Summary: You can't dance forever.
Category: DWTS, Hines/Kym, future!fic.
Author's Note: I asked grav_ity, "If I write shameless future fluff but don't post it, can I still keep what's left of my dignity?" She basically said no, so here it is.
It's simple, you know, and maybe silly, but this – just watching TV together, cuddling against him – is one of your favorite things. He's warm and strong behind your back, his arm draped across your stomach like a reassuring anchor, and there's something about this that makes you feel more comfortable than just about anything else in the world.
You're a little surprised he's here at all tonight – some of his buddies were talking up a guy's night at the Thrashers game – but you're grateful.
On TV, Cheryl and her partner get their scores – a 21 isn't bad for the second week, even though she was on the phone with you just yesterday saying she didn't think her partner would ever figure out his right from his left, let alone the quickstep – and then Tom throws to commercial. The bumper teases an upcoming dance from a 'country sensation' you've never heard of and one of the new pros. Hines' arm tightens around you, pulling you a little closer.
You don't know for sure that Dani is specifically your replacement – there are three new pros this season, two of them female – but it's not a big leap to make. She's tall and blonde, exuding sexiness and youth, fresh-faced and eager like you remember being the first time you stepped foot on that floor. She's an incredible dancer from what you've seen, sharp and full of energy, with a speed and precision in Latin dances that even impressed Karina.
Hines kisses the top of your head, and you remind yourself to relax, to enjoy being here (in your home, you think, with your husband, with the good life you dreamed you'd have when your performance career ended).
You know you made the right decision. You feel envy more than regret.
"Do you miss it?" he asks, and he knows the answer, so you suspect it's really just a reminder that he's there if you need to talk.
"I'm still getting used to it," is the best you can come up with. You love him, and Jaden, and this house, and while you miss your friends and your life in L.A., you don't mind their absence as much as you missed this last fall when you were still on the show. You've got new challenges in your career now, a studio that's still getting off the ground, charity work you care about. You can't wait to have children, and you can now. You really are happy, but sometimes it stings that you're a dancer and a performer and now you're not.
There's a commercial for cat food, voiced by someone vaguely familiar. You snuggle a little closer against his chest. The movement of his breathing behind you is soothing.
You know he sympathizes. You've been talking a lot about his career lately too, and he's already decided the upcoming season will be his last. He calls you the trail blazer, and you're trying to transition with as much grace as you can, but some days are more of a struggle than others.
"You can still catch a flight for tomorrow's show," he reminds you, playing with your hair. You both went to opening night last week, and it was a little easier to be there in person than just watching it on TV from three thousand miles away. When the lights and the music came up, you felt the flutter of old nerves, and you were grateful that all you had to do was watch and cheer.
"I've got things to do tomorrow," you reply with a shrug. You're going to have to get used to it eventually – you're certainly not going to fly all the way to California every week. Dani and her partner are dancing a jive. It's cute – Len will criticize the footwork, you can tell, but Carrie Ann will adore the exuberance and the wink the celebrity throws her way. You can't help but smile.
Hines pinches your side and points to the TV. "He's got to point his feet," he observes before Len gets the chance to say the same thing.
You tilt your head back to grin at him. "You were much better."
He smiles, that warm expression that got you two years ago, even if it took a while for you to realize it, for you to get here. "So were you," he says.
He still doesn't know enough about dancing to really judge your skills against another professional's, but you find you don't care. You know you're not, that you never were, but it warms your heart that he genuinely thinks you're the best in the world. In the final account, that matters much more to you than any of the trophies you have on display.
"I don't miss that part," you say as the panel of judges pick the dance apart. "See? It's already getting easier."
His hand slips under your t-shirt to settle over your ribcage. "It don't have to be easy yet."
You smile and close your eyes for just a moment, relaxing into the points of contact between you. It will take you a little while to get the rush of the costumes and hair and makeup out of your system, but there's a lot to be said for curling up on the couch in pajama pants, especially when you're not doing it alone.
You'll get used to it, you think. You can picture yourself in a few years, hopefully with a baby in your arms, watching a future season of Dancing with a warm nostalgia instead of loss. For all you know, it might start to feel that way in weeks instead of years.
Even now, with him here, it isn't so bad.
"Thanks for staying home," you say, lifting your head to smile at him.
Earlier, he told you he bowed out of guy's night because he wasn't in the mood for a hockey game. Now, he just kisses your forehead and says, "Wouldn't miss it."
You settle back down against him and feel very lucky for the rest of the show.