About 2,900 words. No real warnings, aside from some nudity of a not very sexual nature.
05 – Kissing
Siger had shown up for their date soaked to the bone from the rain. It only seemed sensible for Dora to invite him in to get dry. Now he was down to his wet shirt sleeves and was drying his hair off with a towel. She'd never seen him with a single strand out of place before, but now it was rumpled and a bit curly at the ends. It was highly becoming.
“I'll put your things by the radiator, they'll dry faster,” she said.
“All right,” he said.
She hung his jacket, tie, and waistcoat over a chair and moved it close to the radiator. She wasn't sure what to do with Siger in the meantime. She did not have a lot of experience with men in her flat.
“Do you want a cuppa?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said. “Thank you.”
He followed her to the kitchen and leaned against the work surface while she put the kettle on the hob to boil.
“Is your hair naturally curly?” she asked.
“No, it's a perm,” he said, deadpan.
She reached up and twisted one of the strands around. He watched her with a bemused expression, but didn't complain. He just bent his head forward to let her have easier access to it.
His face was very close to hers now, and she really felt he ought to be kissing her. This was their fifth date, and, even by old-fashioned standards it wouldn't be rushing things. He didn't kiss her, though. He just stared with his twinkling eyes, which always looked amused about something only he knew about.
Well, if he wasn't going to kiss her, she'd have to kiss him. He was receptive once she intiated it, and he pulled her right up to him, soaking the front of her dress. The tea kettle whistling made them jump and part. Siger blinked at her a few times, for once looking unsure of himself.
“Milk and sugar?” she asked.
“No,” he said, staring down at her lips. “Just black, thank you.”
21 – Cooking/baking
Siger had his head bent down over a code when he heard Dora get up. He'd been up for hours, once he'd got tired of laying in bed, staring at the ceiling. It had been their first night together, and Siger wasn't sure what she expected of him. He wasn't very good at sleeping, but previous partners were offended when he just got up and left. He didn't think he wanted to offend Dora. He rather liked her.
He stood up from his desk and went to find her. She was in the kitchen, wearing her knickers and his shirt from the previous night. She had nice legs, he decided.
“Do you have food?” she asked.
“Maybe,” he said.
“Do you cook?” she asked.
“I can make eggs,” he said.
She opened the fridge. “All right, make some eggs,” she said. “And I'll handle the rest.”
She didn't seem awkward at all. No blushing or sly looks. Very refreshing. Siger put the frying pan on the hob and started to make the eggs. Dora assembled some ingredients on the work surface, and eyed them critically.
“I believe I can make crepes,” she said.
Siger got another frying pan for her and watched as she went to work.
“What do you normally eat?” she asked.
“I don't often eat,” he said. “I forget.”
“Don't you get hungry?” she asked.
“No,” he said.
She made a small 'hmm' noise, as though this was not an acceptable answer. “How is it that you're still on your feet?” she said. “You don't sleep and you don't eat.”
“Willpower,” he replied.
She smiled. “Very impressive,” she said. “But you will eat while I'm here. And also, did you spent most of the night watching me sleep?”
“No,” he said.
She raised eyebrow.
“Yes,” he said.
“Don't do that,” she said. “It's unsettling. Get up and do something.”
“You're quite despotic this morning,” he said. “Are you always like that?”
She pecked him on the cheek. “Don't worry. You'll get used to it.”
02 – Cuddling somewhere
Siger woke up with two sledgehammers pounding on his skull. He knew the headache was coming on because he'd felt like sleeping the night before. He only truly felt tired pre-migraine. Otherwise he slept as a necessity to recharge his brain. He squinted against the light coming through the window and sat up, waiting for the world to stop spinning before he got out of bed. He went to the loo and ran the water as cold as it would go, filling up the sink. Then he stuck his hands in it and balled them in and out of fists.
“What are you doing?” Dora asked.
He'd forgotten she'd spent the night. He wasn't quite used to having a girlfriend who spent the night. He looked over at her and the world went twirling like a top. He bent over and dropped his head down until it settled again.
“Are you ill?” she asked.
“I have a headache. I get them sometimes,” Siger explained. “The water helps.” His hands were starting to hurt now, and he gritted his teeth to hang on a bit longer.
“That seems very masochistic,” Dora said.
“I don't get enjoyment out of it,” Siger assured her. He yanked his hands out and stood up unsteadily, grabbing out at the towel bar to prevent himself from falling over.
He found Dora taking his hand and pulling him back into the bedroom. He was too dizzy to fight against it, he had to fight instead to keep his balance. She made him lie down and tucked him in like a child. She pulled the curtains tight, brought him analgesics, and put a compress on his forehead.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Looking after you,” she said.
“Oh,” he said.
It was certainly easier than doing it all himself. Once he was settled, she crawled in next to him in bed and curled up beside him.
“Are you going to stay here the whole time?” he asked. “Because they can last for a while.”
“Do you have any objections?” she asked.
“No,” he said.
“Then I'll stay.”
19 – In formal wear
Dora had a bad habit of walking around naked. Siger would accuse her of attempting to lure him, but he sometimes thought she didn't realize she was naked.
