Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Golden Girls
Character/Pairing: Blanche, Coco
Challenge/Prompt: tamingthemuse #555: Bolero
Word Count: 1,832
Date Written: 18 March 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.
Author's Note: Thanks to madampresident for helping to inspire my first Golden Girls AU!
He turns sharply toward her, spinning her lightly. She keeps one hand on his as his stamping feet provide music for them. She matches his beat, sashaying her colorful skirt that he bought her from one side to the other and high stepping in tune. She almost gives a cry of dismay when he pulls his hand gently out from under hers, but it's only so that he can clap, providing more music and quickening the beat a little.
She continues to dance around him, feeling as though she is the only woman in the room, and although she is, Blanche knows she would feel that way with him if they were in a room full of strangers or even famous people. Virginia might be her father's favorite, and her other sister the apple of her mother's eye, but when it comes to Coco, Blanche knows she's the only woman who matters. It swells her head and her heart, and she feels more beautiful than she ever has before as she dances around him.
He's got a big cigar in his teeth, but it's not lit. He brought a whole box of such cigars home for her father and his, but she knows he thinks the habit is as disgusting as she thinks it is. There are so many things that they have in common, smoking, dancing, and even their love of men all being among them. She spins again, and he spins with her. She can practically hear the instruments playing the Spanish dance tune as his feet and hands keep up the fast rhythm.
He reaches out, takes her hand again, and returns to dancing with her, spinning them both swiftly across the makeshift dance floor in her bedroom. She wonders, not for the first time, if her father knows Coco's secret and that's why he never interrupts them when they're alone in her bedroom, but really, who's she kidding? She could have any boy up here, and he wouldn't notice. He doesn't care. Blanche always tries to pretend like she's the most beautiful and fairest lady of the South, but only Coco really makes her feel that way.
She could dance with him for hours. Regardless of rather it's this new bolero dance he's introduced her to or an old-fashioned slow dance or even, for lands' sakes, a genuine ho down, it wouldn't matter. What matters is that she's with him. She's safe, protected, having fun, feeling beautiful and treasured, and more than anything else, and also more so than at any other time or with any other person, loved. Still, eventually, her muscles grow fatigued. He notes she's slowing, knows she's tiring, and leads her, her hand tucked securely, in his to her bed.
She sinks onto the soft, feather mattress, pulling him onto it with her. She sighs, her head spinning lightly, her breath coming ragged, and the light in the room even seeming to spin as she lays her head down. "That," she breathes, "was fantastic!"
Coco raises her hand and lightly kisses its back. "You," he corrects gently with that Spanish accent on which he's been working while away, "are fantastic."
She laughs, her eyes sparkling with her joy. "It's a shame you play for th' same team! You really know how to treat a girl!"
"Si," Coco says, wriggling his dark eyebrows. "I know how to treat a senor too." He sighs, and Blanche looks at him in concern, hearing the heaviness of his despairing breath and feeling it in her very heart. "Not that I'm ever going to get a chance here."
"You will one day," she says softly.
"Nonsense." He shakes his head, his lips drawing back into a thin grimace. "If any of them ever figured out what I am, they'd string me up."
She reaches out, takes his hand again in hers, and laces her fingers tightly together with his. "Ah won't let 'em," she swears.
"Blanche, it's not . . . "
"Ah know; Ah know." She sighs this time. "It's not that simple. It's not that easy."
"Well," he says gently, "it's not."
She sighs again, gazing up at him from underneath her full eyelashes. "Maybe it's not, but Ah won't let it happen, Coco," she swears. "Not everybody is full o' hate. But if they find out an' . . . an' they try somethin' horrible like that, . . . well, we'll just have to run away and start a new life somewhere else, maybe in Spain." She grins up at him. "Ah think you'd like that."
"I would," he admits. The same, dreamy, faraway look he always wears when he thinks of his mother country settles into his dark, lovely eyes for a moment before he pulls himself away from his memories. "But I don't think you would."
"Ah like bein' with you, Coco. That's all that mattahs."
He smiles fondly up at her. "To you, hermanita. Only to you."
