A/N: It's been a while. Here's a little festive fic in the spirit of the season featuring two of my favs being domestic cuties and not yelling at each other for once. What can I say? I'm a sucker for mundane fluff. Also, apologies in advance for any typos and grammar mistakes that I missed. I haven't time to run a fine-tooth comb through this thing. I digress though, enjoy!
Important: This is set post-canon, contains an established relationship and is just a bit of fun so don't beat me if they seem too OOC. It has been several years so they're bound to change, right?... Right?
Put your arms around me...
and I'm home.
Zoe is perched on her toes atop an armchair, her gaze intent on Bianca as she opens the carefully wrapped gift.
Her girlfriend is meticulous. She folds the paper neatly and uses a proper tape dispenser so that the tape itself is even and it's always placed just so.
Bianca wraps with what Zoe calls 'spirit', which is to say, not very accurately but enthusiastically.
Zoe's wearing her gift. Or half of it at least.
The jumper is loose but thick and cosy; black with grey stripes and white snowflakes. Incredibly corny but Zoe has never had a Christmas jumper and Bianca was having absolutely none of that when she found out.
The rest of Zoe's present is in her arms, purring gently as her fingers stroke through fluffy dark fur.
Bianca doesn't much like cats. They think they're superior and they're not very affectionate and the claws. But Zoe loves them. She finds them charming.
So Bianca got her a cat.
She got them a cat and she prays that the tiny devil, fondly named Little Lucifer, won't live up to the name and won't meet her considerably low expectations.
But the light in Zoe's eyes was most certainly worth it.
Bianca lifts the lid to the shoebox in her hands... and stares at the contents.
It is most certainly not shoes.
"Zoe... What the Hell is this?" She questions and she looks up at her. Her Emo grins, choosing to remain resolutely quiet. Bianca lifts the key out the box, her thumb stroking over it. "A key..."
"Yes," Zoe confirms, even though it's blatantly obvious that it's a key.
"... For a padlock?"
Zoe shakes her head smiling as she allows herself to sink back into the sofa with her kitten.
Bianca peers across at her, smiling back at her.
Zoe loves this. She loves challenging Bianca. She does so every day. Why should Christmas be any different?
"Is it... to somethin' big?" Bianca questions.
"Quite big, yes," Zoe confirms and Bianca hums.
"Gotta be a door then," She says and Zoe shrugs. It's a maybe. She won't make it that easy. "How do I find this door then?"
"I didn't say it was a door... and there's something else in the box."
And Bianca peers back into it and draws out a small camera. Her eyes scan over it then focus on the writing across it's front; more than a tad confused.
"An infra-red camera..." She murmurs and she glances back to Zoe. "These the only clues I get?"
"Yup. You don't need anything else... Promise..." Zoe assures her and Bianca sighs somewhat ruefully. Why she'd ever thought it'd be a nice and easy day is beyond her.
"Alright... I'll solve ya' little puzzle later but it's too early right now and I need breakfast," She says as she pushes herself up and Zoe hums her agreement.
Bianca steps around their coffee table and kisses her temple gently, smelling apple spice from Zoe's dark hair as she does.
"Coffee?" She quips and Zoe smiles, tilting her head back to kiss Bianca's jaw.
"Yes please," She murmurs and Bianca carefully strokes a lock of the fringe back out of Zoe's eyes.
"You're real cute today."
"You bought me a jumper and a kitten," Zoe says pointedly and Bianca grins.
"Just a planned~ Ha ha ha!"
Zoe rolls her eyes but there's a shine in them that betrays her good mood.
Bianca can't stop grinning...
The kitten is, in fact, the devil. Bianca has already decided.
Mostly because the damn beast keeps trying to climb up her pyjama trousers to reach the bacon and no matter how she yelps in pain from the needle-like claws, the furry monster really wants the bacon.
"Zoe! For God's sake, your cat's being a bloody prat! Get it off me!" Bianca calls, sliding the frying pan under the stove before reaching down and prying the kitten from her leg. She raises it to eye-level then huffs a breath and squares her shoulder. "Alright, listen here... I realise that you came from what smelt like a marijuana central... amongst some other strange shit to be honest and your previous owners were definitely tripping some pretty serious balls, but that doesn't mean ya' get to be a complete arsehole, okay? I bought ya' out the goodness of my already regretting it heart and I swear down if ya' use me as a fucking ladder again, I'm putting ya' in the frying pan and having you for breakfast... We clear?"
And the little shit purrs.
Bianca gives it a flat look then sighs softly and holds the bundle to herself carefully.
"Stupid, cute fleabag..." She mutters.
She turns around to start clearing the table and Zoe is stood in the doorway, leant against it, arms folded loosely with a small, lazy smile and Bianca's made a little breathless.
