Warnings: Mpreg! BS science! Fairly dark! Consent issues!
How You Sleep
Matt felt clumps of dirt fall from the top of the bluff into his hair. He did not shake his head to scatter them away- he kept still, flattening himself against tangles of dried roots, watching beams of light wave overhead. To his left, Hiro was even more stationary with his arms flat against his sides, looking up without tilting his head. On Matt's right, Mohinder didn't look up at all, leaning back against the dirt face of the bluff with one arm held tightly against his stomach.
The lights danced away, but Matt could still hear tromping boots and alarming shouts close by. He leaned close to Mohinder. "Are you okay?" he asked quietly. "Is your arm-"
"I'm fine," Mohinder said quickly.
"We can make a quick sling," Matt insisted.
"I'm fine!" Mohinder lowered his arm and pushed away from the bluff. "We should move."
"Iie!" Hiro hissed, pulling him back as the lights swung over their heads again.
The three men huddled together as a voice started directing others down the slope to lower ground. Matt closed his eyes and told himself to stay calm, concentrate. He cleared his head, and he jerked as a dozen voices exploded into his mind at once. He could feel Mohinder jump in response beside him. Matt searched for the one voice, the alpha male, but there was so little time, and they were already moving, and Matt had never controlled people without seeing them before. He sent out a sort of APB. All clear. All clear over here. All clear. Double back. They couldn't have gotten far.
"All clear over here! Double back!"
More dirt fell onto Matt's head, but the chorus of boots soon faded.
Matt's mind was still open, and as he opened his eyes, he caught a string of relieved-sounding Japanese from Hiro. Mohinder's thoughts were a panicked ramble.
... going to do I can't get caught who knows what will happen this couldn't have been at a worse time I need to get out of here I need to get home but what if they follow me and find Molly oh god I can't do this I sent her away to be safe but I can't send this away we need to get out of here need to run...
"Matt?" Mohinder said out loud, glaring.
Matt realized he was staring. "Ah, sorry, I was just-"
"We need to move!" Mohinder said, taking the lead and setting off into the trees.
Before a full day had passed, Claire and Tracy were captured, Hiro and Ando split off to chase one of Matt's precognitive drawings in India, and Daphne was dead.
Matt still felt a deep urge to go back for her body, even though the soldiers had doubtlessly scooped it up and shoved it in a black bag. He didn't know if they would put her in a drawer or dissect her, but both ideas made him want to get inside their heads and make them blow each other away like he'd done to their comrades.
But in the mess of his own thoughts, he knew he shouldn't do that, knew he shouldn't have done that, knew they'd just been doing their jobs. Couldn't he relate to that, as a cop? Peter's plan was better: they needed to find who called the shots. Not Nathan- he was just the political dog in all of this. They needed the military man, the one who'd been working with Bennet to get Mohinder, and that made Bennet the key. Matt could get inside Bennet's head and find out the man's name and more, like where he slept.
Yeah, that sounded like a good idea to Matt.
Bennet would stay close to Claire as much as possible, which meant Matt, Mohinder, and Peter had three days of near-nonstop driving back to Costa Verde. They couldn't rent a car like usual; Matt had to use his ability on the desk clerk and get her to use her own credit card for the reservation. Part of him felt bad and hoped it would be easy for her to get the charges removed later, but he couldn't stop thinking of Daphne's motionless body. It seemed a fair imposition.
They switched off driving duties, knowing that it was dangerous to stop for anything other than a bathroom break or a quick food run- or for Mohinder to vomit on the side of the road. The first time Matt thought it was just because of the crash, of the deaths, of being on the run, but it happened a couple of times each day. He wouldn't have thought anything of it if he didn't know Mohinder to have played perfectly dumb to trick Sylar- twice- or to have gone into the Company as a spy. Peter kept asking Mohinder if he was sick and Mohinder kept insisting he was fine. While Matt didn't need to use his telepathy to know that wasn't true, when he manipulated a free room out of the clerk of a Costa Verde motel, he caught more odd thoughts: ... will work it has to everything will be fine stay alert don't get tased again who knows how it's already affected...
