|Staking a Claim
Author: Bad Faery PM
Nick doesn't like it when Belle isn't in his lab. He really doesn't like it when he catches her with Brody, and lately it seems like that's all he does.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Dr. N. Rush & Belle - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,940 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 37 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 07-16-12 - Published: 05-05-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8088879
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Belle French was a damned nuisance. She was constantly in his lab, bringing him coffee- or at least a reasonable simulation of it- making certain that he ate and occasionally slept, and organizing the things that he tore through so he could find them later. When she wasn't checking up on him, she was curled in the corner, reading silently to herself. She was always there.
Because she was always there, there was no reason he constantly had to look for her, yet he did. It had become part of his routine. Every six minutes, he glanced away from the computer to take a sip of coffee and look at Belle. It was distracting. She was distracting.
Even more distracting was when she caught him at it and smiled, her entire face lighting up like he was someone worth smiling at. He'd turn back to the computer, vowing he wouldn't look at her again. And for six minutes he wouldn't, then his eyes would again stray inexorably to her.
She didn't belong there, neither in his lab that had room only for the beauty of numbers, not for a woman's beauty, nor on the Destiny itself. This cold, miserable heap was no place for a woman like Belle. She belonged somewhere warm and sunlit and suffused with flowers. Instead she curled up in a dark corner of his lab and read, bringing warmth with her.
He snarled at her when she didn't deserve it, and she never flinched from his displays of bad temper. Instead, she usually brought him food after one of his outbursts as if she blamed low blood sugar for his temper and not the fact that he was simply a miserably unpleasant man to be around. So he growled and swiped at her, and she smiled and fed him and read quietly like he hadn't just called her useless. She was worse than useless; she was a distraction.
It should have been a relief when he went through his routine one day to find no trace of her. Nick jerked his head around fast enough that he was in danger of snapping his neck, but his eyes didn't deceive him: Belle wasn't in the lab. She had been- the cup of coffee at his elbow was proof enough of that- but she wasn't there now.
Realistically, he knew she had to leave occasionally. Food didn't appear by magic after all, and she did have tasks to complete on the ship. He'd just never caught her before. Satisfied, he returned his attention to the monitor. Six minutes later, she still wasn't there. Nor was she there six minutes after that, nor six minutes after that.
Belle wasn't there, and his coffee mug was empty, and Nick was not in a good mood. He waited another six minutes, growing more disgruntled by the second, then went in search of more coffee. He certainly wasn't looking for her.
He found her anyway, chattering with Brody, the coffee maker in pieces on the table in front of them. She was giggling, her hand resting on his elbow as he fiddled with the pieces, both of them oblivious to the caffeine- deprived Doctor Rush standing behind them.
He watched like a hawk as Belle smiled at Brody, the same smile she usually gave him, and the other man wasn't even trying to fix the bloody machine, just moving pieces around while he leaned into Belle's personal space. With a thwack he slammed his mug down on the table between them, grimly pleased by the way they jumped apart. "Oh, Nick, I'm sorry," Belle exclaimed, still breathing a little fast from the shock he'd given her, "You need a refill, don't you? The coffee maker was acting up, and Brody-"
"Yes, I see that," he grumbled, not liking the way the other man's name sounded on her lips. Elbowing Brody out of the way, he shoved himself in next to Belle, reaching for the components. He had it back together in four minutes. God knew how long the other man had been screwing with it. "There."
"Thanks, Nick," Belle beamed at him like he'd done something miraculous, not fixed a damned coffee maker. "I'll just..." with a gesture she indicated that she'd make another pot, then bring him his mug when she'd finished. Brody watched her, showing no signs of going back to whatever he'd been doing before he started breaking coffee makers. Nick leaned back against the table, arms folded, and watched too.
Belle glanced uncertainly at the two men who were both looking at her like they expected a show, then turned her full attention to her task, watching doggedly as the machine percolated. No three people had ever been so interested in watching a pot of coffee brew. "It looks like it's working," she chirped, her face falling when he just stared at her, watching Brody out of the corner of his eye. The other man looked like he wanted to say something and didn't.
