Title: Lost And Found Again
Rating: PG-13 (vague sexuality)
Spoilers: Only through mid-S2 (think Maury and Elle) and AU beyond that.
Disclaimer: Heroes belongs to NBC and Tim Kring and since I'm neither, I clearly do not own it. This was written by a fan of the show who really likes these characters and really likes poking them about their issues.
Prompt: Matt Parkman/Mohinder Suresh. One of them wants to join a gay parents group and the other is opposed.
Author's Notes: The hardest part of this was keeping it from becoming porn. No, seriously, I kept having to go back and keep brushing it away because it's not about porn, it's about their issues and how they have to learn how to communicate, you know? Ahem, anyway, one Matt/Mohinder fic with a positive but not completely "tied up in a neat bow" ending— yeah, I know, right? This fic would not be what it is without gidgetzb's ability to pull me back and shake me and take care of me when I panic because Teh Finals are Teh Evul. Seriously, ya'll, she's made of awesomesauce! Any mistakes here are the result of me poking it after she worked her magic and my responsibility. Written for lgbtfest!
Teaser: The problem with things "just happening" was that they were never talked about as they happened.
Sylar had destroyed all of their lives and given them each other in the process.
Years of scientific study rebelled against the simplicity of this truth.
But as difficult as it was for Mohinder's mind to comprehend, it had all simply… fallen into place, like pieces of a puzzle he hadn't realized was there; hadn't realized was incomplete in certain spots.
His father had died (murder, his mind always needlessly added automatically) and he had come to New York to understand why and it had all happened around him—secrets that he still didn't completely understand and a sick little girl in a special room, a disgraced police officer who wanted to protect her as much as he did. Those final moments before the explosion in the sky were burned into Mohinder's memories, the officer's blood beneath his hands and quiet words telling him to leave and go take care of Molly, get her away from Sylar while he could.
He had never questioned following the ambulance with Molly.
He had never felt awkward about holding Molly after she had fallen asleep in his lap while the officer was in surgery beyond the doors.
He had never hesitated to visit the officer each day because Molly missed him and Mohinder could admit that he respected this man who had lain in a pool of his own blood and was still trying to protect this little girl.
He had never hesitated to step up and open his home when Matt found himself homeless because his wife had sent him the papers while he was still in the hospital recovering from five bullet wounds in his chest.
Mohinder had intended to go back to India after he understood what had happened to his father but Molly had started crying the first time he'd mentioned it in passing so he'd put it off. Months later when Matt was moving around more easily, he'd suggested it again, offered to let the two of them have the apartment.
But mid-sentence, he'd caught the flicker of emotion in Matt's eyes and realized with sudden clarity that he didn't want to go back to India anymore, not when he had this. Not when he had Molly's pictures hanging on the fridge and Matt forcing him to watch tasteless American comedies that he couldn't help but laugh at, not when he was able to come home to both of them after a long day of driving strangers around New York.
It had all just happened, every aspect simply falling into place.
The problem with things "just happening" was that they were never talked about as they happened.
Matt's ex-wife was never talked about, left their ragtag family quiet whenever they brushed across the topic in conversation, each left to dwell on their own fears of how fragile their life together actually was. Molly was terrified that someone would come and take her from them, the only safe place she had known since she'd run to hide in a little room while her parents had died. Matt was just hurt, still carried the wounds left by a second loss, a second person that had left when he had needed them.
Mohinder waited for the day that she would show up on the doorstep with an apology and a son, the day that Matt would take Molly and go to reclaim his normal life and leave him with an empty apartment and tasteless American comedies that weren't funny when Matt wasn't there to laugh at them.
The exact mechanics of what he and Matt shared were never talked about, not in public or at home, and the one time he had tried, Matt had ended up working extra hours for a week until Mohinder had dropped it.
Mohinder had never been overly concerned about his sexual preferences in India, deciding that his personal life was no one's business unless he decided it was. His father had never known but he knew his mother had, even if she never said it in so many words. Their acquaintances knew (Mohinder was privately convinced that Bennet had known before they had, the way he had smiled when he'd found out they were living together in order to raise Molly) and had never blinked about it.
But they had never talked about it, not even when Molly was at school and the apartment was quiet.
Mohinder had thought he was okay with it, had been so sure it didn't bother him.
But he was beginning to doubt himself.
He glanced back over one shoulder and found Matt hanging the pan that had previously held macaroni and cheese, took him in for a moment before looking back down at the papers scattered across the kitchen table before him. The apartment was getting smaller and smaller each day filled as it was with his own work and what Matt's wife had finally sent him from their home, had become overrun with Molly's army of pink-uniformed Barbies.
