Wednesday, December 12, 2012

38 Weeks:The Eleventh Week

A/N: Burn Notice romantic fluff with a side of angst. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Week Eleven

Thursday night, just a typical evening (for now at least, which means it's not all that typical for the last six years) at the Glenanne-Westen home. Just like everyone else, spies, or ex-spies, have some sort of homelife. Granted, in the case of Mike and Fi, it looks a bit like a parody of normal life. They're in bed, reading. Normal enough, until you realize they're in bed because unless you count the stools at the breakfast bar, there are no other chairs in their home, or look at what they're reading.
Michael is laying on his stomach, looking at the screen of his laptop, reading about bitcoins and making a list of questions for Barry. He's very interested in the idea of a currency independent of any government and currently untraceable.
Fi is lying on her side, reading the newest Demolitions Technica. Yes, demolition experts have trade journals. And yes, if you want to be good at explosives, you need to keep up on the trade. And unlike googling bombs or the like, keeping up on the latest in demolition and mining will give you a much better grounding on new things that go boom, how to use them, and is much less likely to get you on a terrorist watch list.
Fi also has subscriptions to locksmithing, safe building, chemistry, and metallurgical journals, and Car and Driver. She likes to keep up with the things she's good at.
Michael's scanning the article, thinking through the possibilities of having a back-up cushion in electronic cash, and possibly taking payment in it as well, when his phone buzzes. He doesn't recognize the number and for a second a thrill of fear flows through him. Who could have found this number?
He lets it ring, and it goes to voicemail.
He feels a little less concerned. The bad guys rarely leave messages.
Michael listens to the message and deletes it. The jewelry store. His rings are ready. He feels a smile start and shuts it down, fast. Last thing he wants to do is give this away to Fi.
She's also got that slightly scared look in her eye. Sam, Jesse, or Madeline and he wouldn't have let it go to voicemail. And no strangers should have that number.
He puts the phone down and shakes his head. "Wrong number. Someone looking for Emily."
She stares at him for a long minute.
"Nothing's starting up. Just a wrong number, really."
"Really. No one out to get us. Just someone trying to get ahold of whoever had this number before me."
She goes back to her reading, but he can see her shoulders are still a little tense. Could it have been a test call? Call in, see who answers, use it to trace them? It shouldn't be. After they got back they got new phones, and then more new phones. Nothing is in either of their names. But still, after the last year especially, they've been scared cautious.


The next morning, Madeline showed up shortly after breakfast and reported they were low on ginger and mint. While living with a hypochondriac gives you a very good understanding of pharmacology, actually being a hypochondriac gives you an encyclopedic knowledge of just about anything that could be considered "medicine."
Which means, since Maddie's been on the job, anything even remotely likely to help with morning sickness has been in their home.
She's even come up with a concoction that Fi will drink, a mix of mint, ginger, sugar cane, bananna, a little vanilla yogurt, and milk. Michael doesn't care what's in it; he'll happily go get it, because it does seem to stay down and makes her feel a little better.  Better yet, hovering over Fi and researching pregnancy related information seems to be helping his mom deal with giving the baby away.
From what he can tell, this as good as it's likely to get, so he's happy to do anything to keep things moving that way.
On top of that, it is pretty tasty. As Sam said, one afternoon, helping Michael fix up the hot tub and put up shelves, "You know, if you add about two shots of rum to this, it'd be perfect."
Going out to get more of the ingredients gives him another chance to get out of the house by himself without raising any suspicions. So, off he goes, in search of mint and ginger.
He's half-way out the door when Madeline says, "Michael, how about you pick up a few flower pots, some dirt, and mint plants."
"I can do that."
"Good. The last batch you got didn't seem very fresh. You've got a nice sunny patch by the hot tub, so we can grow some there."
"I will get you mint plants. Anything else?"
Madeline looks at Fi, and she shrugs. "Aloe? We could probably use some of that, too."
"Mint, ginger, aloe, and gardening hardware. I'll be back in a bit. Want me to pick up any lunch?"
"Not for us. I've got aqua yoga at eleven, and I'm dragging Fi along whether she wants to go or not. Exercise is good for you, honey. It'll help you feel better."
Fi doesn't look like she believes that at all, but she does seem like she'll go along with it. Michael's not sure if his mom dragging Fi out on errands, to go shopping, and to her exercise classes actually helps with Fi's depression, but it does get her out of the house, thinking about other things, and isn't dangerous. Like with the mint smoothies, Mike figures that's probably about as good as it's going to get for the time being. It's not ideal, but it's better than it was, and hopefully, tonight, he'll be able to coax a real smile and maybe even a laugh out of Fi.


