Boltedfruit Archive

beetle

Published: 2019-03-16

Category: F/F

Rating: T

Words: 1,018

Fandom: Captain Marvel

Ship: Carol Danvers/Maria Rambeau

Characters: Carol Danvers, Maria Rambeau, Monica Rambeau

Tags: Summer at home, Carol Comes Back to Maria, Maria POV, Oneshot

Summary:

She doesn’t know what to expect, so she won’t make the mistake of expecting.

Author's Note

I hope you enjoy! And consider leaving a comment at the end of the fic to let me know what you thought.

When Carol comes back it’s Louisiana’s hottest summer in seven years. Carol comes back with her leather jacket still on and Maria wonders how she still walks so casually with that flush high on the apples of her cheeks.


Carol smiles at her. Maria feels giddy, but tamps it down to something just past joy, and opens her arms to her oldest friend.

Monica comes running out of the house, launching herself at the two of them while Carol laments, in her easy going way, the time she’s missed. Monica buries her face in Carol’s neck, nearly knocks her over.



It’s late. Too late for dinner. Maria sends Monica back to bed after they sit down for bowls of ice cream anyway, an hour of talking Carol’s ear off about all she missed. All the questions of where she’s been, what’s she been up to, what did she do when she was in space, did she build a rocket, did she ever crash, how many bad guys did she beat up, does she want to stay.

Carol’s eyes slide to Maria’s on the last one. Her heart does that funny slow stutter it used to do when Carol looked at her like that and that’s when she shoos her daughter off to bed. Heavy sighs and stomping feet follow but she goes easily enough in the end.


Maria brings the bowls into the kitchen sink and jacks the faucet to high, letting the heat burn her hands. She swirls her index around, watching the cream float murky to the top before pouring out, spilling over the side to swirl thin down the drain.

“How long have I been gone?”


The words startle her. She tries not to, but she’s sure Carol saw the jump of her shoulders. She knows Carol already knows but is asking just for courtesy’s sake.


Maria offers her a small smile. Barely there, but barely gone too. Hopes it’s enough.


“Five years.”


Carol nods. “Thought so. Monica’s big.”


“She had homecoming last month.”


“Really?”


Maria turns the water off and turns to lean a hip against the counter. Carol is sat relaxed in her chair, still the usual seat she always picked. Maria wonders if she even realizes she does it.


She’s about to ask how Carol’s really doing when she catches sight of a scurrying shadow across the floorboards. She grabs a towel and groans, already heading for it.


Carol traces her line of sight and steps on the thing before she can get there. They look down at the mess of it while Carol makes a face.


“I remember these.”


“Powderpost beetles. Been having trouble with them the last few months. I need to replace the floor when Monica’s back in school.”


Carol nods again. Her hair was longer than the last she’d seen her. This close she could see the way the leather of Carol’s coat had grown tired and tattered at the seams. Her shirt was torn at the collar, just a hole or three. Small and easily ignored, passed off as fashion.


“When’s the last time you owned a second tee shirt?”


Carol’s eyes lit up. “Who told you?”


“My own two eyes.” Maria flicks a worn lapel. “This is ridiculous. You treasure this thing for years, and the first sign of trouble in space you come back looking wrecked?”


“This thing is in great condition. I just…have extra mobility now.”


“Because it’s going to fall apart. Give it to me. I kept this thing pristine for so long, then the second you get back it falls to pieces.” She holds her hand out. “Give it.”


Carol laughs through her nose but does as asked. Leans forward to shrug out of it. Her hair brushes Maria’s hand, sends a shiver through her.


Carol hands it over and Maria gladly takes it to hide away where she won’t find it.



Upstairs, she leads Carol to the guest room. Half because she doesn’t want to let her friend out of her site just yet, half because she’s not going to assume Carol remembers the way. The first time she’d come back there had been a lot missing, lot of promises made to fill in the parts that weren’t there.


She doesn’t know what to expect, so she won’t make the mistake of expecting.


But Carol follows her with no issue. Weaves up the stairs, missing the telltale creaky spots with practiced ease, and dodging the open door of the bathroom like she expected it. Maybe she had.


Maria holds her breath. Tells herself to stop hoping.



Carol watches her with a nearly unblinking intensity. It unnerves her, unmakes her. Makes her flit around the room too quick, fluffing comforters and pillows and bringing out extra linens.


“Too many linens,” she mutters, frustrated with herself.


Carol has her hands in her pockets when she turns back to her.


“Maria.”


She holds her breath again. Can’t help it. There’s purpose in the way Carol says her name. There always had been.


“Yeah?”


“Sit down.”


Maria does. Sits at the edge of the bed she’d replaced the mattress for two years before. It’s bouncy underneath her, and she realizes for the first time it might be a touch too firm.


Carol takes careful steps forward until her waist is level with Maria’s eyes. She looks up into Carol’s face and sees…sees something there, but she can’t hope. She won’t.


Carol’s hands find her face, gentle and demanding her attention. She sucks in a breath and can’t keep her eyes from fluttering closed. Can’t keep from reaching up to cover the fingers that smooth over her cheeks.


“I can’t ask you for this,” she’s saying. “I know you don’t remember everything.”


Carol’s laugh flows over her, cool and breezy.


“What makes you think I don’t remember more than I did?”


Maria blinks up at her, hopeful. Carol bends down and Maria can only breath before Carol is kissing her. Small and careful, and setting her heart racing.


Carol says her name and Maria can’t help the happy tears either. Her first in years.