten something.

So they end up discussing the latest Special, and later bringing a certain cocktail to life.

He ends up with sand in all the wrong places.

Not that he can think of any right places for it.

He can, however, think of better places for romance.

Attempt failed.

3/13/2007, 22:23 PM

Attempt #3

Dancing is romantic.

Understandable, Mohinder supposes, considering it's really just an evolution of some ancient mating ritual, set to the rhythm of desire.

The rhythm of desire. That sounds good, actually. Maybe he shouldn't have given up on poetry quite so quickly.

"Are you alright, Suresh?"

"Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"

"I think you're about to go into an epileptic seizure."

"It's called dancing. You should try it."

"I'm pretty sure that's not dancing."

He promptly ceases all dancing-related activities, shooting Bennet a sour look as he turns the stereo off.

"You're saying you can do better?"

"Yes."

"Prove it, then."

"I don't dance."

"You just said –" he trails off when he catches up with Bennet's expression fully.

It's astounding, how wonderfully insulting the man can be without uttering a single word.

Bennet stands up, "I have some work to get-"

"You're not going anywhere," Mohinder informs him. Assertiveness is essential, in romance.

"I'm not?"

"No."

Bennet watches him with a deadly calm, and he resists the instinctual urge to swallow. Then Bennet smiles. He isn't sure whether he should feel relieved or run for his life.

"So what am I going to do, then?"

"You're going to dance."

"Fine."

The kinetic flow of the conversation demands that he argues further, but apparently Bennet is being agreeable (likely in an elaborate attempt to confuse him), and so he just stands there for a few moments, doing absolutely nothing.

"Alright," he makes a not-quite-speedy recovery. "Wait here."

When he comes back, Bennet greets him with a mildly quirked eyebrow.

"There's something stuck in your teeth."

What he wants to say is 'That's a rose, you bastard', but what comes out of his flower-occupied mouth is closer to 'mhhhmff'.

It doesn't quite get the message across, he fears.

"I hope you removed the thorns first."

He spits the rose out.

Spitting isn't romantic, he reminds himself a moment later.

But it's too late to take it back now – and not very hygienic, at that.

And so the poor rose remains forsaken and forgotten on the floor as he put on the most romantic music he could get his hands on. Which happens to be 'Do You Love Me'.

A bit cliché, maybe - but it's a well-known fact that romance is built on a sound foundation of cliché.

And nobody puts a geneticist in the corner.

For some strange reason, the 'dance' quickly takes a turn for the dirty, with his legs wrapped around Bennet's waist; his back colliding with the wall as the world starts to heat up and spin wildly out of control.

They wind up rapidly losing vital articles of clothing, and a primitive morally grey mating ritual commences.

He's distinctly sore for the next three days, though he can't quite bring himself to regret the cause.

Attempt failed.

3/24/2007, 1:17 AM

Attempt #4

Stargazing is romantic.

Because clearly, nothing is more romantic than observing massive celestial bodies, most of which are probably long burnt-out.

Mohinder does find the idea of supernovas erotic, but that's hardly the same thing.

And supernovas are damn sexy.

Which is why, when he comes up on the roof, he almost does a double-take, and for a moment just stares, because the look on Bennet's face is hazardously close to… wistful.

He's almost afraid to move, not wanting to scare it away. It's a rare and exotic specimen; one he rather doubts he'd encounter ever again.

So he remains cautiously quiet, and for a while, they just stand there. It's all very strange and unusual, and yet the moment contains the kind of peace he'd never imagined he could achieve in this close a proximity to Bennet.

Bennet is the one to break the silence, a considerable stretch of time later.

"You know, I used to watch the stars a lot, when I was kid."

"Really? What were you looking for?"

Bennet gives him a sideway glance, not answering straight away. It's a behavioral pattern he would attribute to hesitation if it was anyone else.

"Extraterrestrial life."

It takes him several moments to process that reply.

Unsuccessfully.

"What?"

"You're a scientist, Suresh. I think you should at least be familiar with the notion."

"The notion of aliens?"

He should've known it'd come to that.

The signs were all there.

It's now blatantly obvious that Bennet himself is a not-particularly-well-disguised extraterrestrial life form.

The life form in question apparently decides to exercise some belated damage-control. "Let's drop the subject."

"Oh, I don't think so."

Mohinder can't stop himself from grinning madly at the Bennet's expression, because it now reads of clear distress.

"Let me guess, you're also harboring a secret The Truth is Out There poster?"

"The only thing I'm harboring, Suresh, is a desire to throw you off the building."

"Well, that's alright. The Mother Ship will just fly by and pick me right up."

"Let's hope so."

He isn't prepared to let it go just yet – actually, he isn't prepared to ever let it go - extending his index finger at him in imitation of E.T.

Bennet shakes his head.

"This conversation is finished."

As Bennet departs, rather hastily, he hums the theme of Close Encounters of the Third Kind after him.

He'll probably refuse to talk to him for a week.

It's more than worth it, naturally, but…

Attempt failed.

4/1/2007, 20:04 PM

Attempt #5

Anniversaries are romantic.

Unless, of course, they involve Mohinder Suresh and Noah Bennet.

