A/N: So, quite awhile ago, I was listening to the song that I quote below, and I remembered how very much I loved this one line in the song, and in listening to it, it made me think how wonderfully the quote would serve as a line in a fic. Somehow, I don't remember how, but I got to thinking about Speedy and Rae for this song. And I started writing it. Then, I promptly forgot about it. But, as usually happens with me, I started going over my old stuff and I came across this again and I finished it! So...voila! You have a new Speedy/Rae one-shot to enjoy (or not, as the case may be).
This is fresh off the noggin, though, kiddies, so please be kind about any mistakes. No one's even taken a look at this before, let alone actually edited it.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Never have been. Never will be. I make no money or profit from the distribution or creation of this work.
The Simple Things
"It started over coffee / we started out as friends / it's funny how from simple things / the best things begin..."
- I Finally Found Someone, Barbara Streisand and Bryan Adams
The first time I really spoke to him, he happened upon me sitting in a small, hole-in-the-wall café, sipping tea and pouring over a first edition Dickens I had found in the nearby used book shop.
Why he noticed me, I'll never know. I had chosen the corner table because it kept me out of notice, while allowing me to people watch if I wished. I didn't notice him until I heard him speak.
"This seat taken?"
I looked up, a ready retort on my lips, until I saw his eyes and suddenly, I realized the familiarity of the voice. I cocked a brow. "What are you doing here?" I asked, the skepticism in my tone obvious.
He lifted the oversized mug of steaming something. "I would think it's obvious." He motioned with his free hand to the empty chair across from me and I nodded.
I closed my book and took a sip of my tea, regarding him over the rim. "At the risk of sounding cliché'd," I began, "I suppose what I meant to ask is what is a guy like you doing in a place like this?"
He laughed and sipped carefully from his mug. "Karen always buys the cheap American coffee and I can only take that for so long."
"Pretty far to go for a cup of coffee," I said. "As good as it might be."
He chuckled and dipped his head to look at his mug for a few moments. "Alright, so you caught me," he sighed and met her eyes. "I didn't come all this way just for the coffee," he admitted.
He took a purposeful sip from his cup and although I raised my eyebrow questioningly, when he offered no further explanation, I didn't press. It was none of my business anyway. I took a sip from my own mug.
"Great Expectations?" he said after a moment of semi-comfortable silence.
I looked at him in question, and followed his gaze to the book under my hand. "Yes," I said. "I just bought it at a used bookshop around the corner."
"Do you like Dickens?" he asked, the look on his face surprisingly like interest.
I had never considered discussing literature with him, but if he wanted to give it a shot. "I do," I admitted. "He's not my favorite of the period, but this is a good find."
He looked at me in surprise. "You're a collector?" he questioned.
"Not seriously," I said, taking another sip from my tea. Slightly uncomfortable with the topic of the conversation, I turned it on him. "And you?"
He shook his head. "I don't collect anything."
I thought of asking whether women didn't count, but refrained. That would have been rude, and I didn't know him well enough to tease him. "I meant do you like Dickens?"
He blushed briefly and chuckled. "Ah…yeah, I guess that would make more sense."
He looked at me and must have seen the slight smile there, because he seemed to relax some. "I don't really like the Realist movement," he answered my question.
I was a little surprised that he not only knew the term of the literary movement Dickens was most usually associated with, but that he had an opinion on it. "You prefer the Romantic movement, then?" I asked, my voice betraying what I thought of the possibility.
He smiled wryly and took a sip of his coffee. "You caught me," he said, grinning. At my raised eyebrow, he shrugged. "Okay, so my guilty pleasure is the pulp."
"As in Dashiell Hammett and Lester Dent and the like?" I asked.
He nodded. "Have you read it before?"
I nodded slowly. "I picked up one or two of Hammett's stories, and I thumbed through a serial pulp magazine of Lester Dent's character."
He laughed. "You don't like them."
"Why would you say that?" I asked.
"You don't sound enthused."
I looked up at him, surprised. "I always sound like this."
He laughed, and the open nature of it surprised me.
An hour and a half later, it was with a confusing mixture of regret and surprise that I realized how late it had gotten and how easy that time had passed spent in Speedy's company. Later, I wouldn't remember all the topics we discussed that first afternoon, only that I would leave with surprise at finding that Speedy had not only read the classics, but that he was a closet film noir buff.
We had been in the midst of discussing the benefits of the noir genre as it translated to film when I realized the time. Something on my face must have given my surprise away, because he stopped talking and looked at the clock on the far wall of the cafe.
"Wow," he said. "Did we really just spend almost 2 hours talking about books and movies?" he asked, looking at me incredulously.
I nodded, dipping my head to focus on stuffing my book into my bag as I pulled it off the floor by my feet in order to hide the almost smile from my lips. "Seems like," I answered, standing up. I looked at him even as he looked up at me, still seated. "I need to go," I said, automatically hanging the cross-body hobo across my t-shirt clad torso to hang off my right hip.
"Alright," he answered.
I should've left then, but I hesitated, knowing instinctively that I should say something more - that this whole afternoon was rare enough (not just in me having any sort of in depth conversation with anyone, but with it being with someone who I had previously hardly even greeted) that it deserved something more than just a plain goodbye.
I glanced at the table and saw the ceramic plate the muffin he had bought me sometime in the first hour of our conversation had come on, and I seized on the opportunity it presented. "Thanks for the muffin," I said. "And the tea," I amended, remembering he had bought me a refill as well.
He waved it off with a grin. "Thanks for the company," he returned.
I nodded, and turned on my heel, ready to take the step away from the table, only to be stopped by the sound of the chair being pulled back from the table and Speedy's voice calling my name.
"Raven?" he asked.
I turned around to look at him, raising a brow in question.
He looked nervous, of a sudden, the way Timmy sometimes looked when he had to admit to me that he had been caught playing a prank on one of the monks. "What is it?" I pressed.
He smiled, sheepishly, and I could feel the uncertainty coming off him in waves. "Can I call you sometime?" he finally asked.
To my utter surprise and amazement, I was smiling before I even knew what I was doing. As soon as I noticed it, I quit it, but he had seen and was grinning in return. "Sure," I allowed, nodding for a moment, before I realized he was still smiling at me and I turned again and walked through the coffee shop and out into the street, without any further incident.
A/N: So? Any thoughts? Cute? Not? Are they in character? I mean, I know Speedy is kind of out of the character we all know him as, but I wanted to explore this possibility - that he might actually be a bit deeper than we are shown. Anyway...I had a brief idea about continuing this, but now I don't know...I think it works pretty well as is.