It is just still sugar-fey's birthday in
Length: 1,100 words
Rating: PG13 for nakedness
Summary: Zoe's first birthday after marrying
Zoe Washburne, 15th February
~ for sugar-fey ~
She feels the blanket and then the lighter sheet pulled back, feels cool air cover her body instead, but she doesn't open her eyes.
As a child she'd loved waking up slowly. It was a time-wasting luxury lying still in a warm bed whilst listening to the morning bustle of others beginning the day. She'd try to remember her dreams or daydream about how the day ahead might go.
During the war she'd learnt to go from deep sleep to alert and ready to run, ready to fire, ready to fight in seconds and it was a habit she'd been unable to lose. To be fair, she hadn't tried all that hard to get rid of it. Then
She lies still with her eyes closed, fully awake and trying not to be, trying to savour that morning moment she used to love.
Something light is placed on her stomach and the slight tickling sensation, along with the urge to be aware of her surroundings – another habit that's apparently hard to shake – forces her to open her eyes. She lifts her head and looks down along her body. Her breasts frame a small cake, no bigger than the palm of her hand, resting just above her bellybutton with a little candle stuck in the icing and, behind and a little above it, the face of her husband.
"Happy Birthday," he murmurs in a sleep-roughened voice, unintentionally sounding like sex, and grinning wide enough to almost split his face in two.
Hoban, or Wash as he likes to be called, can go from sleeping to capable of flying in seconds, but, oddly enough, can't go from sleeping to being capable of anything else (except perhaps sex) in anything less than ten minutes. It's a quirk among many quirks that make up the man she recently married and, oddly enough, she loves him for all of them, even the annoying ones.
"You're using me as a plate because it's my birthday?" she asks.
"You are using you as a plate because it's your birthday. Also because I forgot to carry out my grand plan of stealthily extracting a plate from Serenity's abundant supply and secreting one here last night without Mal noticing. It was a singularly amazing plan, but sadly I was distracted by your equally amazing lips eating your less amazing protein mix so prettily and had other things on my mind than plate stealing." He reaches out an arm and snags an igniter from the bedside table adding happily, "But I did remember something to light the candle."
"You'll set the safely alarm off." Zoe doesn't know much about birthday traditions, because the only one she remembers celebrating is when she came of age, but she does know exactly how sensitive the alarms onboard Serenity are to smoke.
"Guess we’ll have to be fast then." Wash grins wider, if that's possible, and sets the little candle burning before launching into 'happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday oh wonderful Wife, happy birthday to you,' singing so speedily that all the words blur together.
She lifts her head higher, propping herself up on her elbows, and blows the flame out quickly and efficiently.
Zoe does most things quickly and efficiently. She used to wonder sometimes how much of what made her her was a collection of habits formed in the war, child's building blocks stacked on top of each other in a Zoe-shape with a Zoe-label. She compared herself to the Captain, trying to see if the things he didn't have were the things that made her Zoe, then realised she'd never be able to tell because it could be that they just had a few different building blocks.
A broad hand tears a piece off the sponge cake and Wash's arm brushes against one of her nipples as he feeds it to her, pink icing sticking to her lips.
She knows because she asked him once. Her husband is one of the most talkative people she has ever met, but in talking with him, in the near-constant chatter, there's a kind of freedom. She can ask him anything and talk to him about anything, because he talks to her about anything.
Her husband, who feeds her cake and carefully licks the fallen crumbs off her skin.
"I think I like birthdays if this is the kind of breakfast I get," she says.
Wash rests his chin between her breasts, above where the cake had been, with his body flat on top of hers, one hand lazily stroking up and down her side and the other entwined with one of her hands.
"How can you not like birthdays?" he asks with mock horror and his breath strokes the underside of her chin. "Birthdays are a day in which the birthday person is worshipped even more wonderfully than usual. Today I shall treat you like a Princess – nay, a Queen! Not that I don't always treat you like that, of course, my Queenly Amazon."
"Of course." She leans forward and brushes her lips against his, softly and barely touching, then leans back.
Wash teases with words, but, whilst she's learning how to do that from him, at the moment she still finds it easier to tease him this way, as a woman to a man. He doesn't seem to mind.
His mouth parts, obviously wanting more, before it grins again. "What else would my Amazon Warrior Queen, my love, my Wife wish to have on her birthday?"
Zoe tugs him upwards with her hands, with him moving willingly, until his face is level with hers before she hooks a leg between his two hairier ones and around one of his knees so that she can roll them both, so that he lies beneath her with his scruffy morning hair decorating the pillow. She presses herself against her husband, skin touching skin everywhere that skin can, and nuzzles his neck.
This is what she wants: not waking slowly with a dream, waking fast for a purpose or even trying not to wake at all, but waking at her own speed, whatever that speed is, and being fully awake with this man.
She feels the cool air against her back and her warm husband against her front and her eyes wide open.