A/N: This would have been out sooner, if the gods of life hadn't been conspiring against me. First there was Christmas and New Years at work- which was hell I might add. Then I ended up with the Flu bug form Hell and then I found Death Note. I love that show. Hut here it is and the next part shouldn't be quite so long in coming.
Pieces of Me
Chapter Three: Chef Matt
--No! Stop it….please don't do this!—
Matt snorted in his sleep, the forceful, frightened thought bursting into his mind. As it faded, sleep took a firmer hand.
--I can see you. It's the Nightmare Man! Go away!—
--Get off of me! Stop!—
The sudden crowding of two extra voices in his mind, followed by the high-pitched, terrified screams of their little girl had Matt shooting out of bed, mindless of any physical or mental pain.
The other voice stopped just as suddenly as he reached his door and flung it open just in time to see Mohinder doing the same.
"Molly." They spoke together, one voice overlapping the other, bound in fear as two grown men tried to dash up the narrow hallway. They collided, wincing at the harsh connection of shoulders. Matt hissed.
"Oh for the love of- come here!" Mohinder huffed sharply before flinging one of Matt's arms around his shoulders and propelling them both towards the frightened screams.
Molly was covered in fear-sweat, her face pinched in that painful expression only the most horrible of nightmares could produce.
--Go away! Leave me alone!—
Matt paused in confusion. That second terrified voice was gone, just Molly trapped by….. "What the f-It's the nightmare man?"
Mohinder jerked his head over to stare at his room mate, his dark eyes wide. "Wake her up. Now."
Two sets of hands grasped her shoulders and arms. "Molly!" The Indian man tried, shaking her gently. Matt touched her face, his hand slipping from the moisture of tears and sweat. "Molly-doll, it's just a dream. Wake yourself up. I'm he- we're here."
With a jolt and a sharp gasp their little girl shot up, nearly colliding with her frantic guardians. Panting, she looked around the room, just taking in her surroundings and the fact that she was actually here, safe, with her two heroes by her side. Then the flood gates crumbled and Molly all but collapsed into a sobbing mess of terrified child.
"He knows! He knows I can see him!"
Mohinder made a distressed sound, rubbing her back and kissing the crown of her sweaty, tangled hair.
"Don't fret sweetie. We won't let anything happen to you."
For a man who, for the last two weeks he had spent visiting him in the hospital, had an almost paralyzing fear of being a bad father, Matt thought the guy was doing a damn fine job. Mohinder did all the work while he simply had to rub her shaking hands and make soft comforting noises to get Molly to calm down.
Her eyes were blinking slowly as she settled back onto her pillow, her breathing slowing down to its regular rate.
"Are you sure the nightmare man can't get us?" She whispered softly, needing one last reassurance.
Mohinder nodded solemnly. "I'm sure. Besides, we have a full-blown police officer staying just down the hall and you know best that Matthew would never let anyone hurt you."
The telepath caught the thought 'play along' before nodding himself.
"Yeah, Squirt. Between me and Sparky here, you're safer than the bank."
Molly giggled half-heartedly, too wiped to put up any real effort.
"Don't call me squirt."
As she drifted off to sleep, Matt sent Mohinder a 'you better start explaining in the next five seconds or I will use excessive force' type of look.
The doctor frowned, jerking his head at their little girl.
'Give her a few more moments and then we'll talk out in the kitchen. No shouting.'
Well, duh. Besides, Matt was pretty sure he'd had his fill of shouting with his previous marriage.
…….not to say this was in any way a marriage-type……thing. Right.
The tension in Molly's shoulders slipped away as sleep took a firm hold on her. Mohinder eased up off the tiny bed slowly, as if ready to drop back down in a moment's notice.
The cop followed his lead; it seemed to be the right way to make an escape because Molly didn't stir and his chest didn't feel like it was going to burst open from the searing pain of breathing.
Mohinder's warm, smooth fingers wrapped around his wrist suddenly, as the doctor put one of those digits to his lips and lead them out into the dimly light kitchen.
Molly's door was left open a hand's width- just to be safe.
Matt huffed as Mohinder started towards the kettle, filling it with water and plugging it in without a word.
"What in the hell is this nightmare man Molly is dreaming about?!"
