A/N: Disclaimer: The Princess and the Frog and all its characters are owned by Disney. If you think I claim any rights to anything you are out of your mind.
Just a collection of short little one shots I'll hopefully be adding to from time to time now that I'm officially addicted to the Tiana/Naveen pairing. They are in no particular order, will probably shift from pre-movie to mid-movie to post-movie, whatever I feel gets my idea across I guess.
The first section is set the night before their frog wedding, the second is set between their frog and human weddings, and the third sometime after the restaurant has opened.
Naveen usually had no problems getting enough sleep. His mother used to joke that he could sleep through a war if he wanted to. However, this night was different, for some reason. There were no distractions, no noise, nothing preventing him from getting comfortable, he was just… anxious. Excited was probably a better word.
He was going to marry her tomorrow.
Of course, they still had to ask Mama Odie if she would marry them, but Naveen had no doubts that she would. She had first put the idea into his head, after all, and she probably already knew how much they'd been through, how close they had come to losing each other. And she certainly understood how much he needed her.
Tiana nuzzled her forehead, or what would be her forehead had she been human, deeper under his chin. He gave her a tight squeeze, relishing the sensation of her breathing against him as she slept. He wondered briefly what it would be like to hold her as a human, if he would ever get the opportunity to. And would he miss being able to hold her as a frog if it did happen?
He loosened his hold on her, pulling one hand away from her side to cradle the back of her head. Long strands of mucus stretched between her skin and his fingers, keeping them attached for a brief moment. He stared curiously at his hand and then rolled away from her slightly. The space between them was completely criss-crossed with a webbing of goo sticking to their previously touching skin. It was like they had been glued together as they lay there, only the glue was a substance oozing from their own bodies and pressing together into a sticky paste. It made Naveen smile.
He pulled her close again, glancing up at the sky, at Ray finally able to touch his Evangeline just as he was finally holding his. Neither of them had really taken his previous advice about settling down quickly. It was for the best, he was never one for giving good advice.
A yawn escaped him. He needed to get to sleep. Eyelids pulled shut, he relaxed his head against Tiana's and listened to the steady rhythm of her heartbeat until he drifted out of consciousness.
He was going to marry her tomorrow.
There were very few instances that led to a remarkably silent Naveen. One of them, Tiana was discovering, was when he was tired, and not just slightly sleepy but physically and mentally worn out. The bus ride back to her home that was usually filled with his chatter had grown steadily more quiet as the week had progressed. Tiana watched his head bob as he struggled to stay awake. She leaned back in her seat and sighed.
This wasn't working. They had gotten a lot done on the sugar mill, sure, but Naveen wasn't really used to working this much. And he still insisted on riding home with her, despite the fact that he was still staying at the La Bouff's so he had to catch another bus back the other direction and wouldn't get to bed till late in the night. They needed closer living arrangements; it couldn't wait until they got enough for their own apartment. Her place was barely big enough for herself and her mother, they didn't have the space for all his stuff, and she couldn't fathom trying to stay at the La Bouff mansion, even if Big Daddy probably wouldn't mind. And it was petty of her but she could all too clearly imagine the flurry of gossip that would inevitably arise if they started living in the same place. They were legitimately married as far as she was concerned, but a swamp-side wedding between frogs probably wouldn't count for much among most people. The sooner they could have their human wedding, the better.
She felt a weight suddenly lower onto her. Naveen had dozed off and was now leaning against her with his head resting on her shoulder. She froze, afraid that if she moved she'd wake him. He was a quiet sleeper, for the most part. Every once in awhile he'd make a weird noise; something like a sigh mixed with a mumbled word. She wondered if he ever talked in his sleep, or for that matter, if she ever talked in her sleep. It was a strange thing, trying to imagine what you'd look like when you weren't conscious of anything.
He shifted a little in his sleep. She pulled her arm around him, circling back to entwine her fingers through his hair. Was he conscious enough to feel what she was doing? Was he aware that he was leaning on her, or was he completely lost in his own dream world? And what did he dream about? Far off places, maybe his homeland, maybe his mind stayed in New Orleans, in the city that he loved. Did people speak in his native tongue, or a smattering of all the languages he knew?
Was she ever in his dreams? And would she be her human self or her frog self? She supposed it didn't really matter either way.
The bus slowed to a stop. She shook him gently, wishing she didn't have to wake him.
"This is our stop."
He rubbed his palm into one eye. "How long was I sleeping?"
"Only a few minutes, c'mon," she stood and pulled him up by the arm to join her. They walked out and into her house, just as they had done every night since they became human. She couldn't let this end like every other night, though. She couldn't let him get as sleep-deprived and worn out as she had let herself get over the years.
"Naveen…" he faced her, his eyes still heavy and drowsy. "I'm sorry I've been wearing you out so quickly," she said.
"You have not been wearing me out, I…"
She interrupted. "Naveen, I need you to stay here."
