Characters: Jack, Renee
Summary: Nothin’ but Christmas squash. No really. Nothing.
Warnings: Language, sexual situations? Also, I guess for the horrifyingly spoilerphobic, stuff I elliptically allude to here is speculatively spoilery. Adverb overload. Say that ten times fast. Edit: marinw read and said she didn't get anything spoilery. Must be in my head.
Disclaimer: So not mine. If they were they’d do this. On TV. And I’d watch. Repeatedly.
A/N: I should disclaim all responsibility for this fic, because it’s lauridsen09’s fault. Heh. In any case, I wrote it for caviarandmeths’ holiday ficathon, explained here. Prompts are “(Good) tears over a special gift, candles, wistful.” Huge hugs to lowriseflare and adrenalin211 because well, I just love you guys and have no idea how to write without you holding my hand.
Oh! And the reference to the Japanese movie is taken from this week's Newsweek.
“How long have we been in here?” Renee reached for her foot, running her finger over her heel. “I’m totally pruney.”
“I have no idea.” Jack moved her wet hair aside, kissing her neck, drawing abstract shapes on her shoulder with his soapy finger. “You wanna get out?”
“No! This is the best Christmas Eve since I was fourteen. My mom and dad bought me a Mac Classic.” She leaned her head back, relaxing into his chest. “I have to admit you surprised me though. I didn’t take you for a five-star hotel, Jacuzzi-in-the-room kind of guy.” She picked up the champagne glass sitting on the edge of the tub and took a long swallow, watching tiny circles of air spiral to the top and explode.
“I didn’t have a lot of time to think.” Jack sat up a touch and reached for his own champagne. “It was either this or my dick in a box.”
She coughed, sending white coconut-scented bubbles flying. “You know that video?”
“Not my fault,” he muttered. “Kim and Stephen watch it every five fucking minutes.”
She smirked, set her glass down, and rubbed her fingers softly over the inside of his thigh. “I’m not complaining. I got your dick in black boxer briefs.” She tilted her head to kiss his jaw. “And out of them.”
When he caught her off guard like that, jostled her perspective like a well-shaken snow globe, her stomach inevitably did a tingly funny thing. Okay, so “thing” was a spectacularly stupid word for the sensation, but she couldn’t think of a better one right now -- deliciously warm, full of apple crisp with whipped cream, still coming down off whatever the hell Jack had done to her on the pillowed chair in the bedroom, cocooned in the radiating heat of his body. She was drowsy to the point of drifting, yet so awake that each time he moved, his skin slipping softly over hers, she remembered how goddamn good it felt to be touched like this.
So different from . . . Fuck.
She pressed her finger and thumb together. Exhaled. Tried not to stiffen or breathe faster.
“You’re doing it again.” His voice against the curve of her ear made her shiver involuntarily. He turned her palm upward and closed his fingers around her hand. “Don’t. Please. Stop trying to keep me from noticing.”
“I don’t want you to notice,” she whispered. “Shit. Is one night off too much to ask? It’s Christmas Eve. One night to . . . not think about it. That’s all I wanted.”
Jack was quiet.
Hands firm on her upper arms, he put just enough distance between her body and his to allow him access to her shoulders. His thumbs pressed into her muscles, hard, the tipping point between pleasure and pain. When a tear tracked over her cheekbone and slipped off her chin, she smacked it hastily away, frustrated.
Stupid. Her face was wet anyway.
Jack wouldn’t speak first. And if she remained quiet, he’d sit there and silently rub her shoulders until dawn. She blinked, watching the white bubbles continually regenerating, the shiny tile in which she could see her shadow.
She was glad she couldn’t see her face.
Lately, she looked at herself as little as possible.
Jack’s warm, firm fingers moved further down her back, pressing at the edges of her spine.
She said abruptly, “When I came in to debrief you about the canisters and you had your shirt off, why did you apologize?”
His fingers stilled. “Where the hell did that come from?”
“Will you please just answer me?”
“Yeah. I’m-” He drew her back into his chest, holding the edge of his mouth against her cheek. “Trying to figure out how to explain.”
“Start talking and I’ll figure it out.”
He huffed. “That’s ironic coming from you.”
“Jack.” The single syllable cracked her voice.
“Fuck.” He kissed her jaw. “Fuck. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. Tell me.”
She felt his chest expand behind her. The room was tranquil for a few suspended moments, the only sound the soothing rush of water pulsing from the tub in a rhythmic circle.
“I thought you were probably repulsed,” he said flatly. “And I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable. I wanted you to-”
She could feel his lips against her neck, curving in a grin. “I wanted you to leave.” He kissed her again. “At least the conscious part of me did. You shut that door behind you and everything was easier for a minute.”
She pulled his arm over her stomach, touching the tips of his fingers. “You do know that’s not what I thought? I wasn’t repulsed. At all.”
“I’m not wearing a shirt at the moment.”
“Yes. I know. I don’t-” He sounded surprised. “I don’t think about them. With you.” His voice dropped a fifth or so and he added mischievously, “Unless you’re. . . doing something.”
She closed her eyes. Combating the memories was exhausting, a marathon that mysteriously didn’t stop at twenty-six miles, finish line forever a few hundred yards ahead.
Her thoughts flickered with the candle on the sink. Ideas and pictures floated in and out as she felt the lift of Jack’s chest behind her, the soft slow thud of his heart. She remembered some weird Japanese movie she’d watched with her college boyfriend, where people on their way into heaven first had to choose a cherished memory, which they would then relive for eternity. She thought about blue raspberry slushies in the car with her dad after piano lessons, playing poker under the covers with her sister when they were supposed to be sleeping, drinking beer on college camping trips and watching the sky morph into deep blue darkness and stars, the candles sparking and shifting at Christmas Eve midnight mass.
She thought about the first time she’d fallen asleep with Jack.
“I’m happy. Right now,” she whispered.
Jack swallowed. Paused. His hand tightened on her knee. “Good. Let’s go to bed.”