A/N: So, almost three years ago (Feb. 22, 2007, specifically) I posted a challenge on my 'emsscraps' livejournal. I asked people to pick one of my finished, posted fics and request me to write something based on that story, either before or after what I posted in time. A few of you took me up on that and since then, I've been working on getting through those requests. I've done up three of them so far and this is the fourth.
This one is a result of Guyute24's request. She wanted me to write a year after "Enough" and she said it didn't have to be about Valentine's Day, so it isn't.
Finally, I'm not too sure that this really follows from "Enough", you know? I mean, I don't mention the events of that one at all in this. I was much more focused on keeping the same feel of "Enough". Guyute seemed to like it, and didn't tell me that it didn't meet her expectations for her request. So...here you go.
One Year Later (Timestamp Challenge)
"Nothing is as far away as one minute ago."
- Jim Bishop
"There's a certain expectation to elevators, isn't there?" Speedy asked, seemingly out of the blue.
Raven turned from her inspection of the stitching on the book she had just bought to stare at the red-head. "Expectation?" she asked, just to be sure – she might not have heard correctly, after all, she hadn't really been paying attention to him.
Speedy nodded, his expression thoughtful, staring at the somewhat metal and wood ornate doors of the elevator in front of him. "Yeah, expectation," he confirmed.
"I'm not certain I really should ask," she started, "but how so?"
He flashed her a quick grin. "I don't know, it just seems like you're always waiting when it comes to elevators. Waiting for them to show up, waiting for them get you to your destination, hell, even waiting for them to open their doors, then waiting for them to close…"
"Waiting is not the same as expectation," she pointed out. "They are related, yes, but cannot be used interchangeably."
Speedy frowned. "Why not?"
"There's a certain sense of anticipation inherent in expectation," she tried to explain. "Expectation is waiting with anticipation."
"So, don't you anticipate where you'll go when you get in an elevator?" He quirked his brow. "You're looking forward to where it'll take you, aren't you?"
"I know where it's going to take me," she argued. "It'll take me to whatever floor I tell it to."
"And don't you look forward to getting there?"
"I suppose in a distant fashion," she allowed. "I am apathetic about the ground floor of this building, for instance, but I do wish to get home, and I cannot do that without going to the ground floor first, so in a round-about manner, yes, but perhaps not the way you mean."
"You just made my point," he pointed out, visibly getting comfortable in their debate, "If you want to get home, you have to get in this elevator, so you must be feeling expectation at this very moment."
"No," Raven said succinctly. "I am feeling impatience at this very moment," she admitted. She cocked her head at him. "I'm certain you will admit there's a difference in impatience and expectation."
Speedy grinned and opened his mouth to reply when a melodious ping preceded the noiseless sliding open of the elevator doors, revealing cherry wood paneling and chrome accents. Raven stepped forward and pressed the small round G, staring at her reflection in the inside panel of the doors as they closed.
Speedy, who had followed her inside, stepped to the back of the elevator and leaned nonchalantly against the chrome bar, legs crossed at the ankles and arms crossed at his chest. "So what would you say is the lifetime of any one particular emotion?" he asked, seemingly out of the blue.
Raven met his eyes in their reflection and raised a brow. "I'm afraid I'm not following you."
"Well, are you still currently impatient, or has that emotion given way to expectation yet?" he questioned.
"Are you writing a book?" Raven turned to look at him over her shoulder.
Speedy laughed. "No, but you've just given me a great idea!" he exclaimed. "Imagine what a bestseller it would be!" he enthused. "I'd have people lined up around the block willing to pay good money for it!"
"You think rather highly of your literary skills," she mused, in a rather notable dry and dissenting tone.
"Not at all," he answered, his expression still amused, but not as blatant. "I just know the interest in my subject matter."
"Okay," she allowed, raising a brow at his reflection in front of her, "So you're not conceited, you're delusional."
"Delusional?" he asked, clearly surprised. He tsked and shook his head. "Now, who's using words improperly?"
She just barely resisted huffing in offense and turned back to her disinterested inspection of the way the numbers above the doors lit up with each passing floor. 'This is a very slow elevator,' Raven mused, but considering it was in the oldest part of the city, she really couldn't fault it too heavily -- at least, it ran.
"I always use words properly," Raven replied.
"And conceited too!" Speedy grinned. "Pot? Meet Kettle."
Raven raised her brow. "If you think there's going to be a whole lot of interest in a book about the life span or duration of emotions, you are clearly nurturing an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality," she said assuredly.
Speedy gaped at her in mock shock. "Whoa. Who are you? Websters?" he asked glibly, but before she could answer, he continued. "And who says the life span or duration of emotions would be the subject matter of my book, anyway?"
She knew she shouldn't ask -- she knew it was just what he wanted -- and she was perfectly willing to remain mute on the subject entirely, but there were still seven floors to go (why, oh why, did the antique bookseller have to live on the top floor of a 45 floor building?) before they reached their destination and he would be impossible if she didn't. It didn't mean she would make it easy for him. "Fine, I'll bite--"
"Would you?" he interrupted, waggling his eyebrows.
She ignored him, "Assuming you could properly, interestingly, and grammatically string words together to form sentences--"
"Ouch," Speedy mock winced. "That's cold!"
"--what would the subject-matter of this hypothetical book be, then?" she finally asked.
He waited until she met his eyes through the mirror, grinning all the while. He started to answer, only to be interrupted by the stopping of the elevator on the fourth floor, the opening of the doors with the cheerful ding and the entrance of two women in their twenties, wearing tennis outfits and wielding tennis rackets and gym bags. They glanced at Raven and smiled at Speedy, who moved away from the wall and closer to Raven to give them space in the relatively large elevator.
He leaned an arm on the wall next to her, his arm radiating heat along the back of her neck, even if he wasn't really near to touching her.
Her eyes still forward, she couldn't miss the looks the women were practically throwing at Speedy, even though -- to his credit -- he didn't seem at all aware. The blonde kept swooshing her hair from shoulder to shoulder, while the red-head, obviously more daring, actually reached out and tapped his shoulder.
"Excuse me," the red-head said, smiling at him like she was imagining him naked. "Would you push the 'M' button for us, please?" she asked, her lip-glossed lips pressing together on the letter and her eyelids dropping in what she obviously thought was a seductive manner.
As Raven watched through the mirrored door, her face expressionless, Speedy looked at the red-head and smiled. "Sure thing," he answered, reaching over Raven's shoulder and pressing against her back to reach the button.
She met his eyes in the mirrored door and raised a brow. He raised his own eyebrows.
"Thanks so much," the red-head gushed as if Speedy had just saved the building from collapsing. (Raven thought, ungenerously, that should the red-head ever really be around when Speedy actually did something heroic like stop a bomb from going off or a building from collapsing, she'd be too scared to do much flirting)
Speedy smiled at her and she took that as opening enough.
"Are you new in the building? I'm Hannah."
"And I'm Brittany," the blonde offered from somewhere behind the more bold Hannah.
"Hi," Speedy greeted. "And no, we're not new in the building at all. We were just visiting."
He, Raven noted, still hadn't moved back so that the leather of his opened jacket brushed against the soft cashmere of her sweater. Raven also noted that Hannah never once looked at her except in sideways glances, the way a scavenger animal will look to see if anyone else is coming to steal it's carrion.
"Oh, that's too bad," Hannah said, pouting prettily. "Do you play tennis?" she asked.
"Nope," Speedy answered, his tone pleasant and light. "Tennis really isn't my thing."
It had occurred to Raven that Speedy hadn't offered his name. Raven wondered if it had occurred to Hannah or Brittany.
"Well, maybe--" Hannah started, only to be cut off when the elevator ding alerted them just seconds before the doors slid noiselessly open to reveal the Mezzanine level of the upscale residence.
"I think this is your stop, ladies," Speedy said smoothly.
"Oh yeah," Hannah allowed, looking slightly put out, as if she wanted to scold the elevator for beating her to the punch.
"Have a lovely day," Speedy offered, his head already turning away in a clear dismissal.
The women stepped out of the elevator and disappeared around the corner even as the doors closed.
"Let me guess," Raven continued their previous conversation as if it hadn't been interrupted for two floors and two women. "How to Flirt With Women?" Raven asked, her expression neutral and her tone dry.
Speedy smirked at her and she didn't let him come up with whatever quip he had thought of.
"Or maybe, 'How to Deal With Women Who Flirt'?" she offered.
"You're way off," Speedy answered.
Raven raised her brow, which was as close to asking him as she was likely to get.
"I was thinking more along the lines of, 'How to Get Usually Brooding and Anti-Social Girls To Talk To You When They Don't Want To...'" he trailed off for a moment as the elevator reached the ground floor and dinged as the doors slid open. "...'A Primer,'" he added, winking at her as he walked out of the elevator before her.
The doors had started to close before she reached out a hand to stop them and step out.
"Weren't you in a hurry to get home, Rae?" he asked innocently. "Chop chop!" he clapped his hands and started to lead her through the lobby.
Raven, for her part, was still processing from the fact that all things considered, he probably did have enough knowledge to write a book, if that was his topic.
Consequently, she let herself be lead all the way out the glass front doors before realizing she'd let him have the last word.
A/N: Okay, so...this is now really and truly done. I know I said that "Enough" was a one-shot and it is, sort of, but this 'sequel' of sorts was only done by special request. So what that means is: don't expect it to continue. Got it? Good.
If you liked it, drop me a line.
If you didn't like it, drop me a line too.