Drabble #6

Jul. 12th, 2017 02:35 pm
mishisings: (writing ur endingz)
[personal profile] mishisings
Warning: Schmoopiness levels rising

"Man, it's hot!" Butch complains. The midday sun is beating down on them and they're halfway to the Citadel from Megaton, not a hope of shelter in sight. Dogmeat is panting. The humans are both sweating and tired.

"You want to stop for a minute?" Toni offers. She tosses him an Ice Cold Nuka-Cola from her pack. Lord knows how it stayed ice cold, but he's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. He shrugs his jacket off as she gets out a bowl and some purified water for the dog. Then she proceeds to take off her shirt. Like it's the most natural thing in the world. Like he's not sitting there watching her.

"Whoa! What the hell are you doin?" he all but yells, and closes his eyes as though catching a glimpse of her would turn him to stone. Or maybe she'd just cut out the middleman and shoot him dead.

"You said yourself it's hot!" she retorts.

"Well, yeah, but..."

"I'm not putting on a show, if that's what you're asking." her tone is so unconcerned he can't help but feel annoyed. She really has no idea what kind of effect she has on him, does she? "I'm wearing a camisole underneath, you doofus. Besides, you took off your jacket and you don't see me chomping at the bit for a piece of you."

"Yeah, but..." he starts. It's different for me, he wants to say. You're hot. Not that I'm not a handsome guy and all, and I don't get why you're not all over me, 'cause I'm Butch fucking DeLoria, but you're not, and I - He risks opening his eyes. Goddamn. That was a mistake. It's not anything particularly revealing, or it wouldn't be if he was used to it, but up until she left, the only thing he had ever seen her in was a vault suit. But now he can see her upper arms, and her belly, and this is probably the most skin he's ever seen on her. She adjusts a suspender strap and it's a struggle not to notice how those straps so pleasantly frame her chest. She says she's not putting on a show, but he's enjoying it anyway. Fuck.

He remembers how on the evening of her eighteenth birthday, her father treated her to dinner in the diner. Butch happened to be there, hanging out with Paul. She'd left her hair long and put on earrings or something. It was like one of them crappy romance novels his mom used to love. The sight of her struck him like a lightning bolt. If he was a sap he'd say it was love at first sight, but it wasn't. This time, it's a hundred times worse, he just wants to take her in his arms and tell her how incredibly beautiful she is, but it's still not love. She just happens to be the most gorgeous girl in the world, that's all. It's a fact. Anyone can see if, if they're not stupid or blind. (And he kind of hopes everyone in the world is stupid or blind.)

It's just a, a, a really intense appreciation for a cute girl! If it was love he'd enjoy watching her no matter what she's doing or what she's wearing. If it was love he'd admire how naturally she walks the wasteland, as if she was raised there and hadn't just been thrown out unceremoniously a couple months ago. If it was love he would find her vast stores of pointless knowledge about dead sea creatures adorable. Um. Crap.

And he can't tell her, because she'll never believe him. She'll think he just wants to get into her pants. She'll think he just wants to use her. The way Amata used her to get her way. The way he used her to get out of the Vault. The way he tried to use her all through their school years. The way she probably thinks he's using her to survive in the wastes. So he grabs a bottle of the water (the 'clean' stuff they liberated from raiders, lightly irradiated and tasting of mud, which they boil thoroughly before using) from his pack and upends it over his head, complaining loudly. "This fucking sun is a menace! I think my face is burned."

-----------------------------------------

It's not like him to stop talking mid-sentence, Toni knows. She watches him stiffen as he opens his eyes. The face he's making as he looks at her, like he's never seen anything more terrifying in his life, is pretty insulting. Who does he think he is? Stupid question. He thinks he's Butch fucking DeLoria. Well, he's no prize himself. Even if all those weeks and months of carrying her stuff has given him killer shoulders. He's staring at her. And she's staring at him. She's about to ask him what he's thinking when he speaks again.

"This fucking sun is a menace! I think my face is burned."

He really does look sunburned. His face is red. And he must really be hot if he's risking his meticulously cared-for pompadour by pouring water all over it. Water which is now dripping down his face, and down those goddamn shoulders and soaking into his t-shirt. She said she wasn't putting on a show but it looks like he might be. Why does a jerk like him have to look so good? (Because he's vain, she knows, it's one of his faults. But why, rhetorically?)

They both turn their attentions to their drinks.

As soon as Dogmeat is done with his water, she shoulders her pack and starts walking.

"Okay, break's over. We have to get either to the Citadel or shelter before it gets dark. And I for one would feel more secure if we found an area with a bit more coverage. It's nice that we can see radscorpions coming from a mile around here, but the radscorpions can also see us and I hope to avoid that."

"Sure thing, babe." he says, shouldering his own pack and jogging up to her. And that does it.

"Okay, you don't get to look at me like that and still call me 'babe'." It drives her nuts. He never used to call her that back in the Vault, but ever since she met him again in the Muddy Rudder, it's been 'sure thing, babe' and 'listen, doll' and 'if you wanna get closer to me, that's all you gotta say, girl.' It's unnerving. He used to pull her hair when they were kids, and now he's flirting? (Beatrice used to tell her that boys always tease the girls they like, but Toni knew that was a load of crock, even back then. Butch didn't like her, he just enjoyed messing with her.)

"Like what?" he asks, with an air of injured innocence.

"Like what?" she mimics, pitching her voice low and dumb. "Like I'm a pile of rotten mirelurk guts, that's what."

"I wasn't!" Toni waits for him to elaborate. He doesn't.

"Then what was that face you were making earlier?" He quickens his pace, and she has to jog a bit to catch up.

"Uh. I mean. Hey, why do you hate it so much when I call you babe?" Smooth segue there, DeLoria. What, is there something he doesn't want her to know? (It works, though. She already knows he thinks she's a nerdy bossypants with no sex appeal, and maybe she doesn't need him to say it aloud. Not that she wants him to think she's sexy, either. That would open them up to a whole pile of other issues. Still, it rankles.)

"Oh no you don't. Don't put this on me. Why do you call me that in the first place?" (And she wants to win the argument. Whatever it is.)

"I call all girls that!" That much is true, at least. Though he's light on the 'babe' with other girls and heavier on the 'girl' and the 'doll'.

"Not me."

"Sure I do. It drives ya crazy."

"No, I mean, before. It was always 'nerd' and 'dork' and 'Pointdexter' and 'four-eyes'." He even still calls her the first two, sometimes, when she's talking about stuff that goes over his head. Which annoys her, because there's a brain in there somewhere beneath all the hair gel and machismo, and if he'd just use it...

"That ain't true, I-" he stops himself mid-sentence again. "You want me to go back to calling you that?"

She starts to say she'd prefer to be insulted for her intelligence than dismissed by her gender, but he probably doesn't think he's dismissing her, and anyway she doesn't like either option. "What's wrong with my goddamn name?"

They walk side by side in silence for a few moments, both looking at the horizon. Butch seems to be mulling it over.

"Toni." It's a perfectly ordinary tone, but somehow the sound of her name in his voice sends completely unearned shivers down her spine. She finds herself blushing.

She ducks her head, hoping he doesn't notice. "Nevermind. Call me whatever you want."

It's fine. He can win this one. Just so long as he never does that again. (Whether 'that' is saying her name or giving her that feeling, she's not too clear on, nor even if she actually wants it to stop.)

"Make up your damn mind." he grumbles.

--------------------------------------

Dogmeat follows behind, happily. Boy, it sure is hot out. He hopes they'll find a mole rat to play with soon. That would be swell! And then some pats. Today's shaping up to be the best day ever, same as yesterday!
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