Mohinder bit his lip, taking down two mugs and filling them both with a bit of instant coco. He pointed to one of the kitchen chairs. "Wait a moment."
Matt stood, stubborn. "I am not going to 'wait a moment' when our little girl is screaming her head of in fright."
The professor whirled around, his eyebrows drawn in his own anger. "And we are both too wound up to talk about this right now, without it resulting in shouting and harsh words. Let me think!"
Matt backed down a bit, nodding his consent but hoping the doc knew he would be getting some answers tonight- from Mohinder's lips or his mind.
The kettle clicked in the hard silence, filled only with light breathing and the gurgle of water being poured. The rapid clicks of a spoon against the side of one, then two mugs was almost like the toll of a bell before Mohinder sat down with a heavy sigh.
"I don't know much about her nightmare man- Molly barely spoke of him while in the Company's care. What I have been able to figure out is that, while Molly's ability allows her to find people- psychically see them- there one that can 'see' her back."
Matt fiddled with the handle on the steaming mug of coco, ignoring the scalding heat. "You mean eh can find her?"
The professor shrugged. "I'm not sure. I don't think so- it's more likely that this person's power is mental as well, and simply means he can detect another person 'spying' on him." A puzzled look flew across Mohinder's face suddenly. "Since when has this nightmare man been positively identified as a male?"
Mat quirked a half smile. "One of these days I will get you to use proper English, but whatever. I think it's because Molly calls him the nightmare man and not the nightmare woman."
Mohinder stroked his rim of his mug thoughtfully. Matt noticed he did that with a lot of things he held- just touched them. It was somewhat distracting, the hypnotic movement of the doc's graceful hand.
"The correct term would be nightmare person then, since the gender is still unknown."
The cop rolled his eyes. "Don't go getting all politically correct and shit on me. Molly says he's a nightmare man, the dude's a dude. What's more important is how do we get him out of her head?"
Mohinder huffed. "I have absolutely no idea and that's- this isn't a nice man, Matthew." The doc's face was hard in the harsh light of the kitchen. "He's tormenting a little girl for no reason." Mohinder was furious.
Matt knew the feeling; he was a cop, it was his job to stop sickos like this nightmare man. Only how did he stop a crook that hid in a little girl's nightmares?
Mohinder had a wary, thoughtful look on his face as he stroked his mug absently. He spoke in halting English, the accent even more bizarre than ever.
"We need to see what she's dreaming. To disprove it. It's like looking under the bed when a child tells you he's sure there's a monster under there. Children trust their parents to protect them." Here, he hesitated briefly, knowing on his bottom lip. "Can you hear her nightmares?"
Matt nodded. "Yeah. I can hear every thought she has- it was like a freaking clock radio went off in my head- why?"
Mohinder tapped the mug gently. "What about pictures? Images and videos and memories? Can you see either of them as well?"
The cop scratched his head tiredly. "Sorta. If you think about something hard enough, or if you're really really emotional, I get theses…..fuzzy pictures or something. Nothing very strong or clear though, more like the negatives of a set of pictures."
Mohinder cursed. "Damn it! I was hoping you'd maybe be able to get a clear identification on this nightmare man."
Matt quirked an eyebrow and scoffed. "And do what? Arrest him for giving Molly nightmares? Not exactly something that would hold up in court."
The professor scowled. "He's tormenting a child- I'm sure with a name and a face to go by you could out just what other nefarious deeds he's done."
Matt rolled his eyes. "Okay, this conversation is over when you use words that are more than six letters long." A serious expression crossed his face. "I'll see what I can get from Molly but…… it might take more than once."
Mohinder gripped his tea cup tightly, nodding once before finishing his drink and rising. "We should get back to bed. Nightmares or not, Molly is still a ten-year old child- she'll be up and eating sugar before we are tomorrow."
Matt watched his new room mate set their cups in the sink after being rinsed out with water, and quickly hurry off to bed.
It didn't escape his notice that the buzz of speeding thoughts in the back of Matt's mind didn't stop until sometime near dawn.
The light in his eyes was annoying.
Matt grunted at it and rolled over but the feeling that he was supposed to be vertical wouldn't leave now that that light had come into it.
One dark blue eye cracked open, scanning the edge of the bed for a clock or a space monkey or…… something.
