Word Count: 800
Spoilers: Set in between "Epitaph One" and "Epitaph Two"
Summary: "I had a dollhouse when I was a child," Adelle tells you, smiling wanly.
Author's Note: For the lovely ladyvivien's prompt 'DeWitt/Dominic/Topher, dollhouse.' AHHH, SAFE HAVEN. ♥ (I get that it's the apocalypse, guys! I do! But God, the fic potential makes my soul fluffy!)
i said, 'love is waiting
and better days'
she smiled and placed a kiss
on my waiting face
promise what you will
something good for me
time will take it all
and it will, you'll see
(Iron & Wine, Promise What You Will)
“I had a dollhouse when I was a child,” Adelle tells you, smiling wanly. Topher’s asleep with his head in her lap. She runs her fingers with absent affection through his hair. It never would have crossed your mind to picture her as a mother before. Now it’s all you see. You blame the apocalypse. Repopulation time, and all that.
The three of you are sitting upstairs in the bedroom that’s hers, and yours when you’re around. You’re not around a lot.
There’s a third floor to this house, but it’s just full of old junk: chairs covered in white sheets, moth-eaten old clothes, photo albums that no one’s been able to bring themselves to open. And there’s also the frame of a dusty old broken down –
It’s so fitting it’s cute.
Topher insisted on bringing it downstairs. I can fix it, I can fix it, he kept saying over and over. Adelle couldn’t refuse him that; she sucks at refusing him anything these days. Once upon a time, back in the Hey, And Can You Get Me A Trampoline? days of yore, you would have given her shit about it. Not so much now. (Even though you nearly busted your right big toe lugging the damn thing downstairs, like, when is the universe gonna get sick of beating you up with dollhouses, right? It’s kinda funny, you guess. It doesn’t hold any candles to the last time.)
Now, Topher’s asleep and you’re all sitting on the bed which is pretty ridiculous because it’s twin-sized. The fact that you and Adelle can sleep there without driving each other nuts is a great testament to mankind’s ability to endure, or the profound power of love, or some bullshit like that. You’re used to sleeping on the ground, or in dank warehouses, surrounded by whatever strangers you can find who haven’t had their brains sucked out, who don’t want to rip you open like a Christmas gift. Being able to come back here, to squeeze onto this uncomfortable-as-hell mattress with her: it’s what keeps you going. And that’s another thing that’s funny. There was a time, a real long time, where you wanted nothing more than to get her out of your head and out of your life.
“Oh yeah?” you say now, keeping your voice quiet so it doesn’t bug Topher. Because not bugging Topher is actually a thing you do now. Will wonders never cease.
“Oh, yeah,” she repeats, her accent kindly mocking around your words. You smirk at her. She leans back against the wall. Looks at the ceiling. “I was never much into dolls, ironically enough. I never could quite fathom the appeal: they were pretty bits of plastic. Not real.” The corner of her mouth twitches. “It was the house itself that interested me. The notion that you could have this tiny, perfect world entirely of your own making. And no one would ever … spill grape juice on the carpet, and there would never be leaky ceilings or vases tipped over by naughty children. I was tirelessly enchanted by that.”
She sighs. It gets quiet. Ballard and Echo are laughing downstairs.
“I could stick around a few days,” you volunteer. “See if I can give Topher a hand. Maybe if we actually do fix it up a little, he’ll …” You look down at Topher. He looks the same when he sleeps. Like he could wake up and start talking your ear off about a whole lot of highly fascinating nothing, hands merrily flapping all the while. “… calm down. For awhile.”
“Worth a try,” Adelle decides. She brushes her fingers across Topher’s cheek lightly. He moves a little but doesn’t wake up. The bedsprings creak, which makes both of you laugh. She looks up at you. “Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it,” you say. She leans over to kiss you. Topher senses the movement and, without waking, kicks you in the leg. You don’t mind so much.
“I suspect,” Adelle murmurs laughingly, still close enough that all the words shape themselves on your mouth, “that he wouldn’t particularly like to wake up to this.”
That’s the thing. She’s still so sure he’s gonna wake up. You, you’re pretty sure that Topher Brink – the one she knew and loved, the one you knew and … didn’t love so much – is as good as dead. As wiped as the dumbshows. You don’t tell her this, though. Out of respect, or love, or some residual instinct of she’s-your-superior deference. Or maybe just because you know she needs the hope. You want to give her what you can.
“Rain check?” you suggest, one hand in her hair.
“Yes, Mr. Dominic,” she says fondly. “I’ll hold you to that.”