He blamed her mother. She was very French.
“You were complaining about parties,” Dora said, helpfully, when his train of thought was derailed by her tying his bow tie for him while wearing only a towel on her head.
“Yes,” he said. “I hate them. They're pointless. I don't have any desire to talk to strangers about the weather or politics or when we're getting married. When are we getting married?”
“May 16th,” Dora replied. She folded his collar down over the tie and handed him his waistcoat.
“I should really write that down somewhere,” Siger muttered, as he shrugged it on.
“I'll remind you,” she said.
“Yes, but it would probably be good to know before the day of,” he pointed out.
“I'll remind you several times,” she said. She handed him his cufflinks.
“And I can never remember names,” he went on.
“I remember names,” she said. She handed him his dinner jacket.
“Are you going to put some clothes on?” he said.
“Pardon? Oh,” she looked down. “Yes.”
He watched her as she got ready, always intrigued by how she managed to get her tights on, and annoyed that, even when she picked out what she was going to wear, they still ended up with half of her wardrobe covering the bed. He did the zipper up on her dress and the clasp on her necklace. She twisted her hair back and pinned it in and put her make-up on.
“And I hate everyone there,” he said, picking up his previous complaint.
“You don't hate me,” she said, turning away from the mirror with a smile. “And I'll be there.”
26 – Getting married
“I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride,” the reverend said.
Siger planted a kiss Dora's lips amid the cheering of the small congregation. He rolled his eyes at her, making her laugh. The music started up and she looped her hand through his arm to walk down the aisle.
“Two fingers of whiskey to get you through this?” Dora murmured, as they started. “Really?”
“It was celebratory,” Siger murmured back.
“It was not. You've brushed your teeth twice to hide the smell,” Dora said.
“Perhaps I wanted to be minty fresh for our first kiss,” Siger said.
“Do you think I'm going to believe that?” Dora said. “You took it for courage and didn't want me to know.”
“Is this how you're going to be for the whole of our marriage?” Siger asked. “Because I can get an annulment.”
“We haven't even made it to the end of the aisle,” Dora said. “Shall we turn around and go back?”
“Let's give it a few days trial, and then I'll decide,” Siger said.
“Don't be under the apprehension that you have all the control,” Dora said. “I may leave you.”
“Don't do that,” Siger said, his tone sarcastic but a little less jovial. “I'd be lost without you.”
01 – Holding hands
Siger didn't like it when Dora cried. He didn't like it when she was hurt or sad or sick or scared. He supposed it would be masochistic of him if he did like it, but unlike with other people, it made him upset rather than annoyed. It made him angry, and he didn't know what to do with himself if there was nowhere to direct the anger.
Dora was crying now. He wasn't sure why; she had been like that when he came home. All he'd managed to establish was that it was not as a result of anything he'd said or done, and that there was nothing he could do about it.
“Do you want me to go away?” he asked.
Dora shook her had.
“Do you want me to stay?” he asked, because that wasn't the same thing as not going away.
Dora shook her head. He presumed that meant it was his choice. He really felt the best thing to do would be run away, but he also thought that might just be what he wanted to do. Which was not the same thing. He sat down on the coffee table across from her and watched her for a few moments, which felt voyeuristic. Her hands were twisting the handkerchief he'd given her. He held out his own hands, tentatively, and she took one. He wrapped the other around it and sat there until she stopped crying.
Doing something sweet
Siger was aware it was very petty of him, but he didn't sleep often, and when he did, he really did not enjoy being woken up by the sound of Dora vomiting. He flicked on the light and went to the loo, waiting for the sound of running water before he opened the door and peeked in.
“I thought this was supposed to stop at three months?” he said.
“Me too,” she said. She brushed her teeth, and then stepped over and put her head on his chest. “I don't feel well. My head hurts.”
Siger rolled his eyes heavenwards. For all the Dora was extremely capable and virtually unflappable, the moment she was ill, she turned into a child. He took her by the hand and brought her back to bed, throwing the covers over her and bringing her a cold cloth for her forehead.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Looking after you,” he replied.
She smiled. “Well, I suppose that's one benefit of being pregnant.”
Doing something hot
“See-jair? The baby is coming. You want to come to see?”
Siger wiped his forehead and nodded, following his mother-in-law back to Dora's room. He'd been in there for about three hours of the beginning of her labour, after that Dora politely kicked him out. Seeing her in pain that he couldn't fix made him angry, and he didn't know what to do, and he was useless. Better to let Celestine handle it all.
Dora was in a total sweat when he arrived. It was late August and mild outside, but the hospital's cooling system was broken and, with so many people doing strenuous activity with the added delight of stressed fathers, it was hot as hell. Siger was down to his shirt and had his sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and he hadn't even done any work.
“Next time, I'll have a baby in the winter,” Dora announced.
“Let's get this one out first,” Siger suggested. He took up a position at the head of the bed, Celestine apparently preferred to be on the action end of things. Siger didn't consider himself squeamish, but he didn't want to test that theory. Not in this heat.
