Title: Like the Deserts Miss the Rain
'Verse: Movie'verse. Takes place shortly after '07 movie, blended heavily with the comic where the Rangers return to the desert hunting for Scorponok.
Characters: Will Lennox/Sarah Lennox, Annabelle, Bobby Epps, mentioned OC (yeah, it's a people-centric plot)
Summary: Being a military family is tough; being a military family dragged into an alien civil war is tougher.
Rating/Warnings: R, descriptions of intimacy, self-pleasure, voyeurism, swears, war
Author's Note: Concrit for any of my stuff is welcome and appreciated. This ficlet works as an utter stand-alone, though its full flavor was inspired by AprilRavenGirl's "A Universal Concept" here - fanfiction .net/s/5169543/1/A_Universal_Concept (Iunno why the link is wonky, but I would suggest a look, though this is set further in the future than her fic's current chapters.) More author's notes post script.

Lennox makes sure his feet pad softly, guiltily slinking through the house, and feeling the prickling sting on top of everything that he is somehow an intruder in his own home. He simply knows that Annabelle is asleep for her nap, and presses his palm to her door. If he went in, he could never hope to resist picking up his daughter, cradling her to his chest and burying his nose in the soft scents of baby oil, talcum powder and kiddie shampoo, which would surely wake her up and have her fussing. More months he has missed, and Will tries to imagine how much bigger she must be. It is almost as if he is leaning over her crib and looking at the wash of angelically soft blond curls that peek from beneath the blanket. Look, but don't touch, no matter how much it claws at the weight in his chest.

Just as suddenly, he is in the upstairs hall. There is water running in their master bathroom, he hears the telltale squeak-bang of the shower door closing. He feels a sympathetic sense of urgency for Sarah, the rush to use the brief free moment of the baby sleeping to get something done. Finish the dishes, clear the yard, tidy the living room, get in a shower; the clock is ticking until darling Bella wakes crying.

Slowly, he nudges the bathroom door open, words nearly on his lips that his wife can take her time, if Anna wakes, he will take care of their baby. Will stops short and gapes, mouth so dry that he has trouble swallowing around the dead weight of his tongue. His eyes follow the curves of his beloved lady. Her outline is only barely warped by wafts of steam and the foggy glass of the shower door, but Will's imagination can fill in the details, he still knows every inch of his beloved by eye and hand. The bathroom smells of the strawberries and cream shampoo Sarah likes, she has already rinsed it and the conditioner from long, sandy brown locks which flow with the water down her spine. Sarah has her back to him, and does not see her husband yet, so Lennox can watch with impunity.

There are the streaks of shaving lather up her leg, smelling of some nameless tropical fruits. Will could never keep up with all the girly smells, they simply turn the bathroom into a strange mixed-fruit salad. But they were pleasant, and whatever combinations his wife chose always work to create something that he considered simply inherently Sarah.

He watches her methodically shave, one foot propped on the little lip of the stall, the razor gliding up her leg, clearing white foam and leaving a widening swath of silky skin. Lennox feels his eyes riveted, sense memory replaying on his palms and images drifting before him. On special occasions, the beautiful blond lets her husband pamper her. Will massages her to bonelessness in the tub, then lathers and rinses her hair before he shaves those long, sexy legs. It takes nearly fifteen minutes when he draws it out. First, he works the feminine lather from ankle to hip. He works carefully, familiar enough with a razor, but the angle is backwards and slightly awkward. His fingers know the back of her knees are sensitive, he knows the scar from a childhood bike accident on the outside of her left thigh, he abandons the razor for fingertips as he gets tantalizingly close to her bikini line…

The Ranger shifts, his fatigues oppressive and stiff against his body. He clenches his hand on the counter; it is rough and gritty under his fingers. The water cascading over Sarah's skin is strangely tempting, and Will licks his lips.

Sarah finishes her right leg, twisting to let the water rinse the last residue of shaving cream from her skin. As she turns and bends to run her hands up and down her leg, fingers ensuring she had been thorough, her hair slips over her shoulder, screening her face from Will's sight. Apparently she finds the job acceptable, turning and then propping the toes of her other leg on the ledge. If it were intentional, it was a very seductive tease. Lennox wanted to card his fingers from her scalp, over her shoulder and down, to turn her head for a kiss. He almost takes that opportunity to step in and make himself known, rather than be caught when she straightens. But as she lathers and begins shaving her other leg, it seems that she is managing to remain oblivious to her husband's presence.

