A/N: Oy. So basically, "Status Quo" decided it needed a brief coda of sorts. I disagreed as I was writing it and still mostly disagree now, but it just would not. Shut. Up. Maybe Jimmy decided he wanted some sappy introspection, too — with some serious emphasis on the sap. Definitely still getting the hang of these characters, but I have finished the first chapter of an unrelated longer fic and should potentially have more out there in the not-too-distant future.
There's very little Jimmy doesn't understand.
He'd mastered quantum mechanics before elementary school, perfected a zero-point water purification model on an idle Saturday night, dabbled in exploring the space-time continuum and written an award-winning peer-reviewed article on the physical and spatial properties of the Missing Sock Principle.
He was, in brief, very practiced and skilled at Understanding Things. One of the best, really.
And so he fully understands that he really should wake the peacefully-sleeping blond girl in his arms. There are so many elements to the logical argument for it: he knows it's well past one in the morning, there's no way either of them will achieve the proper circadian rhythms to function at maximum efficiency at school tomorrow, they'd both have a far better chance of obtaining a bare minimum level of late-stage REM sleep in their own beds rather than curled awkwardly together here on the sofa in his lab, and that's not even considering the questionable propriety of their position…
But she's always had the dubious honor of being one of the only things he doesn't understand.
There are dried tears on her cheeks that shine slightly in the dimmed lights of the lab, and he tightens his arms around her waist just a little, even though she's asleep, even though she's not crying now, even though he knows she was, at least in some way, crying over him.
He still doesn't understand why she was crying. He doesn't understand why he was crying (nor would he ever admit to it, of course). But he understands that they were crying for the same reason, even if he's not entirely sure what that reason was.
He presses his cheek to her shoulder, sighs inaudibly into the platinum fall of her hair, and he knows he should wake her, even if only to say all of the belated words burning at the tip of his tongue.
You look beautiful when you're asleep.
But then you always look beautiful.
He closes his eyes and squeezes her hand where she'd moved it to rest against his, holding his arms tight around her.
I'm sorry I don't know how to tell you all of the nice things you deserve to hear.
I'm sorry I ignore you because I don't understand what you do to me and I've never been good at not understanding things.
I know I should wake you. I know you'll likely end up with a stiff neck and you'll be exceedingly irritable and blame me for a terrible night's sleep.
She's usually a light sleeper — he remembers that from their myriad adventures when they were kids. Always the first one awake, prepared and alert even as the rest of the group stretched and rubbed lingering traces of sleep from their eyes. It's unusual for her to sleep so fitfully, but the steady rise and fall of her chest indicates that she is, even though he can't stop pulling her just a fraction closer, can't stop staring at her in the low light, can't stop a thousand errant thoughts that he can't vocalize, not even when it's dark and she's asleep and his lungs are fairly bursting from the effort of holding them back.
She turns in his embrace, moves to one side, snuggles warmly into his chest and mumbles something inaudible, and she looks so peaceful and vulnerable that it almost hurts, and he doesn't understand that, either, but he's struck with a sudden powerful desire to touch her, kiss her, tell her everything he knows she's always wanted him to say, everything he still can't truly admit he's always wanted her to hear.
But they are what they are, and even though they'd broken it just a little earlier that night, their pattern is so ingrained that all he can do is think.
You're too smart for those juvenile boys. You know you are.
I know they don't understand you because even I don't understand you, but I love that you're smart and loud and completely insufferable and that you're just… Cindy.
They don't deserve a woman of your caliber.
Not that I do either, of course. Not when I probably could have had you if I'd made an effort but we're both just so…
Even his thoughts are loquacious and cowardly, he realizes, and he closes his eyes and curls against her, warm and comfortable, and he knows he should have woken her because now he's starting to drift off as well. He should feel guilty that she'll probably be stiff in the morning, and he can already feel the muscles in his upper back protesting from their awkward positioning, but maybe it's time he gave up just a bit of familiar comfort for her.
He leans down and places the barest hint of a kiss against her forehead.
Stay with me, he thinks, and it's so simple and honest and yearning that he almost understands it, almost understands her, for just a moment.
And he knows she's still asleep, her deep breathing even and calm, eyes flicker-fluttering behind her smooth lids, but she squeezes his hand, just a little, just enough that he can pretend she understands what he can't.