Nicholas: An A Crime ficlet. I was inspired on the bus the other day, listening to Regina Spektor and this song just struck me somehting wonderful. So here it is.

Disclaimer: I don't own A Crime, the characters, OR Regina's song "Pavlov's Daughter."

Rating: T...masturbation...spying

A lady in the corner was vocalizing the opening to a song accompanied by a man with conga drums. It was a random tune, obviously improvised as she saw fit. Had to have been a spur of the moment type of thing. But then she started to sing—or rather recite—and the insistence in her voice beckoned all pairs of eyes towards her dark little territory. Chains and shackles bound everyone's attention, even Vincent, who hadn't really looked at a woman for a year now. His hand fiddled idly with the lease and Vicky looked up at him with as much curiosity as a dog can purvey through its eyes.

The gravedigger's gettin' stuck in the machine
Hear him gettin' slim, slimmer
I hear them say my name "Regin-AH! Regin-AH! Regin-AH-AH-AH!"
Yes, I'm puttin' the boulder to my ear
and I still can't hear,
What'd your think I was an amateur?
Playin' with my tampon-cha cha cha cha cha cha

He wouldn't have noticed that the one pair of eyes that hadn't diverted to the singer was female and only had the sight for him. At this point, I don't think he knew my name, but I knew his all too well. I'd never been in love until I found him; however, situations quickly came to light that made me wary to talk to him. First of all, his wife died about a year ago—or rather, she was murdered—then next to that and because of that, he was obsessed with finding her killer. I'd been inside his apartment only once before when I helped him move in, and I remember that the first thing he unpacked was a box of nic nacs and newspaper clippings that I felt were the extent of his search.

I followed him home and not completely because I wanted to. Half of the reason was that every step he took minus a flight of stairs was necessary for me as well. I lived before him and could look through my window up into his living room. It's nice to imagine that he knew he could look through his into mine.

"Good night, Vincent," I told him as he started up the stairs past me. Usually, he didn't so much as reply, so I didn't actually look back to see that he'd stopped.

"'Night, Alison," he muttered and I stopped dead in my tracks to hear him footsteps and the click of Vicky's nails on the last step and the hall above me.

My name is Alice, but it was a nice gesture.

If I hear another song about angels,
If I see another feather on a don box,
I'm gonna go to Babylon and get me some whiskey
Gonna go to Babylon and get me some whiskey now.
If I hear another song about angels,
If I see another feather on a don box,
I'm gonna go to Babylon and get me some whiskey
O, gimme some whiskey
O, gimme some whiskey
O, gimme some whiskey now.

At this point in the night, he'd been sitting on his couch watching TV—sometimes he didn't eat dinner, but he never forgot to feed Vicky. I felt less like a peeping Tom than I probably should have standing in front of my window, staring at him. I watched as he sent Vicky to the other room. Vicky always does as he's told.

Vincent left his window open. I quietly slip the pane of glass over my sink to the side just enough to hear whatever I could. He was talking to himself, muttering something that I couldn't make out with his fingers absently playing with his lips like he always did when he was nervous. He wasn't looking at the television report on gas prices anymore, just glaring blankly ahead of him, leaning into the couch.

I'm not sure when I noticed his free hand slipping behind the armrest of the couch, but it could have been sometime around when his other hand dropped away from his mouth and his eyes closed. He reclined his head and his shoulder shifted and the softest, faintest rustle of air floated across the gap to my ears. I blushed. Even though I barely heard it, I recognized the moan for what it was.

The angle I was looking left just enough to the imagination that I knew what he was doing, but I couldn't see it. I'm certain that if I could see what was going on behind that armrest, I'd be doing relatively the same thing.

My name is Lucile and I know how you feel,
I live downstairs
I hear you taking out your garbage, I
Hear you loving your girlfriend, I
Hear you loving yourself too, I

Hear you flushing your toilet, I
Hear you turning your thoughts off, and I
I turn mine off too, the only thing I hear is you
And you don't sound nice
And you don't sound right
And you don't sound good
And you don't sound right.

