“Mehadi!” The door to Mehadi’s hospital room had no sooner opened than Molly burst in, Matt following at a more mature, sedate pace.
For a moment she almost thought the little girl was going to climb up in the hospital bed with her, but then Matt – apparently catching the same thought in a more literal sense – sprang forward and grabbed her by the shoulders. “Hey, hey, easy now, kiddo. Mehadi’s just squeezed something the size of a watermelon out of her gut – you bouncing on said gut is the *last* thing she needs right now.”
Molly’s face fell but Mehadi laughed. “I am still quite capable of hugs, however,” she pointed out.
That brought the smile back as Molly wiggled out of Matt’s grasp and bounced to the side of the bed to give Mehadi a careful but enthusiastic hug. “Matt says the baby’s a girl. Can I see her?”
Mehadi nodded mutely, a hard lump forming in her throat at the request as she pointed towards the bassinet next to the bed.
What a change from when she’d first told Molly about the baby! The little girl had been hurt and angry, and rightly so. She’d felt betrayed that the child’s father was the man who’d murdered her parents, and no amount of begging, pleading and promising had been able to convince her otherwise. In her heart, Mehadi had been sickly certain that all her worst fears were coming true.
“Molly, I swear, I didn’t know who he was. If I had…I never…I never would have let him touch me.”
Even now, she still didn’t know what Matt had said to Molly to persuade her to forgive her, but it was one more thing she would be eternally grateful to him for: one of many.
Molly tiptoed around the bed and peered into the bassinet, her eyes going wide as a tiny “Oh!” escaped her lips. She glanced back over at Mehadi, beaming. “She’s beautiful! What are you going to call her?”
“I thought I might…” Mehadi hesitated, glancing from Molly to Matt, uncertain what reaction to expect to her next words. “I thought I might name her Shanti. After my sister.”
“What, and mess up this cool little M thing we’ve got going?” Matt complained in a tone of playful indignation. “I was thinking something more like Matilda or Martha or Madeleine…”
Molly giggled. “I think it’s perfect,” she announced in Mehadi’s defense.
Mehadi glanced over at her, startled. “You do?”
Molly nodded absently, one of her small fingers already captured in Shanti’s even smaller fist. “Well, it makes sense…I mean, isn’t she the reason we all met, really?”
At first Mehadi thought she was referring only to the two of them, but after a moment’s thought she realized their lives where far more interwoven than that. Shanti’s illness was the reason she’d been born. Her death was what had set their father on the quest that had eventually led him to Sylar, and if Sylar had not murdered Molly’s parents, she would never have met Matt. If she had not become infected with the same illness that had killed Mehadi’s sister, neither would they have ever found each other. If she had not taken up her father’s quest after he too was murdered, then she would never have made the call to Matt’s wife that had inadvertently set in motion their divorce. And if the Company had not brought Molly to New York after her parents’ deaths, then Matt and Mr. Bennet would never have come to New York looking for her, thus bringing them all full circle.
It was a circle painted in blood and shaped by death and grief, but in spite of that somehow it had also brought them all unexpected happiness in the form of each other. It had brought Mehadi a man she loved more than life itself and two beautiful daughters, all of which she never could have imagined as little as a year ago.
“Yes,” she finally said slowly. “I suppose she is.”
Matt’s eyes met hers warmly, and she didn’t need to be a mind reader to see the affection in them. “Well, guess I can’t argue with that kind of logic,” he agreed cheerfully. “Shanti it is.”
He leaned over and gave Mehadi a kiss on the forehead. “We’ll just have to give her a middle name that starts with M.”