He hits jewelry store first. Technically, it's spring, which means it's only in the mid-80s outside, but inside the Charger, it's a whole lot hotter. So groceries, or plants, aren't going to be happy baking in his car.
It takes the clerk a few minutes to find his order, but the wait was worth it. Both rings are nestled into a small gray velvet box. Mike tries his on and is surprised at how right, how comfortable it feels on his finger.
He's played a married man before, and until he was doing it with Fi as his Mrs. the ring never mattered. On it would go for however long, and then off again without a second thought. Hell, less than two months after playing the role with Fi, he was doing it with Pearce, and not once during that entire time did the wedding ring he was wearing ever enter his mind.
But when he was Mr. Jensen, it was there in the back of his mind all the time. He was very aware of the slight weight of the metal and the huge weight of the promise behind it.
He hadn't been ready then. Hadn't quite gotten his mind into the right place, let alone his life.
This time, the ring slides on and it rests on his finger, safe and secure.  He smiles as he twists it around a bit, so the x the platinum and titanium makes is visible on his finger.
He takes Fi's ring, and slips it onto his finger. It goes to just slightly beyond the first knuckle of his ring finger. It's smooth and cool on his flesh. He really hopes she likes it.
"Is everything satisfactory?"
He knows he made some sort of small talk while paying and putting the rings back in their box. Part of him wants to just grab Fi, head over to the courthouse, and get this done today. Get those rings where they belong.
A bigger part of him, the part that's sort of aware of this romance thing, and more aware of the fact that Fi's been sick for weeks and would probably like to be feeling healthy, and if it's possible, happy, for her wedding, thinks that tonight might be a good night to propose, but not a good night to get married.
With that thought, he put the rings in his pocket, and heads to the gardening store. He's got plants to buy.


The thing about proposing to a woman in the middle of first trimester exhaustion and morning sickness is that all of the traditional "romantic" options are out. You don't take a woman to a restaurant when the merest whiff of the wrong food will send her running to the nearest sink to throw up. Likewise a romantic walk on the beach at sunset isn't so romantic when your partner is feeling nauseous and tired.
So, maybe it won't be the most traditionally romantic evening ever. There's plenty of time for romance later... he hopes. If the books his mom keeps bringing over are anything to go by, Fi should start feeling better any day now.
Which leaves... Bed. Bed is good. At lot of their best moments have been in bed. Granted, not this bed, this bed is new, but still, when it comes to romance the spirit of the gesture matters, right?
She's already there. Has been since the sun set. They'd been on the porch, soaking up the evening breezes and sunset, planting mint, aloe, and the basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, and parsley he got. She'll be feeling better eventually, and he likes to cook, so fresh herbs on the back porch seemed like a good idea. They wrapped up as the sun vanished behind the house next door, and with that Fi went inside.
He went about his bedtime routine, slipping into some carefully selected pajama pants, the only pair he has with pockets.
She's sitting on the side bed, reading. He sits next to her, and kisses her shoulder.
"Do you want to get married?"
She looks startled. Obviously, she wasn't expecting it. "Are you asking because of the baby?"
"No." And he can honestly say that. He'd ordered the rings before he knew about the baby. "I want you with me for the rest of our lives. And, though I wouldn't know firsthand, yet, rumor has it people get married when they feel that way." Fi doesn't appear to be buying this line. "I was working up to it, you know. Survive Panama, finish Card, get us cleared, settle into new normal, ask Fi to marry me. It was on the list."
"You had a list?" She's smiling. That she believes.
"A plan, really. But, it was part of it. I almost asked when we were in Panama, but telling you I was done with the CIA was a better first step. I wanted to be free of that before I made a life-long commitment."
She thinks about that. "Give me a real proposal and you can find out."
He takes her book, marks the page, and puts it on the floor, then pulls her, gently, into his lap, stroking her face. "And what does a 'real proposal' look like?"
"You know: bended knee, pretty words, a ring, romantic location."
He kisses her neck, and shifts her out of his lap, settling her on the edge of the bed. Her eyes go wide when he kneels on the floor in front of her, between her legs. He kisses each hand, each finger, and then looks into her eyes. "I didn't ask in Panama because I couldn't make you the most important thing in my life. Not then. But I can now.  Fiona, marry me, and be the most important thing in my world. Build a life with me, and let me spend the rest of my days wrapping my life around yours."
She kisses him for a long time after he says that. He pulls back, cups her face, and quickly kisses her lips, then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small gray velvet box.
"You actually have a ring?" She looks amused and curious.
He smiles at her. "I've got a romantic location, sort of, if you lay back, you'll be in the same position you were when I first told you I loved you."
She laughs, happy. First time she's laughed in days and it makes him realize how much he's missed her laugh. "Not precisely the same position."
"We can fix that." He smiles widely and quickly kisses her lips, his hands tracing down her back and settling on her hips. His touch is firm, warm, and suggestive. And even if it wasn't, his grin is certainly promising good things for later tonight. 
He breaks eye contact and opens the box. Fi inhales sharply. "I actually have two rings, though yours is in two parts." He takes hers out, and removes the titanium from the platinum. Leaving the engagement ring on its own.
"This half is for now."
She stares at it for a long moment, light sparkling off the asscher cut diamond. "You remembered."
"I remembered. Will you wear it? And, as soon as you want, let me put the other half on your finger, while you put this one on mine?"
He leaned up to kiss her, slipping the ring onto her finger, and maybe it wasn't a candlelit dinner, or a walk on the beach with the wind tossing her hair about, but he's here with her, in their bed, in their home, and that's all the romance he wants or needs.
And tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever she's feeling better, they can go do something traditionally romantic.


A/N: Okay, not the same ring as last time, but this one is set a little closer to what I had in my mind. Imagine a second band to form an x with the diamond in the middle, and take away the detailing on the shoulders of the ring, and there's what I've got in mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment