origamiflowers: bare feet on tile (Default)
with a violin and a song to sing ([personal profile] origamiflowers) wrote2009-08-03 01:24 am

fic: Heroes: "Radio Silence" (Molly, PG)

Title: Radio Silence
Fandom: Heroes
Characters/Pairings: Molly, Mrs. Suresh, (briefly) Arthur Petrelli
Rating: PG
Warnings: violence against a child
Length: ~2900 words
Summary: While she was in India, Molly was just waiting to go home already.
Notes: Written for the [livejournal.com profile] heroes_exchange spring exchange 2009.

Molly opened her atlas to a map of the U.S.A., smoothing the open pages with her palms a few times. The pin between her fingers was poised an inch over the book. Through the west-facing window, the sun blazed hot against her face.

She closed her eyes and took a breath, focusing on his face and saying his name in her mind. Even though it had been weeks since she last saw him, it wasn’t hard to remember. She felt the familiar tug, pulling at her consciousness, behind her eyelids. Followed it - followed it across a huge distance, drowning out all the blots she recognized as other people.

Her awareness narrowed down. Using her power felt like a slow and steady constriction in her mind, but not in a painful way. Molly breathed out through her nose as she came to a stop in a rush.

Her hands moved across atlas pages without pausing, flipping from the whole country to New England. Then the state of New York. New York City. So much practice lately - she was getting better and faster at this.

At first it was blurry, as though she was seeing him through an unfocused camera lens, but Matt’s face slowly came into sharper view.

He was sitting at a table; the expression on his face was worried, anxious. One of his hands was tapping away on some kind of cheap plastic tabletop, and his gaze darted around, coming to rest finally on the green turtle in a cage next to his arm.

Just then, Matt looked up at her. He always knew when she located him, like with his father. Just like this, every time, he gave her a wide smile in her mind. But her attention was immediately distracted by the turtle.

Matt never had any pets before. She leaned forward mentally. A turtle? A real live turtle?

She watched as the turtle shifted in its cage and stared fixedly at Matt, and Matt grunted in response, looking irritated and flicking his fingers at its head.

Molly giggled, losing her focus, and abruptly Matt began to fade away. Her room in Chennai crowded in on the edges of her vision, and she sighed impatiently.

I wish I wasn’t here, Molly thought, frowning down at the atlas. I wish I was home. She had pushed the pin into - she squinted at the small black type on the map - a section of the John F. Kennedy airport, back in New York.

An airport! Matt was going somewhere. Her heart thudded. Maybe he was coming to India - coming for her, to take her back to New York. She hadn’t seen Mohinder when she was finding Matt, but maybe he had just been in the bathroom or something.

Molly pulled out the pin that located Matt and leaned over the map eagerly to place Mohinder. But before she could close her eyes, there was a knock on her door.

“What?” Molly called, more than a little irritated.

“Molly, come help me make dinner, please,” the soft voice came through the door.

She sagged in her chair. “Okay, fine,” she grumbled, tucking away the atlas into a desk drawer carefully. She pushed the pin back into the plushie that Mrs. Suresh had made for her pin collection. Probably thought she was into sewing or something.

----

“It will be your job to stir this pot,” Mrs. Suresh instructed, handing Molly the spoon and turning to open a container on the countertop.

“What’s this stuff gonna be?” Molly wrinkled her nose at the onions already sauteing in the pan. She didn’t like onions.

“It is a dish called korma.” The opened container revealed chicken soaking in white stuff.

“And it’ll taste good?” Molly eyed the white goo skeptically.

Mrs. Suresh laughed. “Yes, you will like it. It’s a sweet dish.”

She moved the onions around mechanically as Mrs. Suresh began adding spices and liquids to the pan.

Molly’s first impression of Chennai, fresh off the plane, had been of a city not very different from New York. There were people everywhere, talking constantly, moving in groups. But the air felt different, and they weren’t speaking anything she could understand, so she grabbed Mohinder’s hand before thinking better of it. He had squeezed back reassuringly. Don’t be afraid, Molly, he’d told her. It’s just for a little while.

But why? she’d asked for the nine thousandth time, still upset.

He had been looking around for something, but at that he kneeled down in front of her, hands on her shoulders. You’re not safe in the States, Molly. People want to be able to use your power for their own ends. You’ll be safe here.

I’d rather be not-safe and with you than safe somewhere I don’t know anyone, she’d returned stubbornly. He had only sighed at her.

I don’t need to be protected, she’d added to herself.

He had stayed only a night in Chennai before returning to New York. Before he left in a taxi the next morning, he had handed Molly a big World Atlas book, and told her to find him whenever she got scared or alone.

