It started out as a perfectly normal day. Mohinder and I were yelling at each other in the kitchen; I think something about the dishwasher set us off that time. Thing was, it was a Sunday afternoon when Molly was out playing field hockey and it was just the two of us, so the argument just kept getting bigger. Mohinder oh-so-kindly pointed out that technically speaking, it was his apartment and I was just a tenant, and I oh-so-kindly pointed out that I spent more time in it than he did and things just sort of devolved from there.
Like I said, all perfectly normal. Just two rather screwed up people having a yelling, screaming hissy fit about daddy issues, past and present. Nothing to see here, move right along.
We were getting right into each other's personal space, which is normally a sign that one of is going to be storming out of the room pretty soon and I was damned if it was going to be me. I snarled something nasty (something about his father, I think), and the next thing I know his hand's behind my head, his lips are pressing up against mine, and he's kissing me.
I might have kissed him back a little. Well, okay, my hand somehow ended up in his back pocket and I was sort of backing up to lean against the counter before we both came to our senses and broke apart. But, you know, it's only polite to respond in kind when someone kisses you. Also, I might have been in shock. Just a little.
Mohinder made a small, surprised noise; I suddenly realized what we were doing and pushed him off me. We stared at each other for a moment in horror.
"Shut up!" Mohinder blurted out suddenly, before turning around and stomping out of the room. I heard the front door slam.
Guess that means I won. Yay.
I stared at the ceiling for a moment, trying to figure out what the hell just happened, before giving up in favor of washing the dishes.
The next few hours…happened. I finished cleaning the cutlery; Molly's friend Melissa dropped her back home; and some point Mohinder came back home from where it was he'd gone with Indian takeout in hand. We ate dinner as Molly gave us a play-by-play of her scrimmage game, and we went about our normal nightly routines until Molly was asleep.
Mohinder was in the kitchen, packaging up the leftovers in cheap Tupperware containers. I fiddled with the remote for a while before deciding that we'd done our normal avoidance deal enough for the night.
"Look, about that- that…thing earlier-"
"We are not having this conversation," Mohinder interrupted me flatly.
"No, absolutely not." Mohinder closed the door to the refrigerator a little more forcefully than necessary. "We're not, because it would be awkward and humiliating. We're not, because it was a heat of the moment thing that means absolutely bullocks. We're not because-"
"Okay, okay, I get it!" I threw my hands up in surrender. "Topic dropped."
And that was that, for the most part. He went off to scowl at his laptop and I found some halfway decent TV and things continued as normal.
Except no, not so much.
Normally, I'm more than happy to ignore Mohinder. But, when a person kisses you, unexpectedly, in the middle of what was a pretty sizeable dry period, you sort of become hyperaware to that person. And when that person is living with you (or, okay, you're living with that person) it can get awkward.
To the point where by Thursday night, Mohinder was jumpy to the point of turning around, chucking his pen at me, and yelling "What the hell is wrong with you?"
"What's wrong with me? What's wrong with you?" I replied.
"Nothing. But I'm beginning to wonder, because you keep staring at me!"
I fought down a blush. Busted.
"I-it's just-" I stuttered trying to find some sort of reasonable excuse. Then I realized, I didn't need an excuse- this was entirely his fault. "You kissed me!"
Mohinder groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I thought we weren't talking about that," he whined.
"Well, we weren't, but…"
"Oh don't be like that," he snapped. "You seemed perfectly happy to reciprocate."
Well, yeah, there was that. "Uh…"
His eyes narrowed predatorily. "Actually, I seem to remember being groped by you."
I was saved from having to come up with a snappy response- and I use the term 'saved' lightly here- by the door to Molly's room swinging open, revealing the girl herself, looking decidedly annoyed. Mohinder and I froze, horrified.
"You kissed?" she demanded. "You kissed each other?"
Mohinder and I exchanged panicked looks. Molly took this as an admission of guilt and continued.
"When were you going to tell me about this?" she asked, with all the righteous indignation a pre-teen could muster. "Actually, when did that happen? Was it recently?" She turned to stare directly up at me. "Is that why you've been so weird lately?"
"It's…complicated," I managed. My face burned. Besides me, Mohinder gave what was probably supposed to be a snort, but sounded more like a choking sound.
"Oh," Molly drawled.
"Molly," Mohinder said, voice very measured. "It's a school night. Don't you think you should be asleep?"
"You woke me up," she sulked
"And we're very sorry about that," Mohinder countered in that same careful tone. "But you should still try and go back to sleep."
"Yeah," I chimed in.
Molly looked at us, and we looked at her, trying our best to seem stern and imposing rather than secretly praying for the floor to open up beneath us.
"Okay," she acquiesced. She turned around, but froze with her hand on the doorknob. "Just one question: does this mean that Matt's not sleeping on the pull-out anymore?"
Mohinder turned a shade of maroon that put his shirts to shame. I did my best fish out of water impression.
"I mean, that's fine if you are. I mean, that means I don't have to worry about one of you getting married or something and wanting to move away. And if the two of you were together then it'd be like we were all really a family," She turned around, looking slightly wistful, before her eyes lit up. "And we could use the living room to host sleepovers!"
"Molly. Bed. We'll talk about this later, okay?" I said. She heaved a dramatic sigh, but this time her door closed all the way. The creak of her mattress echoed loudly through the silent apartment.
