Darling, Can You Hear Me, S.O.S. (Liz/Wesley)
Spoilers: through 4x22
Word Count: 2,751
Summary: Liz and Wesley run into each other on a couples' cruise. And then get shipwrecked. Alone. Together.
Author's Note: vega_ofthe_lyre gave me the prompt 'Shipwrecked,' as could apply to anyone or anything. Yesterday, I was struck with this grand epiphany. Mwa ha ha.
So, guess what, world: there's something worse than booking tickets for a couples' cruise with your awesome boyfriend, breaking up with your awesome boyfriend for the seriously messed up reason that he's too awesome and it was starting to freak you out and, honestly, kind of make you bored (sidenote: get a cat, just bit the bullet, just do it, this is your life now. Cats), going on said cruise solo for slightly petty reasons along the lines of SUCK IT, THE SKY, finding out that hey, you are super-prone to seasickness, and stepping out of your room after three days of steady barfing to discover that the person in the cabin next to you is none other than Wesley freaking Snipes, and you wish you were talking about the one from Blade.
And that worse thing is getting shipwrecked off the coast of Alaska on day number seven. And being the only survivor. Apart from, yep, Wesley freaking Snipes.
Still not the one from Blade.
"Really, Liz," Wesley says, after spitting a bunch of salt water into her face, "you had your chance."
"That was mouth-to-mouth. I was saving you, moron."
Wesley gives her a smug look that is somehow extremely British. "That's what they all say."
"Who's all?" Liz demands.
Wesley goes conveniently deaf.
"And what the hell kind of island is this?" she continues furiously, glancing around them. The sky is gray, it's freezing, the beach is covered in rocks instead of sand, and there's a dense thicket of spruce trees like fifty feet inland. The odds of Josh Holloway striding out of the jungle shirtless get lower and lower every second. Not that she had actually been ... counting on that. "Couldn't we at least get shipwrecked somewhere tropical??"
"Ahh," Wesley says appreciatively meanwhile, as it starts to rain. "It's rather reminiscent of the first flush of a fair English summer, you know. It's just like Wordsworth once said--"
"Bite me so hard, you pretentious British idiot?" Liz suggests.
"I believe that was Byron," Wesley replies, untroubled. He chuckles. "A saucy rogue, if there ever was one."
Liz starts gathering what driftwood she can -- signal fires are a thing, right? Although she's not really sure how they'll do the actual flames part -- and tells Wesley to rearrange all the bigger rocks on the beach into a sign, in case any planes fly over. He huffs and puffs his way through that, while Liz huffs and puffs her way through wood-gathering, and she thinks that if the universe keeps being an asshole and forcing them into each other's lives, maybe they should both get a gym membership or something. Assuming they survive.
Actually, if they survive, she kinda just wants to go home and eat a lot. And catch up on all the episodes of So You Think You Can Dance she's missing.
"All done!" Wesley calls after about a half hour.
Liz comes over to survey his handiwork.
"Wesley," she says slowly, "this says 'pus.'"
"Well, of course it does, silly," Wesley replies, like she's the stupid one in this conversation. He adds, super-pointedly, "P.U.S. -- 'preserve us swiftly.' Duh. Maybe you've heard the classic ABBA song of the same name. But I suppose I wouldn't count on it, considering your lackluster taste--"
He scoffs. "Maybe in America--"
"WE ARE IN AMERICA!"
"I thought this was part of Russia," Wesley muses. "Isn't that what that rather charming minx of a bespectacled woman sa--"
Liz sinks down onto the ground and decides to wait for death.
"D'you think they can see us from here?" Wesley adds, peeking hopefully out at the horizon. He waves jauntily to the imaginary Russians.
Liz decides she's too hungry to die.
"Never fear, my sweet!" Wesley says. "I shall pluck sustenance for you from the ocean's tumultuous depths."
"My sweet?" Liz repeats, baffled, and reminds him, "Wesley, you hate me."
"I know that," Wesley says. "I just figured, well -- you, me. An exotic isle. No other options." He wriggles his eyebrows. "What do you say?"
"I say no. A lot."
"But Liz, loathsome as the idea is, it really does seem like the universe is trying to make a point here--"
"Yeah, well, the universe can suck it. The only reason we kept running into each other was so you could lead me to Carol. Got it??"
"Ah, yes, Carol," says Wesley. "How is that fiancee-stealing brigand?"
He knows. He so knows.
... To be fair, he found her alone on a couples' cruise.
"Go fish," Liz orders grumpily.
Wesley beams. "Tally ho, mon cherie!"
"Ugh," she mutters.
Wesley actually gets a fire going by rubbing two sticks together, so that they can cook the three fish that he plucked from the ocean with his bare hands. When Liz points out how freakish this is, Wesley modestly replies that he's watched a lot of Man versus Wild. Or, well, what he says is Bloke versus the Outdoors, but she's already getting pretty good at translating British-to-American in her head.