Because she was still upset at him, and had continued to be upset, she had ignored the atlas, leaving it in her desk for more than a week. Finally her curiosity had overtaken her, and before she knew it she had taken up finding Mohinder and Matt almost every afternoon. She didn’t know how much Mohinder’s mom knew about it her power or what she did every day, but she didn’t ask any questions, which Molly liked.

It made her feel good to know where they were. Like she was the one protecting them for a change.

“Molly?” Mrs. Suresh interrupted her thoughts just as she was sitting down.

Molly grabbed a piece of naan from the top of the stack. “Yeah?” She swung her legs back-and-forth under the table.

The older woman leaned forward, smiling. “You know, if you are still with me in the summer, we should pack up a lunch and take it to the beach one day. The weather will be very nice then. I’m sure you would enjoy it. Perhaps I will begin teaching you some Tamil as well.” She patted Molly’s hand and looked at her hopefully.

Lunch on a beach did sound appealing, but Molly pushed that thought away and only declared with confidence, “I’ll won’t be here much longer. Matt and Mohinder will come and take me home again. You’ll see.”

She didn’t miss - although she tried not to see - the way Mrs. Suresh’s eyes crinkled up like tissue paper in sadness at that, her slow nod as she looked back down at her plate, her bun of black hair bobbing. They finished eating supper in silence.

After Molly had rinsed off her dinner plate and washed her hands - eating with her fingers was hard to get used to - she raced back up to her bedroom to find Mohinder, shutting the door behind her before Mrs. Suresh could follow her. Crossing her legs in her chair, she took out her atlas and placed her other "uncle" in an apartment in New York, the same place he had been in ever since he left her in India. Unlike Matt, Mohinder couldn’t see her when she was looking for him, so she took the time to purse her lips and watch him for a moment as he spoke words she couldn’t hear to a person she couldn’t see.

Molly pulled herself back to reality regretfully. Her eyes on the map where she’d pushed in the pin, she frowned. Finding him shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. He had been like that the day before, too.

It wasn’t that she couldn’t find him, exactly. She had. It was more like he was ... fuzzier. Or maybe dimmer. It reminded her of the static between radio stations, like her power wasn’t tuning to him quite right and white noise buzzed around the edges. Molly couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but something about him felt indefinably different, even though he looked exactly the same in her mind.

But he was still alive, and he was still Mohinder. And she knew where he was. That was the important part, she reminded herself, hesitating a moment before closing the atlas. She wished they wouldn't keep taking their sweet time to get here.

----

Dinner was leftovers the next day, and Molly was beginning to think she could actually like korma, the light and sweet taste on her tongue. But, she remembered with a start, she couldn't afford to start liking things here, if she was going to leave soon, so she didn't take as much as she wanted to, leaving most of the korma for Mrs. Suresh.

It didn't take Mrs. Suresh long to notice. "Is something wrong, Molly?" she asked anxiously, leaning toward her.

Molly shook her head and sucked the last korma off one finger, eyes fixed on the tabletop. "Nope."

There was a pause. "Well, if you're sure," the older woman said uncertainly.

"I'm --"

Molly's response was interrupted by a bang from the front of the house. Mrs. Suresh looked up and frowned. "I'll see what it is," she said, pushing back her chair with a slow and ponderous grace.

"Molly Walker," a booming voice rang out. Footsteps were coming up the hall, getting closer. "Where is Molly Walker?"

Molly felt a little thrill. It didn't sound like Mohinder or Matt, but maybe they had sent someone for her, one of their friends or something. Maybe she would finally get to leave this place. She twisted around in her chair to get a better look.

Mrs. Suresh moved to intercept the figure before it reached her. "Who are you? What do you want?"

Molly caught her first real glimpse of him - he was older, heavyset, with dark hair. The man didn't answer the question, just waved a hand and Mrs. Suresh - she froze in place. Not the kind of freezing when you were scared, like Molly was now, but real frozen, an absolute stillness, like the room had just iced over.

Molly stood up, legs trembling a little. "What did you do to her?" she demanded.

His gaze alighted on her for the first time. "Why, you must be Molly!" he cried, kneeling down in front of her until their gazes were level. He was smiling broadly, but it didn't reach his eyes, which remained flinty and cold. Molly knew in the pit of her stomach that this was a Bad Man. She backed up until the table's edge bumped her spine and she gave a little gasp.

"Molly Walker," he repeated. "Is that right?" He was talking in that tone adults got when they talked to kids, like they were stupid or something - eager, bright, over-enunciating every word. It was kind of creepy. She balled up her fists. "What do you want?"

"Molly, I want something that you have." His voice was too smooth. "You're a special girl, aren't you?" She didn't answer, just looked over his shoulder at Mrs. Suresh, whose eyes were wide and frightened.

"Don't worry, sweetheart." He placed his hands on her temples. "This won't hurt a bit."

