not_that_spike: (curiosity killed the cat)
[personal profile] not_that_spike
Legos are too small for Beth Junior's tiny hands, but these Duplo things aren't bad either. Amazing that they can still find them: there aren't a fuck of a lot of kids around these days. But they scored this farm set and it's extra fun because he has this book that matches. Little Beth sits there, legs splayed, palms on her thighs, absolutely rapt with attention.

"All right, Junior. Here we go. I read, you act it out." He hands her the farmer figurine. "Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type. All day long he hears Click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety, clack, moo."

It doesn't matter that she doesn't get it about typing and why the hell would she know that? She cups her ear with her hand, listening intently. "Click, clack moo," she says. solemn-faced and intrigued, so he continues. This is a new book for her.

"At first, he couldn't believe his ears. Cows that type? Impossible! Click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety, clack, moo." The picture shows the farmer running to the barn; Junior makes the Duplo farmer jump up and down in her hand. "Hey, good one, Beth. OK. Here we go." Each turn of the page is like the unveiling of another treasure. The next page shows the farmer reading a note on the barn door. "Then, he couldn't believe his eyes. Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows."

Junior giggles, peering over at the picture book as he turns the page.

"It was bad enough the cows had found the old typewriter in the barn, now they wanted electric blankets! 'No way,' said Farmer Brown. 'No electric blankets.' So the cows went on strike. They left a note on the barn door. Sorry. We're closed. No milk today. 'No milk today!' cried Farmer Brown. In the background, he heard the cows busy at work: Click, clack, moo. Click, clack, moo. Clickety, clack, moo." He moves three cows over to Beth Junior so they can be closer to the farmer, then reaches over and tickles her tummy. She roars with laughter.

"Want me to keep going?"

"Yeah!" She abandons the farmer in favor of the cows now, because the next page has more of them.

"The next day, he got another note: Dear Farmer Brown, The hens are cold too. They'd like electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows." The look on his face is pure shock. "Imagine that, Junior. What would you do?"

Beth absolutely beams. "Give them bankits!"

That's my girl, he thinks. So would he, but hell, he's easy. And now he pauses for just a minute, because this woman who absolutely takes his breath away just walked into the room. Junior breaks into a big toothy grin. "Mama, mama, mama! Cows! Cows with notes!"

The smile on his Beth's face is priceless.

Date: 2008-11-08 05:33 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Cows with notes?"

She can't help the smile on her face, and she can't help the warm feeling of contentment in chest. Maternal instincts are fierce, she's discovered over the last two years, although she still could never tell anyone this is what she'd wanted, this is how she would've planned her future before or after the plague.

It'd be a huge fucking lie, for one, but despite all the reasons why it wouldn't ring true, this is what she wants now.

This.

Her daughter, on the verge of two years old. A home that isn't a church. Hero and Yorick in the same city. Spike.

Spike not in a goddamn invisibility cloak. Spike, who when she met him was just a green-haired guy in a bar with a cigarette that she was coveting. He wasn't what a lot of people might call father material, but when things happen, there's no such thing as father material. You can either handle it or you can't, and Spike's handled it as well as she has.

Even though he didn't have to.

It makes her really happy to see Yorick and Beth Junior together these days, but that doesn't make her as happy as walking in on scenes like this does.

"What do the notes say, sweetheart?" She could've done a better job drying her hands after doing the few dishes that were in the sink. She pats her hands against the thighs of her jeans and lowers to the floor with them, sitting cross-legged.

Little Beth promptly picks herself up off the floor, tiny cows still in her hand, and makes a successful attempt to take over her lap. "Want lechik bankits."

She nods in mock consideration, glancing at Spike. "Those cows are on to something."

Date: 2008-11-08 06:18 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (let she who has not sinned)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Over Junior's head, Beth raises her eyebrows at him and, with a small matter-of-fact smile, shakes her head. "You should keep going."

He's got a captive audience, and it's not just the little one she's thinking of. The truth is that he could be reading anything from children's books to Chinese take-out menus and she'd be interested in hearing him continue.

What can she say? He's got a great fucking voice.

Junior generously hands her one of the cows, then leans forward to help Spike turn the page again.

Date: 2008-11-08 07:28 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Beth Junior)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
The look she gives Spike suggests that she believes someone has a new favorite book and will be demanding readings several times a day.

But she doesn't mind. Wrapping her arms around Junior, she plants a whole row of kisses on her upturned face. "One more time, okay? And then it's time to get in your pjs."

There's that look: the little crestfallen two-year-old one. She's a sucker for it, but she knows exactly how difficult Junior can be when her routine's been thrown off.