Something they had talked about a dozen times without coming to any decision—getting a bigger place.
But he hesitated, trying to figure out how to breach the subject yet again.
None of his father's files had explained how to handle a relationship with a telepath.
"I think we should go to one of the meetings."
For a moment, Matt simply stared back, and Mohinder held his breath in response and waited.
But then Matt straightened and turned away again, opening and closing the cabinets.
In the other room, Molly was asleep, breathing slow and steady the way she did when both of them were home.
The knowledge caused a spike of annoyance, the idea of Matt being so childish about something concerning her and her well-being—
"Us going to a meeting has nothing to do with her well-being," Matt blurted abruptly, snapping his head around in the middle of pulling a lost Barbie out of the freezer (no idea how that had gotten there). "It has nothing to do with her." When Mohinder opened his mouth— "Or you, either."
Matt shut the freezer door and dropped the Barbie on the table, shaking his head. "I told you I don't want to do it."
"You aren't even listening to my suggestions."
"I already know them," Matt said bluntly and Mohinder could only close his eyes and take a deep breath.
Telepaths were overwhelming, especially when they were good-hearted men who lived to serve and protect.
"They have two meetings a month," Mohinder stated, not stopping when Matt started shaking his head in refusal. "The children are able to get together and run around like the crazed little beasts they are and the adults can talk. The next one is in a week— we can go and you can see what you think of it, just to see."
"Why are you so obsessed with this?"
Because you could run home to be with your wife, could choose an easy life with her over one with me—
Thankfully, Matt didn't notice those thoughts before Mohinder clamped down on them like he always did.
"No, she's not. She knows that we love each other and her. She knows that it doesn't matter who your parents are as long as they love and take care of you. She's not confused about us, I would know."
"Molly's friend has two fathers and they talk about how she never shows up even though Molly has two fathers just like she does—"
"I was there at the teachers' conference, remember? Oh, and one of her daddies hit on you, I remember that too."
"He was asking for my thoughts about a lesson plan he's developing."
"That science professor job's just a cover."
"Mohinder," Matt replied automatically.
"You're telling me you haven't looked at his record?" Mohinder challenged, amused despite his annoyance at the quick flush that spread through the detective's neck. But Matt's face fell again and he faltered, before rushing to continue. "If a high school teacher can go to a meeting for gay parents, so can a detective."
"If Molly's friend's dad jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?"
This stated, Matt turned and left the apartment, left Mohinder sitting at the table staring after him.
A hand shaking his shoulder jerked him out of a nightmare, a voice steady and strong against his ear.
Mohinder was half out of bed before reasonable thought entered his brain, half out of bed in an attempt to get to Molly and Matt when he finally felt the hand that gripped his shoulder, tilted his head back to meet eyes in the darkened bedroom. "It's okay," the voice stated again, and he realized that Matt had been repeating the words since he'd woken up.
He'd gone to bed thinking about Matt's ex-wife and this was the result, a nightmare that left him looking like an idiot.
"Sylar," he muttered, not thinking about the lie.
Lying back, he closed his eyes again, breathing out slowly, wanting to smack himself.
"I just got home," Matt offered needlessly a long minute later, the bed folding as he dropped onto the side but then stilled. When Mohinder opened his eyes and glanced over, the telepath was gazing at the wall with a frown and a faraway stare that left him badly unsettled.
"Mr. Grant was gay."
It was abrupt, and Mohinder was left to blink stupidly in the dim light where they sat together. "What?
"Mr. Grant was this guy who lived down the hall from our apartment when I was growing up."
"I see," but he didn't.
"He had a kid, this really cute little girl."
Mohinder didn't say anything to that, just sat up and reached out to switch on the lamp.
"One day his wife left him and took the kid and I never saw her again. Right before I left for college, I went down and knocked on his door and asked him why his daughter had never come to visit and he told me... about the things his wife had said." There was a pause as Matt drummed his fingers awkwardly against his thigh, finally blowing out a breath through his nose and nodding as if he had come to some sudden decision. "There are people who think that people like us—"
Mohinder exhaled harshly, overcome with clarity.
He remembered the sincere and wonderful way that Molly's teacher had treated him up until she'd realized that he lived with Matt. He remembered the way her smile had become lop-sided and her eyes had become hard with distaste. She wasn't the only person who had reacted like that but it had stung more than he had ever expected it to, the jump to a belief that made no sense from a teacher, from someone who was meant to spread knowledge among children.
"I don't want to lose Molly."