“Juste un peu plus d'efforts, DoDo,” Celestine said.
Dora nodded. The doctor gave instructions, and Siger had his hand grabbed and squeezed for dear life, until his eyes watered. There was, quite suddenly, a baby. Just like that. Dora collapsed backward onto her pillow and Siger leaned forward to get a better look.
“It's a boy, DoDo,” Celestine announced. “You have a son!”
“Ha,” Siger laughed, in disbelief. Dora beamed at him.
The baby was cleaned up and weighed and measured and then finally brought back to Dora. Siger carefully touched his head. He was very small.
“So, Mycroft, then?” he asked. “That's what we chose for a boy.” Dora had insisted on a 'proper' name, which apparently meant 'one no one else has'.
“Mycroft,” Dora agreed.
27 – On one of their birthdays
Mycroft was peering through the door to her bedroom when Dora woke up, but she didn't have a chance to ask him what the matter was before he turned and fled. She sat up and stretched, allowing herself the luxury of waking up gradually. She was so often abruptly pulled out of bed that it was nice when she had a moment to enjoy the quiet.
Mycroft returned a few minutes later, carrying a bouquet of speedwell in one chubby hand. Siger followed behind with a tray.
“We made you breakfast,” Mycroft announced, very pleased with himself. “Because it's your birthday.”
“I see!” Dora said. “How nice.”
Mycroft climbed up onto the bed and presented her with the flowers, giving her a kiss on the cheek. Siger unfolded the legs of the tray and placed it over her lap. Fried eggs, as she'd expected since Siger was cooking, and also some toast and marmalade, and fresh strawberries.
“I made the toast,” Mycroft said. “I watched it and took it out.”
“It looks delicious,” Dora said.
Siger sat down on the opposite side of her, stretching his legs out beside hers. He plucked up the newspaper from her tray and began to read it.
“Do you think you could get a glass of water for my flowers?” Dora asked Mycroft. “I want to keep them by my bed.”
Mycroft took the flowers back and ran off to oblige.
“When did you remember it was my birthday?” Dora asked Siger, as she selected a strawberry from the tray.
Siger pulled out his pocket watch and looked at the time. “Twenty minutes ago,” he said.
“You did an excellent job covering yourself,” Dora told him.
“Thank you,” he said. “Happy Birthday.”
28 – Doing something ridiculous
“Hello?” Siger called, as he opened the door the house.
“Hello,” Dora called from the front room.
He found her sitting on the couch, knitting and reading a book. Three dining room chairs had been placed around her, their backs together to form a square with the sofa.
“I've been kidnapped by the Dread Pirates Sherlock and Trevelyan,” she explained. “I'm being held in the hold.”
“Is it pirates again?” Siger asked. “I thought it was archaeology.”
“There is a sad lack of fossils in the back garden, so Sherlock has reconsidered his vocation,” Dora said. “Which is much safer for my petunias.”
The trampling of feet on the stairs warned of impending children. Sherlock and Trevelyan came running into the room. Sherlock had a sash tied around his waist, with a cutlass stuck through it, and Trevelyan had a bandana on. His eye patch, used to correct his amblyopia, was painted with a compass rose. Dora's work, Siger assumed.
“Hi, Father!” Trevelyan greeted him. “I'm a pirate.”
“I can see that,” Siger said.
Sherlock gave him a nod hello, but he was on a mission. “Mycroft says he won't be swayed by fear tactics and refuses to pay the ransom. You're going to have to walk the plank.”
“Alas!” Dora said, putting the back of her hand to her forehead and languishing back dramatically. “Whatever shall I do?”
“Can't she join our crew?” Trevelyan asked.
“No, she has to walk the plank,” Sherlock declared. “Those are the rules. People won't take us seriously if we show mercy.”
“What if I paid the ransom?” Siger suggested. “Would you spare her then? How much is the going rate for a mother these days?”
“One million pieces of eight,” Sherlock announced.
“Oh, I'm very dear, indeed,” Dora said, rather approvingly.
“I'll give you 250,000,” Siger said.
“Excuse me?!” Dora objected.
“750,000,” Sherlock negotiated.
“Half a million, final offer,” Siger said.
Sherlock narrowed his eyes, thoughtfully. “Deal.”
“Will you accept a cheque?” Siger asked.
Sherlock was amenable to this. Siger found a piece of paper and wrote out a sort of IOU for 500,000 pieces of eight. He signed his name with a flourish, and presented it to Sherlock. They shook hands on the transaction, and Dora was released from the hold. Trevelyan climbed up into her lap as soon as she was free.
“I wouldn't have let you walk the plank,” he whispered.
“Thank you, Yannick,” she whispered back.
Sherlock looked slightly put out by this turn of events, as though he hadn't forseen dipolomatic intervention and wasn't sure if he approved of it. He pulled Trevelyan out of the room in search of treasure. Siger sat down on the sofa next to Dora.
“Thank you for rescuing me,” she said, batting her lashes at him.
Siger rolled his eyes. “You're welcome,” he said, dryly.
She poked him in the arm. “250,000 pieces of eight?”