She smiles. "Maybe it can be your bedtime story, too, Would you like that?"

She's answered by a slightly cheered nod and finally a grin when she carefully tucks the cow she's been holding back in Junior's hand.

Little Beth, wide-eyed, immediately holds it up to Spike as though he's yet to appreciate her fine array of Duplo cows, which really couldn't be further from the truth. "Again?"

Date: 2008-11-09 12:12 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Deal!" Junior chirps.

Beth rises onto her knees. "Can we put our cows and chickens and farmer back where they were?"

It's a good habit to get little Beth started on, but it's also a good way to waste another minute or two before she has to go brush her teeth and change. And while she may be little, she's one smart toddler.

As expected, Junior solemnly declares that she can and proceeds to do just that, taking the toys two at a time -- one in each hand -- back to the small box they're kept in. All help is refused with a sweet little smile, and when she's done, she reaches for Beth's hand.

"Time for pjs?" Now she stands up, too, Junior's hand still clinging to hers. "Okay, let's go."

Before letting herself be lead out of the room, she stoops to press a kiss to Spike's forehead. "We'll see you in a few minutes, bounty hunter."

"Bounty hunta," Junior parrots gleefully, reaching to touch her fingertip to his nose.

The first stop is Junior's bedroom, where she's changed out of her little pink sweater and pint-size jeans and pink-and-white plaid socks and helped into her two-piece pjs with the hundreds of tiny purple flowers all over. The next stop is the bathroom, where Beth lifts her up to sit on the counter and brush with a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste.

Once that's done, Beth picks Junior up and heads back to the living room to get Spike. "We're all ready. Time for that bedtime story."

Date: 2008-11-09 01:19 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (knowing smile)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She smirks at duck butt. She's heard Spike use all the best four-letter words known to man, and if butt's the one that's stuck with Junior, she's almost surprised.

Stepping forward, she presents herself to her daughter and leans down for a hug and kiss. "Goodnight." She tucks Junior's blanket around her, smiling when Junior reaches for her stuffed spaceship to cuddle. "I love you."

"Loff you," Junior mumbles against the toy ship.

Beth is still smiling as she turns off the lamp on the table near the crib, and on her way out of the darkened room and into the hallway, her hand finds Spike's, her fingers hooking with two of his. As they leave the room, she uses her free hand to pull Junior's door along with her, leaving it ajar.

Date: 2008-11-09 03:58 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (more smiling)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Her hand leaves his and stepping right up to him, she smiles and wraps first one arm and then the other around his neck.

They've had less than three months of living here, more stationary in intent than they've been in quite a while. Three months of Spike living more out of the cloak than under it.

It's not quite like starting over -- he's been along with them every step of the way -- but it's close. She's getting used to seeing him as she falls asleep and wakes up, being able to leave Junior in his care while she takes a shower, being able to stop at almost nothing when she wants to touch him.

And she wants to touch him a lot. Their sex life may have suffered over the past year, but it hasn't been for lack of want.

Teasing, her smile grows wider. "I know you haven't needed pick-up lines for the past year, but is that the best you can do?"

Date: 2008-11-09 07:19 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (defenseless)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She lifts her chin and laughs out loud, fingers lacing at the back of his neck. "That's more like it."

Those are three of her favorite words out of his mouth, and let's go to our room just doesn't roll off the tongue as well.

But before they go anywhere, she wants a kiss: right here, right now, no goddamn waiting. She rises on the balls of her feet, watching him under lowered eyelashes, and kisses him like she's been waiting all day long for the perfect opportunity.

(And for the most part, she has.)

Only after that does she let her fingers tangle with his again, and she doesn't mind leading him down the hallway.

Date: 2008-11-09 11:51 pm (UTC)
stbethadettes: (front)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
That's a blatant invitation.

Greedy, with little care for whether Spike thinks Junior's asleep or not, her left hand meets skin under his shirt, curving against his side. "Once her head hits the pillow," she acknowledges, eyes focused on his mouth, "she doesn't take long."

Usually, and tonight's probably not an exception because he's right: there's not a peep from Junior's room.

It's tough to say if she pulls him in the room or if it's his idea but it's probably a mutual thing. And once they're inside the door, which she doesn't close all the way since Junior hasn't started climbing out of her crib and toddling into their room (yet), she presses a kiss to his chin, one to his jawline, one far back enough on the side of his face that her lips brush his earlobe.

"Want to help me change now?"

She moves in for another kiss, smiling against his lips. It's not like they need an excuse, but one good blatant invitation deserves another.

