Fic: A Modest Proposal
Title: A Modest Proposal
Rating: PG-13 shading into R
Summary: Harry really does have some spectacularly bad timing.
Notes: Written because of the dresdenficathon. Con your beta: ask me how! Many thanks to my darling Pris for her betaing and title suggestion. Also, written for 100moods, Harry/Murphy, 035, Enraged.
I freely admit that I have a really bad sense of timing when it comes to women.
I can’t blame it on lack of experience. I’ve known plenty of women, in my time, and I never get better at it. I can’t even blame it on being a man (one word: Thomas). It probably has something to do with my usual obliviousness when it comes to the fairer sex, but even that can’t be totally responsible. The worst part is, I usually don’t even know when I’ve timed something wrong.
The good thing about dating Murphy is that she never fails to let me know. Loudly. With thrown objects.
I ducked the cushion she’d just hurled in my direction and asked, as innocently as possible, “So was this a bad time to propose?”
The next pillow, accompanied by a scream of frustration, nailed me right in the gut. “You idiot, do you ever listen to anything I say?” Murphy dug her hands into her hair and pulled, like she does when she’s more than usually annoyed with me. At least she wasn’t throwing any more pillows.
“Always!” I protested. “The thing is you have to actually say it, Murph. My telepathy is rusty.”
“I did say it, you…oh, forget it!” She threw her hands up, then whirled and marched off towards my bedroom.
My bedroom. If she got in there, she was going to slam the door and probably leave me sleeping on my couch, which is incredibly unfair considering both that my couch is way too short for someone like me to sleep on, and that I’d had plans for that bed tonight that involved me being in it.
“Hey!” I got between her and the door by virtue of longer legs and put my hands on my hips. “Hold on a second. Before you lock me out, at least explain why I’m being locked out of my own bedroom?”
Murphy glared at me. “You! You’re why you’re being locked out! Move!”
“You could,” I pointed out, in what I thought was a very reasonable manner, “go home and lock me out much more effectively there.”
She inhaled, closed her eyes, and rocked back onto her heels, settling into a relaxed, deadly stance that usually meant pain for anyone in her way. Probably not for me, though; these days Murphy only hurts me when I ask her to.
Scrub that mental image out of your head. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
“No,” Murphy said, eventually, in a deadly calm tone. “I cannot go home. Do you want to know why? Because yesterday evening I discovered that the water main on my street has broken and flooded my basement. Nobody else’s basement, mind you. Just my basement, and the street in front of my house. Because the gods clearly hate me.”
“Yep,” I said. She opened her eyes and gave me a glare that by all rights should have incinerated me on the spot. “What? I’m only agreeing with you.”
“You,” Murphy said, “do not get women. I was up all night, Harry. I did not get any sleep at all. This, on top of having cramps totally out of the blue, a full day’s work complete with departmental evaluation in which my relationship with you caused me a whole lot more trouble than I deserved, and my goddamn sister calling to ask why I hadn’t wished her a happy anniversary. As if she needed to ask.”
I winced. “Ah. I see. Um.”
“And then!” Murphy was apparently just getting started. “You! I walk in here hoping for a backrub and a nap—since it’s too much to hope for a hot shower with you around—and you decide to go and propose! Goddamnit, Harry!”
“Hey! It’s not my fault!” I said, beginning to get angry myself. Okay, so, yeah, I could have had better timing, but was wanting to marry her really that insulting? “I love you, I want to marry you. I realize you had a shitty day, but ordinarily knowing that would make a woman happy!”
Murphy crossed her arms. “Oh, so now I’m not feminine enough for you?”
I blinked. What? “How the hell did you get that from what I said?”
“As if you don’t know!”
I hate that answer. I hate that answer so very much. “Would you mind making a map of your mind for me? There’s all sorts of bizarre twists and cul-de-sacs! I get lost so often.”
“Yes!” Murphy shouted. “Because you don’t think! You just charge straight ahead and damn the torpedos because you’re always fucking right!”
“What else am I supposed to think?” I yelled back. “You don’t tell me anything, you just snap at me when I screw up!”
“If I yelled at you every damn time you screwed up, I’d be pretty goddamn hoarse by now!” she yelled. “If you’d just listen…”
I clenched my hands into fists at my sides. “Well, if that’s the way you feel, then you’d better just say no and put me out of my misery.”
“Fine!” Murphy snarled.
“Good!” I snapped right back.
“Yes!” she screamed.
I blinked. “What?”
Murphy glared up at me, her hair tousled and her eyes bright and her cheeks pink, so angry I should wilt and so beautiful I could cry, and spat, “Yes, I’ll marry you, you stupid son of a bitch!”
We stared at each other for a moment. I noticed with sudden clarity that she was breathing hard, and that it made her breasts move in some very interesting ways.
Then Murphy threw herself at me, dragged my head down to hers, and kissed me hard enough to knock my head back into my bedroom door, which flew open and deposited me on the floor of my bedroom with her on top of me.
We never actually made it to the bed.
Afterwards, I ran my hand down the long, smooth line of her back. “Feeling better?”
She stretched languidly (creating some very interesting friction), and said, “Much, thank you. How about you? That was a pretty bad fall you took.”
“I’m more worried about the rugburn,” I said. “So. Um. Sorry. I take it that was some bad timing.”
“Astronomically,” Murphy said, “but then, I’ve gotten used to it from you.”
I tilted my head up to look her in the eye for a second. “Forgive me, then?”
“Of course.” She leaned up and kissed me. “Besides, you look so silly on one knee. I’d hate to have to make you do it again to apologize.”
I lifted an eyebrow. “I note you don’t say I look silly kneeling in general.”
Murphy gave me a horrified look. “Why on earth would I say that? Besides, when you’re kneeling, I’ve usually got better things to do than look at you. Like scream.”
“Oh?” I cupped her bottom and squeezed, and did indeed get a scream and a thump. Not a very hard one, though. I guess I was forgiven. She kissed the shoulder she’d hit, anyway.
I waited another few moments for the mood to settle before I said, tentatively, “You know, for a moment there, I really thought you were going to say no. Broke my heart.”
Murphy glanced sharply up at me, and I knew she’d heard the little trickle of hurt beneath my casual tone. “Yes, well. I’m sorry.” She kissed my shoulder again, then added, “I wouldn’t have said no, you know. I am in love with you, after all.”
“Oh?” I smiled. “That so?”
“Yes. It’s annoying but persistent.” She paused, then added, “Much like you. Now come down here and kiss me again.”
Well, she’d had an awful day. What could I do but obey?