not_that_spike: (sweats and coffee)
[personal profile] not_that_spike
A few weeks ago, standing on a hill looking out at the lights of Paris in the distance, Beth told him what she missed about not being here. It was something so simple and so perfect that it made him yearn for this place like he hadn't in months.

The way you smell.
Especially after a shower.
Especially after a shower I took with you.


It broke his heart a little bit: of all the things for her to miss, of course, it was the one thing that was so unattainable out there. Even after they all settled inconspicuously into a place in Paris, only Beth and Hero knew he was there and that brought its own difficulties, trying to stay hidden in an apartment full of women and kids. It's been a challenge and he's never shied away from those, but catching a little break sometimes would be a good thing. As much as he's tried to let Beth have her privacy, he knows it's been tough all around. Hell, there are days he's wanted nothing more than to step out into the streets of Paris all by himself without having to check in, without having to be a constant unseen presence.

But people do what they have to do, and they manage under all sorts of situations that aren't ideal. If what they've been through the past six months hasn't been enough to tear them apart, he guesses they have a pretty damn fine foundation for their relationship. Besides, he loves her as much as ever.

More. More every day, and that... well, hell, it's something to treasure. So now, watching Beth dry off from that shower they finally got to take together, he reaches for that pack of Marsboros sitting out on the bureau.

"Hey. Slim. Mind if I smoke?" It's only half a joke: after all this time he might just hate it, but then again, he might not. In the other room, Junior's still sleeping soundly. Smokes and lighter in hand, towel wrapped around his waist and another over his shoulders, he moves to Beth's side and holds her in his arms and kisses her like he's wanted to do every damn day of his life since he first met her and this time, there's no listening for approaching footsteps or worrying about staying out from under the precious cloak for too long. It's just the two of them, and they're home, home, home. They can't stay, but they can sure enjoy the hell out of it while they're here.

Date: 2007-09-16 09:12 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (clothes?  what clothes?)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"I wish you would."

She plans to enjoy a cigarette herself in a minute, while the baby's still napping.

But for the moment, before she touches a cigarette and before he lights up his own, she takes the edges of her drooping towel in her hands and, like it's suddenly a pair of blue cotton wings, curls her arms around him, and the simple act of wrapping her towel around the both of them fills her with no small amount of long-denied satisfaction.

"In a second or two," she adds, practically speaking to his collarbone, and after a moment in which she just stands there as if she could physically soak him in and then finally plants a kiss so far back on the side of his face that it nearly gets lost in the hair near his ear, she keeps to her word and releases him to light a cigarette.

Date: 2007-09-16 10:51 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
The smile she gives him is half flirtation and half lazy contentment but all appreciation.

"I thought you might. I love you, too."

Leaning in, she steals a faintly smoke-tinged kiss, and then props herself back on one hand, her towel secured around her.

She'd barely gotten to enjoy living here before she went out to Kansas with Hero, and even though it's familiar and she's lived here and so many of the things she's collected since finding this place are at home here, it feels a little bit alien right now.

Not unpleasantly so, just... a little bit alien.

The good thing is that she feels more relaxed already, and it's probably all because of the shower but fuck if she's complaining.

"It feels strange, doesn't it? Being back, I mean."

And though she's never been accused of thinking with her stomach all that much before, already she's starting to think with mild excitement about all of the possibilities there are for dinner before they have to go back.

Date: 2007-09-17 01:40 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Yeah."

She has to nod in agreement with that.

"This feels a lot like that."

It's probably thwarting the plans of his hands, which have barely been more than a few inches from her since they got Junior settled in her crib, but thinking better of her position, she straightens again and moves closer to him, one leg folding in front of her and the other curling around where he's sitting. She tucks her cigarette between her lips, and wordlessly uses the towel he had draped of his shoulders to catch the few water droplets that have strayed to his neck and shoulders and back.

It's an act that by itself would seem luxurious enough at this point. Doing it here in the comfort and privacy of their own little apartment is a little slice of temporary heaven.

And she can't help but take this opportunity to look at him, not when he's barely covered by towels like this.

He's always been lean, but he's even leaner now. The ridges of his hipbones and collarbones seem to stand out more sharply, and she's no less attracted to him now than she's always been but she wishes he got to eat his fill more frequently and didn't have to be quite as active, especially for the reasons they've had to be.