His lady, Will swears to his dying breath that Sarah will always be his treasured lady, truly is beautiful. Lennox adores her long, lean legs; sexy as hell and they feel amazing wrapped around his waist. She leans down to start at her ankle, and Will groans low in his chest at the sight of her divine ass. In a bikini, Lennox is utterly sure that his wife could tempt a Saint. He bites his lip, rocking his weight from foot to foot trying to burn off nervous energy.

Sarah's hair dries slightly as shaving keeps her from beneath the direct flow of water. Her hair develops a bit of its curl back, triggering Will's memories of carding his fingers through those soft ringlets, the light brush of her hair on his thigh while she goes down on him, their gentle laughter when he lays his shoulder on her hair and they only realize when she is unable to roll over. He is drawn back from his memories, some more distant than he would prefer, as Sarah rinses and tips her face back beneath the showerhead.

Will's time is nearly up, he is sure of it. He fully expects his wife to turn off the shower, notice him, and all of the tension, the guilt of his duties, the friction between them to come flooding back. The Ranger is ready to slip from the room before he is discovered and commanded to do so. But Sarah surprises him by reaching up and pulling the showerhead free. She leans her body and lifts the showerhead to run water over her scalp; she is facing the back corner of the stall, but Will can just see the edge of her expression. Quiet enjoyment is written on her upturned face as she lets the water run over her hair, her shoulders, then she moves the showerhead to wash over her throat, her breasts, and down her stomach. Will simply imagines running his hands over her along with the water, his mouth parted slightly in longing as his boots scuff the floor. Stay, or go?

There is a pause as Sarah stills, seeming to consider something. Slowly, she lowers her shoulders and her chest rises as she takes a deep breath. Her soft hum reaches her husband's ears, a low, seductive sound that sends tingles down his spine. She adjusts the showerhead, flipping the switch to the massage setting and moving it to spray over her shoulder blades with a gentle arch in her spine. Not that her free hand remains idle, she pets lightly over her chest, between her breasts and down her torso. Will smirks fondly when she pauses with her hand over the last remnants of her pregnancy weight, the tiniest hint of a baby belly right above her pubic hair. Lennox voices his opinion on the occasions that she complains about 'her pudge,' but Sarah refuses to believe how much her husband adores it, the mark of her as a mother, of carrying their child. Sure that she silently sentences herself to more crunches in her exercise routine, he watches as eventually her hand moves on, brushing over the curls between her thighs.

Sarah's motions start hesitantly, she rubs over her thighs and presses her fingers between her legs, but she does not seem entirely invested, Will thinks she looks distracted. Just as he is about to step forward, make himself known and offer to either help or simply watch over Annabelle so mommy can have some alone time, his wife seems to find her muse. It takes her a while but soon enough the blond curls draping down her back shift as Sarah tips her head to the side to draw on memories. With a graceful roll of her spine, Sarah props a foot back on the ledge and opens her hips. Will feels his chest tighten, looking at his wife's shoulders and back, the curve of her ass leading in to her thigh; the propped up leg hides his direct view of her, making it all the more tantalizing. He groans softly as Sarah brings the showerhead back from over her shoulder, letting the water run over her chest. The strokes of her hand become more deliberate, rhythmic, deeper, and she makes a soft moan.

It feels like there is a grappling hook embedded in his chest, drawing Will towards his wife. He works his throat, trying to actually swallow down the dry, gritty feeling. Arousal and guilt blend in a swirl through his veins. This is his lady, his beloved spouse, but she and Will are still spiraling apart. They fight about his involvement with the Cybertronians, secrets, long hours and longer travel, and being there for Annabelle. Intimacy always seems to fall away first, and Lennox has not been allowed to see anything intimate with Sarah for ages. Somehow he feels that he is intruding on something he had questionable, or perhaps absolutely no rights to participate in or witness. He stops at the glass door, reaching and wiping away some of the accumulated condensation.

Sarah has her eyes closed, gently touching herself and guiding the water over her hand. She takes a deep breath and moves the showerhead, entirely hiding it from Will's view, but he knows what she is doing. Her back jerks, hips thrusting forward in a little buck as the spray tickles at her, but she keeps stilling, then shifting, and trying again to find the perfect angle. Will growls in sympathy for his frustrated lady, curling his toes in his boots, hypersensitive of the socks stuck to his feet, the crunch of his grimy clothes, sand in his hair, and the insistent erection nudging at his fly.

