Series: 100 Original Fics
Character: Fox Maharassa
Prompt: 066 - Rain
Summary: Fox is having a pretty poor evening.
Word Count: 2566
Date First Posted: 29-03-2011
Date Revised: 02-06-2011
Notes: Thank you Dino! El Zorromobil was stolen in 2007, so set sometime before then.
Feedback: always welcome, as is constructive criticism.
Also Archived At: LJ
The rhythmic sound of Fox’s teeth chattering together would put any percussionist to shame.
Fox trudged down the street, hands shoved into his pockets, soaked to the bone. Water sluiced down his face, droplets catching on thick eyelashes, making it hard to see.
With another two blocks left to walk in waterlogged shoes, Fox tried to duck his head as far as possible into the collar of his coat. He tried not to think too much about the many little (and not so little) events that had resulted in him walking home in the rain on a Friday evening. His shirt and thin jacket were plastered to his frame, fabric sticking uncomfortably to skin.
The annoying part of the situation was that, apart from everything going wrong, Fox rather enjoyed standing out in rainstorms in his clothes. But that was at a time and a place of his choosing, not being forced to walk six blocks with icy drops of water sliding down his collar.
Feeling frozen and miserable and wet didn’t lend itself to being able to appreciate the beauty of the storm, which was a shame. Instead he focused on the steady rhythm of his footsteps, watching each foot advance in front of the other on the sodden path.
The streetlights flickered on, creating bright spots of colour on the shiny asphalt as he crossed the road. Last block. Fox shoved his hands further into his soaked pockets, plastered a smile on his cold face, and increased his walking speed.
Within a few minutes he’d reached the door to his apartment building. Breathing a sigh of relief, he fished keys out of his pocket. With fingers numb and wet, Fox missed the keyhole of the door twice before his shaking hand found the lock.
Trailing water over the tile, Fox made it to the elevator to find an ‘Out of Order’ sign stuck to the battered doors.
As soon as Fox figured out who that Murphy guy was, he was going to put a boot in his ass.
Thankfully, Fox’s apartment was only on the second floor. With a sigh, he turned toward the stairwell and began the climb.
By the time he got to the end of the second flight of stairs, Fox’s teeth were hurting from clacking together. It wasn’t until he was out of the rain that the cold really began to matter, chilling him to the bone.
Reaching his apartment, Fox once again took two tries to get his keys into the lock and open the door.
Heated air hit him like a wall at the threshold. The overhead lights weren’t on for once; instead, the few lamps dotted around the room cast a warm glow. The one candleholder he and Collin were legally allowed to possess was a tastefully abstract wall sconce. It was lit with a vanilla candle, and the scent filled Fox’s nose with its pleasant aroma.
Fox cast a glance around the living room. While the place hadn’t been particularly messy before he’d left that morning, it was still noticeably tidier now. The room had a distinctive homey atmosphere, helped by the gentle ‘clink’ of dishes from the kitchen.
“Honey, I’m home,” Fox bit out through a complaining jaw muscle.
“You’re late,” came Collin’s voice from the kitchen, though he didn’t sound particularly cranky.
“Yeah well... if you can believe me, I have perfectly legitimate reasons.”
Collin emerged from the kitchen, carrying a steaming mug and wearing a well worn cotton sleep shirt and royal blue flannel pyjama pants. Fox couldn’t help but smile at him; he looked warm and relaxed and comfortable. “Let’s hear your excu-- Jesus, Fox, why the fuck are you soaked?”
Fox dumped the contents of his pockets onto the small table next to the door, including his sodden wallet and keys. “I walked from the bus stop in the rain.”
Collin put the mug down and approached Fox. “Bus stop… that’s six blocks away. Why the hell were you on the bus, anyway? And where’s your trench coat?”
“My trench is the trunk of my car, and my car is at the garage. El Zorromobil’s got some problems...” Fox allowed Collin to help peel him out of his wet coat.
Collin raised an eyebrow. “What kind of problems?”
“The fuel line was slashed.” Fox shrugged at Collin’s incredulous stare. “Apparently I shouldn’t underestimate Mr Rudd’s ability to piss off people he doesn’t know. Looks like the work of an angry Daily Warning subscriber.” Fox tried for a smile. “Considering there’s only three, that narrows the field a little.”
