the house smells like booze mingling with cigarettes when she steps inside of the bottom level, which wasn’t a great start to her afternoon.

molly can feel her shoulders reflexively tensing at the smell, stepping inside as quietly as she can. she wants to kick herself; she should’ve just gone to ari’s house, not here. as strange as it was to adjust to all of this, he’d always felt sincere in welcoming her to his house, to being her father. coming back here was well--habit, really. the best thing to do with her parents still trying to hash out the custody with ari was to come here, to keep her head down and out of the way until she well.

well that was the problem, really.

she didn’t have a plan really after that. everything was an abstract now: the plan for life going forward, half formed in her head. graduation. a new normal. the notion that she had to figure out a way to slip (to fit) into her biological father’s life. having to cope with the fact that she would be safer going to him than continuing to come to the home where she grew up -- having to, if she were honest, deal with the fact that if she wanted to, for once in her life, she could entertain the notion that a home for her could be safe. it was just that… she didn’t really know how to do so without making the situation worse for herself. as much as the television she looked at and the books she read told her that she could reach out for help, as much as ari saylor had a friendly, kind face, as much as elena and peter were great….

molly didn’t feel safe yet to divulge how shitty it was to live with the pattons, how her parents had all but split over ari showing up, how she had known from a young age that something was off about her, and it wasn’t just being a mutant. what it felt like to suddenly have it all confirmed in concrete, not simply suspicions, bad self esteem and comparing herself to her younger brothers over and over.

reality was difficult even on a good day. having it come so late in her admittedly short life was too hard to juggle now, so she had to do what she could to get through the day.

she can hear the radio on in the kitchen upstairs, can hear her father’s footfalls from where she was, looking up at the ceiling. molly could try to reach out with her magic, make a distraction, and immediately shirks from the idea. neither he or karen really liked her using her powers. they didn’t have powers of their own, sure, and they could rarely prove that she had done something.

even so, the thought makes her distinctly upset. coming into her powers had been so rough at thirteen. the outbursts, the nosebleeds, the panic. the reassurances they had given back then felt so genuine, and had turned out to be entirely false. even the smallest coincidence caused them to fight, so keeping it to a minimum was best even when there was a low chance she could be caught.

being caught was the worst. so, molly is grateful that she had been smart enough to bank on her father not turning on the alarm that morning when she had left, and it had remained off when she had come in. in the months since the entire custody thing had started, she had quietly begun moving her things down here, to the bottom level of the house. no one used the rooms down here for anything, so moving into the space down her had been a no brainer, particularly when her parents had stopped paying attention to her own room years ago. she walked past the open space to the room on the side, opening the door with a swipe of her fingers. the tingle of the telekinesis didn’t bother her anymore, feeling like second nature as she shut the door behind her again.

the bed squeaked as she laid on it, the covers a warm pink as she laid down on it, taking a breath. she’d gotten nora lunch, had thought to get her own groceries, and she had time to kill before she was required to make an appearance at her parent’s table. making the groceries come out of the bags, directing them to the personal fridge she’d bought months ago was easy.

(a part of her always thinks that she could just tell nora. and she squashes it again and again.)

she turns from her thoughts, trying to focus on the bed beneath her. letting herself relax, to take the time to just be herself. her eyes fluttered shut, and she breathed in deep. let herself relax into what felt like an old dream, of flashing green lights, of a cold seeping into her skin, the dull feel of a n--

what are you doing here?” molly snaps awake to the feel of her father’s hand on her shoulder and his furious face above her, pinched with anger, scowl deep on his face. molly’s heart races, and instinctively, she pushes at her father’s arm without thinking, feeling something indescribably furious rising in her at the fact she’d been touched in her sleep. “get off--!”

except he’s bigger than her, stronger than her, and at the moment so much angrier at her, grip tightening on her arm. “i said, what are you doing here? you’re supposed to be at school, not taking a goddamn nap in the basement.” when molly was younger, something like this would have made her terrified, would have made her start to cry. the tears still well up in her eyes, yet she’s defiant, fingers clenching the bedsheets beneath her, refusing to give him the advantage.

that defiance helps her mouth out, “since when do you care what happens in the basement? or to me? and i wasn’t feeling well--”

daniel is glowering at molly, voice hissing out, “do i look stupid to you? get up--” his hand encircles molly’s wrist faster than molly can pull away, yanking the much shorter teen up from the bed, “get up, we are going back to school, i’ll be damned if you sit here on your ass doing nothing. come on.” he pulls harder than before on molly’s arm.

“let me go,” molly tries to pull her arm out of her father’s grip, starting to feel a bit of panic as she does so. the anger on his face, the way he grips her is different from the other fights they’d had over the years. and the angrier daniel gets, the more molly starts to feel that thing inside of her, that well of power start to react to the situation, wanting to lash out. “dad, you’re hurting--”

daniel turns on his heel, towering over molly with a fury that makes molly wither in the face of it, nevermind the sudden proximity and smell of booze washing over her. “i’m not hurting you. you’re hurting yourself with this--” he shakes molly’s arm as if she’s a rag doll in his grip, “--coming home at any hour without telling anyone, skipping class after class so you can fail out!” his grip tightens, pain starting to really shoot down molly’s arm with every shake. “you’re not a child anymore--”

you’re not my child anymore.

her father’s mouth doesn’t move. the thought still lands like a stone in molly’s mind, wrapped up in it’s own emotions, rippling out with every moment. time seems to slow down, with the realization of what it meant. the pain in her arm is nothing compared to the mental stab that her father has delivered in this moment: that despite everything, despite the fact that molly still tried to be what her parents wanted, despite the fact she still lived with them even though the saylors weren’t far away, despite the fact that she was still trying so hard to be with both of them…

her father, the one she had grown up with, the one who she thought still, at least, wanted to be in her life despite things changing, didn’t think of her as his daughter. in a fraction of a second, she can see into his mind’s eye, can see the thought reaching out to others: to anger that she had never looked like him, regret that he had thought a loser had effectively impregnated his wife, emasculation at the entire procedure, and a deep, never ending well of resentment towards molly.

and in another fraction of a second, the power that molly had been subconsciously repressing, had no idea lived so deep inside of her, the power that had only been around in slivers and shades, suddenly changed. it broke through like a tide finally overtaking a dam, and with a scream, molly patton lashed out with it all.

her father isn’t exactly tossed away from her. he’s blown back, the movement seemingly slow for molly, watching his eyes widen with the impact, and then his body hitting the floor.

terror, horror, anger fear all are swirling in molly as she watches him. her hands are shaking, sweaty, and when his chest rises and falls, she knows what to do. she takes her phone from the side, grabs her shoes, and runs out of the room, barreling down the hall. her powers force the back door open. they do not close them as she runs on the pavement, eyes blurring with tears as she made her way down the pavement in a frantic, awful run.

she lies, later, when she texts nora, my mom is being a BITCH. it’s easier to plan a night with nora, trying to get away from a bitch of a mother than to talk about the father who didn’t want her, lying at the bottom of her house, struggling to breathe.

this was hers, and hers alone to sort out.