Spoilers: Vague S4
Disclaimer: Heroes belongs to Tim Kring, NBC et al.
A/N: Written for kethni and boudecia7’s Matt-a-thon for the prompt: “Matt/anyone – Christmas Fluff.”
Summary: Matt comes home to Peter during the Christmas season.
Matt struggled to walk through the blowing snow, drifts turning to slush under his feet and starting to soak through his socks every time he misjudged the depth of a puddle or drift. About the only thing that mitigated the ice trying to form on his eyebrows was the cheerful decorations on every other door and window, the glimpses of decorated trees and garlands and lights. Each little slice of Christmas gave him the strength to go another block in a relatively good mood. He carefully noted every be-wreathed-and-garlanded door and window, making sure he’d remember them later.
The shopping bag banged against his leg as he got to the door of the building, and he stomped his feet in the vestibule, feeling himself from the burden of snow before trying the ancient elevator. Some thoughtful soul had put a paper wreath on the back wall, and Matt chuckled to himself when he saw the ever-changing graffiti had arced around it, now with colorful Yuletide epithets.
The door to his and Peter’s apartment sported a ludicrous felt reindeer that Peter had bought at a church Christmas craft fair out of pity. A twist of the key in the lock and Matt came in to a haven of light and warmth. And if the warmth came from a space heater and not a fireplace, and the Christmas lights were in a hopeless tangle on the floor, at least they were lit. All around the living room was evidence of Peter’s burst of holiday spirit, with a wreath in the window, a few candles on the table, and a plate of homemade cookies (bought, no doubt, from a bake sale somewhere) on the kitchen counter.
Their small Christmas tree was set up, but Peter had gotten no farther in decorating it than getting the lights out of the box and plugging them in. He must have dropped onto the sofa after that, worn out from another holiday double shift. Not even Claire’s regeneration would save him from exhaustion.
“You work too hard,” Matt softly admonished Peter’s sleeping form, still in his paramedic uniform. Private detectives didn’t have a uniform, but Matt’s chosen suits were still too confining after a long day. He switched to sweats, but Peter didn’t even stir. Matt was going to rib him about missed opportunities later. He draped a stray blanket over Peter and valiantly picked up the Christmas tree lights.
With a bit of patience and quick-warming fingers, Matt got the lights on the tree, the star stuck on top, and began to put on the ornaments. Most weren’t conventional. Indeed, the traditional glass globes wouldn’t have lasted very long crammed into storage downstairs. Instead, they decorated with things that were more meaningful. There was one of Isaac’s sketches, one of Claire’s school photos, a collage Molly had done for class, some rubber tubing from Mohinder’s lab, Matt’s LAPD badge, Peter’s nursing certificate, and about a dozen more mementos and reminders. One of Nathan’s business cards, a family photo of Peter with his nephews, another of Matt and Matty, a post card with the Hollywood sign, a keychain from the Statue of Liberty, along with yet more craft fair charity pity buys.
“I’ll have you know the five bucks I paid for that tap-dancing mouse went to a school library fund,” Peter said sleepily.
“Hey!” Matt sat down on the couch as Peter obligingly sat up. He propped himself up against Matt, his body intensely warm from his nap.
“Sorry, I took your ability when you covered me up.”
“Keeps me on my toes.”
“Thanks for…” Peter waved at the tree, yawning widely.
“You dug out the decorations in the first place, it’s only fair!”
“It was supposed to be a surprise,” Peter muttered, and yawned again.
“You don’t have to keep taking double shifts, you know,” Matt said gently, and draped an arm around Peter’s shoulders to hold him closer. One of Peter’s arms slid around Matt’s waist, and he relaxed completely against him.
“I know, but I have to do something,” Peter said, sounding dejected. “There are just so many people that need help, and I have to try-.”
“Hey.” Matt hugged Peter hard for a second. “You’re doing more than your share. You’re helping Claire, Mohinder, your mom, everyone that asks. How about you try to relax for a change? It’s Christmastime, you’re supposed to spend that with the people you love.”
Peter’s sudden kiss interrupted Matt’s monologue, which might have annoyed him, considering how long he’d been going over it in his head, but he was enjoying the feel of Peter’s lips too much to be even the slightest bit annoyed. And when he pulled back, there was some of that easiness back in his expression.
“I got eggnog,” Matt said, to keep his distraction going, and Peter’s face lit up. He got up to pour the creamy concoction, cutting it slightly with milk and rum, and watched with indulgent satisfaction as Peter drank, leaving a slight creaminess on his lips.
“Come on.” Matt tugged Peter to his tired feet and pulled him to the window that faced the street, looking down eight stories at the city below and the buildings all around them. He laced one hand through Peter’s, and felt a glow of warmth begin to suffuse his thoughts. “Follow me.”
Matt let his mind free, gently touching one mind after another, never really intruding, just enough to get an impression of what was going on, and felt Peter following his mental touch. All around them were families sitting down to dinner and some TV, kids excitedly making Christmas lists, young couples putting up decorations, people having friends over. This was the flip side of the city he and Peter usually saw. These were the people that were not desperately trying to find out if their spouse was cheating or if the business partner was defrauding them. These weren’t people shooting each other over money or drugs, or victims of car crashes or beatings.
This was what they were striving for, both in their own way; a way to make the world better. Right outside their window, covered in snow, was the beginning of that better world, lit with lights, covered in tinsel, blinking a bright red and green.
Matt turned back to Peter and saw hope in his eyes, as they kissed together, lit from behind by a Christmas tree.