not_that_spike: (taking things apart)
[personal profile] not_that_spike
As the days go by, they take on a sameness: he wakes up alone, he moves through the day oblivious to other people, he eats alone, he sleeps alone. It's nothing he's not used to but it doesn't mean he likes it. It really... kind of sucks.

A lot.

But if it's what Beth needs to do, he can do it. Even if it's taking longer than he hoped.

She'll be back. She said she would. He just... well, yeah. Everyone knows how he feels. He misses them. It reminds him in some ways of when Julia first disappeared, and he held this burning flame of hope in his heart that any moment now, he'd open his eyes and she'd be there. Looking at him from around a corner, or sitting by the side of the bed when he woke up, or on the other end of the phone, or down the block walking toward him. It's just that she never did, and that was then and this is different.

Because there really isn't any other choice -- a lot like then -- he can wait.

In the meantime, his feet are up on the coffee table and he's got a glass of water and a pack of cigarettes and he's reading. He hasn't read this much since he was on the Bebop, and that's both good and bad. It draws his mind away from things for a while, but he's distracted. His eyes can't really focus on the words on the page, even though the book he's reading on the history of personal spacecraft in the 2050s is a little bit interesting. He's read it before, but not for a long time.

Fuck it: setting it aside, he disappears into the bedroom for a minute, reemerging from the portrait into the living room with a box in his hand. Inside are a bunch of interlocking blocks -- Legos, he thinks they're called -- that he got from Bar a few days ago when he asked her idly for something to take his mind off things. Clearing the coffee table, he sets his cigarette into the ashtray and starts building. When he's done, the blocks are going to be shaped into that house on Venus they've never had a chance to buy.

Date: 2007-03-07 04:04 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
It's late in Oldenbrook, after midnight, and this time she doesn't have the baby backpack on her, having opted to hold Junior in her arms instead. Little Beth's been sleeping pretty peacefully, even as they moved through the bar and passed through the bar portrait to the House of Arch.

A change of clothes for herself is stuffed in the diaper bag swung over her shoulder, and she's more than ready for a good six hours or so with Spike.

There's not any sound effect to accompany travel through the portraits, but she bets Spike's still so much more than sharp enough after about eight months of living solely here with no outside trips to easily feel another abrupt presence in the room with him.

He's playing with Legos, to her amusement, and she smiles, Junior's head nuzzled comfortably in the crook of her neck.

"Hey, bounty hunter."

Date: 2007-03-09 07:33 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Beth Plural)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"No kidding?"

It's just good-natured teasing, and aiming an affectionate grin at him, she gently kisses the top of Junior's head.

His question is kind of a funny one, but it's sweet. It's so rare to want to wake the baby up once she's gotten to sleep for the night, but he really might as well be asking if it's okay to wake her up rather than if she wants him to.

He's the only father figure Junior has. Junior might not be thrilled to have them wake her, but at about six months, she certainly won't be holding any long grudges about it. The important thing is it'll make Spike happy. With how little he's gotten to spend time with the two of them lately, she's pretty damn far from being unfeeling enough to tell him it wouldn't be okay.

"Hey, Junior." Her voice is low and soothing, and she pays no mind to the damp spot growing on her shirt under the baby's mouth. "Wake up, sweetheart. Guess where we are. No corn here."

A couple of kisses to her sleeping face rewards them with fluttering eyelids, and that's a start.

Date: 2007-03-13 06:00 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (more smiling)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She doesn't choose to sit in the construction zone just yet, but she does set the diaper bag down on the couch and let one arm creep around Spike.

Tilting her face up, she rests her hand on his shoulder and her chin on her hand. "About six hours."

Heather and Heidi are fairly early risers and Natalya's more of a night owl, but six hours away won't be too hard to pull off. They're all polite enough not to go into the little room she's sharing with Hero without being invited in or otherwise having a good reason. While she's on this little overnight visit, nobody should really even notice she's missing.

Natalya and Ciba and the twins are all good people. And Hero's been fucking great. But none of them are Spike, and for a moment, this close to him and with her eyes fixed on that barely-there smile of his, it suddenly feels as if she's been away much longer than she has.

She half-smiles with teasing affection. "That is if you're not enjoying the bachelor life and your Lego construction so much that you mind us sticking around that long."

She knows better.

Date: 2007-03-13 02:49 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Yeah, they're pretty damn popular back in my time. Or they were pre-plague, but I bet there are girls out there who still play with them."

No reason for them not to. Toys are still toys, and there are still young girls in the world. There just aren't very many younger than about two.

Beth sometimes thinks she would give just about anything to give Junior something a bit closer to a normal childhood, something where she can still be special -- there's no way this baby girl, planned or not, ever wouldn't be special -- but have circumstances not seem quite so... bleak.