The red numbers shone out at him reproachfully.
Matt sat up with a frown. What in the hell? Why was it so quiet? Quicker than he even thought his mind could go in the morning, fear gripped Matt.
Had something happened while he had slept? Where was Molly? Mohinder?!
Chest aching like a mother, Matt levered himself up and to his feet, forgoing his pants to rush out into the hallway. Mohinder's door was ajar just enough for the cop to peek in and relax. A lump in the middle of the bed, topped by a head of curly black hair greeted him. Mohinder slept like a puppy, and curled up and covered, as if the monsters would get him if he let them. The posture sat weird in Matt's mind- Mo was one tough guy when he needed to be. Why was he sleeping like a terrified kid?
It boggled his simple mind, but speaking of terrified kids…….
Matt eased his way towards Molly's room, peeking his head around the door jam slowly. Molly was curled up on her side, facing the door. Her head and shoulders were visible, a small frown on her lips as she slept. A quick peek into her mind- no one would know anyway- showed a rather confusing dream about lost socks and a purple rabbit.
A deep growl gurgled up through the cop's stomach, echoing loudly in the eerily silent apartment. Matt was starved. The monster in his belly was slowly eating a path from his belly button in through his spine.
It needed grub, now.
Mohinder hadn't stirred from his spot curled up in his bed, blocking out the world with his bright reddish orange comforter and Matt didn't have the heart to wake him. He probably had the stomach, but his fuzzy haired room mate was bushed and Matt had a dilemma.
He was a hungry man- no a hungry cop. A starving cop in need of some good morning food. A famish cop, who couldn't cook, in desperate need of food.
Matt stood in the hallway for a moment, dressed only in his undies, thinking.
A feeling something like the one that had filled his chest at the thought of stopping Sylar bloomed in Matt. He was a cop, damn it he could fend for himself.
With a determined expression, Matt headed off towards the kitchen with plan. Or a fantasy of sizzling pancakes at least.
The sound of something frying combined with the soft shush of running water in the bathroom brought Mohinder to instant wakefulness. He was so….acclimated to living alone, even the monotonous everyday noises of other people awoke him.
Of course, Mohinder also knew his somewhat overly paranoid behavior had started after Sylar had……hurt him. The idea that that horrible man could come out of nowhere, at any time had had Mohinder restless for nights on end.
The geneticist simply lay there for a second, listening to the almost comforting sounds of feet shuffling across the carpet and the soft thumps of bowls on the kitchen counter before the need to be doing something made him rise.
His favorite pink shirt was reasonably clean, good enough to pull on with his read and purple plaid pajama pants. Molly did a double take at the clothing, her face still covered in soapy bubbles as her second hero walked by the bathroom door. Mohinder smiled at her as he greeted his favorite little girl in the world.
"Good morning Molly."
The little girl scrubbed the remaining soap off her face quickly. "Actually it's good afternoon, but thank you. Matt's in the kitchen already."
Something felt off about that comment, making Mohinder pause on his own trek towards the kitchen. Matthew….kitchen….Matthew…cooking in the kitchen? Dark eyebrows furrowed in thought before inky eyes widened as a loud bang and the clatter of silverware and curses could be heard.
When the scent of burning….something began to waft into the hallway, Mohinder gave up on trying to figure out what was so…bizarre about Matthew being in the kitchen. His bare feet made on sound on the carpeted floor, keeping the cop from noticing his approaching room mate. The scene that greeted the doctor had an amused smile spreading across his lips suddenly- there was a decidedly manly man using a pot holder to fan the curling tendrils of black smoke out the open window, never minding to simply turn off the burner.
A spatula was tucked under one arm, a half used bag of something in the other, Matthew looked very awkward and unsure of himself in this environment. The countertop was covered in white powder and runny batter, a trail down the front of one of the cupboard doors showed where a spoon had dropped to its messy end.
Then it hit Mohinder.
Dear God…Mathew couldn't cook!
Matt was glad that no one could read his thoughts at the moment, his arms flailing about trying to hold onto the spatula and the flour bag and get rid of that damn smoke before it set off the fire alarm and the sprinklers. For one, if someone could read his mind, they would probably find it a jumbled mess of 'oh godoh godohgodohgodohgod' and a few curses words that probably hadn't even been invented yet. Why was this so hard?
