"What's so funny, you guys?" Devon asked as she returned to find a huddled mass of giggling Edenites lounging in the grass.
"The jig is up, Devon!" Walman announced with delight. "Did you do it on purpose to mess with him, or is this just you way of accidentally announcing to the group that you've been washing Danziger's back."
Alonzo lost it again, cackling like a hyena.
Glancing around, seeing no evidence of John Danziger anywhere, she frowned in embarrassment, even though she was pretty damn sure she'd done nothing to be embarrassed about.
"What are you guys talking about? I was just at the copse to the north with Bess--"
"Oh sure, sure…you were with Bess…" Alonzo choked out, his legs drawn up to his chest like a dog playing dead.
"She was with me!" Bess called out as she rushed over to join them, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. "I don't know quite know how to explain how John got his little-" she barked out a quick laugh, "makeover, but it wasn't with Devon."
Stopping at Devon's side with an evil glint in her eye, Bess leaned in conspiratorially. "You might want to go find Danziger, Devon. It looks as though there's been, um…technical difficulties. Tarzan's looking more like…Zorro."
Devon stared at her uncomprehendingly, fighting back a nervous chuckle of her own. What ever they were all going on about, it didn't bode well. At all.
"Looks like you didn't get a chance to primp after all." She added smugly, but Devon had already taken off at a run to find Danziger before Bess could properly administer her look of triumph.
Devon hadn't made it past the Med Tent when she realized that something was seriously wrong. When Danziger was angry about something, she didn't usually have to do much looking to find him pointing a finger at her face and shouting like a lunatic. At the very least, she should be able to hear his displeasure from a mile away.
Reaching the tents, she scanned for him, figuring he was probably in his tent. Devon realized that most of the group was down at the water, but camp seemed unnaturally quiet, like John's mood was so foul he'd managed to scare away nature. Still, as hesitant as she was to speak up, she certainly wasn't going to barge into his tent without announcing herself.
He might be missing more than his shirt.
Leaning downwards to call through the flap, Devon was startled to hear him shout her name from what seemed inches away from her face, and even more startled to see him burst out of the tent in front of her, colliding with her for the second time that day.
He tried to catch her, but his balance never stood a chance, and before she knew it, Devon found herself on the ground again, with a shirtless Danziger again, except this time she was pinned beneath him, and he was angry because…oh.
She couldn't believe it.
Here they were. Nose to nose, but all the amusement was gone. Devon's mind reeled back to the first crash they'd shared that day. Not to John's chest and eyes and hands, which she could feel were all present and accounted for, but to an embarrassed Danziger on his hands and knees, grabbing at any bottle or soap or shampoo he could get his hands on.
Of course he wasn't paying attention, and neither was she, exactly, but you'd think one of them would have noticed! Didn't he check the damn tube?
It turned out Bess was right. Danziger really didn't give a damn how he looked.
"You're hair is…red." Devon informed him quietly.
To be fair, his hair was actually 'Crimson Twilight', or the closest approximation of the shade that Julia was able to concoct with her molecular oscillator. Not that Devon would ever admit in a court of Council Law that her hair was anything but one hundred percent natural.
"And yours, I take it, is not." John retorted stonily, not budging even the slightest inch from where he had her trapped on the ground.
The amusement was back.
The more Devon watched Danziger physically tried to control his anger, the more funny the entire thing became. He looked so utterly ridiculous that Devon suddenly realized that she'd been blind to the obvious, that no one in their right mind would ever be fooled into thinking that her signature shade was natural. Yet strangely, from the vague sense of disappointment lingering behind the menace in his eyes, it was apparent that John Danziger- of ALL people- truly had.
This whole day had been so ironic and absurd that Devon knew she was about to loose her composure, and when a rust colored drop leapt from one of his curls and landed smack in the middle of her forehead, Devon lost the battle.
"You're laughing!" Danziger exclaimed, his anger loosening a lock of hair that had been tucked behind his ear. It swung in front of his face and he swatted it away in disgust, and Devon's laughter grew louder still. "It's not funny, Lady! I look like a woman!"
She hadn't laughed so hard since arriving on G889, and Devon felt an enormous tension melting away. It bubbled out of her, blurring the sight of Danziger's irate expression with tears of glee; humming where the muscles on her belly vibrated against his bare skin.
"Damnit, Adair, stop laughing! Please..." He growled again, gripping her shoulder, his tone of voice changing, growing softer and more panicked, like he was about to lose his mind.
Devon couldn't help it, she howled again.