Most of the time, though, she has to accept that things are what they are, and hell, it's not as bad out there as it used to be. Maybe it's the rural, practically hidden-in-a-cornfield location, but roving bands of amazons are pretty much unheard of in Oldenbrook. After the most recent traveling she's done, Hero goes as far as to say she thinks the amazons are on their way out, and that's fucking fantastic.

It's about time those chicks started using their brains.

Maybe people still haven't gotten around to producing cigarettes again, but some things are making a comeback. There's that place on the east coast that they hear is shipping out brand new pads and tampons, for example. It's kind of laughable, she guesses, but how's that not a priority in a goddamn world full of women?

It's not as bleak as it used to be.

It's just... still not all that great.

But things are what they are, and life has to go on as it can.

She touches the portrait, and in a second, she's standing in the bedroom.

The bed barely looks more used than it did last time.

Once Spike and Junior come through the portrait, they head into the nursery to put the baby in her crib, and Spike's as gentle with Junior as he's always been.

It's not the first time she's felt an unbidden and unabashed surge of pride over his ability to adapt.

And he's always said he's the lucky one.

Date: 2007-03-13 07:01 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She can't help the quietly pleased laugh that shakes her shoulders, and there's not a part of her that doesn't want to tug him him toward her as if it's been another two years.

It hasn't been nearly that long, but she's still not letting him get away.

They were so chaste last time she was here, and sure, they didn't really have much time to work with -- maybe a third or so of what they have tonight -- but she's always been so unapologetically easy to give in to temptation that in retrospect, their last little restrained happy family visit seems almost surprising.

It's with another short laugh that she lets her forehead touch his, and her arms don't even attempt to unwrap from around him yet. "When did we get so patient?"

She knows the answer. It's when Junior was born, more or less. But right now she doesn't feel so very fucking patient at all.

Date: 2007-03-13 08:45 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"I know."

She smiles to herself, then rolls slightly onto her back so she can look at him.

"You know what else I know?"

Aiming a smile at him this time, she folds one arm and slips it under her pillow.

"I know that I should be glad chicks around here aren't getting any smart ideas and hitting on you while I'm not around."

And she does doubt they are. Not because she doesn't think Spike is attractive to other people -- not in the least -- but because, for one, she doesn't think he's been leaving the House and its grounds a hell of a lot. And when he does go into the bar, she doesn't see him inviting much in the way of flirtation.

Date: 2007-03-13 10:21 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Oh, really?" She arches an eyebrow. "I'll just have to have a talk with little Ingress. Tell her to keep her hands off my bounty hunter."

Unable to keep from breaking into a grin, she steals a second kiss from him.

"Auntie Hero's doing pretty well. She bluffs like a pro, but I beat her in poker last night. Not that I won anything worth writing home about."

It was a little competitive fun, though, and a good way to pass some time.

"Heidi and Heather say their progress on the vaccine's looking good. I think we all get a little more anxious about it the closer they get to finishing. I don't envy Ciba's position. I can't imagine how I'd feel about having Vlad vaccinated and then having to wait and see if it actually worked."

But Yorick's doctor friend determined that the pet monkey really was the reason Yorick didn't drop dead like every other guy, and it should work.

That doesn't mean it's not nerve-wracking, though.

"It kind of breaks your heart, seeing that sweet kid cooped up all the time."

Date: 2007-03-14 06:10 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (let she who has not sinned)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Yeah, I know."

In fact, she remembers thinking along those lines last time she and Junior got to come back for a visit with Spike. But it's true. It's hard for Vlad to mind at two years old when what he knows now is all he knows.

Taking the cigarette from Spike, she rolls onto her side to face him fully and props up on her elbow.

"We haven't talked about it much yet and we're going to have to," she acknowledges, "but it's possible that we could tell them we're going to find Yorick. It'd be a pretty bold move, but Hero's been traveling for years now. I don't think they'd have trouble believing she wanted to try to, and I bet at least Ciba could believe I have some maternal urge to make sure Junior and Yorick get to see each other."

And the truth is she would like for that to happen. They deserve to know about each other, regardless of the fact that Junior's so young, but she certainly isn't willing to sacrifice what she and Junior have here for it.

Not by a long shot.

"We fed some pretty big lies to the highest-ranking woman in the Catholic Church. I don't feel nearly as worried about what we're going to tell the women back at the hot suite when it's time for us to leave."

Date: 2007-03-14 11:59 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (let she who has not sinned)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
There's not a lot she can say to his last comment. She knows he hopes so.

She half-smiles at him, though.

"Guess you'll just have to keep amusing yourself with those Legos in the meantime. Get that dream house just right."

Even now, it's a little strange to look up while in bed with him and have that blank white ceiling spread out in front of her eyes. She's not entirely sure he was serious about making their dream house, but she suspects he was.

"Junior and I better get some say in it, too. I'm going to put in an order for two full bathrooms, you know."

Date: 2007-03-15 03:55 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She lets out a low appreciative laugh.