And they'd barely settled in their room before Mohinder disappeared into the bathroom to retch again.
"Okay, seriously," Peter said when Mohinder came out after fifteen minutes. "If you're sick, you need to stay behind." They were getting ready to find and trail Bennet.
Mohinder blearily drew the back of his hand across his forehead and leaned against the wall. "I told you, I'm-"
"You're not fine," Matt snapped. "You've barely been able to keep anything down the whole way here."
"You're exaggerating," Mohinder muttered, closing his eyes.
"Peter got that omelette this morning and you nearly puked all over the table."
"Should greasy diner food not be cause for disgust?" Mohinder tried to joke.
"We can get Bennet ourselves," Peter said. "Just relax here, drink water, get this bug to pass."
"Stay here by myself?" Mohinder said incredulously.
"You have super strength. I think you can fend for yourself for a few hours." Mohinder started to look sick again, and Peter added, "Just stay cool, okay? You've been through worse."
"He's hiding something," Matt said.
"Don't be ridiculous!" Mohinder shot back.
"Matt," Peter chimed in, "now is not the time to start imagining-"
"Who's the telepath here?" Matt said. "Come on, Mohinder. You were having some weird thoughts after the crash."
"And they're my thoughts, aren't they?" Mohinder snapped.
"You're hiding something," Matt repeated. "Something you're afraid of the government finding. Were you working on something new in your lab? Do you have something dangerous?"
"Matt, I..." Mohinder shook his head. "It's nothing anyone but me has to worry about."
"It's something important," Matt pressed.
"Let it go!"
"It's distracting you."
"I don't think you're one to talk about distractions."
"Daphne is dead, while whatever you're fretting over is still around!" Matt shouted.
"Everybody calm down!" Peter broke in. "No one is saying that doesn't matter," he said to Matt. Then he turned to Mohinder. "And if we can't trust each other, this isn't going to work."
Mohinder didn't say anything, and Matt felt heat rise to his face. "If you don't spit it out, I'll take it out of you, you understand?"
Peter immediately moved in front of him. "No," he said harshly. "That is not happening. You are getting out of control."
Matt knew he was right, but at the same time, Daphne's death was bigger than any sense of control. "I don't know if you've noticed, but our lives are now completely screwed. I'm not in the mood for secrets."
Mohinder pressed back into the wall and stared warily. "Matt-"
"What are you hiding? Don't make me look for myself."
"You're not giving me much of a choice."
Mohinder suddenly looked terrified. "Please don't. It's not- it's nothing you need to-"
Matt took no pleasure in it, especially not when Mohinder's foremost thoughts were of pain and scales, of experimental solutions and death and guilt, of chemicals and hormones and panic and desperation. Desperation most of all, then and now, sheer helplessness, because while Mohinder and his friends were capable-
Mohinder grabbed the front of Matt's shirt and threw him to the floor. "Stay out of my head!" Mohinder exploded as Peter tried to pull him off.
But Matt strangely didn't feel afraid, even with the pain, not with one word reverberating in his mind. "What baby?" he asked, and Mohinder's eyes went wide.
"Baby?" Peter echoed.
Mohinder shoved himself to his feet and backed up to the wall again.
"You have a kid?" Peter pressed, still crouched on the floor.
Matt pushed himself up on his elbows. "Not yet," he said.
Mohinder stared at Matt so angrily, but despite his strength there was no hiding his fear.
"Maya," Matt said. "Did you get her pregnant?" But that didn't seem right. Mohinder's anxiety seemed focused right here, not in another place.
Mohinder swallowed, maybe contemplating a lie, but when he answered he said, "No."
"Then who?" Peter said. "Someone at Pinehearst?"
Matt nodded. "When he was looking for a cure."
Mohinder started to shake his head, looked toward the door, looked at Matt and Peter. "No, I... it wasn't..."
Peter got up and moved toward him cautiously. "Mohinder, it's okay." He held up his hands to both the other men in a calming gesture. "We're all cool now, right? Mohinder, just tell us who it is. We can go warn her. It's fine."
