Disclaimer: They aren’t mine. I make no profit.
A/N: I don’t know why there isn’t more fic about this movie. It’s charmingly delightful and oh so very slashy.
Maria is sitting sideways on her saddle, staring into the crackling light of the fire, when Sara sighs.
“What?” she asks immediately, defensively.
Earlier, Sara had laid out her bedroll, laboriously sweeping the ground beneath her chosen sleeping spot to clear away any pebbles or other debris, and now she’s settled comfortably. “Nothing,” she replies, though her tone is wistful. “Or maybe I’m sad. It’s hard to say.”
“Why is it hard to say?” Maria asks, and there is genuine interest in her voice instead of the expected sarcasm. Sara looks over at her across the fire. Maria’s dark eyes are watching her carefully, warily, in just the same way she has watched Sara from the beginning.
“Because I don’t know,” Sara says with a shrug, long past the time when she would have gotten mad at her companion for asking a question, no matter how innocent. “It’s just a bit of a letdown, I think.”
Maria nods sagely. “You miss Quentin, I think.”
Sara doesn’t know if the other woman has deliberately copied her expression, if she is mocking her or solemn. Since she doesn’t feel like getting up, she decides to let it slide and assume the best.
“I don’t miss Quentin,” she says grumpily, though in truth she does miss him just a little. He was full of interesting information, always going on about his criminal science gadgetry and tricks, and she liked the way he filled the air with something other than brooding silence. “I just can’t believe it’s all over.”
“But it is not all over,” Maria says reasonably, tilting her head to the side speculatively. “You will show me Europe and we will rob their banks.”
Though she would never tell Maria, she’s actually looking forward to introducing the other woman to the glorious sights and tastes and sounds and smells of Europe. Maria is always full of wonder, eager to learn behind her reticent and distrustful exterior. Sara likes to watch her eyes light up when she sees something new and beautiful or learns something she has never before contemplated. It’s like seeing and learning all over again herself. And now that she is alone and they have avenged the murder of her father and saved their people from exploitation, she finds she is more patient with the other woman. She is, in fact, glad to have her around.
“Maybe we will see a bit of Europe first,” she says with an affectionate smile, shaking her head as Maria pulls her bandana up over her face and extends her arms, index fingers pointed as she playacts firing a gun. After a moment, she dramatically re-holsters her ‘guns’, then tugs the bandana down so that it is once again around her neck.
“I have been thinking,” she says, pausing, waiting for the inevitable joke that Sara can’t bring herself to make. When it doesn’t come, she nods in acceptance, then continues, “I have been thinking about my kissing.”
“And what have you been thinking?”
“I was thinking that if Quentin said that my technique is perfect and he said that your technique is perfect, then it is possible that he was lying.”
“To one of us, at least,” Sara agrees, rolling up onto her side so that she can see Maria more clearly.
“Exactly. And so, how can I know now?”
“Whether or not I am any good at it.”
Maria looks depressed, as if the thought that her technique might not be as sterling as she had come to believe it was is possibly the thing that will break her heart.
Sara’s smile is comforting. “You must have faith in yourself.”
“I don’t want to have faith in myself,” Maria says, spitting out the words as if they are a curse. “I want to know for sure.”
“Then you will find someone else to kiss,” Sara says, as if this is the easiest thing in the world to do, “and then you will have your answer.”
“I cannot go to Europe with this uncertainty,” Maria says decisively, as if this were an actual, tangible barrier to their travels.
“Fine then,” Sara says with another sigh, pushing up so that she is sitting on her blanket. “I will kiss you and tell you the truth and then you will know.”
“You?” There is a hint of accusation in Maria’s tone that has Sara stiffening in anticipation of a brawl. “You will tell me the truth?”
“That is so hard to believe?”
She had expected Maria to laugh at her, or maybe even to be offended that Sara has suggested such blasphemy, but instead she finds herself on the defensive, the one offended.
“It is difficult.”
With a huff, Sara rolls over so that she is facing away from Maria, her eyes now taking in the dark, bleak expanse of the nighttime desert. “Then maybe I will not kiss you after all.”
She hears a quiet creak of leather, the shuffle of Maria’s boots against the sand, and a soft sigh of contriteness. “You cannot say no now,” she says hesitantly, and Sara can almost picture her expression. She is angrily shy, irritated with herself that she has run up against the limitations of her knowledge and both grateful and resentful that Sara is willing to impart her own. Maria has always been easy to read, and Sara likes that about her. In the drawing rooms of Europe, everyone hides behind a mask of artifice, every move calculated to showcase their superiority and sophistication. And while she enjoys the game and feels, rather unashamedly, that she excels in it, there is something about the honesty and visceral nature of Maria’s emotions that draws her to the other woman.
