Faye is terrible at silence. Even when she drank, she had to fill the gaps between words with more words. Now she’s sober, silence is even more difficult. It unnerves her; whether she is a bit of an extrovert (a lot of an extrovert) or whether there’s something else about silence that scares her, she hasn’t quite pinned down the reason.
(Silence is what one finds in the three am bleakness, when the bottle’s at dead ebb and everyone else is asleep except Pintsize. If she’s unlucky.)
Bubbles doesn’t exactly do chatty. So Faye feels trapped at times. She loves her work but finds herself making too many coffee runs just to speak to someone. The concept of “comfortable silence” is one that eludes her. The constant rattle and clang and drilling sounds of the workshop don’t count; it’s the sounds of people that matter.
Not that she excludes Bubbles and the others from the set of beings known as “people”. She excludes Pintsize, but that’s for entirely different reasons; he resides in a subset of his own that has various labels on it, most of them along the lines of “beings I would gladly shove into their own anus”. But the robots, and most AnthroPCs, and anyone else who’s not exactly assigned human at birth? They’re still people.
Late one night she’s finishing up a chassis repaint, a little high on fumes despite her respirator. The silence is pressing in on her like a dreadful blanket of memories, where instead of being safer by hiding under it, she’s only more aware of the monsters in the dark. She should probably just go home, but on the other hand she really wants to finish this job so there’s nothing left to do in the morning except maybe a few touch-ups.
(God, she wants a drink.)
“You should go home.” Bubbles materializes out of the shadows. Faye yelps and almost drops the paint sprayer, managing to keep her grip on it as she whirls around, and Bubbles consequently winds up with a streak of cerulean blue across her torso.
Bubbles looks down at herself with a slight creaking of her neck. Faye turns the pressure sprayer off and puts it down, gloved hands shaking.
“Fuck,” she repeats, pulling off her respirator. “I’m so sorry.”
“Accidents happen,” Bubbles says, reaching for a cloth from the workbench. “Especially when people are overtired.”
Faye takes the cloth from her, not willing to argue, and starts dabbing gingerly at the blue stripe. Most of it comes away easily, still wet, but enough of it stays that Faye, frowning, starts looking over the paint strippers.
“You are not using that on me when you’re this tired.” Bubbles’ voice holds a sharp tone, and Faye lifts her hands to shoulder height, backing away from the relevant shelf and only stopping when her butt bumps into the workbench. She sways just a little, and then suddenly Bubbles is right in front of her, hands planted either side of Faye’s hips, keeping her from falling.
“I’m fine.” Faye tosses the paint-sodden cloth in the general direction of the trashcan. “I ain’t been sleepin’ all that great lately anyway.” She drags down the zip on the front of her once white coveralls, now adorned with a rainbow of colors. Underneath she’s wearing denim cutoffs and a t-shirt, which make her a little chilly without the clinging coveralls. Bubbles is still leaning over her. “You want to give me some room here?”
“I want you to admit that you need to sleep.” Bubbles lifts one solid hand to help Faye peel the coveralls down to her waist, and the back of her hand brushes Faye’s breast on the way. Faye shivers—she’s been trying valiantly not to think about Bubbles in any context other than friendship, but this unexpected closeness is reminding her that sometimes she wonders if Bubbles’ imagination ever goes down the same track as Pintsize’s so often does.
Hopefully not as far.
“Okay, fine, I need to sleep.” Logically speaking it’s true anyway, even if the reality is that she’ll go to bed and stare into the dark a long while before sleep consents to take her. “Gimme a little room so I can finish cleaning up.”
She doesn’t think Bubbles noticed the way she shivered at that one accidental touch, but then the robot drops to one knee in front of her—putting them face to face—and easily lifts Faye with her left hand under Faye’s butt while tugging the coveralls down to her knees with her right.
“I think it would be better if I helped you,” Bubbles says in a measured tone, setting Faye back down.
“Aw, come on, takin’ off my coveralls ain’t exactly diffi—” Faye stops there as Bubbles puts her right hand on Faye’s now-bare knee, meeting her eyes with an odd, knowing look.
“I meant helping you get to sleep.”
Faye snorts. “Please. What’re you gonna do, hit me over the head?”
“I could, but I was referring to a more pleasant way of rendering you drowsy.” Bubbles flexes her hand and a soft humming sensation washes up Faye’s thigh, to the hem of her denim cutoffs and beyond.
“You—uh. You would—”
Bubbles pulls off one of Faye’s boots with her left hand. “I know how curious humans get.” She tosses the boot aside and tugs the other one free, then drags Faye’s coveralls all the way off. Faye is still more than a little stunned, but extends each leg in turn to assist Bubbles. Part of her brain is protesting at the fact that she’s now barefoot in the workshop and it’s a breach of the safety rules, but it is a very tiny part. “You are hardly the first to look at me the way you have been.”