A choked, somewhat amused noise just off to the right behind him, had the cop jumping around and dropping the bag of flour. The pot holder was swept out in front of him, brandished like a sword before Matt took in the sight of Mohinder dressed in obscenely colorful clothing and a smirk.
"Good afternoon, Officer Parkman."
Matt stared at him, blinking. "I'm trying to respond with something witty and smart aleck-y but your clothes are assaulting my brain."
Mohinder crossed his arms over his chest with a huff.
'Oh shut up.'
Dark eyes drifted over Matt's shoulder, widening and reminding him of the fucking pancakes.
"Shit-crap!" Spatula freed, the cop quickly removed the frying pan from the burner and tried to lift the pancakes out and onto a plate.
They didn't budge.
"Ohhhhhhhh damn." Matt muttered to himself before the thoughts of the man behind him turned soft and deliberate.
Mohinder sniffed the air hesitantly. "I thought you said you couldn't cook."
Matt turned around shrugged, feeling that embarrassed kind of heat creeping up his neck and through his cheeks. "Well, I can't- I just figured since it was my first true morning here and I said I wasn't going to mooch offa you I tried to make breakfast."
Molly made a slight gagging noise as she exited her room.
"Ew, what smells like throw up?"
Matt winced at the criticism, feeling that dark curl of shame rise up. He always screwed up!
Mohinder saw the slight fall of Matt's shoulders and quickly tried to set it right.
"Matt was making…..pancakes, I think. We seem to have overslept."
Molly beamed at her hero.
"Aw. You're the best!"
Matt shifted at the praise, shuffling his feet and scratching the back of his head with the hand that still held the spatula. He winced at the pull of his chest muscles.
Mohinder caught it with a sudden frown.
"Sit down. You've strained yourself."
Molly looked fearful. "Are you okay, Matt? Do you need to go to the hospital?" She didn't wait for an answer, whipping around to stare at Mohinder. "Does he need to go to the hospital?"
The doctor shook his head, easing her fears quickly. "Not if you can get Matthew to rest, like the doctor told him to."
Matt suddenly found himself trapped within the big round eyes of a ten-year old girl. Molly was a Jedi- she had to be. How else could someone so tiny get a fully grown police officer- who could read minds- to sit docilely at the kitchen table while his wild-haired, British accented roommate/ubber-smart guy freaked out about said police officer's health?
She was a freaking force of nature their Molly-girl.
Mohinder stepped forward and eased the spatula from the cop's hand before attempting to scrape the pancakes off of the frying pan. The stuck like crazy-glue had been used on the pan instead of a quick spray of Pam.
"Goodness, Matt the flour is way up on the top shelf- you shouldn't have tried to reach it." The doctor scolded gently as he viciously tried to scrape the burnt mess off his now half-melted spatula using the rim of the ruined frying pan.
Matt frowned. "It is?"
Molly choked on a giggle as Mohinder froze, staring at the mess in confusion. Matt looked a tiny bit fearful as the professor dipped two fingers into the congealing batter and quickly stuck them in his mouth.
The giggles couldn't be contained as Mohinder's face morphed from confusion to complete and utter revulsion. Matt wondered if you could poison someone with pancake batter.
"Um, so….I guess it wasn't the right stuff then?"
Mohinder cleared his throat harshly once, then again before attempting to speak.
"No, I'm afraid it was not. One does not use powdered sugar and baking powder to make pancakes." He straightened up, dumping the bowl into the sink slowly. "Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go and wash my mouth out with hydrogen peroxide."
Matt groaned, covering his face with his hands. Molly sat down next to him, patting his arm in reassurance.
"Don't worry. Mohinder can cook but his Homer Simpson impersonations suck." She sighed. "Homer isn't supposed to sound like Harry Potter."
Matt snorted, uncovering his face to ruffle his little girl's hair. She squealed and tried to bat his hands away until Mohinder returned and announced that he would be dropping by the bakery and picking up some breakfast muffins before it was too late.
And so, the Amazing Pancake Massacre of Wednesday Morning was the first and last meeting of Chef Matt.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who reviewed! Just so you know, I've also joined the missioninsane community on livejournal. I'll be writing Heroes fics if anyone is interested. About 200 of them.