10 February 2013 @ 05:22 pm

It has been a long evening. Shasta has been up in his workshop tinkering for the majority of the day. He has conceived plans for some new fancy or other, and he has been running in and out getting the necessary supplies with Matthew. Mitsuki came over for tea briefly, but she had already planned a visit with Luxiette’s father. Luxiette was invited, but she declined in favour of starting dinner. A while later, Matthew decides he’s done with playing the packhorse, so he comes parading down the stairs.

“Matthew,” Luxiette chides. “You have oil stains all over your nice shirt.” He looks down, surprised. His bow tie is hanging untied at his neck, waistcoat rumpled, and shirt partially unbuttoned. In their excitement, he somehow managed to untuck half of his dress shirt, as well, and his sleeves are rolled up, baring tanned, strong forearms. He laughs sheepishly.

“This must look ridiculous. I assure you that I haven’t been engaging in any alarming activities with your husband.” He knows it’s unnecessary, but when he looks like this, he reminds her of that gentle, kind young boy she used to know. “Of course, you already knew that. Dinner smells fantastic. I might stop by later for a bite. Micchan hasn’t planned anything.” He saunters over and pecks her on the cheek. She leans into it with a smile.

“We will see you later, in that case. Perhaps you can coax Shasta downstairs for a few minutes.”

“I’m his best friend, not a miracle worker,” Matthew chuckles as she does the few buttons on his shirt, reties his bow, and straightens his waistcoat. He tucks his shirttail in and grabs his coat from the rack, replaces his fedora, and takes up his cane. Then he salutes and heads back outside into the mild Xian spring. He doesn’t come back for dinner, which means that something has come up. She isn’t surprised, so she puts the finishing touches and sets the table before alerting Shasta that dinner is prepared.

It takes about half an hour, but she has allowed for it. She finishes the preparations by the time Shasta comes down. He lingers in the doorway and watches as she sits and settles herself. “Hey,” he says with a smile. She looks up at him and allows herself a smile as well. Her smiles are still not easily attainable, but that makes them all the more rewarding. He goes to sit and they eat. Their change from whatever they had before to the domestic life was an odd one, but she settled into it surprisingly well.

She is content to be in the kitchen, and to busy herself at home while he does whatever he does. Anyone else would be angry with him, and impatient, but she knows how to deal with his moods and his mannerisms. Many who they meet similarly comment that Luxiette seems cold and apathetic. He knows better. They understand each other far better than others understand them, and he is fine with that. After they are finished with dinner, he helps with dishes.

“Are you going back up to your workshop after this?” If so, she will probably retire to bed early. He finishes washing the last dish and puts an arm around her waist.

“I think I will draw a bath and relax for a while.” He kisses her temple. “You can go sleep if you want to.” She nods and puts the dishes away. While she does that, Shasta goes to draw his bath. He strips down and eases himself into the hot water gratefully, leaning his head on the rim of the tub. He’s feeling like he could drift off when the door creaks open. That was strategic in the case that someone tried to sneak in, and as a result all of the hinges are designed to make noise, but it’s Luxiette. She steps into the room wearing a nightgown. She very rarely wears this one. It is slightly sheer and allows only the silhouette of her body beyond the fabric.

He watches as she walks forward and slowly slips the gown off and steps into the bath with him, sinking gracefully and resting against his chest. He allows one arm to slide around her, caressing her sides gently. With the other hand, he brushes her hair back and over her shoulder. He kisses the bare shoulder and up her neck in soft, fleeting kisses. “Have I ever mentioned how beautiful you are, Mrs. Cassidy?” He murmurs, his hand trailing her skin as if he is touching some immeasurable treasure.

Luxiette leans her head against him and he holds her close. She does not reply. They remain like this for a while, and eventually she turns herself around and begins washing his body. When she is finished, he takes the cloth from her hand and does the same for her.

He leans in and kisses her lips tenderly. She reciprocates, and a thought unites them. Shasta takes her hands and stands her up. They towel off and slide into bed, still naked, and he holds her when she presses herself against him.

They fall asleep after a short time, and Shasta thinks it funny that he finds such contentment in this domestic life. He thought he would die young, caught up in some sort of adventure or another.

But, he supposes, perhaps this has been his greatest adventure yet.