I know it isn't right to watch him like this, getting himself off in what he thinks is the privacy of his apartment, no doubt with thoughts of the good times he's had with his wife… Correction: it isn't right to watch him like this and wish he was thinking about me. Oh Lord, I'm disgusting. I could see his arm moving in that up and down motion and the blush started to spread down my neck and shoulders.

He was breathing deeply, but his arm never stopped working at what he was doing. Locks of dark, silky hair slid across his forehead showing that he'd neglected a haircut for the last few months. I could imagine what he looked like with all the parts that I couldn't see, the part I've never seen before. The way his hand would slide up over himself then pull back would excite that squirm in his shoulders and a fluctuation in his gut beneath his shirt.

Stop staring…

My name is Lucile and I know how you feel,
I live downstairs
I hear you taking out your garbage, I
Hear you loving your girlfriend, I
Hear you loving yourself too, I
Hear you turning your thoughts off, I
Hear you turning your thoughts off, and it gets
Quiet, quiet oh, quite quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, oh, quiet, oh, quiet etc.

My body shouldn't be doing what it's doing. Well, in all honesty it should, just not like this. I shouldn't feel this way from spying on a man who barely knows I exist. However, I do feel it. That tight, sharp contraction of my muscles adding with the heat of my flushed skin making it so that I can't look away even if I wanted to. My hands gripped white-knuckled on the edge of my sink. Despite my knowledge of how I shouldn't be, I'm doing it anyway.

His mouth fell open to let out a deep sigh and one of his feet slid over the wood floor in front of the sofa. As he lifted a hand to his head, his other sped up extracting a faint hiss. For a moment I was flustered to realize that Vincent did this instead of human contact. He jerked off at night when he thought he was alone because he didn't want to be with another woman. In all probability, he wants no one but his wife until she is avenged. Funny that his substitute is his own hand. What if it was my hand?

Woah! Not the right thing to think at that moment. Especially since his head had fallen to the side and he was looking straight at me, eyes wide like a deer in headlights.

Pahhhhhhhh oh, ahhhhh,, Pavlov's Daughter
Woke up in the morning,
Heard the bells ring
And something deep inside of her
Made her want to salivate.
So she lay there,
Drooling on her pillow.
So she lay there.
The sun skimming her skin, and
And then, drooling on her pillooooooooooooh.

I thought for a moment that he might shout at me, call me a pervert, tell me to get a life or something. He didn't. For a long while, he just looked at him with a strange, questioning gaze. He'd gone completely still and I could feel the chill air that was most likely skimming his skin as well at this time. I almost felt the moments tick by in my head as that blush turned more into embarrassment than anything else. I wanted to say something, anything to end the awkwardness. It wasn't as if he could know how long I was standing there. (Really, I don't even know how long I was standing there gripping my sink).

So abruptly that I wasn't sure that he'd moved at all, he reached over the couch to his floor and picked up his phone. I knew what was coming before he even started dialing. We'd exchanged numbers when he'd moved in, in case of emergency. So, to think he had it memorized did a little bit to set my mind at ease. Then the phone by my cupboard rang and I hesitated to pick it up. "Yes?"

"How long have you been standing there?" I'm staring right at him, and I can see his mouth move.

I can't bring myself to lie to him. "For a while," I reply dryly.

"Well, close your curtain." He didn't sound particularly angry with me or anything, but I didn't want to shut my self away from him just yet. He was too lovely, looking out of breath and slightly sweaty like that. "Alice, wake up! Close your curtain."

"Why? Just go in the other room if you don't want me watching."

"I never said you couldn't watch, I'd just appreciate it if I didn't know you were there."

Pavlov's Daughter
Oh and it was far away
And hazy like a dream, not a dream
But the ocean, not the ocean
But forever…