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september ends

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The first thing he does, on getting back, is go down on her.

Actually- that is not the first thing he does, not the second, not the third, but it feels like the first, the last thing he'd like to do for the rest of his life; stay on his knees and show her some fucking courtesy.

-which is so lame, that he's basically going to have to live out the rest of his life pretending he didn't just think that. That he doesn't want to find out if she ever loses that layer of dusted sugar. 

“Next time,” she traces words on his chest that he can’t make out because his nerve endings short-circuited somewhere along her route, “let’s have you in uniform, officer.”

He can’t help the corner of his mouth turning up, “your obsession with my uniform is making me feel objectified here. Next you know, we’re one Take My Breath Away mood music away from being every Tom Cruise in-dress-whites movie reference ever.”

She sits up, and the next moment, her head is in her hands, hair spilling over, “oh, god.”


“I’m that person,” she whispers, tragic to the point of being Shakespearean, “I’m that person who looks at a guy in a uniform and thinks ‘fuck’, and not as a mode of exclamation. I’m a girl.”

“I can testify to that,” he offers, helpfully, hand already slipping beneath the sheet to verify again.

She throws the pillow at him, he nudges open her legs with his knee.

(This is something to know; he was wrong. The rhythm is new.

"I waited a hundred and eighty days for this," she says.

I waited nine years for you, he doesn't.)




“What were your other girlfriends like?”

Okay, that, totally not what he was expecting, which should have made this exactly what he should have expected, because Veronica and left-field questions apparently still kept in touch in all those years of radio silence, “seriously? Where were you when they taught Pillow Talk 101 in every chick flick ever?”

“I’ll tell you about mine,” she offers, like it's a trade-off, like he didn't just spend nine years defining his relationships through negatives.

He considers that, “I knew the butch boots told a deeper story.”

“So,” she says, and he recognizes this, this not-looking, this intense concentration on everything in the immediate vicinity, except him, it’s somewhere lodged in the back of his head between ‘that bitch’ and ‘epic’, Veronica Mars does vulnerability with all the finesse of Dick at the Seventh Veil, “anyone I know? who were they?”

He thinks of lying for a moment, “not you.” Doesn't.

He sounds like the Piz version of himself. Or maybe that’s the him version of himself on Veronica Mars. That is- wow, he has no words for what that is.

But then she’s looking back at him, hopeful and wary all at once, and the kicker is not that she looks it, but that she’s letting him see her looking it- it makes the part of him, the hidden part of him, that’s still eighteen and insistently raging, constantly lashing, always alone, quiet down, just a little bit; makes that other part of him, that’s always waiting for her to leave when she gives too much, when she accidentally lets him in, act up, “And by that I mean thank god for that, because--”

“You’re still talking,” she notes, but she seems softer around the edges, and she’s not buying it, he can tell, which, well, he’s not buying what he’s selling either, and he's had enough counselors to understand displacement, “don’t you have any setting that’s ‘vibrate only’?”




She sits on the counter, after, ice-cream spoon in her hand, and declares, "I just had sex in Dick's house. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d utter."

He shakes his head, "don't say that out loud, he probably has spy cams installed. I'm going to have nightmares about him dreaming about that. It’s not the first time; we had sex in his house before I left, remember?”

“True,” she nods, “but I didn’t utter this sentence back then. Utter would mean 'giving audible expression to', I went to Stanford, okay, I know my SAT words. You left too quickly. I didn’t even get to think it before you were gone. I’m being grammatical here.”

He busies himself with the sundae, sex makes her hungry, “passive-aggressive always was the best look on you. It matches your skin-tone.”

She sighs, and he almost says, yeah, I know what that feels like, “I knew bygones was too big a word for your vocabulary. I get it, okay, I’m on probation here. I need an ankle monitor.”

"I know you, Mars," he says, and moves closer, trapping her against the shelf and himself, hands on either side of her thighs on the counter, her legs dangling off it, between his, because obviously hers don't reach the ground, and he means it to be funny, he really does, but he can't help the undertone "you're a flight risk."

He doesn't quite realize he's searching her movements for restlessness, waiting for the cue to move away when she feels too caged in; but you can't give your heart to a wild thing, Mr. Bell.

She looks straight at him instead, fisting his shirt in her hands, and-- unexpectedly, pulls him in, even closer.

And it’s strange, because he’s cataloged a lot of differences tonight; it's the first time since this started- again- that he's had time to, when he hasn't been trying to hold her together with just his hands, but then she's smiling and her smile is the same- it's like she's eighteen and twenty-eight all at once, and every year in between, every year in between that he missed-

-and she's leaning in, breath warm against his neck, like it's a secret, like she trusts him enough to tell him her secrets, "I don't really do that anymore."




(Later- he has to start the sundae from scratch, obviously. Even if it hadn't melted, she does this thing where she knocks the bowl over in her impatience to get his shirt off again, spilling the ice-cream all over the counter; and, for a while there, after, she's sticky and sweet.

He doesn't mind, though.)