Collin was not amused, shaking his head as he began to remove Fox’s tie. Fox toed off his completely waterlogged shoes.
“Why didn’t you call and tell me you were catching the bus? I could’ve phoned your dad or something.”
“Last call went to the tow truck company to get to the garage, then I ran out of juice,” Fox stuttered. Instead of making him feel better, the removal of his clothes was actually starting to make him feel worse.
Collin put a warm palm to the side of his cheek, brushing a gentle thumb over Fox’s mouth. “Damn it, Fox, your lips are just about blue.”
“At least they’ll match my eyes,” Fox joked, trying for a laugh. It came out more like a chesty hack.
“That’s it,” Collin announced. He got behind Fox, placing hands on either side of narrow hips and urging him into the bathroom. “You’re having a hot shower. Now.”
Fox nodded, shoulders shaking uncontrollably. Collin turned on the taps before he continued stripping Fox, allowing the water to heat up. In the enclosed room, it didn’t take long for steam to start billowing out, warming the air.
“I’m irresistible,” Fox laughed as Collin undid the clasp on his work slacks.
“Not as much as you'd like to think,” Collin remarked, attitude purely business as he pulled pants and underwear down in one slick movement.
Collin urged Fox in under the warm spray. Fox made a noise of contentment, closing his eyes, turning his face directly towards the showerhead. He creaked one eye open and gave Collin a sidelong glance.
“Like what you see?”
“Maybe,” Collin’s lips twitched in amusement. “But it looks like it was pretty cold out there…"
Fox’s eyes opened wide, comically offended. “I was going to ask if you wanted to join me, but now I don’t think I will.”
“I showered not long ago and just got dry.” Collin threw Fox his loofah, who caught it deftly. “Warm up, then we’ll talk.”
With one last very pointed and lingering look down, Collin pulled the shower curtain closed and left the bathroom.
Thoughts of anyone and anything blessedly left Fox’s mind in the first few minutes of the shower. Heat radiated through his system, raising his blood temperature and making stiff, cold muscles warm and pliant again.
Fox lathered shampoo in his hair with long fingers, letting them massage the tightness out of the back of his neck. With the immediate needs of his body met, his mind reluctantly drifted back to his less than ideal situation.
The loss of his car was unfortunate on a number of counts. There was the monetary aspect to consider; he wasn’t sure how much a new fuel line would cost, but it wasn’t something that could be paid for in smiles and backslaps. He was still smarting from where he’d had to open a vein to pay for the tow.
There was the inconvenient loss of transportation just in time for the weekend, when he and Collin had planned to take a trip to the regional farmer’s market. It might’ve still been possible in a universe where Collin hadn’t completely vowed -- yes, vowed -- to never use public transport again. But he was realistic (sometimes), and that was not going to happen.
The Fox of five years ago would never have been thinking about this during a warm, relaxing shower. But with age came responsibility (apparently), and he was at least determined to give the problem a passing thought, no matter how unpleasant it might be.
New Fox was taking over. New-average-joe-hate-my-job-Fox.
His mother would be so pleased. His father would be horrified.
Fox looked down at his wrinkly hands and decided he’d had enough water for one evening, after all.
After washing shampoo and conditioner out of his hair, Fox turned off the faucets and groped for a towel, inventing some colourful curses as he got slightly tangled in the shower curtain.
“I hate you,” he announced to the curtain with quiet authority, “and in our next place, you are being replaced with doors.” Suitably pleased at the threat, he pulled back the curtain with a flourish.
At some point when he’d been dazed under the heat of the water, a fresh towel had been placed on the vanity alongside a worn terrycloth robe, a pair of the cheap slippers he and Collin had pinched from a hotel, and white cotton boxer shorts.
Fox marvelled at the treasures laid out before him. He gave himself a cursory drying before picking up the robe reverently.
This was Collin’s bathrobe. Fox hadn’t gotten a replacement since his old one had worn out and was explicitly forbidden to borrow Collin’s after a careless incident at breakfast with a jar of jam.
Fox slipped his arms through and tied the waist. He grinned as he slid into the slippers, as the robe came to just under his knees. On Collin it fell at mid-calf.
A swipe of the foggy glass with his hand revealed the bathroom mirror, and a quick look confirmed that blood had indeed returned to his lips, and the hot water had gone a little way to alleviate tired circles under his eyes. With a relaxed sigh, Fox shuffled out of the bathroom as he casually dried his hair.
