A/N: Hi guys! It's been awhile, it has. My ultra-legitimate excuse is that I broke my wrist a few weeks ago, and it's kind of been a burden to type. I had this one-shot thing stored on my computer for a while, and I felt guilty about making people wait for my other stories so voila! It's not my best, but I think it'll make do for now.
But in more important news, I NEED YOUR HELP, READER! The next multi-chap I have planned is extremely relationship-based. So I want to know what your favourite LL pairings are. There is such a lack of John/Sarah fics that I have to wonder if anyone actually cares, so taking this poll on my profile would be such a huge help to me. FOR EXAMPLE, if JohnXSarah don't a lot of votes then I'll make it more minimal so I can focus on the ones you guys want to read about. I want to make you guys happy with whatever I write, so vote if you want to save both of us time!
Also, is anyone interested in another, uh, 'segment' of Unwritten Works? I planned on only one but if you guys want one, I'll do another. Just something to think about.
Anyway, on with the show!
"'Morning." Nine grunts as he walks into the kitchen, still in his pajamas. Or at least I hoped he was, considering he looked like he just rolled out of bed… And then dragged himself through the gauntlet.
"Didn't have time to get changed?" I ask, nodding towards his crumpled shirt as I dump Cheerios into a bowl.
"I did." He grumbles, looking down at his pitiful ensemble. "I had to dig this out from the bottom of my closet. I think it's time to do the laundry."
"Do you want to do it?"
"Hell no." He says, leaning onto the counter across from me. "I'd rather bottom out to my baby clothes than that."
I laugh at his comment, turning around to get the milk from the fridge needed to top off my cereal. "And that's the kind of determination that's going to win us the war."
In a few minutes we're sitting at the kitchen table in comfortable silence. Nine was scanning an old newspaper, one of the many from the pile that had built up at his penthouse since he'd been abducted by the mogs. He ate his cereal dry for some reason, like the babies in the Cheerio commercials, although I'd never told him so.
I kind of liked the type of quiet me and Nine could have, where we could each be left to our own but at the same time with a companion so neither of us were lonely. He wasn't awkward like John or clingy like Sam or just so… 'excited' as Eight. It was… a weird kind of relationship we had.
And speak of the devil… Eight comes bouncing in the room, hair a complete disaster and clothes a bit more so. He was practically swimming in what was clearly a pair of Nine's old jeans, although he didn't so much seem to notice as the cuffs kept slipping over his mismatched socks and threaten to send him tumbling.
"Good morning!" He says cheerfully, hopping up to sit on the table, shaking the silverware. 'What are we reading?" He asks, peeking his head over Nine's newspaper to get a look.
"Nice pants." Nine snorts, not even bothering to look up from his paper.
"Hey," Eight sticks up a leg to roll up the cuffs again. "I only got two pairs of my own at the mall. John accidentally burned the first pair and the second have syrup stains… so I improvised."
"Well, it's a statement."
I roll my eyes. "Go see if John has an extra pair, you're going to kill yourself in those." I say.
"I tried that already, they're too short on me." Eight sighs, still leaning over Nine to look at the year-old newspaper.
"And too short is better than too long?"
The shape-shifter smiles and nods. "Good point." And he teleports away.
After another moment of silence I sigh. "We should really do laundry."
"Get Eight to do it if he needs pants so bad."
"Does that seem like a good idea to you?"
"He's probably got just as good a chance as you or me." Nine pops another Cheerio in his mouth. "My Cepan didn't do laundry and I certainly never did. I don't even know if that machine works."
Of course, you know I was about to continue arguing with him. A witty retort was on the tip of my tongue, locked and loaded. Really, from that point you'd need something short of a localized explosion to keep me from talking.
But when Marina walked into the kitchen—I nearly started choking on the cereal I'd already eaten. I drop my spoon back into the bowl, clutching the edge of the table with both hands and curling my lips to calm myself down and prevent a cheerio tsunami from erupting from my mouth. It takes a moment, but when my throat finally feels like it's opening up again, I swallow and let out a quiet, gasping breath.
"Six?" Nine grabbed my forearm, the concern in his voice expertly masked by his smug smile. "Recalling a traumatic laundry-related event I'd hope?"
"Not that," I whisper, grabbing his arm and pulling his down to my level. "that." I point a finger towards the still half-asleep girl as she rummages through the cupboards.
