stbethadettes: (picking up Junior)
[personal profile] stbethadettes
"Hello, beautiful."

Taking Junior into her arms, Beth presses a kiss to the top of her head. It always kind of makes her feel good to have Junior grin like that in happy recognition and talk to her and hold out her arms, wanting to be picked up, and she doesn't think there's anything silly about that unbidden surge of loving pride it inspires in her.

Beth Junior is just about everything to her.

It's nearly time to go. It was nice -- no, it was fucking great -- to discover that Paris was standing still for them when they opened the door to check, but it's almost a case of too little too late. They're too close to turn back now and too involved to choose to suddenly pull out without a word.

A few much-needed days here had to be enough, and they've tried to make the most of the opportunity.

She's emptied out the pantry and refrigerator, throwing out everything that had gone bad. Spike had helped at first, but toward the end he'd gone to hunt down some paper and write a few quick notes for them to send by owl or give to the bar before they leave. There was obviously no point in restocking the kitchen since she can predict when they'll get to come back about as accurately as she can predict where the hell she'll be in five years, but she's certainly spent enough time here in their little House of Arch apartment to know she's going to miss it even more than she did before once they've left.

Passing through the archway and into their bedroom, she stops close enough behind Spike as he writes that Junior can hold out her hand and touch him.

Date: 2007-10-07 07:09 am (UTC)
not_that_spike: (what is this happy shit?)
From: [personal profile] not_that_spike
Knowing when someone's near is a skill he's honed his whole life, so it's no surprise when he feels a tiny hand on his back. But it sure as hell is a delight. Turning around slowly, he catches sight of equally big smiles on both their faces, Beth and Junior. This has been a little bit of wish fulfillment, this unexpected side trip back to the bar and the House of Arch. It's their home, their apartment. Plus, they were able to pick up extra things for Junior. No clothes -- she's outgrown all the ones they had for her -- but a couple toys, a camera even though he has to promise never, ever to use it in front of anyone but his own family. Futuristic technology, messing with the time-space continuum, all that shit. It makes sense.

When he sets down the pen and turns, the smile on his face is as big as the one on Junior's. "Hey, little bounty-hunter-in-training. How's our girl today?" Reaching over, he presses his palm to hers. This kind of openness is a luxury now and while it should be something normal and expected, it hasn't been. It's a treat for him and he loves it, and he never could have imagined how much Beth Junior's taught him. She's only little, but damn, does she have a big personality.

Kind of like her mom, only louder. His Beth's full of quiet determination. The baby, though... she burns with this inner light. This innocence.

Yeah, something just like that.

Reaching out, he takes Junior because he can. Once they step out through that door again, it's going to be a long time until he can hold her and run around with her and talk out loud to her without having to hide his voice in a whisper. She squeals with delight when he lifts her high up into the air over his head. "Junior. Hope you liked your birthday cake." He knows the whole thing wasn't real important to her, although she had a hell of a lot of fun drawing in the icing with ten fingers and half her face. He's got the pictures to prove it.

He plants a big kiss on Junior's forehead before holding her close, leaning forward again, and pressing an entirely different kind of kiss to Beth's lips. "I'm almost done with the notes." He's got one for Tom and Door, one for Ingress, one for Elaine and... that's about it. He already said his goodbyes to Moiraine. In a little bit they'll do the very last of their packing, do the final tidying up, and head back over to the bar to meet up with Hero.

The only shame is they didn't have time for Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninjas. He wanted to know if he was a bad enough dude to save the President of the United States. Of course, if they had played, Beth would have kicked his ass.

And that would have been just fine.

Date: 2007-10-07 05:34 pm (UTC)
not_that_spike: (smiling)
From: [personal profile] not_that_spike
Good. Another half hour of carefree fun with his girls: he resolves to cram as much into it as he can. When Junior pats her hand on his chest and lets out a long string of babababababa and something else that sounds suspiciously like up, how can he resist? He swings her up and up, absolute glee written all over her little face. And then he does it again, and when she settles again, she claps her hands like it's been the best thing ever.

Shit, she's a little kid. She deserves to have all the fun she can, all the fun they can provide. Sure, the circumstances of everyday life kind of suck a little out there, but at least they're all together.

"Mama." Junior reaches out to Beth, all smiles and happiness. Before he hands her over, he lifts up her shirt to expose her baby-soft belly and blows a noisy kiss to it because that always makes her dissolve into helpless one-year-old giggles. Honestly, they're... kind of contagious, and he's laughing too as Junior finds herself swinging through the air into Beth's arms. It's these little things he misses most when they're out on Beth's Earth together, but they manage to steal a few minutes here and there. Sometimes they even get an hour, just the three of them, and those times are the ones that keep him going.

