Okay, additional bit from the end of the last part of the museum stuff from the mpreg Dresden fic that I am not officially writing:
Marcone never really woke up. I mean Gard and Hendricks got him dressed and on his feet between the two of them, muttering and cursing at them in Italian, but he was not fully conscious. It was worrying and I asked them to wait while I checked him out. I poked and prodded but couldn't find any spells clinging to him - he was just really, really worn out.
We exited the museum more or less together. There was a huge black van parked right in front of the doors. A guy appeared from around the far side and slid the door open, revealing an interior that was probably nicer than my apartment. Hendricks let Gard take Marcone and hopped up into the van, causing it's body to sink several inches, then reached back and took Marcone again, guiding the half-conscious man into a seat and buckling him in.
I wished I had a camera. It would impair the whole, 'never talking about this again' plan, but how many people got to see Marcone being handled like a sleepy toddler? My eyes wandered a little and I noticed that there was a form sitting in the seat to the far side of Marcone. It was hard to see around the boulder that is Cujo but the person looked small, nearly fragile. I caught a glimpse of shoulder length brown hair and wrists that looked like they would shatter in a stiff breeze and then Hendricks shifted and blocked my view entirely. Huh. Curiouser and curiouser.
Gard was talking to the random mafia guy as they walked back to the other side of the vehicle. Hendricks loomed over Marcone and slammed the door shut. Which is kind of impressive when it's a sliding door. As he did so I grinned and mimed taking a picture. Weird magical doings was no excuse for not giving Hendricks shit. The mafia-mobile took off and I headed home for a quick shower and then several hours of sleep.
And now for something else that I am totally not writing. You don't see it.
Kato stood on the bottom step of Britt's porch, staring at the pool. Britt was already in, paddling idly and grinning at him.
"C'mon. You've got the trunks on so you might was well get in."
"I do not want-"
"Yes you do. You *asked me* to teach you to swim. Weird thing is, you have to get in the water for that. So get on in here!" Britt kicked over to the edge of the pool and rested his arms on the lip, the small scar in his shoulder smooth and unnatural against his tan. "Don't make me come over there and drag you in."
Kato snorted and rolled his eyes. But he came out of the shade of the porch and walked cautiously over to the steps at the shallow end of the pool. Britt slipped under the water and swam over to meet him, emerging from the water with a little tidal wave.
"We will take this slow, yes?" Kato dropped the towel he'd been carrying to the deck and stepped onto the first step, then on down until he was waist deep in the warm water.
"Slow as can be. We've got tons of time, I'm an awesome swimmer, and Mr. Lobster over here," Britt dragged the pool float off the edge of the pool and into the water with him. "will be here for backup." Kato nodded and Britt swam a little farther back, giving Kato room to come off of the steps and stand on the bottom of the pool. "First lesson: floating!"
"I do not float. I sink."
"*Everybody* floats. You don't float because you start flailing around like a nut job. Watch." Britt released the lobster and lay back, arms spread out a little bit from his body, just letting the water hold him and move him. It was so quiet and peaceful with his ears under the water all he could hear was the dull thud of his own pulse and breath, the slick slide of the water around him. He stayed like that for a few minutes until a hand wrapped around his ankle, dragging at him. Britt swung his legs down and under him until he was standing again. Kato was just standing there, his hand still resting on the surface of the water, staring at him.
"What?" The other man just shook his head, lips pressing together.
"I cannot do that."
"Sure you can! It just takes a little practice." Britt slapped the water softly, patting it almost. "Look, I'm going to be holding you, okay? You've gotta get used to the feel of the water, the way it moves around you. You need to learn that it'll hold you up. And then you can trust it and not flop around and make yourself sink."
"You will not let me go." Suspicion was clear in Kato's black eyes and in the set of his shoulders.
"Hey, are we xiong di or not? I won't let you go. I swear I'm not fucking around with you here. Trust me." He dropped lower in the water, until his shoulders were covered and held out his arms, waiting. Kato hesitated, long enough that Britt felt a stab of pain - the fact that his friend didn't trust him enough for this hurt. Then Kato sighed and started to lean back into the water.
Britt had to move to actually get under Kato, but manage to get into position so that by the time he was more or less laying down Kato could feel Britt's arms resting beneath his shoulders and the small of his back.
"Now you're just gonna relax, okay? I've got you. You're safe. You just need to relax and let your body feel the water moving." They were good for a few minutes, Kato slowly relaxing from the quivering tenseness of fear and then the pool pump kicked in. The noise startled Kato, loud in his ears after the relative silence and his head dipped, water splashing up into his nose and eyes. He spluttered and kicked, hands flicking out and smacking Britt across the jaw without any real force.
Britt staggered at the shifting weight in his arms but maintained his position, arms under the twitching man, lifting him a little more in the water. The realization that Britt was still there sank in and Kato slowly managed to get himself under control again. He opened his eyes and wiped the water out of them, smiling sheepishly at his friend.
"Sorry." Britt just shook his head.
"No problem man. You good?"
"Wanna try the next part?"
"What is it?" His voice had lost the earlier suspicion. Kato no longer sounded like he thought Britt was playing an elaborate and nasty prank on him.
"Same thing, mostly. You float, but this time without touching. I'll keep my arms right under you, but just a little deeper than before so you have to trust the water." Kato considered and then nodded. "Great. Ready?" Another nod and Britt let his arms drop, just a little. The water bobbed Kato up and down so that every so often his back would hit the outstretched arms, letting him know they were really still there.
Britt waited, and watched. He could see when Kato began to relax into it, finding the peace that Britt always had in the slow movement of the water. Gradually he dropped his arms a little more and then a little more until they were a good half a foot beneath Kato - still there in case of trouble, but letting him float on his own.
Kato had closed his eyes at some point and was smiling a little, just a curl at one corner of his lips, nothing like his usual smirk. A breeze ruffled Britt's hair and he shivered. The wind was cool against the drying skin on his neck. He brought his arms back up under Kato and jiggled him a little, getting his attention.
"Feel good?" he asked when Kato focused on him and lifted his head out to hear better.
"Yes. It is very nice when I am not drowning." Britt grinned again.
"Then we're ready for the last part of floating." Kato quirked an eyebrow in question. "Tandem floating!" Britt slowly pulled his arms out from beneath his friend as Kato watched. As he lost his support Kato's arms naturally spread out a little, balancing himself against the water. Once Britt was satisfied Kato wasn't going to sink like a stone he leaned himself back into the water, legs popping up. He twitched his feet a bit paddling the water and then floated, arms out.
Slender, callused fingers brushed his, accidental at first and then with intent. They slipped over his hand and then curled, joining them together but not gripping tightly in fear. Just a light touch, reminding each of them that the other was there.