"Damnit, just shut up!"
This time he didn't sound worried at all, but deadly serious, and before she could even attempt to compose herself, he launched towards her, catching her mouth with his own, silencing her instantly with a firm kiss.
Startled, the sound cut off with a little squeak, and- compromised as their position was- Devon could feel John's anger transforming into lust. The hand that had caught her shoulder so firmly was melting up the side of her neck and into her hair, and his hard chest was a delicious weight, not too heavy, but insistent. Purposeful.
Snaking her hand across his smooth, bare ribcage, she tugged on the back of his head, deepening the kiss almost involuntarily, sighing as he shifted his legs from where they were tangled with her own. Danziger's strong calves brushing against her bare feet where his cuff had ridden up, and they were fabulously firm, and warm. His mouth trailed down her chin to her throat, where he dropped butterfly kisses, punctuated with words whispered in a husky, sexy tone Devon had never heard him use before.
"I feel like….a fool…." She let out a small gasp as he found her clavicle. "Are you satisfied?" He moved his hips just the slightest bit, making it clear that he, for one, was nothing of the sort.
"I like it." She breathed, not entirely sure what she herself meant by 'it,' catching his mouth as it traveled past her on the way to her opposite earlobe, where he nipped her roughly.
"Of course you do." He reminded her sardonically, and despite her own confusion at the feelings sluicing over her, Devon had no doubt that John wasn't referring to the dye job.
His wandering hand had deftly found it's way inside the hem of her shirt.
"How do I…wash this out?" He inquired lazily, his teeth tugging at the second button of her shirt. They were lying on the ground in the middle of camp, for Christ's sake, and Devon found she didn't even give a damn. Danziger was overwhelming her, enveloping her, and with her eyes shut against the crimson glare she wasn't even sure what he was asking until she cracked an eyelid, fighting off another fit of giggles.
Trying to soften the blow, she tugged on the offending hair until his lips found hers again, and with her hot breath mingling with his own, she broke the news. "It's a molecular bonding agent…" she sighed as his tongue lapped across her bottom lip. "It's permanent."
Danziger pulled away as if she'd bitten his lip, boring a hole into her gaze when her eyelids fluttered lazily open.
"Tell me you're not serious." At his whiny tone, Devon felt it again, the laughter that had gotten the best out of Walman and Alonzo. She knew he was furious with her for laughing, but she didn't think she'd be able to hold it back for much longer.
"I'm sure that Julia will be able to figure something out." She spoke slowly, breathing deeply. Sighing, Danziger's head tumbled forward to rest wearily on her chest, and Devon ran her fingers through his tinted mane again, "C'mon, stop being so sensitive."
He sighed again, dramatically, mumbling under his breath. To Devon, it sounded suspiciously as though he'd said "it's like kissing my sister," and she was off to the races, laughing until their were tears in her eyes again.
Growling in annoyance, he vaulted himself off of the ground, leaning down to coax her into a seated position even as she slumped forward, grabbing her stomach with glee.
"Sure, that's great, just keep on laughin,' Devon!" He admonished her loudly, storming off to find Julia.
Something had changed, though, Devon could feel it in the air, and despite the fact that John was storming around like King Kong, she could sense that he was maybe, just maybe, beginning to see the humor of the situation.
It might have been the fact that he'd gotten to second base.
"I'm sorry! I'll st-st-stop!" She eeked out the platitude between rounds hiccupping snickers.
"It could have been the start of a beautiful relationship, Adair! You blew it! Laugh it up!" He called back, teasing harder, trying to disguise a chuckle of his own.
Devon fell back to the earth, folding her arms behind her head. If he had experienced anything close to what she'd felt with his lips pressed against hers, she knew it wouldn't be long until he was laughing, too. She was positively giddy.
"Danziger, get back here!" She called, almost clear across camp now. She knew the others could probably hear her, but under the circumstances she figured it probably didn't matter. Besides, now that Danziger was fretting over his hair color, she felt surprisingly uninhibited. "Just come back here for one second!" She tried again, louder. "I'll make it up to you, I promise!"
She didn't care if Alonzo laughed until his spleen ruptured, because Bess had been absolutely on the money, as always. Why was she worrying about what everyone else thought of her? She had nothing to prove, and she certainly had nothing to lose, and now she had proof that John shared similar feelings for her.
If she didn't know better, Devon would say he might actually feel the same way she did.
"Sorry Adair!" He shouted back, his voice full of humor now, and that singular, biting sarcasm she'd somehow come to love. "I only date redheads!"