She felt a pulling sensation. After that was darkness.

----

She woke suddenly, heaving in a great gasp of air.

A sudden pressure on her shoulders, pushing her back down. "No. No!" Molly shouted, twisting underneath it, trying to escape. "Don't touch me!" She had to find out where she was. Get away. She was in danger. Tendrils of darkness reached from the edges of her vision and threatened to pull her back down into unconsciousness.

A murmuring voice slowly broke through her haze, repeating her name over and over: "Molly. Molly. Can you hear me? Molly, I am not hurting you."

It was Mrs. Suresh's voice, she recognized gradually. Molly's mind resurfaced slowly out of the mire, her struggles fading and her arms and legs going limp.

"Is he gone?" Her voice broke on the last word, pitching high.

There was a pat on her shoulder. "He is gone now." Molly finally realized that she was laying on a bed - her bed, under the covers, and it was warm.

"Are you - are you feeling all right?" Something warm and wet was on her forehead, she realized, and drops of water were dripping down her nose.

Molly heard her own harsh breathing, and wiggled her toes, trying to push the panic down. She could still feel all her limbs, at least. "I think I'm okay." Then it feels like a dam breaks inside her and questions start spilling out in a rush. "What did he -- what did he do to me? Who was he? What did he want? Do you think he's coming back?"

A long silence. "I don't know. I don't know." Her voice was as quiet as a whisper.

Something felt strange, hollow, inside of Molly, but she didn't know quite what. "Did you know him?"

Mrs. Suresh shook her head. "No. I ..." She paused, searching for words. "I think this has something to do with my husband's research. He was a geneticist. He studied people with special abilities. You have a special ability, yes?"

"I can find anyone in the world." Molly had boasted it many times, her special power, because people came to her for help when they needed to find someone. But now it was an empty boast. It couldn't save her from being attacked by someone, couldn't protect her, couldn't do something.

Mrs. Suresh continued. "The man - he said to me, after putting his hands on your head, that you were not injured, just asleep. I think he used his ability on you. Do you feel different?"

"No. It doesn't hurt or anything." Molly sat up, looked around her bedroom. A powerful desire came over her suddenly, and she swallowed; she needed to find Mohinder and Matt, needed to know they were okay, right now. Just knowing they were safe would make her feel a little better.

Molly threw the covers off and shivered when the air came in contact with her sweaty legs. Ignoring Mrs. Suresh's protests, Molly ran over to her desk and removed the atlas, dropping it on the desk with a thunk so that the covers fell open. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Mrs. Suresh come to sit on the edge of the bed, watching her intently.

Hurriedly she flipped to New York, closed her eyes, and concentrated.

Nothing.

Molly bit her lip and tried again, and a third time, but she couldn't feel either of them. Couldn't feel anyone, actually. Where the part of her that could reach out and touch people, that could find them wherever they were, used to be, she felt nothing. A choked gasp escaped her throat at this realization.

"Molly?" Mrs. Suresh's voice sounded concerned.

"I can't find them." Molly's breath was ragged. "I can't find them!" She grabbed the atlas and slammed the spine down on the table, the sound sharp. Rather than making her feel better, the gesture only made it worse.

"He took my power," said Molly in a low, dangerous voice. "He took it." She glared down at the atlas and its colorful, glossy pages. Whenever you feel lonely, look for me. A mad urge overtook her, and she reached down and ripped out the facing page. She crumpled it up in her fist. "He took it from me!" she shouted, and heard Mrs. Suresh's gasp.

She ripped out another page, and another, and another, until sheets were laying piled around her feet. By the time there were no more pages, her whole body was trembling from head to toe.

Mrs. Suresh's hand was suddenly warm on her back, and she stiffened. A tear dropped onto her hand, and Molly realized she was crying.

"I can't find them anymore." Her voice came out in a whine that was nearly inaudible.

"I'm very sorry."

Molly's hands clenched on her desk, and she could feel the sharp lines of paper-cuts burning on her hands. She didn't care. "How can you stand it? Not knowing? Being left alone all the time?"

Mrs. Suresh only shook her head heavily. "It is very difficult." She hesitated. "There is only faith."

Molly turned to her, then, and buried her face against the other woman, her body racked with sobs.

----

Not knowing, Molly soon realized, meant living minute-by-minute in the fear that everything - the little things, the important things, the things of catastrophic importance - could happen behind your back and you would never know about it. Like being cast into a room of darkness when all you had ever known was light.

"Molly, please hold the pears for me." Mrs. Suresh passed her the bag and Molly took it in one hand. With the other she reached up and slipped her small palm into Mrs. Suresh's larger, calloused one as they left the supermarket and began walking home.

But, Molly was learning, there were other kinds of light.

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