Nine raises an eyebrow. "I don't see what the prob—holy mother of god."
Marina shuts the cupboard door with her elbow, revealing herself with a box of cereal tucked in her arm. But it wasn't so much what she was doing… it was what she was wearing. An oversized, navy blue sweater that we'd picked up at the mall the other day. Eight's oversized navy blue sweater. That he'd been wearing yesterday. But that couldn't mean… they couldn't have… could they?
She immediately notices us staring at her, and she squints back through one sleepy eye. After an awkward, silent second of nothing she speaks up. "…Good morning?"
"Good morning indeed." Nine laughs. I smack him across the head.
Marina heads over the fridge, and probably feeling our eyes on her, she glances over her shoulder. "Is there something on my face?"
Nine just chuckles and I'm tempted to hit him again. Instead I fake a smile for Marina's sake. "Uh, no."
Marina puts the cereal box on the counter, using her free hands to hold her hips. "Then what's going on?"
I have to hit Nine again to keep him from laughing, and I can tell by Marina's face that I'm going to have to tell her. How to put this gently?
"Well…" I can't think of a way to get this out right. I scrunch up my nose and idly point towards her. "You're, uh, sweater…"
"Oh." Marina looks down at her sweater for half a second before looking back up at me. Some of the sleep seems to drift off her as she smiles at me, lifting the hem of the sweater to reveal a pair of grey shorts. "Don't worry, I'm wearing something underneath. I just didn't feel like changing before breakfast."
Nine starts howling beside me, and it takes me shoving him off his chair to make him stop. Even as he gets back up, he looks like he's holding in a lot of laughter. He gives me a glare that just dares me to continue explaining this to her.
Marina gives him a quizzical look. "Is there something wrong with that?"
I wring my hand together. How could someone like me, a fierce warrior and all that crap, be afraid of this? Maybe it's just weird that I'm explaining this to someone older than me. "No… it's just that… you can't exactly wear another guy's sweater when you come out for breakfast… it sends the wrong kind of message."
Marina looks at me innocently. "What do you mean?"
I'm honestly about ready to kill Nine as he elbows me. "I mean… like… it looks kind of like you and Eight were… uh…"
"Screwing around." Nine grunts, filling in the rest for me with a mouthful of cheerios. I quickly nod in agreement.
The poor girl's cheeks spark red. The blush looks like it's spreading all over her face, and I'm thankful Nine's rekindled his interest in his newspaper. "I didn't know that." She says meekly, folding her arms as if to hide the sweater. "But we didn't… you know… I just don't have any more clean shirts and Eight lent me his sweater."
I smile reassuringly. "Don't worry about it. It's really not a big de—"
"OH DUDE!" The table shakes as Eight reappears on its surface, once again by Nine's side. I look over to see Nine edging away on his seat, and it doesn't take me long to see why. Instead of Eight's large pair of jeans… he was simply in his boxers.
"What?" He asks, giving Nine a confused look.
"You're in your underwear!" Nine yells back, leaning away as far as possible. "And you're sitting on the table where we eat!"
"John's pants were too small for comfort." Eight says, hopping down from the table. "And I'm a shape shifter, remember?"
He rolls his eyes. "I'm naked all the time. Do you ever see a tiger wearing pants? You guys are lucky I'm even keeping the boxers on."
Nine pushes away his cereal bowl, making a face. "I think I'm done eating… forever."
Eight looks like he's already lost interest in the conversation as he notices Marina standing behind the counter, still looking a little uncomfortable. He teleports to her side, and under his breath I can hear him asking her if there was something wrong.
She gives him an awkward side glance. "Uh…" She begins explaining to him everything I had tried so hard to explain to her—with a lot more control, too. It's rushed and quiet, and I wished I could focus on anything else but like Nine, suddenly cereal wasn't looking too attractive anymore. Without the familiar crunching sound in my ears, it was hard to focus on anything else.
As she comes to a finish, Eight shakes his head. "I don't get it. If we actually did, then—" He doesn't get far before Marina claps a hand over his mouth. She starts to push him out the door and into the hall, and my attention is diverted from them as the table shakes again. But this time, it's as Nine hits his head against the wood.
"Six, I don't care if we blow ourselves up in the process. We're going to do the damn laundry."
I rest my chin on the wooden surface. "Agreed."