While he’d been having a shower, Collin had done a spot of furniture rearranging. The old coffee table had been moved to the side, out of the way. Their battered couch had been pushed into its place in the middle of the living area, facing their one, large window. Blinds had been pulled back and the kitchen and all surrounding lights had been turned off, offering the best view of the activity outside.
Fox’s eyes adjusted to the dimmer view of the room to find Collin sitting on the sofa facing the window, legs crossed casually. Each of his hands held a steaming mug.
Fox shambled over to the couch, draping the towel around his neck. Collin turned slightly as he sat, handing a mug to Fox. The sweet smell of cocoa filled his nostrils, and he blew on the surface of the liquid, eager to take a sip.
“Nice look,” Collin remarked, inclining his head towards the hemline of his robe, now showing off Fox’s knobbly knees.
“I know, right?” Fox lifted his skinny legs and examined them. “Betty Grable’s pins have nothing on mine.”
“Clearly worth more than her mere million,” Collin answered, also sipping at his mug. “Regardless of the shapeliness of your legs, I will have to kill you if you spill cocoa on my robe.”
Fox gave his customary two-fingered salute from his right temple. “Acknowledged.”
A particularly spectacular bolt of lightning flashed purple-white across the sky, killing conversation for a few moments. Both men stared outside, enraptured with nature’s display. Fox stole a furtive glance at Collin, his patrician features lit up periodically by flashes from the sky.
Something ached deep down in his gut, and he labelled it ‘Fear of Disappointing Him’.
“I can try calling the garage now,” Fox began.
“What?” Collin asked distractedly, not taking his eyes away from the storm.
“Someone might still be there, I can try and figure out how much it’ll take to fix El Zorromobil. The towing fee tapped me out a bit, so I suppose if it’s more than we can afford this week, they could keep her there until I get paid next week and I can take the bus.”
Collin glanced at the clock on the wall. “The shower has clearly affected your mind. It’s nearly 8 on a Friday night. I guarantee there’s no-one left in that garage to answer the phone.”
“Oh.” Fox looked down for a minute, before perking up again. “Well, I suppose I could call another place, see if they could give me a price—“
“Fox,” Collin interrupted, putting a hand on Fox’s thigh, “Any other day I would welcome you being this motivated and not attempting to procrastinate. But it’s late. It’s Friday. You’re not going to be able to do anything of note right this instant.” He gave a little smile and brushed a hand over Fox’s cheek. “Provided you’re still this moved in approximately 12 hours to get this solved, no-one will blame you if you take the rest of the night off, least of all me.”
Collin’s hand moved over Fox’s cheek with gentle intent. “You’ve warmed up,” he mused, running fingertips over Fox’s lips. Fox leaned forward but then pulled back abruptly.
“What is it?” Collin asked warily. Fox’s reply was to drain the last of his mug of cocoa and place it harmlessly on the floor. “Wise man,” he said, and gave the robe collar a cheeky tug.
They shared a soft kiss which Fox eventually broke to rub his stubbled chin against Collin’s cheeks and throat.
“You know cats have scent glands in their cheeks which they rub over everything to mark their territory,” Collin reminded him.
Fox looked suitably affronted, but nevertheless continued to nuzzle. “You callin’ me a cat? How dare you, sir. How dare you.”
“Très dramatique, Fox.”
He pulled back then, giving a trademark grin that showed off his eyeteeth. Eyeteeth were always a harbinger of doom.
“Oh ‘Tish, I love it when you speak French!” He took Collin’s hand and proceeded to pepper kisses up and down his arm.
“You terrific idiot,” Collin chided, yet allowed him to continue, wearing an expression of detached satisfaction.
When Fox’s lips reached the top of Collin’s shoulder once again, he placed another kiss on Collin’s lips, before putting his feet up on the sofa and stretching out to rest his head on the blond’s chest. Collin relaxed his posture and extended one pajama-clad leg over Fox’s knees, running a lazy hand through black hair.
Thunder rumbled in the distance, moving further and further away from their location. Rain hitting the glass and tile was soon the only sound to be heard in their small apartment as Fox and Collin relaxed; for one night, they could be content to let their problems rest until morning.