not_that_spike: (deep asleep)
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There once was a tiger-striped cat. This cat died a million deaths, revived and lived a million lives and he was owned by various people who he didn't really care for. The cat wasn't afraid to die... Then one day, the cat became a stray cat, which meant he was was free. He met a white female cat, and the two of them spent their days together happily. Well, years passed, and the white cat grew weak and died of old age. The tiger-striped cat cried a million times, and then he died too. Except this time, he didn't come back to life.

He told Jet that story. He told it the day he went to finish things off with Vicious at Syndicate headquarters, after Julia died for the first time. Then he told Jet the story again the day he went to finish things off with Vicious at Syndicate headquarters, after Julia died for the third time. That was... when Beth was gone, stolen away from him, before Beth Junior was born. About a year ago, in fact. A little more, maybe, or a little less.

Yesterday, as they were making their way around, he overheard Natalya and Hero talking about the date. Yesterday, it was June 25.

How 'bout that: it's his birthday. That's something he never once celebrated before he met Beth; birthdays were always just irrelevant. Another day, just a thing to mark the passage of time. But ever since time's been playing all those fucked-up tricks on him, he doesn't know how old he is any more and it doesn't really matter. There's only one thing that matters about this birthday: he's here with Beth.

In the pre-dawn hint of light, he wraps an invisible arm around her midsection. There's no huge pregnant belly like last year, no Junior inside kick-boxing up a storm. No: Junior's out here with them, sleeping like the baby she is. That's good. That's how it's supposed to be. He doesn't wake Beth up; he doesn't care if she knows what day it is; he doesn't need to make a big deal out of it. All he cares about is that they're together today, that they were together yesterday, and that they'll be together tomorrow. This abandoned apartment isn't the best place they've ever stayed, but it's not the worst either and now that Hero knows he's around, it's been a little easier for him to stay around, stay fed, things like that. Whether they know it or not, he owes these women and some day, he'll repay his debts to them.

But not just now. Now he takes advantage of the fact that he and Beth and Beth Junior are in a room of their own, and even if the room doesn't have a door or electricity or anything, it's still a little piece of privacy. Not enough for him to sleep out in the open, but enough for him to hold Beth in his arms all night without worrying about someone stumbling over him. It's about the best birthday present he could have asked for. It doesn't matter a damn bit if no one else knows what day it is: he does, and when he decided last year he wasn't ever going to spend another birthday without Beth he didn't know if that meant he'd ever have another birthday to spend.

All things considered, he's glad as hell things worked out this way.

I love you, Beth Durand. I love you a hell of a lot.

Content for the moment, he smiles privately and lets his hands wander so, so lightly up and down her body. It's too early for anyone to be awake and he won't wake up Beth, but he takes advantage of this little private moment to just savor the hell out of everything.

Every last bit of it. And that tiger-striped cat story? The key element to it -- the thing Jet never really appreciated -- is the died of old age part. He has no intention of going any other way. Not any more.

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June 2009

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