"Gah!" Mohinder cried throwing his hands in the air. Then he grabbed his half-empty mug and skulked into the kitchen.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
"To get some rum to put in my tea," he answered.
"We have rum?"
Apparently, we did.
Watching Mohinder get drunk was like… it was like reading minds. Something you might have thought about in passing on a lark, but not something you ever expect to run across. Which made the whole situation all the more surreal, I guess.
"You know what this is?" Mohinder said a solid hour of increasingly alcoholic teas later. Except, he was completely pissed by then, so it came out as "Y'know wha' thish iz?"
"What?" I asked, taking another sip of my beer. Rum wasn't really my thing.
"Fear. The world is fucking terrifying, you know," he slurred. I raised an eyebrow, more at the curse word than what he was saying.
"Really. I mean, Sylar's out there, Nathan almost died and is stuck in hiding with Peter, I still can't figure out what happened to Maya, I think Elle might be spying on me for Bennet, whose daughter has gone missing and he thinks I did it, and Bob keeps trying to steer me into asking about Company schools for Molly. Niki is missing, Monica has become some sort of vigilante and the Company is coming to bear on her and I'm afraid they'll go after Micah to do that and- and Angela keeps coming into my work and touching me and it's all so-so- fucking terrifying!" he explained.
I blinked. This was the first I'd heard about …pretty much any of that. Plus, drunk Mohinder is not coherent Mohinder. Drunk Mohinder made me seem eloquent.
"Angela's touching you?" I repeated.
"She keeps fiddling with my shoulders and neck when ever she talks to me," Mohinder confirmed grimly, draining the last of his drink with a grimace.
"And what was that about Micah?"
"The Company's considering kidnapping him in an effort to control Monica," Mohinder repeated. "And also, he has an ability they really want. Technopathy. I can't tell you how many times I've wished I had that power."
"I hear you," I sympathized.
Mohinder squinted. It took me a minute to realize that he was trying to look scrutinizing.
"What?" I asked.
"When you say that you hear me…" he asked suspiciously.
"I'm not reading your mind," I said automatically. "Your thoughts give me brain freeze."
He squinted some more, and then shrugged. "Okay."
"And- wait, was Molly in there somewhere?"
Yes," he hissed, glaring at a stain on the wall behind me. "Bob has been telling me lately about the Company's schooling program. It's very complete, apparently."
"Did his daughter go to that school?"
He laughed. Full on threw back his head and howled. I stared.
"Sorry, just-" he giggled. "I asked him the same thing."
"Great minds," I said wisely, tapping my head. "Think alike."
He snickered. "That's why I did it, you know."
"Kissed you." The world stopped for a second. Mohinder continued on, oblivious. "The world's scary, and you and I have the same priorities."
"Is that all it takes?"
He snorted. Apparently, Mohinder is the sort of drunk who finds everything hilarious. "The stories I could tell you…"
"You know what?" I said, finishing off my beer with a flourish. "I'd like that. We should actually talk."
"We talk," he protested.
"Do too," he insisted, frowning. "We were talking when I kissed you."
"No," I explained patiently. "We were screaming about our daddy issues. Or the dishwasher. Or possibly both."
"That doesn't count as talking?"
"Huh," he tilted his head back and stared at the ceiling. "What would qualify as talking?"
"Well, this does," I said. "We could do this more often. Only without the alcohol. Because we have to set an example for Molly."
"Yes, definitely," he nodded vigorously. "No drinking unless your daughter asks after your sex life."
"Then you can get hammered."
"Damn straight," he tried to pour himself another glass of rum, but couldn't seem to get his hands to work properly. I did it for him. "Thanks. What else could we discuss?"
"I dunno," I shrugged. "Sci-fi? Football? How to steer Molly away from Hannah Montana?"
"We do that last one already. Sort of. And I hate football."
"I don't have the time for it. I'm about half a season behind on the new Doctor Who series," he moaned.
"Dude, I watch that every Friday."
"Yeah. I have some TiVoed. You wanna watch?"
"Yeah!" he said enthusiastically, standing up. Before quickly sitting back down. "But not now. Now is not good. Now, I should probably be in bed, preparing for the massive hangover I'm going to be nursing tomorrow."
"You need a hand?"
I helped him into bed. He was snoring before he hit the mattress.
The next morning dawned brighter and earlier than it had any right to. Molly frowned at me as she passed the couch on her way to the kitchen, obviously disappointed at our unchanged sleep arrangements. Well, tough for her. Mohinder and I are going to have to work on being friends first before we can start hosting Village People-themed slumber parties.
"Did Mohinder and I keep you up late last night?" I asked, feeling slightly guilty.
"No," she sighed disappointedly.
"Good. Mohinder might be a little off his game today, so be very quite at breakfast," I said. She nodded, placing a finger to her lips. I placed a bowl of Cheerios in front of her, and she very careful put her spoon in without scrapping it against its sides. I smiled, and Mohinder dragged himself out of his room, looking like the poster child for the zombie apocalypse army.
He plopped into his normal seat and tried to cover his eyes without it looking like he was covering his eyes.
"You want to try the coffee this morning?" I asked. He shook his head.
"I've got a special tea. Orange tin, second from the left on the middle shelf."
Making tea is only slightly more complicated than making coffee, so I manage. Mohinder smiled gratefully at me over the steaming cup.
"Thanks," he muttered.
"No problem," I replied. "What are co-parents for?"