After a few moments, Sarah makes a sharp inhale and lifts her head, her lashes quivering. Her husband smirks, memories of any number of times she has gasped like that crowding his mind's eye like impatient beggars. He imagines her eyes darkening, the tightening of her breasts, the warm flush of her skin beneath his lips, the ragged panting over his ear, and the little flutters of delicate muscles around him where they join. Will's own breathing shallows, he feels like he is keeping pace with Sarah, following in echo as she mewls softly.

Her toes curl on the ledge, and she lets her head lean forward, staring blindly at the wall before her. She shivers despite the steam, and then suddenly Sarah pulls her hand away, bracing her hand on the door. Lennox could not tear his eyes away if he were being threatened at gunpoint. She is so close, and Will knows intimately what happens as his precious lady loses control. He imagines the slow tightening of the muscles in her belly. Even through the glass he is addicted to watching the tiny tremors working up her thighs, the littlest droplets of water falling from her hips. Will presses his palm to the shower glass beneath Sarah's hand, wishing he could be with her, but not wanting to shatter the moment. He could not survive seeing her expression close in and shut him away.

But Sarah's lips are moving. She is making panting little murmurs that Lennox needs to strain to hear.

"Oh god, Will… Will..."

It takes all the Ranger has not to claw through the door to his lady, elation pounding like a heady drug in his veins. She wants him, she still thinks of him. There is hope he and his lady can mend things, and Lennox groans, letting his forehead rest against the deliciously steam-slick glass.

Her spine bows in jerky, instinctive movements, beautiful eyes drift shut and her breath comes in ragged gasps. Sarah makes a few urgent shifts, trying for that last tickle of sensation that will tip her over the edge. She hisses through neat white teeth pressed hard against her lower lip, then she goes utterly still and her husband, achingly hard and desperately wanting, knows she has found the spot.

Will bows his head in an almost reverent gesture, looking at her from under his eyebrows. "Let go, baby," he murmurs softly.

Neither breathe. Will's pupils are blown, sight, sound, everything pinned to his lady. His fist clenches, blunt nails digging into his palms. Tension, coiled tighter and tighter like an instrument string tuned an octave too high, Sarah hovers right at the brink.

For an eternity.

Then she peaks.


Lennox jolted and scrabbled against the rough stone. He blinked up at Epps. His Technical Sergeant was polite enough to let the light of the gently sputtering lantern catch his own face, identifying himself and allowing Will's eyes to adjust at the same time. Bobby glanced away, pointedly ignoring his CO's erection as Will hurriedly sat up and hunched over with a frustrated growl. Back to the here and now, trapped, thirsty, starving, and not even knowing if Sarah would want him to return…

"Your watch, Cap. Ya' know how that thing likes hitting at night." Epps, while more sympathetic to Lennox's situation - married, kid, secrets, away from home - was starting to fray. He was normally cynical enough, but with humor behind it. Now, he simply sounded as raspy and exhausted as all of them were. Their three days of water had already been stretched to six sleepless, terrifying days of being herded, finding escape at the cost of being pinned down.

"Yeah… yeah, Epps. I'm on it. Scott?"

"Stable enough," his XO replied, glancing back to the farthest nook from the cave entrance where their wounded comrade lay bundled in field dressings and what clothes they could spare.

Lennox had willed his body into submission enough that he could stand, and dragged himself to his feet. He took a few moments to swat the gritty sand from his sweat- and bloodstained uniform, then moved to the watch position at their cave entrance. Listening to Bobby check over Scott and the other sleeping men before bedding down himself, Will growled in his throat. Four more hours to sunrise. Another day fighting to get a message out, to return to base alive - before they died of dehydration, before shock took Scott. They were running out of time. Even if fucking Scorponok did not kill them, the desert itself would.

Author's Note P.S.: I dreamed a dream I am inordinately late for the party and only saw Inception within the last 2 weeks. So I blame that movie and the dream "rules" they discuss for approximately 90% of the feel of this fic.

As to this fitting into "A Universal Concept," there are mild plot hints, but hopefully nothing you wouldn't see coming if you've read that story. If you keep reading, and april keeps posting *friendly prod*, the stories intersect for a brief moment.