Hey, I'm actually cross-posting this in the right week. OK, this week's b7friday topic is bathing and this is set during 'Rescue', cut for length.
While They Were Bathing
Avon lowered himself into the water and lay back, closing his eyes in the scented steam. He hadn't had a bath since his arrest; even the Liberator, for all its luxury, had only had showers. He suppressed the sudden pain; regret was a small part of life. They all belonged to the past now: Blake; the Liberator; and the crushed, still body under the rubble.
There were sects on some planets where people washed away their sins. Avon didn't believe that, but perhaps he could symbolically cleanse himself of loss and pain. He sank beneath the water, floating weightless in warmth. Just Vila left now. If he let friendship dissolve away too, then it wouldn't hurt when he lost him.
He sat up, opened his eyes, and shook his wet hair. Yes. That would work.
Dayna was delighted. Bubble-bath! Her father's visitors had brought vids and she'd always wanted to immerse herself in foam like the stars. Lauren said it was only to hide their naughty bits and the foam wouldn't be any nicer than the stuff on the beach, but to Dayna it was the epitome of luxury. Everything was provided. She ignored the bath-oils--another time, perhaps; they'd only ruin the foam--and poured in half a bottle and turned the taps on full. She giggled when the bubbles overflowed the bath.
Lauren was right though. It looked good, like cream on chocolate, but like most things in life, it was a disappointment.
Tarrant hadn't had a bath since he went to Space Fleet Academy. They belonged to childhood, simpler times. He relaxed, letting the hot water take the pain from his tired and bruised muscles. Odd that it was Vila who'd pulled him out. Not someone he'd choose as a comrade in arms, but it seemed that like many reluctant soldiers, even Vila had it when it counted. And he'd been genuinely sorry about Deeta.
They'd had baths together when they were little. On impulse, Tarrant turned the taps on, then stuck his big toes up them, spraying water everywhere. Remember how that made you laugh, Deeta?
Vila stared at the deep tub. A bath? Deltas got metered tepid showers if they were lucky (and didn't know how to hack the controls). Once, he'd been tempted to take a bath in a place he was robbing, but he'd decided he had enough trouble without asking for it. A bath now would be nice, but it didn't seem right to do something so enjoyable so soon after Cally... Just thinking about it made his eyes go blurry. The wine he could consider medicinal, a pain treatment. Two glasses hadn't been enough though; he'd have to find some more.
Then it struck him. The extra glass had been for Cally. How had they known?
Soolin had left Vila till last. From the way he'd knocked back that wine and looked at her, he was a sybarite. He'd be in the bath for hours.
Vila heard his door being unlocked and glided silently to the bathroom. When he heard someone moving very quietly in his room, he looked out. Soolin was standing there, his gun in her hand.
"What're you doing?"
Soolin smiled coolly. "Dorian doesn't like his guests being armed."
Vila gave her a much warmer smile. "You're all right with me, then. That's from your ship and I put a stun clip in it."
Then the man really was as stupid as he looked. "I shoot to kill." Soolin turned her back and left, writing him off. She didn't see Vila regretfully doing much the same.