He paused, as if he needed time to let her words sink in. "Stay here?"
"I know the space is too small and I… I know what people will say, but… you… I can't let you keep goin' back and forth like this, and you shouldn't have to work so hard for something that I…"
He covered her mouth with his own, muffling whatever she had been about to say. She probably should've been angry he interrupted her, but something about the heated way he was kissing her made it impossible. He broke the kiss slowly and leaned his forehead against hers. "I will stay, Tiana." His fingertips reached up to brush her cheek, "I want to stay."
She realized she had been holding her breath and let it out in a rush. He laughed and pulled away just far enough so he could look her in the eye.
"I have worn you out this time, no?"
She laughed, surprised at how easily he'd turned the tables on her. "You're crazy."
"And you married me, dear Princess, which would make you…"
"… Even crazier. Believe me, I know." His eyes were hazy as he smiled at her. He still looked sleepy, but at least he was awake enough to banter with her a little. This could work. Anything that brought them closer than they were was bound to work.
He turned away to yawn and she tugged on his arm, leading him to the back of the house. "C'mon, crazy man. It's bedtime."
"It is a strange thing," he began, strolling nonchalantly behind the back of the stiff-backed chair Tiana was sitting in, "but usually there is a pretty little lump lying on the bed that prevents me from rolling off, and tonight I cannot seem to find it anywhere."
Tiana rolled her eyes; she knew where this was going. "You didn't fall off the bed…"
"That is irrelevant. The point is that I could have because you are still up doing… whatever it is you are doing." He bent to look over her shoulder at the complex list of numbers his wife was scrawling on.
"You know I have to finish this budget. Besides, I ain't even tired. You go back to bed, I'll be there soon."
He shook his head. "I am afraid I know you too well for that, Princess. You make these promises and next thing I know you are spending the entire night with your beignets and budgets and whatever else. It is rather disheartening."
"That's hardly fair, I only stayed up once, and I didn't promise you nothin' that time neither." She narrowed her eyes at him, as if daring him to contradict her.
"All the same, I am afraid I cannot get any sleep until you do."
She shrugged. "Then get comfortable, I'm gonna be here awhile." He sighed. She wasn't going to give in easily, apparently. He pulled a chair over and slumped down in his spot behind her. He gave her a few moments with her work, watching the loose curls at the back of her head sway as she scribbled. She was blinking too much, shifting and fidgeting too much. He knew her well enough to know she was more tired than she was letting on.
He brushed a loose strand of hair from the nape of her neck and started rubbing slow, small circles into her skin with his thumb. Her back instantly straightened. He laughed quietly deep in his throat and continued down her neck to the muscle at her shoulder.
"Naveen… is this really necessary?"
"You sure? It seems to me more like a feeble attempt to distract me."
"Now why would I do something like that," he said coyly, including his other hand in the work at her back.
"This would go faster if you'd quit it," she said, still not attempting to shrug him off.
"I must amuse myself somehow, since somebody will not let me get to sleep."
"I told you y'all could go back to bed. I'm not tired yet."
"Of course you are not…" He drew each word out slowly, echoing deep and resonant in her ear long after he had said them. Her chest tightened. He was challenging her.
He saw her grit her teeth and tuck back into her work, determined to ignore him. He shrugged and continued his own work on her shoulders, working inwards toward her spine and then back out again. Slowly but surely, he felt the tension in her shoulders give way under his fingertips. Her body began to sag in the chair. He slowed his pace, his thumbs pressing deeper into her back in wide circles. She was beginning to bend away from him now, as if her head was too heavy for her neck to support, but she was still writing, albeit very slowly. They stayed that way for several moments, he diligent in his work and she growing steadily less efficient with each circle he traced into her back.
Finally, she dropped her pencil. She was bent so far over her forehead hovered a mere couple of inches above the table. Naveen took advantage of the moment and scooped her up out of her seat, one arm encircling her waist and the other cradling the crook of her knees. She flopped into his chest like a rag doll and groaned.
"I fell asleep, didn't I?"
"You did. I would say 'I told you so' but the last time I did that you tried to smack me."
She laughed a little and wrapped her arms around his neck, settling into him. "You're learning."
He kissed her forehead as he carried her back to their room. "As are you," he replied.
*I know frogs probably wouldn't stick like that, but that shot of Tiana pulling at the mucus on her skin after she becomes a frog made me think of it ^^. I guess it is kinda gross and unusual but I still think it's cute.
*Even though the movie shows their human wedding before they buy the sugar mill, I can't help but think it happened afterwards. I mean it'd take more than a day to put a wedding like that together and Naveen's parents couldn't have just beamed themselves in from Maldonia, it had to have taken some amount of time. I also felt that they'd still have some kinks to work out in their work/play balance so soon after acquiring the sugar mill.
*You know Naveen massages her back on a regular basis ;)