"After everything we've gone through—"
"The only reason we still have her is because Bennet's in good with the Company again and is able to pull strings to keep everybody happy. But I can't stop somebody the way some of the others can, I don't have that kind of power yet, and how the hell are we supposed to protect her from people like Sylar, like that little blonde that keeps trying to pet you?"
"Together," he said immediately, startled at the strength in his voice.
"You say that like we can do it."
"We have for the last year, managed to give her a whole new life." He felt more sure of himself now, steadier than he'd been when he'd woken up in a blind panic minutes before. "We protected her from Thompson last year and we managed to scare the Company enough with Bennet that they've backed away for the time being. They only come to us when they need my help in the lab now."
"What about when they decide they want her?"
Matt was scared to lose Molly, not just to Sylar or the Company, but to everyone else as well.
Mohinder had become well acquainted with the fear of losing a loved one since his father had been murdered.
When he reached out, he found Matt's back stiff, muscles tight and shoulders squared, his eyes still on the wall as if he couldn't bear to look at anything else. "Nobody will take her from us," he said softly, strangely sure that he was right, that no one could take her from them. They had already managed to survive a lifetime of chaos together, had managed to protect one another through everything the world had thrown at them in a year of insanity. "She knows that and it's why she can sleep at night, why she doesn't have as many nightmares as she used to."
"You're not sleeping through the night."
Dear God, these senseless mental jumps Matthew made gave him migraines—
He stopped as he realized the meaning under the words, jerked his head up to find Matt staring at him over one shoulder with an oddly soft expression on his worn face. "Janice isn't a part of my life anymore," he said quietly, shaking his head as the muscles beneath Mohinder's palm loosened slightly.
"I don't know what you're…"
Matt tapped a finger against his temple and Mohinder blanched, horrified.
Of course he'd noticed the nightmare— he'd gained far too much skill navigating them to protect Molly not to.
"I stay here because I love you and Molly and even the stupid Barbie's that I step on in the middle of the night that make me scream in agony as they tear a hole into my heel."
"I know," and he did, he did know that.
"No, you don't."
Matt just laughed, a sound that sent a spike of relief through Mohinder, stretching out on the bed and groaning when something in his back popped. "You're not my rebound guy and Molly isn't my rebound kid, never have been. I'm not the man I tried to be when she and I were together— I'm the man I'm supposed to be, the guy I was afraid to be back in high school when that guy who used to sit in front of me grinned back at me."
"You sound like you've been practicing this speech."
"I have been." Off the geneticist's curious glance— "At the bar before I came home, I got the whole thing rehearsed while my beer got flat."
"I know how I feel about you."
The words were calm, far steadier than anything Matt had said in months.
Terrified Matt, who had been walking around waiting for someone to come in and take Molly, who had been working so hard to do everything he could to prevent it from happening, making deals with the Company and helping Bennet when he needed a telepath at his side to handle a case. Who was struggling to find a way to fight the world to protect them.
Mohinder wasn't the only one terrified of losing the people he loved.
It had all happened before.
They had all found each other and they were all scared of losing one another.
The knowledge left him free to slide down into bed again, drop an arm over his eyes and breathe slowly.
"We really need to start talking more."
"You're the telepath."
"Yes, and you're the big scientist, not me."
"So I'm supposed to handle everything?"
"You're the one who keeps making things buzz in my head when I'm trying to figure out what's wrong."
"I don't want to overwhelm you."
"You always overwhelm me."
It was a ludicrously romantic reply, the kind of response that Mohinder would usually roll his eyes at when nobody was looking— but now it made him smile like an idiot, and chuckle low in his throat. When he peeked at Matt from under his arm, he found the detective cocking one eyebrow at him in an overly charming look that bordered on outright leering.
He took pity on him, reaching over to smooth a thumb across a cheekbone, tug thoughtfully at the side of his mouth.
Men like this had never been his type, not in physical build or disposition — and yet here he was, loving an overprotective and frightened bear of a man whose mouth opened easily beneath his, tasted like an American beer that had been sipped at and stale peanuts, a big body that shifted far too gracefully against his.
"Want to know a secret?" Matt whispered against his mouth a long minute later, breathless but grinning.
"I can read minds."
Mohinder snorted so hard that he nearly brained Matt, the smirk that met him loosening that unpleasant something in his middle, taking the edge off the awful fear that had drained him.
They had each lost something before finding each other; parents that had been taken or had left, a sense of safety.
And then they had found one another but the terror of that being lost again—
"It's okay— if we get lost, Molly can track us down, remember?"
"It's a good way to quiet you down when you start thinking like that."
"The only way?"
"What's the other way— Oh."