"It's called a dream house for a reason, bounty hunter. I don't really think it's possible to overdo it on planning those."

Carefully holding her cigarette over the ashtray, she leans into Spike and kisses his cheek and then his mouth, smiling all the while.

"I think it sounds like a great house. I'd live there with you. Bet little Beth in there," she adds, nodding toward the archway leading to the nursery, "wouldn't take much convincing, either."

Fuck, she loves him.

She can't even keep it off her face.

Date: 2007-03-15 03:10 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
One of the things she wants the least is for Spike to become some shadow of himself while she's not around. It's not as if he's lost her; things were far more dire last summer, and she thinks they were entitled to their own fair share of grieving at that point. But this is different. It's difficult, yeah, and not how either of them really want life to be, but it is temporary and she can hardly stand the thought of him hanging around here, idly building a dream house out of Legos without her and sleeping on the couch.

"Don't do it all. Save something for me to do, all right?"

She gives him a sweet and very persuasive smile, and making her current priorities pretty clear, she lifts herself up and moves to put the ashtray back where Spike got it.

She could probably reach over and do it without having to straddle him, but there's no fun in that.

Date: 2007-03-17 06:35 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (at rest)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Well, if that isn't the headiest thing imaginable, she's not sure what is.

"Come and get me."

But she is there already, and she grins and dips down for a kiss that's probably hungrier than it should be at this point in the visit.

She hardly expects him to complain, though, and if they're lucky, there won't even be a cry from the next room for few more hours. And it'll probably be even longer than that: Junior could very well sleep until it's time to go back.

The only thing to do is take advantage of their free time.

When she came back after the month away, she'd felt compelled to memorize him all over again. It felt like it'd been so long and she'd been so sure she'd never see him again, and he'd even had new scars for her to get used to.

This isn't like that. Not really. But she's no less appreciative now than she was then.

Later, not interested in disentangling herself from him, she drops a kiss on the curve of his shoulder. "I should get a little sleep at some point."

She'll really be feeling it tomorrow if she doesn't.

She smiles against his shoulder. "But I just don't want to yet."

Date: 2007-03-18 03:11 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (at rest)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Catlike, she idly rubs her chin and jaw against his shoulder, almost as if scratching an itch.

It's pure luxury to linger in bed with him, and as reluctant as she is to sleep right now, she won't be able to avoid doing it while she's here. For the first time ever, she almost wishes they had an alarm clock. That way they could get in a little sleep together, which would be another damn luxury all by itself.

"You planning on telling me what it is, or do I have to wait to find out?"

Her eyelids half-close -- more from satisfaction than sleepiness for now -- and she tilts her head so she can watch him answer.

She has no idea what he's come up with for them.

Date: 2007-03-18 04:35 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Her expression, already soft to begin with, softens even more.

"You got us a bunch of cigarettes."

Her arm tightens around him, and she presses a kiss to the side of his face.

"Thanks. You're right. Those will come in handy."

Cigarettes pretty much always do, and he's probably got her pegged with that mention that she doesn't have to use them all for trade if she doesn't want to. She'll keep a pack for herself, though she hasn't been smoking much lately. Partly because of the shortage of cigarettes, and partly because -- nanobots or no nanobots -- she's still not quick to smoke around Junior.

And hopefully she won't get very far through her pack before she and Junior get to come back.

She's kind of inexplicably pleased with him for thinking to ask for Earth-specific cigarettes for them.

"That's pretty sweet of you."

Date: 2007-03-18 06:11 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (at rest)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Oh, really?" Her leg nestles comfortably between his. "Well, believe it or not, bounty hunter, I sort of love you, too."

Another kiss gets buried in the hair behind his ear, and she lets out this barely audible sigh.

"What do you think are the chances of us not sleeping upwards of four hours straight if we both doze off right here?"

She pauses, just for a second.

"And what do you think are my chances of seducing you into sleeping with me instead of just letting me get some sleep?"

On the other hand, after another fifteen or twenty minutes of this, she might just be too asleep to argue against it.

Date: 2007-03-19 12:56 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (at rest)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Junior makes a great alarm clock... when she's hungry or needs to be changed or has had enough sleep. If they want to be sure they wake up before a certain time, it's probably best not to rely on the baby.

She hadn't realized there was an alarm on his comm, but she's glad he thought of it. She'll have to get ready and go pretty much as soon as the alarm goes off, so she can't help thinking it's best not to take any chances. And if Junior wakes up before the alarm goes off, well, it that'll be okay, too.

Until then, she'll be perfectly content to sleep just like this.

Once she hit it off with Spike, it was kind of amazing how quickly she got used to sleeping with him.

It's somehow both unnervingly easy and terribly hard to get used to sleeping without him when she's at the hot suite.

She has no doubt it'll be the best she's slept -- even if it's not the most -- since she and Junior first went out to Oldenbrook.


not_that_spike: (Default)

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