"I'll bring you your mug as soon as it's done," she promised a little desperately, but Brody wasn't moving so Nick didn't either. He'd been deprived of looking at her earlier, so he had some lost time to make up for. Finally, mercifully, the coffee was done and she filled his mug, adding exactly the right amount of milk, although he couldn't remember ever telling her how he took it. She handed it over, and he took a sip, holding her gaze. "Perfect. As usual."
Belle's eyes sparkled at the rare compliment, and Nick knew he'd won this round. Stepping aside, he allowed her to lead him back to his lab, not even minding the wave she gave Brody. She could wave all she liked; she was leaving with him.
Nick got back to work, and this time when her eyes met his as he went through his routine, he didn't look away as quickly. This time he returned her smile, hers happy and open, his tight-lipped and awkward, but she didn't seem to mind that he was out of practice.
0 0 0 0 0
For the next week, Belle stayed where she belonged. Nick wasn't sure when he'd decided that his lab was where she was supposed to be, he just knew that it was. Her smiles and light touches to his shoulder were distracting, but they were far less distracting than her absence. Belle not bring there was not acceptable, and he was grateful she'd seemed to realize that without him having to tell her in what would inevitably be an awkward conversation.
Therefore it was tremendously frustrating when he looked up to find her gone again. Feeling generous, he decided to give her eighteen minutes before he went after her, but it took considerably less than that before he realized he'd started looking for her every three minutes instead of every six. This was getting ridiculous. Did the woman want to keep him from his work?
If she was doing it on purpose, he'd have to prove that he didn't care. That resolve lasted exactly twenty-five seconds until he realized he couldn't find the notebook he'd used to jot down his ideas for increasing Destiny's energy output, and now he couldn't get anything done if he wanted to. Which he did.
The irritating woman had put it somewhere, and now he couldn't find it, and now he was going to have to go find her and make her produce it, so he could get back to work. If she'd just stay in the bloody lab, this wouldn't be a problem, but, no, she was going to make him search her out. Again.
Nick stormed out of the lab, ready to ransack the ship to find her, but it wasn't necessary. He saw her the moment he rounded the first corner, a book clasped in her arms, talking to Brody.
The other man was leaning down into her space, and Nick had the sudden urge to smash his fist into Brody's face. He ignored it, fixing his full attention on Belle. "What did you do with my notebook?"
Both of them started as he announced his presence, and Brody stopped crowding her. When he did, Nick felt his tension level drop a good twenty points even though he was still wasting time. Belle was looking at him now, and that was good. "What?"
"My notebook," he repeated with deliberate patience, "Where did you put my notebook?"
Belle looked puzzled. "It's by your computer."
He folded his arms and glared at her, because the notebook was not by his computer. If it was by his computer, he would have seen it, and he wouldn't have had to hunt her down to find out where she put it.
He watched with satisfaction as she moved toward him, on her way back to the lab. "I swear I..." She tossed a distracted wave over her shoulder as she passed him, "I'll give you the book when I'm done, Brody."
She wasn't looking at the other man anymore, so she didn't see his disappointed face, but Nick did, and he couldn't stop himself from smirking. Then he followed Belle back to the lab, a little embarrassed when she moved one piece of paper and unearthed the notebook sitting next to his computer exactly where she'd said it was.
"So, Brody wants to read your book?" he asked, flipping through the notebook to find what he needed and not watching as she curled up in her reading corner.
"He thought it sounded interesting," she answered, giving her attention back to the book, and maybe she wasn't focusing on him, but at least she wasn't thinking about Brody anymore.
"Read to me," he requested, not thinking before the words were out of his mouth.
Belle looked at him over the top of her book in surprise. "Won't that be distracting?"
He wasn't interested in the words or the story. He wanted to hear her voice. If he could hear her, that would be proof that she was there, and he wouldn't have to waste time looking for her. Really, having her read would be considerably less distracting than the alternative. "Background noise."