Mohinder wrapped his arms around his stomach. "I didn't get anyone pregnant," he said quietly.
Matt felt confused. "Then... do you know someone with a special kid?"
Mohinder covered his face with his right hand.
"Why don't you want us to help?" Peter said.
"Please just drop it," Mohinder said tightly.
But it was far too late for that. There was a child in danger, threatened by the same people who'd... Matt took a breath, tried to be conciliatory. "I'm sorry, Mohinder. I shouldn't have been so... I've just been... This is hard on all of us. Whatever is going on, you don't have to go it alone."
Mohinder's shoulders started to shake, but when he dropped his hand to his side, pounding the wall once, Matt saw he was laughing, not crying. Matt exchanged a look with Peter, but before either of them could speak again, Mohinder closed his eyes and spoke.
"You know that I... I didn't test the serum on anyone or anything before I injected myself. I thought my calculations were sound. I didn't realize... The transformation was very painful, and completely alien, and even when I was at Pinehearst with all their equipment I could hardly track what was going on with my anatomy. And I did... I did have sex with someone there, but... the consequences were relegated to me."
Matt shook his head. "What are you saying?"
Mohinder opened his eyes and looked at the floor. "It's me. I'm the one... I'm with child."
Outside, cars rumbled over the speed limit down the street, a pair of dogs loudly barked against each other, music came from the tattoo parlor across the way. From inside, barely a breath could be heard.
Matt attempted to talk first. "You... You're gonna..."
"You're pregnant," Peter said blankly.
"Yes," Mohinder said quietly. He still didn't raise his head.
"Um. Okay," Matt said. He ignored his compulsion to confirm the logistics, because it was a little beside the point, not to mention that what Mohinder was saying... He was claiming the impossible. "Okay," he repeated.
Mohinder laughed bitterly again. "No," he said. "No, it's not okay." He looked up. "I'm a failed science experiment. A mutant with an innocent child, and if I get caught, who knows what will happen?"
Matt finally got to his feet. "No, don't talk like that. You're not... you're a good guy, okay, and this... this baby..." Baby. Mohinder was having a baby. "It'll be fine too. We just-"
"You need to leave," Peter said. "Right now."
Mohinder looked like he'd been struck. "What?"
Peter had looked just as flabbergasted as Matt a moment ago, but now his expression was serious, his mind clearly set. "You're right. Who knows what the government will do if they find out about this? Even if- somehow- we get them to stop rounding us up, we'd probably never see you again."
"But what about-"
"Matt and I can handle Bennet," Peter said, rummaging through his pockets.
Matt swallowed. Everything was suddenly moving very quickly. "I... yeah. Yeah, we can."
Mohinder shook his head. "I can't just leave."
Peter was already flipping through what little cash they had, money Ando had given them before running off with Hiro. He hastily pressed all of it into Mohinder's hand, speaking quickly as Mohinder tried to argue. "Just take it. I wish I could tell you what to do or where to go. Who knows if Hiro and Ando even made it to India. But you can't stay with us, not when we're heading right back to the eye of the storm."
Mohinder stared at the money, closed his hand around it. He hesitated before saying, "But Matt's right. I can't do this on my own."
"You have to," Peter said, putting his hands on Mohinder's shoulders. "I'm not going to let you risk staying with us." He didn't let go, biting his lip. "I'm sorry, Mohinder. I want to stay with you and help, but... but I can't let Nathan do this. I have to stop him." He dropped his hands.
Mohinder looked to Matt then, and Matt felt like there were rocks in his stomach. "They killed Daphne," he said, thinking of her lying bleeding and still on the ground. "I can't..."
After a long moment, Mohinder stuffed the bills into his pocket and moved toward the door. He stopped there, his hand on the knob. "I wish I could... Be careful with Bennet. If... If I don't see you again..."
Peter was at his side in a few strides and he hugged him tightly. Matt joined them, resting his hand on Mohinder's shoulder, still trying to comprehend what was happening. "Worry about yourself," Peter said. "Good luck."