Written mostly because I wanted to toy around with a canonical one-shot that features a very unhappy Laurie. I'm simply playing around with characterization so if you enjoyed this version of him, please let me know. Fic about Laurie being a right bastard in Europe over Jo might very well be forthcoming. ;)
Title: Only Of You and Me
Fandom: Little Women
Summary: A life never lived is not a life never dreamed.
She is in his arms at last where she belongs, laughing and serene and sweet.
She smells of parchment and ink and lavender, of her work and the woods she has crushed so often before beneath her bare young feet. Her calluses catch on his back and spine and shoulders as she holds on against his presses and kisses and caresses, everything he gives of himself so freely. And her face-- eyes bright, lips parted, wary reserve wholly undone-- gazes at him and him alone, as though he is all that matters currently.
She has never looked at him this way before until now. As though he were all she wants beyond the edge of anything.
"Teddy," she whispers, and her wedding band catches on his curls and makes him laugh above her, even as he presses himself to her as intimately as any man could reach.
"Jo," he returns, and the word is soft and joyous. "Jo, say something to me."
"About what?" she asks, and her resulting laugh ripples through him, adds a flash of fire between his stomach and his spine, makes his toes curl capriciously.
"Anything," he tells her, because he can. If she had asked him to make it thunder, he would have reached his hands into the heavens and found a way to make them sing.
"Just be with me," she says, and traces the laugh lines of his face as he smiles wide. "That's all I can ask for, Teddy."
"Yes, dear," he murmurs, as though he were doing her the favor, and she laughs again happily.
Later, he will confess to her all his sins, his voice soft and hers patient, and if he pauses in shame at a particular detail, she will merely laugh and urge him on by kicking him in the knee. He will say, Must you always hurt me to make a point? and she will say, But I must do as I can to improve your nature! T'isn't my fault it necessarily involves harsh beatings. And when he gets up to chase her across the room for the slight, she will pretend to trip after a while and let him gather her up and hold her tight, kissing her laughing form through his sighs, knowing she would never truly leave.
But for now she is in his arms at last, where she belongs, and she is more vital than any other thing.
She knows him and he knows her and here, even his worst sins means nothing.
"What are you thinking of?" she asks afterward, and he knows he can tell her anything. Her voice holds warmth so readily. "Spill it all, in heart and mind, in body and soul-- you know you want to already."
He laughs and kisses the damp brow beneath her dark curls, knowing that she spoke the truth underneath.
"Only of you." He smiles, and closes his eyes. "Only of me and you."
After it is over and he forces himself to say the proper name once more, he rolls himself off easily.
There is always a moment, after it is done, where he hopes for silence and peace. There is always a moment, after the dream has dissolved and reality has crept back in, that he finds himself wishing that the world would let him be. There is always a moment where he thinks: and now, I will be left to my own self, as terribly as I deserve to be.
Always a moment, and then the brush of soft, elegant fingers against his forehead, as though to shake loose all his dreams.
He opens his eyes and wonders how long it will be until paradise comes from purgatory.
His true wife looks at his still form beneath the warmth of the blankest, her eyes bluer than the sea. Pale locks spill across her supple back, and gleam in the candle-light, looking nearly otherworldly. She is ivory and gold, satin and silk, or perhaps merely milk and honey. She is beautiful and wise and perfect and kind, and all the beauty in Europe might well tremble before the innocent picture she paints for his eyes presently.
She is better than he deserves and she always will be.
And still he can feel disappointment well up between his teeth until it tastes like a tarnished penny.
"What are you thinking of?" Amy finally asks, and her voice betrays soft uncertainty.
"Only of you," he lies, and closes his eyes. "Only of me and you."