And so she rolls onto her back once more, looking up to find Maria looming over her, scowling. Lit from behind by the fire, Sara considers momentarily that she looks like a vengeful demon – it is so apt a description of her companion – and smiles at the thought. “Very well. I will not say no.”
Maria takes this as permission to proceed immediately, and seconds later has lowered herself so that she is crouching over Sara, thighs straddling her hips. She has crossed her arms over her chest and is still scowling, and Sara has to remind herself to keep her hands planted face down on the ground and not to let them slide up the other woman’s thighs because that is suddenly a very appealing notion. Since when has she become enchanted with petulant, she thinks. But it is an affectionate thought, unable to be anything else.
“You should have been teaching me from the beginning,” Maria says tartly, the words an accusation, “not making me practice with Quentin. You are the one with all of the knowledge. I have wasted time on him.”
Sara is amused by this and wonders if Maria is really listening to what she is saying. Though they are friends and partners now, the other woman is sparing with her compliments and still sensitive about their differences. She finds Maria’s bulldog determination to learn endearing and her irritation over having been kept from what she considers to be a superior source document humorous in both its authenticity and obliviousness.
She also wonders what Maria is thinking. If she finds it odd to be hovering over her in the nighttime desert, fully prepared to kiss her without compunction. She wonders if her desire to learn is really that great or if there is something else at play. She wonders if being raised in relative isolation, most of her time spent alone with her father on the farm, has stripped Maria of the pretentions and mores of more polite society. Her classmates in Europe would be scandalized by the prospect of one girl kissing another, no matter the reason, yet Maria is remarkable unfazed.
“Don’t you have some type of instruction to offer?” she asks irritably, one hand pushing back the long fall of her bangs. “How am I supposed to learn if you just lay there, stupid and mute as a donkey?”
At another time, Sara would have been offended. Now, she merely chuckles. “Kiss me like you kissed Quentin so I may gauge any progress you have made up until now. I don’t want my instruction to be redundant.”
Maria considers the notion then nods, no hint of artifice in her movements as she wiggles atop Sara, settling into a more comfortable position. She ends with their hips and bellies pressed tightly together, breasts barely brushing, and her forearms planted firmly on the ground on either side of Sara’s head. And suddenly she is close, so close that Sara momentarily gets lost in the glittering darkness of her eyes. She is watching Sara’s lips, no doubt mentally composing a plan of attack, when she sighs, shrugs, and closes the distance between them.
The first brush of their lips together is tentative. Maria’s touch is light, hesitant, a soft tease of short kisses that build in intensity as she builds her courage. Each one becomes progressively longer, progressively deeper, until finally her tongue flicks out, traces along Sara’s bottom lip and then sneaks inside.
Sara gasps at that, at the surprising rush of arousal Maria’s kisses have evoked, and it startles her partner. Maria starts to pull away, to begin to ask some no doubt annoyed question, but Sara wraps her arms around the other woman’s back and holds her still.
“Don’t go anywhere,” she murmurs huskily, one hand wrapping around Maria’s long braid. “Show me again.”
The look Maria gives her is guarded, as if she distrusts the veracity of Sara’s insistence.
“And then you will tell me the truth?”
“Yes.” Sara gives her another tug, impatient to feel Maria’s lips again. “And then I will tell you the truth.”
Maria’s eyes narrow. Sara wonders what she is thinking, if she is affected at all by the kisses or simply just impatient to hear her verdict. She finds herself making an irritated noise, a gruff yet eager growl of anticipation, fingers digging into Maria’s back, but cannot bother to be embarrassed by her need.
Maria nods haughtily. “Very well,” she says shortly. “I will kiss you again.”
This time, Sara meets her halfway. She no longer cares about the silly kissing tutorial she is supposed to be giving. She cares instead about the heat in her belly, the delicious weight of Maria stretched out on top of her, and the softness of the other woman’s lips against hers.
The fire sparks and hisses to their right, untended and dying.
“Well?” Maria asks many minutes later, tone almost angry. Sara’s eyes are drawn to her lips. They are full and red and glistening from their kisses, and Sara wants desperately to feel them on her again.
She licks her own lips, mouth suddenly dry. “Quentin was right,” Sara says, struggling for impassive. “Your technique is perfect.”
Maria’s triumphant smirk is perhaps one of the most seductive things she has ever seen, and Sara has seen many things. But nothing, no practiced, coy, come-hither smile can match it.
Her eyes go dark. She runs her tongue along the sharp edge of her teeth. She feels like a predator on the verge of a kill.
“But now there are other things I must show you,” she says. Her voice is husky and low and she feels absolutely no regret over what she is about to do. Maria tilts her head quizzically, brows furrowed, and Sara can feel the strong pull of her curiosity. “Do you want to learn more?”
“There is more?”
A second passes before Maria nods definitively. “Then you will show me everything.”