Faye licks her lips. “Do you—look back?”
Bubbles’ smile holds a hint of sadness as she plants her left hand once more beside Faye’s hip. “That is not part of the way that I was built.” Her right hand shifts on Faye’s knee and the humming quickens. Faye’s breath quickens with it. “But I am not averse to certain activities, under the right circumstances.”
“How often do the right circumstances come up?” Faye feels strangely jealous.
Bubbles leans in and presses her lips to Faye’s forehead. The sensation is familiar and strange at once. “This would be the first time.” She draws back, giving Faye an oddly shy look. “At least, if you—”
Faye puts both her hands over Bubbles’ right and draws it up her thigh. “Please.”
Even having given consent she’s not entirely sure what she’s said yes to, but Bubbles has clearly thought this through at some point. Her thick thumb presses unerringly in between Faye’s denim-clad thighs, the buzzing intensifies again, and Faye yelps with surprise as she’s smacked in the clit with an orgasm faster and more intense than any she’s experienced before.
“Fuck! Bubbles—” She gasps for breath, leaning against Bubble’s left arm.
“I had not intended to start at such a high intensity. I may have misjudged the amount of power required to channel the vibrations through denim.” Bubbles sounds chagrined.
“Do it again,” is all Faye says.
Bubbles fumbles at the button of Faye’s cutoffs, but even with the vibration switched off she can’t manage to open it. Faye helps her out, getting the button and zip open and then relishing the moment when Bubbles lifts her one-handed to skin the shorts down and off her legs.
“Oh.” Bubbles inhales deeply. “Oh, Faye, your smell—” She stops abruptly, apparently realizing that sharing whatever Faye’s scent conjures up for her might not be as appropriate as talking about the drinks down at Coffee of Doom.
“Go on,” Faye says. “I want to know.”
“I see a mermaid, swimming in the deepest currents of the ocean. There is so much pressure on her, but she keeps moving.” Bubbles smiles dreamily. “She has sharp teeth and the most beautiful tail.”
Faye props one foot up on Bubbles’ shoulder. “Come closer.”
Bubbles lowers her head a little more. Faye can feel her breathing, the automated process of inhalation and exhalation that’s not strictly necessary, but that deepens into a sigh nonetheless as Bubbles draws the scent of Faye deep into her nostrils. Faye doesn’t rush her; she runs her fingers through Bubbles’ hair, lifting the soft strands, letting them drop.
Bubbles straightens back up, the palm of her hand cupped over Faye’s mound as her strong thumb seeks down between Faye’s labia, and even before she does anything fancy with whatever it is that makes her vibrate like that Faye’s pushing into her touch.
“Steady,” Bubbles says. “This time I intend to make it last.”
The slow vibration brings Faye to the edge quickly, but Bubbles is paying close attention and backs off before Faye can tip over. And she does it again and again, until Faye’s crying out, falling to pieces, clinging to Bubbles’ strong left arm for support.
“Fuck, Bubbles, please—”
Faye flails with one hand and manages to catch the back of Bubbles’ neck, drawing Bubbles to her. What follows is less of a kiss than just mashing her lips against Bubbles’ lips, but it feels good. Less weird than she’d expected. Bubbles’ fine rubber skin imparts an almost fizzing sensation thanks to the nanowires embedded in it.
After a hesitant second, Bubbles kisses her in return, clearly not sure how exactly to go about it, but doing her best.
And this time she doesn’t withdraw her hand, making Faye’s whole body shudder with pleasure as her thumb works against Faye’s clit, ripples of vibration pulsing through Faye until she’s screaming against Bubbles’ mouth.
After that, Faye kind of passes out.
She’s still semi-conscious. The only times she’s totally blacked out after sex, there was alcohol or something similar involved. So she’s aware of Bubbles lifting her up into a bridal carry, hefting her across the workshop and into a back room. There’s a camp bed with a pillow and a blanket, set in among the boxes and shelves. It doesn’t look like much.
As Bubbles sets her down and draws the blanket up over her, it’s the most comfortable place she’s ever slept.
“I’ll clean you up in the morning,” she says drowsily, remembering the paint.
“No need.” Bubbles sounds amused. “I might keep it a while. As a reminder.” Faye hears the rattle and creak as Bubbles sits down beside the camp bed.
“If you’re sure...”
“Mmmm.” Bubbles puts her hand under the canvas of the bed and a low hum vibrates through it. Faye practically purrs at the massaging sensation. “Sleep.”
The smell of the workshop in her nostrils, the soft rumble through her body, and the regular sound of Bubbles’ breathing lull Faye to a deep, peaceful sleep.