Sitting in the dark by the crackle of the fire and trying not to pay attention to the fact that what she's eating right now has a face, Liz informs Wesley, "Carol is perfect."
She just feels like it's important to get that out there.
"Well, huzzah and hey-nonny-nonny for Carol," Wesley scowls.
"He is," Liz says firmly. "Perfect. Like ... really just ... so ... perfect."
"Your point being?" Wesley demands, raising his eyebrows.
"My point being, I earned him. And yes, I get it if that sounds entitled and stupid. But I did. After Dateline predator subway heroes and ... and wonderful guys with their Caitlin-shaped marital bliss, and hooks for hands, and you -- oh, God, especially you -- I earned perfect, okay??"
"Okay," Wesley says, looking at her like she's the bonkers one. Pfft.
"And ... you know, okay, yes, maybe it got to me a little. How his face would always light up when he saw me, and how our senses of humor were so similar that we kept finishing each other's jokes. Which was awesome at first, but then kinda just got like, 'Well, what's the point of jokes?' And, you know, sometimes, I just want to be grumpy! On a coffeeless morning! Or during a certain ... month time--"
"Ugh," says Wesley.
"--and, you know, usually I'm surrounded by freaks and weirdos, and I'm okay with snapping at them once in awhile! It's just me. They get that. They do way worse to me on a regular basis, so I feel like I'm entitled to a little bitchiness. But Carol -- Carol was always so nice to me. Not everyone. Just me. Like I was ... his really special lady. Like I could do no wrong. And sometimes, I would just find myself looking at him and thinking I WANT TO BITE YOUR FACE OFF."
She realizes that she's strangling the air a little bit.
Wesley stares at her.
"Besides," she adds in a yeah-I'm-not-weird kind of grumble, "he looked like a slightly older, less hot Matt Damon, and I've always been an Affleck lady."
"Liz," Wesley says, "would you like to bite my face off?"
"All the damn time, Wesley," Liz replies truthfully. "All the damn time."
"Hmm," Wesley says, and smiles a little.
They huddle together when they go to sleep, for reasons like body heat and survival. There's a lot of 'Oh, jeez' and 'No hands there! No hands there!' and 'Was God drunk when She--' (eyeroll) '--conceptualized your bone structure?', but finally they reach a spooning-esque position that's doable. Liz, of course, has to be the big spoon.
Ooh, Liz! says the voice in her head that sounds a lot like Jenna. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!
What, Voice in My Head That Sounds Like Jenna? Liz replies with a mental sigh.
Stranded on a deserted island sex!
Uh, Jenna Voice, there is no way I'm--
Oh, come on, Liz! We're always talking about how you need to embrace your inner hoochie mamma.
That's you who talks about that. Only you.
That's not important. Anyway! What better chance are you going to get than right now?? You could make a memory that would last forever.
Jenna Voice, I hate him. You know that I hate him.
Oh, that will just make it better! Like the time Andy Dick and I got stranded at that shopping mall--
GOODNIGHT, JENNA VOICE.
Hmph, says the voice in her head that sounds a lot like Jenna.
Liz wakes up to a vague rustling sound. The first thing she realizes is that somehow during the night they shifted around enough that Wesley's arm is around her waist now, which surprisingly isn't so bad.
The second thing is that there is a BEAR LIKE TWENTY FEET AWAY FROM THEM.
"Wesley, Wesley, Wesley, Wesley, bear, bear, bear!!!"
"There's no time for that now, Rose, the daleks are invading!!" Wesley says sluggishly without opening his eyes.
"WESLEY," Liz says, punching him in the shoulder.
He opens his eyes and does this stupid flailing thing at the sight of the bear. Which stands up on its hind legs and says, "RARRRRRR."
"This is not good," Liz says. "Wesley. Quick. Solution."
"We could ... exeunt," Wesley suggests, with a lofty little wave of his hand.
"Pursued by a bear???"
"Well, excuse me! I haven't had my Twining's Lady Grey yet, I'm hardly to blame if I'm not firing on all cylinders!"
"Oh my God, just switch to coffee, you freak--"
"Never! A vile liquid--"
"RARRRR," says the bear again.
"Quick," Wesley says, "dance at it. That stupid thing you do with your elbows. It'll flee at once. Maybe even drown itself in the ocean. Lord knows I wanted to."
"Uh, one: that dance is not that bad. It's quirky on purpose, okay. It's endearing--"
"You certainly seem to think so," Wesley mutters.
"--and two: when have you ever even seen me dance??"
"I may have caught an episode of your little television programme," Wesley says. "Streamed illegally from London, by the way."
"Someone cares enough to stream us illegally?" Liz says, going momentarily starry-eyed.
"No," Wesley says waspishly. "And -- and anyhow, it was that one where no one came out onto the stage for five minutes, and then you appeared, went, 'I don't know about you guys, but I think it's time -- to party!'" (His impression of her is freakishly accurate, down to the expression of poorly concealed self-loathing.) "And then -- well --" His elbows jut out in the stupidest imitation of her not-that-stupid dance ever.
