I was in a bad mood and thus I wrote fluff.
In which Sam and Jack watch PBS and don't discuss having kids.
For my cousin, who likes Blue’s Clues more than Boohbah.
She wakes up with a crick in her neck. It's to be expected, she supposes, from falling asleep with her head in someone's lap.
She shifts just a little, rolls over far enough to see Jack's face above her and sees him looking down at her, a fond smile on his face.
"Hey there, sleepyhead." And he runs his hand through hair and she closes her eyes because it's been a while since anybody has done that with such casual affection.
"Hey, sorry I fell asleep." Her voice is low and rough and she clears her throat even as she tries to pull herself up. The combination of the dip he's making in the couch and his hand in her hair pulls her back down and she sighs, wiggles around a little and tries to make herself more comfortable.
His leg shifts and she looks right to see him prop his foot on the coffee table. And past his foot and the empty bottles and the bowl that was filled with popcorn she sees something on the TV that is not the episode of Nova that was on when she fell asleep.
"Jack?" She twists back around to look at his face.
"Hmm?" He's not looking at her anymore, is now focused on the TV.
"What the hell are you watching?" He looks down, face calm, apparently not seeing anything strange about the . . . things on the TV.
"What-bah?" She turns to look at the TV again and sees the blobs doing some sort of dance. Well, she imagines it's a dance; he's got the sound off. Which is sweet, and considerate and so like him, she's coming to discover.
"They're distant cousins to the Teletubbies, I believe." And that's it, she hoists herself up and even as it embarrasses her (need to add a few more crunches in the morning, Sam) the feel of his hand on the small of her back makes her feel pleased and comforted and warm.
But if he thinks he's going to distract her by touching her, he's got another thing coming.
She looks at him. "How do you know what the Teletubbies are?"
"I *was* around some of the time when Charlie was little."
And she is abashed. "Oh."
"Hey. Don't" and he reaches out and cups the side of her face, smoothes the worry lines from the corners of her eyes.” It’s okay."
And she doesn't quite smile but she does turn her face into his palm and close her eyes for just a second. "Okay."
And as if he's reached his quota for being serious for the day, he says "But I really do prefer Blue's Clues." And she opens her eyes and bats his hand away.
"No, I'm serious. Cassie and I watched it last weekend when we hung out." A cocked eyebrow. "She says it helps her de-stress after she's been studying. And it's educational."
She snorts. "Right. I'm sure you both learned a lot. Educational."
He smirks a little, just the smallest lifting of the corner of his mouth. "Well, not for Cassie. But for me and small children? Sure."
"I'm sure kids learn a lot from a blue dog. It's not even realistic. I mean, a blue dog?"
He holds up a hand, looks at her in disbelief. "Whoa whoa whoa. You don't believe some TV programming can be educational?"
"As educational as a good book? No." And he looks shocked.
"You're not going to be one of those parents who won't let their kids watch TV, are you?" at her look, he sighs. "Man. I hated you guys when Charlie was little."
"I just think it would be better for my son or daughter to be reading, or outside playing that to be cooped up in the house watching someone else pretend for them."
"But what about 'Sesame Street'? Or Dora the Explorer? She's young and smart and has that 'you go, girl' attitude I know you're so fond of." And she reaches over and smacks him in the upper arm.
"C'mon, Sam, do you really want your kid to be a social pariah when she shows up to kindergarten and doesn't know who the cookie monster is?"
She shrugs. "Maybe. I don't know. I think my husband might have some input on the subject, so maybe she'll be saved from social ruin."
He grunts. "Yeah. Well. If I have my way, and I think I will, the kid's going to get some TV."
"Some. Not a lot. As a treat." And she watches him consider.
"Maybe a couple of set hours of educational stuff a week and then junk like Power Rangers if she's good. That's fair, and then she'll have some sort of base on which to communicate with her classmates."
And she thinks she should be uncomfortable with the way this somehow became about them negotiating about one specific (and yet still hypothetical) kid, but she's not, and she thinks his idea isn't too bad.
And that thought is interrupted by a yawn. "Work on it and we'll negotiate later. And on that note, I should be heading home."
She stands and so does he, and he hovers a little uncertainly.
"You could stay."
"Mmm. I stayed last night. I should go home."
"It's a Friday night. And it's-" a quick check of his watch - "almost three am. You're tired. Stay."
She should go. That's how this works. But it is late. . .
He sees her wavering. "Stay. We'll watch cartoons tomorrow morning and decide which ones the kid can watch. And we’ll eat froot loops, which you will no doubt not allow your children to eat either."
"They're full of sugar."
"And will rot your teeth. I'll upgrade the dental plan."
She wants to stay. She's tired and she wants to watch Saturday morning cartoons with him and talk about a hypothetical kid of whom they're both being careful not to consider the parentage.
She gives in. "Fine. But only because it's late."
She changes into the pajamas she keeps here and brushes her teeth. He comes out of his bedroom and the master bath smelling of mouthwash, stands in the door way behind her, leans against the door jam and watches as she finishes brushing.
She rinses her mouth and turns to leave, but he's still standing there, watching her.
"The kid's going to have to brush its teeth every night, isn't it?"
She smiles cheekily. "And take a bath. Although there can be bubbles. And bath toys."
And he smiles too, smiles and is happy and she's happy, and he leans down and kisses her soft and slow and sweetly, and she can just tastes his mouth wash and when they pull away she feels content and if this were about something else, she'd swear she can feel herself fall a little further.
"Goodnight?" She looks at him and he nods his head slightly, still smiling and looking a little goofy as he steps out of her way.
"'Night" and she feels him watch her walk down the hall, stops and smiles before she enters the room.
And she lies on her back and listens to him get into bed and tries to figure out how to convince him that Disney films are definitely out.
Links for the unwary: