sabinetzin: (sga - shortly before the end)
[personal profile] sabinetzin posting in [community profile] queerlygen
Title: Gloss
Creator: [personal profile] sabinetzin
Universe: Stargate Atlantis
Type of work: Fanfic, 1169 words
Contains: Gender issues
Summary: John just can't stop staring.

Everything changes when they get the Daedalus. He's lived at bases on Earth that didn't get as much stuff as the Daedalus can bring them, coffee makers and golf clubs and full-sized mattresses. It's all window-dressing, really, a welcome distraction from the fact that they are, for all practical intents and purposes, still stranded at the edge of nowhere.

So it doesn't bother John much, not until he's sitting in a staff meeting, listening to Elizabeth talk. Something looks different about her, and John realizes with a start that she's wearing makeup for the first time since- maybe the first time since he's known her. He certainly would have noticed before, the way her eye shadow brings out the delicate shade of her eyes, the tinge of blush on her cheeks accentuating her strong cheekbones, but especially the way the color on her lips hugs their curves, making them look full and so soft.

Her lips form the word John, and it looks beautiful.

A second later he's horrified to realize that she's calling him. He fumbles out an answer to whatever question she's asking and spends the rest of the meeting avoiding her eyes.

What's really horrifying is that it happens twice more before the end of the week.

So when he opens his door after work one night to find Elizabeth there, he knows with sinking certainty what she's there to talk about.

"Can I come in?" she asks.

"Why not?" John says, holding out an arm to invite her in; if he's already screwed, why not be hospitable about it?

"We need to talk," she says, when the door shuts behind them.

"Yeah, I figured," he replies.

"It's not that I'm not flattered," she says, skipping the preamble.

John holds up his hands in self-defense. "It's really not like that."

She arches an eyebrow at him. "What is it like, John? I don't want to sound conceited, but you can't keep your eyes off me for long enough to get through a staff meeting." She sighs. "If this is going to continue to be a problem, we need to come to some kind of a-"

"I was looking at your lip gloss," he blurts, and his face goes hot in an instant.

Elizabeth is supposed to be skeptical, supposed to raise her eyebrow even higher and tell him never to do it again. But no, something in her face changes, and John's heart starts to beat out of his chest, because he knows he's caught.

"Would you like to try it?" she says softly, and if there had been any hint of anything that wasn't completely genuine, any touch of mocking or resentment in her tone, John couldn't have borne it.

"Yeah," he croaks out, his throat dry, and he's been in combat situations that were easier than getting that single word out.

"Sit down," she says, indicating his bed, and he dumbly obeys. She stands in front of him, considering him. "Put this on," she says, handing him a lipstick tube from her pocket. He doesn't have to open it to tell it's the good stuff, the kind John could afford but wouldn't buy, the kind that came from stores where they asked too many questions or, god forbid, figured out it was for him.

When he opens the cap and twists it out, fingers shaking all the while, he's disappointed to find that it's just white; he looks up at her questioningly. "Moisturizer," she tells him, and he reluctantly smooths it on; it's amazing, making his lips feel soft and plump in an instant. "Doesn't that feel better?" she says, taking it back from him. He can't even respond, just nods mutely.

"Tilt your face up," she says, and the touch of her hand on his face is so intimate, so secret, so sensual, even though there's nothing sexual about it. Her thumb tracks over his lips, making sure they're smooth, and suddenly she's the sister John always wanted and never had, the one he never even let himself dream about.

She pulls the gloss from her pocket; it's a deep, slightly shimmery pink, and John almost wants to run, but she opens the tube and pulls out the wand, and John's too caught up in wanting to go anywhere. His mouth drops open automatically, adopting that peculiar half-open pose that women get when they put on makeup. Elizabeth nods approvingly, and John squeezes his eyes shut as she comes towards him. The first touch of the gloss on his lips is so feather-light that he doesn't even feel it at first, doesn't even have time to jump and freak out. She applies it with a practiced touch, getting all the places John misses, perfectly outlining the bow of his lips.

She steps back, and John dares to open his eyes. "Go like this," she says, pressing her lips together and pulling them apart with a popping sound. He mimics her, rubbing his lips together to feel the slick slide of the gloss between them. He wants to resent her for using him as her six-foot dress-up doll, for trivializing this, but it makes him feel so, so pretty that he can't even bring himself to.

She produces a compact from somewhere- John didn't know women even carried those anymore- and clicks it open, offering it to him. He takes a breath, steeling himself before he looks.

She's a miracle worker.

He looks at himself through his lashes, and he can almost see it, almost see his face softened and rounded, smooth and clean without his stubble always in the way. For a second, he can believe it, believe that he could be right on the outside some day.

"I have some eye shadow and some foundation, too," she offers, sitting back down next to him and looking at him in the mirror. "It's not your color, but-" She looks lost for a moment, looking down at her hands. "I had a friend," she says, and John doesn't want or need to hear the rest of the story; he knows it already. He puts his arm around her, hugging her close. He wouldn't, he couldn't, but there's something about this space, this time that makes it okay. He turns his face towards hers and leaves one perfect kiss on her cheek, the delicate outline of his lips traced onto her skin. She laughs and hooks her arm around him, laying her head on his shoulder.

The way a sister would.
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Queerly Gen

January 2016

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