Okay, just a quick 888 word one-shot to get the muses back to work. I hope you enjoy!
Warnings/Disclaimers: We own nothing but the plot
The attempted gesture hurt his face—tugging at his cheeks and chin, stretching his lips over his teeth. Abe felt a frown pulling at his features but tried to resist it, glancing at his reflection in the mirror, recoiling. He looked like someone was shoving a sharp metal rod into his—Abe sighed. Never mind.
Turning away from the mirror, he sighed. Fish didn't smile. Men did. Out of all the humanoid characteristics he seemed to possess, Abe couldn't smile. Stretching his face again, he knew without looking that he failed—but that didn't mean he couldn't try.
"Mein Gott, Agent Sapien! Vhat is ze vorld is ze matter?!"
Abe nearly jumped out of his skin as a German voice startled him. Johann was standing in the doorway of the study, his boot raised mid-step as he peered in at the icthyo-sapien. Abe arched a non-existent eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"You are grimacing. Is somesing wrong?"
There was a long, awkward pause, and Blue cleared his throat. "I was smiling, Johann."
If he could have blushed, Johann certainly would have. He coughed into his fist. "Oh. Vell zen. Carry on." He clanked off before Abe could say a word.
"Blue! Hey, Blue!"
Abe was startled out of his reverie as Liz climbed into the truck, waving a hand in front of his face. "Are you okay, Abe?"
The fish-man nodded. "Oh, of course. I was merely daydreaming."
The woman smiled at him before she sat down on the other side of the truck. Faintly, Abe tried to smile back, his lips twisting in uncomfortable shapes, but Liz had already looked away.
"What's wrong, Blue?"
He jumped as Hellboy sat down across from him, his tail flicking back and forth lazily and his Samaritan in his lap.
Red frowned. "It looks like someone was sticking something sharp into your—never mind. What's with the face?"
Abe's 'smile' withered. "Oh. Nothing."
"Sure as hell ain't nothin' if yer makin' faces like that."
"I was trying to smile, Red."
Hellboy's mouth started to open, but he paused and winced—and suddenly became very interested in the metal bench he was sitting on.
Abe flinched as he finally summed up the courage to look into the mirror. He did look horrible. What was he thinking? Smiling? In Hellboy's words, that was "a load 'a BS".
"Are you okay, Abe?"
The icthyo-sapien jumped as he heard a voice startlingly close behind him, turning to see Liz leaning against the tank. She smiled, and before he could stop himself, he tried to smile back.
Liz frowned. "Is something wrong, Abe? You keep making that face."
Blue sighed. "I was trying to smile."
If she was uncomfortable with the new information, Liz didn't show it. "I thought you couldn't."
Abe shrugged, looking everywhere but at the girl. "I felt that I should try."
Intrigued, Liz straightened and sat down on the couch, grabbing Abe's hand and pulling him down on the seat across from her. Abe tried furiously not to blush as she let go of his hand and asked, "Why?"
He paused for only a second before sighing. Oh, why not? "There is this woman I would like to impress."
To his surprise, Liz simply nodded. "Oh. But why practice smiling?"
"Because she smiles very frequently, and I can't," Abe rushed, "It can make one feel very inadequate."
The fire-starter scowled. "You're smart and funny and nice. She shouldn't give a damn if you can smile or not."
"I don't think she does, but it makes a difference to me."
"You should ask her out."
Abe's eyes widened at Liz's nonchalant tone. "Oh—but—I—"
"You never know until you try, right?" Liz grinned as she leaned back into the couch cushions. "Where would you take this girl—hypothetically, of course."
Abe brightened. "Oh! There is this wonderful coffee shop—"
Liz arched her eyebrows. "You drink coffee?"
Blue swallowed thickly and nodded. "Yes. Of course I drink coffee."
There was a long pause, then Liz laughed, standing up. She winked. "You'll get her, Abe."
The next day, the pounding of feet on the study floor woke him up.
Abe cracked his eyes open, stunned to see Liz standing in front of the tank, wearing a coat and a hat. A scarf was wrapped around her neck and her mitten-clad hands were on her hips. She smiled as he shook himself awake. "Don't make me drain the tank."
Climbing out and sucking in a deep breath as the cold air hit his skin, Abe paused. Liz held out a mound of fabric, which the icthyo-sapien realized was a trench coat, one that would reach at least to his ankles, and a hat. The woman shrugged. "You better wear these. It's cold outside."
Taking the coat and hat, Abe asked, "Where are we going?"
"To the coffee shop."
Abe's face flushed. "What?" he asked, flustered and embarrassed and caught.
Liz grinned again, grabbing his hand and kissing his cheek. "You don't have to be a mind reader to catch a hint."
Kit & Violet