(He could probably say the same about her.)

Of course, she also wishes they could bring Nat and Vlad and Ciba back here. And that she could tell them about Spike. There's a lot she'd like, and her hopes and expectations have generally been very firmly grounded since she adjusted to post-plague life.

Placing the towel back around his neck, she smiles at him. "I bet I wouldn't have much of a problem getting used to it here all over again."

Maybe they should send an owl or leave a note with the bar for Tom while they're here. She's almost impressed they got in with no trouble after so long.

Date: 2007-09-19 04:01 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"You certainly can." Having put the towel back in place around his neck, there's nothing for her arms to do but sneak around him, under his own arms. She can't help but notice, though, that he doesn't seem the least bit surprised by what they're doing and does seem a little bit pleased. "Then maybe I can tell you about how good it is to see you."

She doesn't have any expectation that they're really going to sit here and spend precious time just talking about how goddamn great it is.

It really has been difficult to take her eyes off of him. Her eyes are no less guilty of trying to make up for lost time than his hands are.

She presses a kiss to the curve of his shoulder.

"We should definitely get hamburgers later." They were one of the things she wanted the most while she was pregnant. She bets Junior would have a great time with some little pieces of hamburger. "Or sooner."

There's no denying an increase in appetite since she's gotten here.

Date: 2007-09-19 06:24 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She isn't about to wake Junior up before she's ready to get up, assuming she doesn't sleep right up until they're ready to go. Her little girl deserves a nap in the crib she hasn't gotten to sleep in for six months. They can see how Junior likes the bar later. She'll probably be all right with it -- even kind of fascinated by it -- for a while. But she might tire of it easily. She's a pretty good-natured almost-one-year-old, but it's not like she remembers the last time she was in the bar and it could be a little overwhelming.

They won't know until they try.

A smile lights up Beth's face at the sight of the book of matches he presents for her inspection, and her hand closes around it. And around his hand.

"Yeah. I started running out of room in my bags, so I decided to pack things behind my ears."

One thing's for sure: he might not have done many of these little parlor tricks for a while, but he's not showing any signs of being rusty. He's just as seamless now as he was six months ago.

"You should see what's behind the other."

It'd be a great time for that cigarette she was thinking about earlier... if it wasn't so fucking nice to be just like this. She has this urge to touch the side of his neck when he talks or to lean her head against his chest.

Date: 2007-09-22 05:31 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
One of her hands hovers about an inch or two from her mouth, the cigarette he gave her between her fingers, but the other, matchbook neatly sandwiched by her thumb and forefinger, rests on his chest in proprietary contentment.

She may have slept with the only two adult males they've had on the planet back home, but Yorick was never hers. No matter how nicely they fit together or how great it felt after two years of no sex and and no men and only occasional companionship. There wasn't a part of him that wasn't so fucking delicious she could've resisted it once he kissed her, even though that's something Hero might never be able to believe.

But he was never hers, and while she can't deny she kind of wished he was back then -- she's only human -- it's always been okay.

Especially now.

For all that she hopes Yorick and Beth Junior get to meet one day, there are few things better than this: Spike, fresh from the shower, by her side in their own bed, her sleeping daughter safe in her crib in the next room, and that general good-mood haze that usually follows a shower with Spike making everything that much better.

Yeah. She fucking missed this.

"I made that much of an impression on you?"

She's a little surprised -- it hadn't been long at the time since Julia died in his arms -- but not a whole damn lot. Spike was never what she'd call easy to read, but to get past his seeming nonchalance enough after a few nights that he was making sketches of the layout of the Bebop for her... well, that's kind of telling.

She'd thought it was stunningly sweet of him.

"Well, you're a fine one to talk about impressions. You made a pretty good one yourself that night, bounty hunter."

Date: 2007-09-23 11:00 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (let she who has not sinned)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"That's probably putting it mildly."

Catching the side of his chin with two of her fingertips, she gently turns his face toward her for a kiss.

Once she's gotten that, she's satisfied enough to straighten up just a little bit and open that book of matches so she can strike one and light her cigarette.

She can't help feeling like they've come a long way -- and they have, in more ways than one -- and she's proud of them as individuals and proud of them as the unusual family unit that they are.

