Title: "Lay Me Down"
Author: monimala
Fandom: DLM
Rating/Classification: SAC, George/Mason, shmoop, ficlet.
Disclaimer: Not my characters!
Summary: Sort of inspired by 2.9, "Be Still My Heart", but mostly Regina's fault by way of Saff. This is Mason's resting place.

He fumbles with the lock. She listens. Click...slide...pick pick pick, punctuated by a few "bollockses" and "fucks". Two minutes and twenty-six seconds. Not his best time. But he insists. She left it unlocked once and he actually *sulked* when he slouched inside. *Sulked*! All the way up until he crawled under the blanket with her and promptly fell asleep on her shoulder.

He only does it on nights when Daisy isn't home. He always knocks if she's there. "His" knock. And George answers it and lets him in and they make politely snarky conversation over pizza rolls and beer and Daisy's sniffs of disapproval. But on nights like this...? Nights like this, he breaks on in. Like he has a right to. And he climbs onto the couch with her just as the muted sounded from the nightly news have started to lull her into a false sense of sleepy security.

"MasonMasonMason," she whispers, tousling his hair.

"Mmmm...night, George," he murmurs, choosing her lap as his pillow.

The first time...the first time, it was an accident. He broke in and she was watching some creature feature on Sci-Fi at 2 AM. Mothra versus Somebody Or Other. And he flopped down beside her and started running drunken director's cut commentary. A one man Mystery Science Theater with no 'mute' button. And then he just sort of...stopped. And she looked up and he was bent kind of awkwardly sideways over the arm of the couch, his chest rising and falling in that even way that assured her he was just sleeping and not passed out and on the verge of asphyxiating on his own puke. So, she'd righted him...and he'd fallen on her...and shoving a fully grown man onto the floor...well, that was a mighty task, even for her. Not to mention highly rude ...and Joy and Clancy hadn't raised a rude kid. Just a dysfunctional apathetic one whose life was tragically cut short by a flaming toilet seat.

So, she'd let him stay there. In her blanket. In her arms.

And he came back.

He keeps coming back.

She strokes his hair until her hand cramps. Until the news is over and there's just dead air. She asked him, over pancakes last week, "Don't you sleep at your place?"

"Oh, I never sleep," he'd said. And then he must've caught her looking at him kinda weird, because he'd added, in a rush, "I mean...at my place...I never sleep at my place because, you know, sometimes I've got this fine woman, you know, and who wants to sleep when you can play a round of mattress tag, yeah?"

Mason has no women. Fine or otherwise.

He just has her couch.

He just has this.

Two minutes and twenty-six seconds. Not his best time.

He puts the coffee on in the morning. For which she blesses him and calls him her Limey Love God. And then he lets himself out. Less than an hour later, the imprint of his head in her lap has faded and she's kicking him under Kiffany's watchful eye and telling him to quit hogging all the leg space in the booth.

Funny...they fit on the sofa just fine. He's ridiculously tall and his limbs hang over the edge, but he doesn't seem to mind.

He just mumbles "Night, George" and folds into her and...and those are the mornings he doesn't come into Der Waffle Haus with his eyes red and wild and the stale smell of booze on his clothes. He smells like her minty toothpaste and orange-y mouthwash...and maybe just the faintest hint of fabric softener from her blanket...and maybe even the fainter still smell of her lotion.

Warm vanilla sugar. She keeps a bottle of it in the bathroom...and she wonders if he uses it after he washes his hands. IF he washes his hands. Or maybe it just rubs off from her skin... like sleep.

Mason sleeps with her.

It'd be surreal, incredibly bizarre, if it weren't...true.

Maybe he thinks of her like some kind of overgrown sheepdog. Or a wolfhound or something. Or...a body pillow. Maybe he just likes the couch. Or the blanket. It *is* pretty fleecy and comfy and she'd offer it to him except that, hey, it's her blanket and she's not *that* generous.

Besides, she doesn't think he'd take it.

Picking the lock has become habit.

And...and maybe...maybe she's become home.



September 20, 2004.

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