"Jenna and Tracy got into a spur-of-the-moment dance off during the commercial break," Liz says reminiscently. "Some things got sprained. I had to act fast."
"Yes, well. Anyhow. It was terrible."
"You've been keeping tabs on me," Liz realizes.
"As you blasted Americans say: nuh uh."
"Perhaps I just wanted to ascertain," Wesley says stiffly, "that it was a good thing that the one that got away ... got away."
"RARRRR," says the bear, who seems a little pissed about being ignored.
"We should probably get away," Liz says. For like .5 seconds she actually feels a little relieved that they're about to get bear-mauled, because at least it stops her from having to pay attention to whatever feelings she's having about this. Not that there necessarily are any.
Turns out, they don't get eaten by a bear. A conveniently located helicopter lands on the beach, which sends the bear running past Wesley and Liz and into the woods. Jack steps out of it. Which is somehow simultaneously the most and least surprising thing in the world.
"Lemon," he says, "what on earth are you doing here?"
"Shipwrecked. What are you doing here?"
"Avery and I are partaking in a spot of bear viewing before the Palin-Johnston wedding this afternoon. But Lord knows I didn't expect to see you."
"Well, thanks," Liz says. "For saving us from getting eaten by a bear."
"You could have just done your elbow dance at it," Jack replies. "I'm sure that would have taken care of things quickly."
Wesley makes an approving little noise.
"Ah, Mr. Snipes," Jack says, looking at him. "What are you doing here? Wait, Lemon -- wasn't this a couples' cruise?"
"We ran into each other," Liz replies sharply. "On accident."
"I'm sure you did," Jack says, in this totally condescending I'll-humor-you way.
"Hallo, Jackie boy," Wesley says, grinning.
"Ah, Wesley," Jack says, shaking his hand with way too much enthusiasm. "A pleasure to see you again, old chap. Did I do that right?" he adds, of his (totally legit) attempt at Brit speak.
"Not at all," Wesley answers, still beaming.
"Why do you like him???" Liz demands of Jack.
Jack merrily ignores her.
At the wedding reception, Liz gets mistaken for Sarah five times. Two of those five times, it's Todd sneaking up behind her to grab her ass. Really just the best day ever.
She spends most of the evening sitting by Wesley at one of the tables (the centerpieces are bullet-ridden beer cans with tinsel draped daintily around them) and guzzling champagne while she watches Levi and Bristol dance like awkward middle schoolers at a dance. Until a fast song comes on, in which case things get very quickly grindy and gross. She idly ponders what TGS skits could come out of this, and wonders if Danny would be willing to dress up like Bristol.
Her gaze drifts over to Jack and Avery. They're in each other's arms on the dance floor, and they look polished and elegant and sophisticated, but also just ... really, really happy. Avery's just starting to show, and Jack's hand keeps drifting absently to her stomach. It tends to make Liz hit the champagne harder. She's happy for Jack. That goes without saying. He's one of her best friends, and he and Avery are great together. But at the same time, it's like: he had two amazing women who were totally ready to make a life with him, and he played them in a distinctly douchey way, and what did he get out of it? A gorgeous young girlfriend and a baby on the way.
Liz gets that she's not the world's best person or anything, but -- she's wanted a baby a lot longer than Jack has, and she's tried a lot harder (and looked a lot stupider) shooting for the whole happiness thing.
Why, she thinks, didn't I just stay with Carol?
The answer is: because it wasn't there. She's not sure what it is. Just that she and Carol didn't have it.
Still. Carol never made fun of her elbow dance. Carol danced way dorkier than her.
Liz sighs, and watches Jack dip Avery down and then pull her back up into his arms again. They laugh and kiss.
Oh, yuck, she thinks, because sometimes she just has to be five. She sighs.
"Are you all right, Liz?" Wesley asks. He sounds way too discerning.
"Yeah," Liz answers as airily as she can. "I'm just ... sad for Kathy Griffin, that's all. She had a lot invested in ol' Levi."
Wesley casts a glance to their right, where Kathy sits on a corner of the dance floor fake-sobbing dramatically and getting handed tissues by her assistants.
"She's certainly no Catherine Tate, is she?" Wesley says, sniffing.
Liz looks back at Jack and Avery. "Do you want kids, Wesley?"
"Wesley II, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Eugenia Maud," Wesley answers promptly. Then he clears his throat and awkwardly adds, "Er. If the right bird were to come along. But it's hardly a big deal, I'd say. If it never happens, so be it. No skin off my shin."
"Not an expression," Liz reminds him.
He ignores her. "Why? D'you?"
"Yeah," she says simply.
He looks at her. She just stares back. She's tired and she still smells like salt water, and sometimes hating him just plain requires too much energy.
"You wanna dance?" she asks him.
"Oh God no. Well, all right."
He stands up and offers her his hand, and for a fleeting instant or two he seems practically gallant. She slides her fingers into his and prepares to have her feet stepped on.