He's so thankful for that invisibility cloak. Stretching his neck from side to side, he pats the top of Junior's head and turns back to double-check the notes. He's got one for Tom and Door and a separate one for Ingress because... well... he's kind of been the worst Jeet Kune Do teacher ever the past six months, but he has a whole series of exercises written out for her so she can keep going, keep building her strength and speed.

The first one he finished was his note to Elaine: he's not leaving without saying goodbye this time.

And then there's a quick one for Faye, if she's even still here. He hasn't seen her, but he never did run into her all that often. Still, they were partners so at least saying hey, I was here, you doing okay? is kind of the decent thing to do.

Seems like after all this time there ought to be more people to touch base with, but... shit happens and Beth and Junior are his life. If he never sees any of the other people again -- if he never sees this place again -- he'll be sad about it, or maybe just sentimental about it. But he'll have the woman he loves and the daughter he just can't do without, and no matter where they end up, he's good with that. No two people have ever mattered as much to him as Beth and Beth Junior.

Date: 2007-10-08 03:35 am (UTC)
not_that_spike: (fatalistic with a smile)
From: [personal profile] not_that_spike
He... has this one little luxury that Beth and Hero and Junior don't: he can wear whatever the hell he wants and no one will know it isn't what he wore when the door opened for them and that's kind of cool. When he went out there before it was in jeans and a t-shirt and that's the best way to move around quietly, but at least this time he can pack a few extra things in his bag. Get rid of the few things he doesn't need and hasn't used, make more room for dried fruits and food and that kind of shit.

Less cigarettes. He's not really smoking them anyhow.

"You girls need help with anything, there's a humble bounty hunter here just eager as hell to help out. Right, Junior?" He traces the back of her ear with his fingertip; it makes her giggle.

Hell, she's easier than he is and that's saying something.

"I'll... get my things together too." The letters get piled up; he'll leave them with Bar. It will be easier that way, take less time. Besides, the packet for Ingress is pretty bulky and he's not sure how strong the house owls are anyhow.

Or maybe he just doesn't want to waste the time. Call it selfish, or call it opportunistic, or call it smart. Shit, people could call it whatever they want and it wouldn't matter to him. In the past couple days they've regained a little bit of that every day a honeymoon kind of thing and damn, has it been nice.

Maybe some day, they'll get this for good. He's thinking somewhere in the Bahamas would be really nice after all. Even in his time, even with the rock showers. They could make a go of it.

That's... one thought he's going to keep to himself: they have enough on their plates as it is. Doesn't mean a little futuristic technology wouldn't be handy out there, though. Shit. All three of them could fit in the Swordfish if they squished. Of course, there's the little matter of fuel...

"Okay, little princess. Remember, don't give any lip to your mom. She's the queen, after all, and her word is law."

Really, Beth's his angel. He's got a feeling that supersedes royalty by a long shot. As he starts making a mental checklist of all the things he wants to bring, he has a moment of gratitude for the durable material his shoes are made of. If they ever have a chance to go back to Mars, he's getting some for Beth.

They last forever.

Date: 2007-10-08 06:13 am (UTC)
not_that_spike: (relaxing)
From: [personal profile] not_that_spike
It's a good thing she doesn't know where she's about to go, although how the hell does he know that Junior's unaware of what's going on? Shit, she's still at that age where every damn thing in life is an adventure and she's got a mom and a mostly invisible bounty hunter and her Auntie Hero looking after her. Why shouldn't it all be the best fun ever? He figures every time he pops out from beneath that cloak, it's just a giant game of peek-a-boo for her.

"Go ahead, beautiful. Get your stuff ready. I'm just about there myself; I'll take care of her for a few." It's not really just a suggestion: this might be the last chance he gets to do this for who knows how long. He curls himself around Junior as she plays with the miniature Swordfish lookalike, the term playing at this stage mostly consisting of Junior smashing the toy against the bed or her legs and laughing, then picking it up and chewing on the end. She's got a few teeth on the bottom now, which is pretty damn adorable. Everything about her is pretty damn adorable, even though he notices how much more she looks like Hero every day.

He guesses there must be a strong family resemblance between Hero and Yorick: maybe he'll get to find out for himself one of these days. That's a moment he's thought about a hell of a lot, but he knows enough to be sure that no matter how many scenarios he comes up with, none of them will be anything like the actual one. So as far as that one goes, whatever happens happens.

The only thing he knows for sure is that Yorick can't have Beth and he can't take away Junior. They're his... so far as anyone can lay claim to any other human being. He's always said that he'd stand behind whatever made Beth happy -- shit, that's half the reason he's going back out the door with her when he could stay here, safe and sound -- but even that kind of generosity has its limits.