It's been precisely six months since Mohinder first 'encountered' Bennet in his cab.

They've come a long way.

Most notably, they've managed not to kill each other even once.

And that makes it an event well-worth commemorating.

The table, sadly, isn't romantically decorated in any way, because that would involve candles, and visits from Bennet are dangerous enough without adding fire into the mix.

He already poured the champagne – clearly a misstep, because Bennet now has his suspicious face on.

Mohinder sighs. "I haven't–"

Bennet lifts both glasses, clearly ignoring him.

"What, you're going to switch the glasses? What if I drugged mine, knowing you'd be suspicious enough to swap them?"

Bennet doesn't reply. Nor does he switch the glasses.

Instead, he pours a good portion of his glass into Mohinder's.

Mohinder shakes his head in dismayed disbelief.

"That's amazing."

What he really means is -

'You're an insane, paranoid bastard'.

But that's not very romantic at all.

"Just being cautious," Bennet elaborates with a mild smile, actually waiting for him to take the first sip.

So he does just that, and waits for Bennet to follow up.

It's time to utilize his secret weapon.

"I spent the last few years building up an immunity to curare."

Bennet glares at him.

"That was a joke."

Bennet keeps glaring.

"It's from a movie –"

"I know, Suresh."

Token gifts are the next stage, so dictates anniversary protocol, and he triumphantly presents Bennet with a tie he'd spent hours picking out at the flea market.

"It's… very colorful," is all Bennet manages in reply, clearly enchanted by the tie's quality. "Thanks."

Mohinder receives a scarf in return.

"It's grey," he states, attempting to conceal his disappointment.

Why would anyone want to wear grey? It's the fashion equivalent of invisibility. Maybe he could use it as camouflage, to blend into walls.

"Thank you," he fights to regain a sense of politeness.

Now that that's over with, they've run out of protocol romance.

Which means sex.

Two minutes later, he's halfway undressed and pinned against the wall (better than the ceiling, at any rate), his pulse racing out of his reach.

Bennet (sans glasses – Mohinder knows better than to let him keep them on, even though they can occasionally come in handy for… certain other activities) is exploring his collarbone in depth when he suddenly stops, looking intently contemplative.

"Suresh, there's something I've been meaning to tell you."

Mohinder takes a deep breath.

Now is really not the best time.

"Yes?"

Since this sounds important, he constructs a spectrum of probability, encompassing about half the phrases of the English language, an impressive amount of scientific terms, as well as a few borrowed from science fiction. But the words coming out of Bennet's mouth don't go anywhere near it.

"I love you."

His mind goes blank.

Once the initial shock wears off and his brain regains some form of activity (possibly several seconds, minutes or hours later – the space-time continuum becomes largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, when matters of love are concerned), he tries to decipher the meaning of such a statement. Maybe Bennet is speaking in code – not at all outside the realm of possibility with him.

But what if he isn't?

The very thought is too frightening to consider.

In a deep dark corner of his mind, he's already envisioning grey picket fences and horn-rimmed children running around with taser guns.

Oh God.

Maybe Bennet slipped some LSD into his drink.

"You're joking."

"Yes."

"Oh."

"It's April First."

"Right."

How on earth did he manage to forget that?

Thankfully, Bennet's mouth returns to its exploration course, and Mohinder is blissfully deprived of the need to form a rational thought process.

And then he stops. Again.

Mohinder exhales in frustration.

"Before I forget," Bennet reaches into his pocket, handing him a small box.

He opens it suspiciously, expecting something to blow up in his face.

After all, recent facts point to a single conclusion - Bennet is Jokey Smurf under deep cover.

But nothing explodes.

Instead, he finds twelve dollars and twenty five cents.

What the –

God. Of course.

"Cab fare."

He gives a short, disbelieving laugh.

Who said romance is dead?

---

Let it be known, once and for all:

Mohinder Suresh is not a romantic man.

Nor does he ever wish to encounter the foul concept of romance ever again. In fact, he's considering obtaining a restraining order.

Experiment aborted. Mission failed. Spectacularly so.

The universe is still mostly intact, though, so relatively speaking, it's still a success of sorts.

He shifts under the blanket, restless for some odd reason.

"Bennet?"

"Mhmm?"

"What is the meaning of life?"

The answer arrives belatedly, muffled by the pillow and by sleep, but is still remarkably coherent.

"To boldly go where no man has gone before."

He blinks.

"My God – you're a Star Trek fan?"

His alien confession was disturbing enough - but this...

Bennet is definitely awake now, eying him warily.

"It's about the concept."

"Of course, the concept. The concept of shirtless captains and people with pointy ears flying across–"

"Suresh."

"What?"

"Shut up."

Before he can find a sufficiently biting and sarcastic phrasing for 'make me', Bennet's mouth is on his, doing just that, in that scarily effective way that the vast majority of things Bennet-related possess.

It's going to be a long, romance-free night.

So no, Mohinder Suresh isn't in any way romantic.

But his hypothesis was wrong.

Because terrifyingly, in an inexplicable turn of fate, nature, and perhaps the entire cosmos, and in his own ruthlessly pragmatic, calmly paradoxical, horn-rimmed way -

Noah Bennet is.