Belle shrugged, turned back to the first page of her book and started to read.
0 0 0 0 0
The third time Belle went missing, he didn't even bother waiting. This had gone on long enough. Belle needed to stay put unless she wanted to destroy his concentration and by extension, all of their lives. It was that simple. Unless she had a death wish, she needed to stay in the bloody lab. The good of the ship depended on it.
He moved through Destiny at a fast clip, ignoring anyone who wasn't Belle. All the others' petty problems could wait until he'd found her and possibly invented and installed some kind of tracking system, because not knowing where she was was not acceptable.
Nick might not know where she was, but he was reasonably sure he knew who she was with, and that didn't help matters at all. Brody had been sniffing around her for weeks, and maybe he was the one with a death wish, because if he kept stealing Belle, Nick was never going to get anything done again.
He found her in the viewing room, and at first he thought he'd jumped to an incorrect conclusion, because all he saw was Belle perched in one of the chairs and looking down at the floor instead of at the stars. Thinking she was upset, he turned to go, and that was when he heard Brody's voice, unintelligible and muffled by the sudden roaring in his ears.
Two more steps showed him what he'd missed before: Brody was crouched on the floor in front of Belle, her bare foot in his lap. Her leg was extended so he could grasp her foot in both hands, the position causing her full skirt to ride up her legs, giving both men an eyeful of her thighs. Belle was smiling down at Brody who was returning it with a moonstruck look, dividing his attention between her face and her legs, and Nick had had enough.
Brody jumped back as he stormed forward, making his presence known. The other man's lips moved as he said something, but Nick couldn't hear him and didn't bother trying, because he was busy glaring into Belle's startled face. Grabbing her around the waist, he simply heaved her out of her seat and over his shoulder, arms locked around her upper thighs so she couldn't get away. Brody tried to catch his arm but fell back at Nick's snarl as he stalked out of the viewing room and back toward the lab, Belle over his shoulder like a sack of flour.
The few people he passed in the corridors were quick to get out of his way, and their expressions of disbelief would have been funny on another occasion, but Nick was too irate to appreciate them at the moment. His one and only goal was to get Belle back to the lab where she belonged and make sure she bloody well stayed there.
Once they were safely inside, he dumped her back on her feet and ignored her yelp of surprise as he busied himself with locking the door. Her hand went to his shoulder, and he shook her off, wondering if he should shove a table in front of the door for good measure.
"Nick... Nick, stop." Belle grabbed his elbow, yanking him around to face her. "What's going on? What's wrong?"
Nick drew a breath, trying to calm down. Nothing was wrong now. He'd fixed the problem: Belle was back. "Nothing's wrong. I have to get back to work."
"Okay," she murmured, mystified, and he watched to be sure she headed for her reading corner and not the door. He didn't have time to keep chasing her all over the damned ship. She shook her head, apparently giving up on getting any kind of explanation out of him, and started away, limping.
Nick caught her arm, holding her in place. "What happened?" he demanded, raking his eyes over her as he looked for signs of damage. Now that he was paying attention, he could see that her posture was awkward. Her feet were still bare- her shoes no doubt still in the viewing room- and her right knee was slightly bent, keeping her weight off her right foot.
"I fell in the corridor," Belle admitted, looking a little embarrassed, "I twisted my ankle, and Brody was making sure it wasn't sprained or-"
She stopped talking suddenly as Nick put his hands on either side of her waist and picked her up, depositing her on one of the tables as he dropped to his knees before her, fingers exploring her ankle as gently as he could. He'd no doubt made things worse when he put her down so roughly, and the thought of Belle suffering real harm at his hands made him half-sick.
When his fingers found a tender spot, she made a small, pained sound and he froze, protectively covering the spot with his hand as though he could heal her with his touch. Scarcely knowing what he was doing, he moved his hand and replaced it with his lips, kissing it better as if Belle was a child.