No one's perfect. Junior cuddles back against his stomach; he races the little plush spaceship through the air for her. Hopefully she'll get to take it with her. It's just a toy, after all, and even though it's from her future, it's not going to hurt anybody. They can always say they found it somewhere along the line.

Who's going to argue that one: the Israeli army?

Over his dead body.

Date: 2007-10-10 07:10 am (UTC)
not_that_spike: (love you Beth)
From: [personal profile] not_that_spike
"She sure entertains us."

This... is practically perfect: sandwiched between his Beths, Beth's hand in his hair and it's funny that he spent so much of his life not liking that and now he just can't get enough of it. That's not just because of the past six months where he can't get enough of Beth, period: it's different. It's such an intimate thing, having someone play with his hair like that. Shit, he does it enough with Beth, but still. She can touch him all she wants, wherever she wants, for as long as she wants.

Behind him, she nestles into the curves of his body and in front, Beth Junior turns around with a huge smile on her face. "Mama." Waving the stuffed plane in the air like it's about to take off all on its own, she provides them with a few more sound effects, a few unintentional bubbles escaping from between her lips. Then she turns her gaze to him.

"Sie."

Whoa.

When Beth first told him she was pregnant, he felt like his heart stopped and maybe it did for a minute while his brain caught up with the words coming out of her mouth. And now, with Junior making a sound that's almost kind of close to his name, he thinks it's stopped again. He also thinks that maybe if they hadn't found their way back here, had these few days, that wouldn't have happened, wouldn't be happening, couldn't be happening. And maybe it isn't. Maybe he's just reading into the sounds she's making, but he looks straight at her.

"Yo. What's up, little kick boxer?"

Turning back just enough so he can see Beth in the periphery of his vision, he gives them a shared smile.

"You ready to go back to Paris with me and your mom? I'll take you any time you want."

Maybe one day out there he can take them both for a little walk under that cloak. Talk about your giant games of peekaboo. All things being equal, he'd rather stay here but they can't. The next couple days or weeks should prove that they're either on the wrong track or the right one. If it's the wrong one, they'll have to give it up. If it's the right one, then they'll find Yorick and see where things go.

He figures at least it might be nice for the guy to know he's really not the only man on the planet.

Or... maybe not. Who the hell knows? Like he can predict the future.

"I only have a few more things to put in my pack. And I need to stop by the bar and send those notes and get some food to go."

They have it so good here. If they don't leave today, they might never do it. Each moment they linger makes this place just that much more precious.

Date: 2007-10-10 08:29 pm (UTC)
not_that_spike: (remembering on mars)
From: [personal profile] not_that_spike
Oh, shit, he can grab just another minute, right? It isn't like that door has them on some schedule or anything. When Beth moves (and his brain does this little don't go, don't go thing automatically), he rolls onto his back, one strong arm around Junior's little tummy keeping her upright. Once she's got the Swordfish firmly in hand he lifts her up so she's practically flying. Zooms her back and forth overhead a few times until she shrieks with glee. She comes down for a soft landing right on his belly; he bounces her up and down a time or two automatically, because he's laughing and she's laughing and laughter feeds on itself and besides, it's too much fun to quit.

"All right, small fry, time for this bounty hunter to pack." He can't resist hoisting her up in the air right above him one more time, but at the end of this one he hands her over to Beth instead of settling her on his tummy again.

It's really time to stop dawdling. At least he's not doing it because he's lazy. He's doing it to stretch out this perfect little moment, the kind he doesn't think he ever had when he was a kid. Sitting now, he pats the back of Junior's head and studies Beth's eyes for a moment before leaning in to steal a kiss, another kiss, a third kiss. This isn't just difficult for him and he knows it.

But at least they'll be together. No matter what, he'll be by their sides, even if they can't see him there. Hidden weapons are usually the most effective kind.

The palm of his hand takes up brief residence on the side of Beth's cheek; he lets out a little sigh. "Okay. I'll be ready in two minutes."

That's a promise he makes good on. Pack on his back, letters in hand, the very last thing to grab is the invisibility cloak. He's not going anywhere without that thing, but he's not going to put it on until the second before they open that front door.

"Ready."

Date: 2007-10-10 09:34 pm (UTC)
not_that_spike: (shy smile)
From: [personal profile] not_that_spike
There's just one thing he has to say before they leave.

"I love you, Beth." She already knows it, but it deserves to be said as often as he can say it.

"And you too, little princess. Come on. Let's go have a hell of an adventure."

Junior safe in her mom's arms, he takes Beth by the hand and all together, they leave their apartment. Whether or not they ever return is in fate's hands, but in here or out there doesn't matter so very much and he's already kicked fate's ass more than once. Odds are he can do it again and if he doesn't... oh well.

Whatever happens happens.

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