Title: This
Rating: PG, mostly because I hesitate to call anything in this little series G. shrug.
Warning: slight angst, bit of sap (and hopefully, not too much OOC-ness as this was written quite quickly).
Pairing/Characters: Gwen/Fox
Word Count: 661.
Summary (for chapter): prompt: bathroom, middles, mirror. "I wouldn't leave," he tells her, promises her, and no one is more surprised than he to realize it is the truth. A follow-up to Warm and Fuzzy (in the 25 Days of Christmas collection) which was preceded by Can You Hear the Horses.

"I don't want to get married again."

Fox's brown eyes lift, stare at her, and the uncharacteristic way she wrings her hands, curls her shoulders inward, before she leans heavily against the bathroom countertop. Her knuckles are white, pale even against the spotless ivory, and each breath she takes is an unsteady one, uncertainty clinging to her voice, dripping from the long lines of her. "I wouldn't leave," he tells her, promises her, and no one is more surprised than he to realize it is the truth.

Gwen's own dark eyes meet his in the reflection of the mirror, and her shoulders relax into his palms as he comes up behind her. Softly, unwaveringly, she thanks him. "I know." She settles into the lean warmth he offers, allows her body to calm in his embrace. "I want you to stay. Because you want to, though, not because you're obligated to." Slowly, Gwen turns in the circle of his arms, the red satin of her dress whispering beneath his fingertips.

Fox lifts a hand to her face, captures an errant strand of blond between his fingers, and pulls it from her mouth, where it clings lightly to the lipstick still smudged from his earlier kiss. He smiles at her then, watches her pupils dilate with the memory, with the (still) unexpected tenderness of his touch. "I chose you, remember? My mind is my own." Something in his words must register with her, because her arms are sliding around his waist, and her nose is pressing against the hollow of his throat just seconds before her lips land on his collarbone, and it so different from how they started, yet so familiar, so welcome, that the words escape without his permission (I love you.) But they're true. They're true, and he never expected to say them again, truly mean them, but they're there, and she's looking up at him with her heart in her eyes, and it's okay that she can't say them back, because she's halfway there, he can tell. Still, she scolds him, gently, without sting.

"You don't have to say that."

Fox smirks, captures one of her hands from his waist, brings it to his lips. "I'm definitely not a warm and fuzzy type of guy, so don't expect to hear me say it often," he warns. Fox kisses her palm then, lets her hand go, and it settles on his strong shoulder as she leans forward to press her smile to his own.

The kiss grows heated, and Gwen's hands have stolen past the barriers of his white shirt to find his chest, to trace the imaginary lines of his heart when the insistent trill of the alarm on her phone startles her, startles them both. Her breath short, Gwen draws back, reaches behind her to turn the alarm off, stares up into his glittering dark eyes. Biting her lip, she glances to the small white stick resting prominently on the countertop, murmurs, "Time's up."

Fox takes a deep, steadying breath of his own, kisses her forehead, offers to take the bullet for her. "Want me to look?"

Gwen answers him not with words, but with a trembling hand on his arm as he goes to withdraw from her.

The seconds drag on to minutes while Fox waits patiently for her to release him.

Gwen's brown eyes are moist with unshed tears, earnest, compelling (maybe even a little bit hopeful) as she explains, "Not yet. What if this is the end? I'm not ready. I don't think I'm ready."

Fox takes her mouth then, kisses her doubts and arguments away, lets her go to meet their fate head-on, and holds out the stick with only the hint of a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. "It's not the end," he tells her as an answering smile starts to blossom on her own lips.

Gwen's laughing as he wraps her up in his arms.

(It's only the middle.)

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Hope you enjoyed it.

Mistakes are all mine.