"Nick..." she breathed, and he looked up at her guiltily, wondering what the hell he thought he was doing. Her hand cupped his face, her thumb brushing over his lips, and he couldn't resist the urge to kiss it too. Her smile was a little sad as she shook her head, "We shouldn't."
She was right. They shouldn't. Every day was a disaster waiting to happen, and they'd both lost so much already- his wife, her Mr. Gold, the man she'd said looked so like him. At that moment Nick didn't care if she saw him or just an echo of the man she'd loved, because her eyes were warm and soft despite her denial. "We shouldn't or you don't want me?" he pressed.
"Don't you have to work?" she reminded him, and she wasn't saying that she didn't want him. She wasn't saying no.
Decided, Nick rose to his feet and stepped closer, his body between her legs. Ducking his head, he claimed her mouth, his fingers diving into her curls to position her for his kiss, and Belle's hands clutched at the front of his shirt, pulling him closer. How long had he wanted this? Weeks? Months? He'd never seen it coming until he was in the middle of it, but now he knew she was all he wanted, and to his amazement it seemed that he could have her.
It felt like he'd been waiting decades for this moment, and Nick dismissed any thought of slow and patient. He wanted Belle, and Belle wanted him, and he wasn't going to wait any longer. Tearing his mouth from her, he attacked her throat with kisses as his fingers went to the hem of her shirt, pulling away from her just long enough to yank it off over her head. She giggled at his enthusiasm, cradling his head in her hands, and he grinned against her skin and worked his way lower.
Her breasts were perfect, exactly the right size for his hands, and he took advantage of that at once, cupping them and squeezing before lowering his head to nuzzle her through her bra. Pressing them together, he trailed his tongue over the seam he'd made, and she yanked on his hair. "You're overdressed," she panted.
"I'm busy," he muttered, reaching behind her to unhook her bra and pull it off her before burying his face between her breasts, teasing her with his lips and teeth and tongue. She even seemed to like the scratch of his beard against her delicate skin, her legs wrapping around his hips to pull him closer to her.
He ground himself against her with a groan, pushing her skirt up nearly to her waist until only her knickers and his jeans were separating them. With a violent thrust of his arm, he knocked everything off the table with a clatter, wanting to see Belle sprawled beneath him as he claimed her.
It took a physical effort to wrench himself away from her, then he was pulling down her knickers, ready to drop to his knees before her and worship. She'd taste like roses and summer, he knew she would.
Then someone knocked on the door of the lab, almost immediately trying the handle, and it was a damned good thing he'd locked it, because Nick didn't want anyone else seeing his Belle like this.
"Rush?" He growled at the echo of Brody's voice through the door, the jealousy- that's what it was, that's what he'd been avoiding naming- clawing at his chest again.
"Go away, we're busy," he snarled, sick to death of the other man's interruptions. He didn't know if Brody was doing it on purpose or not, but if he got between him and Belle again, Nick was going to do something unpleasant.
"Can I talk to Belle for a minute?" the other man asked plaintively, and Nick reconsidered his decision to lock the door. Maybe seeing Belle here like this with his face buried between her thighs would get the bloody point across that she was taken.
Nick's hands went to his fly, unzipping and freeing his hard length as he held Belle's eyes, waiting to see what decision she'd make about the other man. "I'll talk to you later, Brody, okay?" she called, and that wasn't quite the resounding 'Fuck off!' he'd wanted to hear, but it would do.
He took himself in hand and rubbed against her, the feel of her wetness against the head of his cock making his eyes roll back in his head. "Okay," Brody agreed, sounding miserable, and Nick couldn't wait any more. He needed to claim her now.
Belle whimpered as he pressed himself against her entrance, the promise of her tight heat tearing his soul apart as he held himself in place. "If you want me to stop, I will," he gritted out, needing her permission before he could take this final step. "Do you want me to stop, Belle?"
"No," she said at once, and he wasn't sure if that was 'don't stop' or 'don't touch me', so Nick didn't move until she tugged him down for a kiss and rocked her hips against him, "Don't stop."