Little Lucifer thrums in Bianca's grasp and she places him on the table, stroking the top of his head with the back of her finger before he goes skittering across the polished wood and promptly flies off the other side.
Zoe's inhuman reflexes save him from loosing one of his nine lives and he spends the next ten minutes clinging to her jumper and quivering, eyes so wide that Bianca's certain he's seeing his few short months of life flashing before his eyes.
She spends those ten minutes laughing at him.
Or she would've done but Zoe bats her around the head as soon as she starts sniggering.
Then she kisses her on the sore spot and all is promptly forgiven.
Once the food is done, Zoe prepares Lucifer's and has Bianca slice up a piece of bacon into tiny bites, sprinkling it atop the kitten food as per instruction.
"Why am I doin' this again?" She questions in bemusement and Zoe smiles slightly.
"It's Christmas, it's only fair he gets bacon too," She says and Bianca smiles and wonders when it is that Zoe decided that the world could be fair because she used to be such a pessimistic girl.
But then Zoe's smiles are so much more real nowadays. They're tired things certainly but much more real. She's been through more than most but somehow, in the end, it's brought the best out in her. And Bianca supposes that maybe Zoe has a few more reasons to be positive.
She likes to think she's one of them.
Zoe places the plate down and Lucifer dives upon it like a vulture onto a carcass. His vigour is a little frightening to the point that even Zoe is a bit wide-eyed.
"He's got quite the appetite," She notes warily.
And Bianca chuckles ominously, wiggling her fingers at her and creeping closer.
"He's starved for flesh, bones and souls~"
"Oh God! Don't you dare!"
Regardless of the cry, Bianca grabs her and tickles Zoe to within an inch of her life until she's begging for mercy and only stops when Zoe kisses her breathless, fingers tangled in her hair and lips turned up into a smile.
"Our breakfast is going to be cold because of you," Zoe says but Bianca knows she doesn't mind. She's radiant.
"But at least you're warm."
And Bianca holds her tighter and Zoe hugs her, tucking her face into Bianca's neck.
"Your fabulous taste in jumpers saves the day."
Bianca laughs and then a second after, Zoe is laughing along with her and it's stupid and they both forget why they're laughing but it doesn't matter because it's Christmas and they've got a cute, demonic kitten and the breakfast is cold but delicious and their apartment is cosy and everything is good...
Bianca stares at the key.
Then looks up at the door.
Then back to the key again.
She's short of possibilities but the idea of Zoe giving her a key to this door almost makes her only real option an impossibility. It's a very special door.
Zoe has her secrets. She has things that she doesn't talk about, that she keeps to herself and Bianca has been secure in the knowledge that Zoe trusts her more every day.
She slides the key into the lock.
It's a perfect fit.
Her throat tightens and her hands shake.
Zoe has left to drop off a few last minute gifts to some of her university friends. Bianca had offered to accompany her but Zoe knows that Bianca's rather awkward around them all. They're artsy people, the kind that have hour long debates on the merits of using RGB colour versus YMC and Bianca doesn't really understand or much care to but she does know that Zoe is vehemently YMC...
Whatever that means.
So she's been left alone for an hour or so to ponder the key and so she's stood in front of the door to the room that has always been Zoe's.
When they got the apartment, Zoe was the one to scour the place with a critical eye so Bianca has never actually seen all of it.
Zoe hijacked this particular room before she could so much as peek.
And Bianca doesn't mind. She doesn't need the space. She knows it's special to Zoe.
And that's why it's so entirely baffling that Zoe would give her a key to it.
Bianca doesn't know what she does in there.
She's never known and they've been living there for over a year which, in retrospect, is probably quite strange but Bianca has such a powerful respect for Zoe and her privacy that she wouldn't ask unless invited to.
It's the sea of thoughts swirling around her head that have her staring at the lock for nigh on five minutes.
Then she grasps the handle.
Her stomach clenches.
In her free hand, she grips the infra-red camera tighter.
Then she twists the handle and steps in with the same kind of awe that might be better suited for slipping through a wardrobe into Narnia.
Her first thought upon seeing the room is 'what a bloody swine, this would've been perfect as a bedroom' but then next is far more important and goes something like 'holy shit'.
It escapes her in a whisper as she steps further into the room.
There is a desk, a chair and a set of shelves, none of which are particularly flashy but well maintained nonetheless, but the thing that has Bianca marvelling is the mass of sketches and paintings covering three of the walls. Literally covering. There's not an inch of visible wall left beneath the sheets of paper.
She steps over to the nearest wall and gently traces the pencil marks with her fingertips, careful not to smudge them, before glancing over to the rest.
Some are incomprehensible but Bianca knows they make perfect sense to Zoe and that's what matters. It's her thoughts and ideas and somehow that makes them just as nice as the more detailed work.