Date: 2008-11-10 12:41 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (front)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She doesn't feel as if she can be blamed when she can't quite make herself roll off of him and over to her side of the bed. Folding her arms on his chest and leaning her head against them is as close as she can get.

Even her legs stubbornly refuse to untangle from his.

"You know, when I first asked you to teach me to shoot, I wasn't hoping you'd try to get in my pants." Slowly, she grins. Learning to use a gun was the most important thing. Having a guy she was attracted to teach her -- after two years post-plague -- was just icing on the cake. There were priorities. "Or at least I was hoping you'd teach me to shoot and then try to get in my pants."

Date: 2008-11-10 02:26 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (side)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
She shakes her head slightly, agreeing. "There wasn't a lot of time between one and the other."

Maybe two days? She's not complaining.

With her eyes closed, she kisses his chin, then his bottom lip. If she had her way, they'd spend all night tonight and all day tomorrow lazing around just like this.

They're due for a day to themselves pretty soon. It's good for a parent's sanity.

"I was thinking..." She hesitates for a moment. "Hero and Yorick should have a picture or something of Junior to take back home with them for the service." To leave at their mom's grave or something. Hero and Yorick never got to say goodbye, and it's their turn. She's told Hero in particular that she would go in a heartbeat if she wanted her there, but it doesn't really make sense for her to.

And it's difficult to mind too much: Junior's had little in the way of stability since she was born. It'll be really nice to let her be as normal a two-year-old as possible.

Not to mention how much better it is for Spike, who certainly wouldn't be volunteering to stay here alone while they were gone.

"At times like this I wish we had one of those instacameras here."

She's pretty sure Hero's camera still works, though.

Date: 2008-11-10 06:15 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (back of head)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Her eyelids lower in catlike contentment, and she taps a fingertip against his chest.

"In two or three days, I think." Her finger stops its tapping and gets replaced by a kiss. "If her camera still works, we've got the time."

The same finger, happily restless, moves to trace his collarbone.

"I'd like to go back one day, too. To Virginia." To find out for herself what became of Charlotte in the wake of the plague. To... let her meet Beth Junior, if that's possible. "Maybe when Junior is a little older."

Since the plague, this is about as far into the future as she's ever made plans. And even though they're only vague, she does definitely want to do it.

She's quiet for a moment.

"I used to think there was no way that I could go to 2071 with you long-term or that you could get stuck here because we didn't belong in each other's times."

He's spent much longer out here now than she'd have thought possible, but they're not too far off from what she'd envisioned. Where she thought doors would keep opening to take them back to the bar if they kept trying to avoid it, they just... have a door to the bar in their house. And it doesn't seem to be going away.

Date: 2008-11-11 02:10 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (more smiling)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
He's just as much a closet romantic as always.

If she can still stick the word closet in front of romantic after getting himself out here -- and staying -- to be with her.

His last comment makes her grin widely, and feeling selfish -- lucky -- she gets close enough that the tips of their noses almost touch. "That's not the only thing you're good at."

As she's discovered time and time again, he's also good at temptation, and she's always been pretty terrible at resisting. From his collarbone, her finger moves up to his jaw, tracing, and then to his mouth, where it rests for a second before she moves it and kisses him.

"Want to grow tobacco in the backyard?"

Her grin isn't going anywhere.

Date: 2008-11-11 03:41 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (let she who has not sinned)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
Her smile softens, but it doesn't go away.

"It's a long way to Eleuthera."

She wouldn't say it's solely in the realm of fantasy. It's more likely than their running joke of buying real estate on Venus, and if someone had told her a year and a half ago that she'd be living with Spike and Junior in a house on the outskirts of Paris...

Well. Stranger things have happened, obviously.

"If it's at all possible, we'll do it one day."

Date: 2008-11-11 04:38 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (Default)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Well, we made it to Paris, didn't we?"

It can't be said that she's the most optimistic person in the world, but hope springs eternal and one day could be years and years from now. But if it becomes possible, she doesn't see why they shouldn't grab that fucking opportunity and hold on tight.

She watches as he puts his finger to his mouth and gives her that expectant look, and for a second all she does is take her time smiling.

She lifts her head just as slowly, and the kiss she gives him lingers.

"Any other demands?"

Date: 2008-11-11 05:19 am (UTC)
stbethadettes: (at rest)
From: [personal profile] stbethadettes
"Are you sure you want to demand something I'd do anyway?"

Her smile teases, and she finally rolls to his side, allowing him a little room to move. But her leg stays hooked around his, her arm curves over his chest, and her cheek rests against his shoulder.

It's been a pretty good day. Nothing would make her happier now than to sleep just like this.

Just like they did before life got away with them.

She closes her eyes. "I love you, you know."

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