They both cried out as he pushed inside- her high and needy, him deep and hungry- and the one small part of his brain that wasn't howling its pleasure wondered if Brody was still outside the door, listening in.
"Why are you always talking to Brody?" he demanded, clutching her against his chest as he started to move at a frustratingly slow pace and enjoying her mewl of protest.
Belle gripped him tighter with her legs, trying to get him to hurry up, and he ignored her. "I'm not always talking to Brody," she denied, and the lie irritated him. He slowed down even more to punish her for it.
"Every time I go looking for you, I catch you with him," he reminded her, a sheen of sweat breaking out over his face as he realized the torturously slow thrusts were punishing him as much as her. He nipped at her throat to distract himself, leaving a mark on her pale skin to warn the other man off. Belle belonged to him.
"Catch me with him? I don't-" she yelped when he slammed his hips forward, driving hard into her before pulling out at the same maddeningly slow pace.
"You do," he growled, maintaining the rhythm, a slow slide out punctuated by a hard thrust that made her gasp and tremble, "You are. always. talking to. Brody."
Her nails clawed at his back through his shirt, and Nick wanted to rip it off and feel her hands against his bare skin, but that would entail letting go of her long enough to do so, and that wasn't going to happen. "He's nice," she gasped as he slammed into her again, "I have to talk to someone."
"Talk to me," he snapped, stung by her assertion. She spent half her life in his lab, and he wasn't someone?
"You're busy," she protested, arching into him as her hands strayed to his ass, trying to pull him back against her, "Don't want to distract you. Gods, Nick, do it faster."
In reply, he shoved her flat on the table, her head hanging off the other side as he grabbed her legs and moved them to his shoulders, letting him plunge deeper. Belle shouted as he shoved into her- deep and hard and just as slow. Nick braced his feet on the floor to do it harder yet, then half-climbed after her until she was bent nearly in two, him sheathed in her to the hilt. He held himself there, trembling with it, and demanded, "I catch you talking to other men, and you don't think I'm distracted?"
"I didn't know it bothered you!" she panted, raking her fingers through his hair to yank him down for a kiss that felt like an apology.
"It bothers me," he hissed against her lips, thrusting his tongue deep into her mouth, trying to claim every part of her as his own. Helplessly, he started to thrust again, deep and hard and little rough, but Belle moaned into his mouth and rocked her hips up to meet him.
The air in the room turned heavy and sultry as they moved against each other desperately, hands clutching, tongues twining together frantically, neither able to get close enough. Nick felt like the top of his head was about to blow off, and clung to his sanity with his fingernails, struggling to last until he'd gotten her off. He nipped at her lips, grunting with every breath and trying to do equations in his head to distract himself from the overwhelming pleasure. It wasn't working.
He slid his hand between their bodies, and a single touch to her dripping heat was all it took before Belle was trembling and crying out beneath him, her wide blue eyes fixed on his face like he was a god. Nick let himself go, thrusting in groaning spasms as his climax washed over him with an intensity he'd never felt before. Belle was his now.
Belle was also pinned uncomfortably beneath him on a cold hard table, he realized as his sanity returned, and he slid his arms under her to pick her up, not letting himself slide out of her as he stumbled the two steps to the wall and slid down it with her in his lap, his mostly-clothed body protecting her from the cold metal. She nuzzled against him, rubbing her cheek against his shirt, then she giggled softly.
He nudged her head with his chin, trying to get her to look up at him. "What?"
"I'm not going to stop talking to Brody," she warned him, her eyes shining with affection as she reached up to pet his hair. "Or anyone else for that matter."
"Belle," he groaned, sounding whiny even to his own ears.
Her voice lowered and she delivered the next words against his lips, "Isn't it better to know that I choose to come back to you? Besides," she grinned and arched her neck so he could see the lovebite he'd left on her, "I think you've staked your claim."
Nick swept his tongue over the mark, shivering at her sigh of pleasure. Belle never speaking to anyone else ever again would be ideal, but having everyone else on the ship know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was his sounded like a close second. "I can live with that."