It's a journey. As she walks between the walls, she can see the refinement in the ideas and there are photo's slipping into place, ones of the park down the road, their favourite café...
There are photos of the dorms, of their friends in their old uniforms and Bianca wonders when Zoe took them.
She pauses on one of herself and she's remembering that moment.
They were on the boat, watching Pomfrey's sink below the surface, whooping and cheering.
Somehow, Zoe managed to take a photo without her noticing.
There are many of them. Some older than others.
And Bianca comes to one baffling realisation.
Zoe has liked her for years. She's liked her since well before the Queen Lear, well before Bianca gathered to courage to actually do anything and... somehow, she didn't notice.
And the more Bianca looks, the more of herself she can see. Her heart pounds hard against her ribs as she just stands there... absorbing it all.
"... Bloody Hell, Zoe..." Bianca murmurs in wonder as her eyes sting with tears that she's having a really hard time holding back.
A small 'mew' breaks the silence and Bianca looks over to Little Lucifer stood in the hallway and smiles before kneeling down and with minimal coaxing, he skips over to her. He's impressively inelegant for a cat, kitten or not, and manages to trip over his paws multiple times before reaching Bianca's hand.
He thrums with purrs as he leans into the touch and Bianca sighs softly, looking around again.
"Our Zoe's a bit brilliant, ain't she?" She says softly.
Lucifer scrambles up Bianca's sleeve and she chuckles, straightening from her crouch and the kitten perches himself in the crook of her arm as she looks back to the camera.
"Alright... So what's this for then?" She ponders as she eyes the walls thoughtfully. "Infra-red picks up heat signals so... there's somethin' warm in here... Somethin' I can't see except with the camera..." She says thoughtfully. Her gaze falls onto the window.
The sun is shining. But it's cold out and the snow is thick so it still lingers despite the rays of sunlight. It's rather beautiful.
Bianca imagines Zoe trekking through it and smiles helplessly.
Then she spots the blinds.
They're black, which wouldn't be entirely odd for Zoe a few years back but nowadays she wouldn't have them over windows because it blocks out too much natural light. She likes a soft glow of light no matter the time.
Bianca steps over to the window then follows the path of the sunlight with her eyes.
The bare wall.
She lowers the blind.
The wall looks perfectly normal, a pale grey that's rather nice... But it's because it looks so plain compared to the others that Bianca knows it's important.
She stands back as far as she can, turns the camera on then focusses the lens on the wall...
When Zoe returns fifteen minutes later, she finds Bianca curled up on the floor with the kitten, sobbing and hiccuping, face streaking with tears as she flicks through the camera's storage.
Zoe smiles at her then tugs her gloves off and approaches. She bobs down beside her then presses her lips to her cheek. Bianca calms to quiet sniffles beneath the touch.
"Merry Christmas, baby..." She murmurs and Bianca places the camera down then wraps an arm around Zoe's neck and kisses her brow softly.
"To you and all, love..." She whispers, voice unsteady from her crying.
And her gaze falls onto the wall that seems so bare but holds a mural buried beneath the surface that depicts a million beautiful moments that Bianca never wants to lose. It's their first fight at St Trinian's, the first smile over glasses of whiskey, the first uncertain kiss, it's her stumbling over her words to ask her out, it's Zoe hugging her tightly, it's them retrieving the play, holding hands, in their cafe, strolling through the park...
It's a million beautiful moments; some one-of-a-kind and some recurring but all incredibly special.
Zoe sits down beside her then leans into her side and grasps Bianca's hand in both her own before stroking the remnants of her tears away with her fingertips.
"... When we move... we're taking the wall with us, I don't care what anybody says," Bianca states.
Zoe grins at her warmly.
"'When', you say?" She quips and Bianca hums, resting her cheek atop Zoe's head.
"Well... I was looking at this nice little cottage not long ago..."
"Lots of trees, not too far from a train station though... It's small and cosy. Thought you might like the quiet."
"That does sound nice."
"We could get Lucifer a friend to play with... and maybe a dog too."
"A big dog though, right? Not a little yapping one; A proper dog."
"Of course. How do you feel about a German Shepard?"
"Yeah. It can scare off intruders... A long-haired one though."
"Yeah, they're prettier like that I think..."
And Zoe sighs, soft and content.
"... I love you," She says in a whisper and Bianca smiles into her hair.
"Love you more," She replies.
She kind of likes to challenge Zoe sometimes too...
A/N: Inspired somewhat by Christina Perri's song 'Arms' which fits the narrative pretty well. It even mentions seeing through walls... Go figure.
Anyway... Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, have a wonderful non-denominational winter Celebration, happiness to you on this Bodhi Day, good tidings for the Winter Solstice and/or may you experience joy on Kwanzaa. Or on any other holiday I may have neglected. Do forgive me if I have.
Thanks for reading.