"You remember the night you told me Joe asked you to be his best man?" She doesn't quite wait for an answer. "And I felt surprised by how sudden it all was?"

It was none of her business, really, and she never actually met Mina but certainly had nothing against her. It just struck her as strange and sudden and she couldn't help it.

"You said something to me about thinking guys like you and Joe were trying grab happiness where you can."

Like it's something so elusive it needs to be held on to firmly once you find it, and when she thought of it in terms like that, it was a hell of a lot easier to understand. It was something she could identify with, but there's always been a part of her that's tried to stubbornly hold back, that's never called the bar in general home, that's never seen the point of Spike offering to go with her to some justice of the peace when she told him she was pregnant.

"I think that's what we can call this. And if we can't leave, I'll won't complain. But if we can, we'll go back and keep doing what we're doing out there."

It won't take forever. There's only so long that it's going to make sense to keep looking for Yorick, and they'll know it when it seems like there's no longer any point to searching.

When that time comes and their little party splits up, she's going to take Spike and Junior somewhere -- if they can't get back here -- that they can all live the most normal life possible.

There's no such thing as the normal she grew up with, whether it's on the other side of the door and here at the bar, and she's okay with that. She's adjusted to a hell of a lot.

But she'll happily take the closest she can get.

Date: 2007-09-25 04:31 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"How about Eleuthera?"

It's completely out of the question, but it's as interesting to think about as it always was. And last time they joked about it there wasn't a baby around to take into consideration.

"We can grow tobacco and pineapples, and Junior will learn to swim with the dolphins."

It's silly and laughable and somehow still sweet.

Setting her cigarette in the ashtray but not stubbing it out, she turns to Spike and leans into him, wrapping both arms around his neck as if she can hardly believe she's managed to stop touching him since they got here.

What was she thinking? This is what she's been missing and wanting and remembering with this we didn't know how good we had it kind of wistfulness.

"It really would be nice if I let you smoke in peace," -- it's not like she isn't damn glad to have a cigarette herself -- "and started thinking about getting something to eat before our hour's up, but I don't feel very willing to get out of bed with you."

Date: 2007-09-26 05:25 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Roughing it on Eleuthera like they'd have to in his time or her time would probably lose some of its charm in practice. But the idea of Spike, skin bronzed from the near constant kiss of the sun, wearing only some soft ragged-edged pair of jeans and doing some tobacco farming against a backdrop of island sunset is just...

Well, it brings a very unabashed smile of pure appreciation to her lips.

Plus, the mental image of Junior in a little swimsuit and building her first sandcastle (with lots of help) is really fucking sweet.

But in reality, what they've got right this instant is good. It's really good. Compared to what they just came from, it's almost too good to be true. And it's certainly too good to spend too much time daydreaming rather than soaking up what's right here right now.

Spike's the one who's always said he's an opportunist, but they both know she's one, too.

She kisses his nose first, then his mouth again, then his chin. He's practically asking for it. "Why don't we just eat in here after all?"

Minimal clothing's required in here. And she really would like to let Junior get as much of a nap as possible.

Date: 2007-09-26 06:14 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (more smiling)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She could pry herself away and check Joe's watch now, but since she hadn't glanced at it before they got in the shower she has no idea exactly how long it's been since they got back.

"Anything special?"

Tilting her head slightly, she leans the weight of her body against him. There are plenty of answers she could give him, but she thinks she's going to have to go for the plain and serious answer. No matter how much she's smiling at him.

"How fast do you think you can eat?"

Date: 2007-09-26 04:51 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (more smiling)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She gives him a look that's probably nearly surprised enough in its delight to make someone think she'd forgotten what it's like to be blatantly flirted with.

(Well, it has been a while since they had the luxury of the time and opportunity for that kind of thing.)

It wasn't the first answer she was expecting -- though maybe it should've been -- but it's the best answer he could've given her, and she touches her forehead to his, feeling like she's grinning like a goddamn fool.

And as her fingers splay over his stomach, she can't possibly resist stealing another kiss. "I don't want you to go anywhere just yet."

The real issue is how much time she can spend with him just like this. Food will be nice and she really is sort of determined that they -- especially Spike -- get something filling to eat before they leave, but she just can't help wanting to stretch this particular moment out as long as she can get away with it.

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