"What's that mean?" she whispers, frowning. It's a beautiful word, a beautiful name, but she's still curious. She's always had a curious nature, and he's always indulged her. "Hermanita?"
"Little sister," he admits.
His answer makes her smile widen and brighten even more. "Ah like that," she tells him. It's his turn for his smile to grow. "What's brother," she asks, "in Spanish?"
She laughs; the musical sound fills her bedroom. "Good try," she tells him teasingly, winking up at him, "but guapo was one o' th' first words you taught me, hermano."
He inclines his head in a nod against her mattress. "Right after maravilloso," he reminds her, "gorgeous."
Blanche's fingers arch against his, then tighten their hold on his as she grows serious. "Ah mean it," she whispers fervently. "If they evah figure out, if they evah try to hurt you, we're out o' here. We'll go to Spain, California, anywhere you want, an' start a new life . . . together, hermano."
He kisses the back of her hand again. He'd never ask her to do that for him -- to give up everything she knows and everybody else she loves to stay with him --, but he also knows better than to argue with his dearest, and truly only, friend when her mind is made up. "It's a deal, hermanita."
"No, it's a promise," she vows. "An' when we get older," she continues, "when Big Daddy gets ready to throw me up -- "
This time, his fingers tighten their hold on hers. "That's never going to happen, Blanche."
"Yes, it is, Coco. He's threatened me many times before."
"That's only because he wants his baby girl to do what he says. He worries about you."
"Then why does he nevah come interrupt us when we're alone up here? Ya . . . Ya don't think he knows, do ya?"
"No." He flashes his pearly white teeth in his broad grin. "He thinks I'm in love with you, and I guess, in a way, he's right."
"Really?" Blanche's heartbeat quickens, but then she frowns. How can that be? She knows he adores men as much as she does, if not more.
"I do love you," Coco tells her sincerely, "more than anybody else I've ever known. You're my hermanita, my sister. It doesn't matter that we have different people or we come from different places. You are the sister of my soul."
She smiles, her heart melting at his words. "Like Ah said," she says, laughing, "you really know how to treat a girl. But," she continues, growing serious once more, "you're mah hermano, too, and one day, we're goin' to leave this place, Coco. We're goin' to leave this close-minded town an' go far, far away, an' wherevah we end up, it'll be together in a place where you can be yoahself. That," she vows, "is a promise from me to you."
He laughs, telling himself she isn't as serious as he knows, deep down, she is. "Si, si, senorita," he agrees, knowing how much she loves his Spanish. "But in the mean time, there's that dance coming up . . . "
"We'll go together," Blanche says firmly. "You don't have to pretend to be crazy about any o' those othah girls."
"Good, because I'm not. I'm loco for you only."
She grins once more, letting the seriousness of their situation pass and relaxing beside him, her hand still in his. "Ah'm loco for you, too," she tells him, but though he smiles at her, Coco knows that one day, she's going to be loco for somebody else. One day, she's going to want to have a real date, and she's going to realize that the guys hitting on her, whereas they may be just after that one thing, really want it from her, not her sisters. She's the prettiest of them all, after all, the prettiest girl not just in their whole county but that he's ever seen across America or Spain. She's the loveliest flower of them all, and eventually, some cad is going to come along and pluck her from him. But in the mean time, he'll enjoy being with her, playing and dancing with her, and sharing his secrets with the one person he knows will never hurt or betray him, the one person who will keep his secrets as well protected as if they were her own, his hermanita.
Blanche sees the way he's looking at her and reads the thoughts running through his mind as easily as if they were written before her in his eyes. "Ah'm serious, you know," she swears, squeezing his hand. "One day, we're going to run away togethah, an' then we really will get those fairy tale endings we used to talk about."
"You're a Princess," he says. "You deserve a happily ever after ending." But anybody else would call him a monster. Anybody else would say he didn't deserve to live, let alone lay in the bed, chaste though their relationship is, with such a beautiful and kind woman, whose outward beauty only belies that of her insides.
"You silly goose," Blanche replies, shaking her head. "As smart an' cultured as you are, surely you remember what th' brother o' a Princess is?" He looks at her, not understanding at first, until she tells him, "You're a Prince, an' you deserve a happily ever after endin' too." She squeezes her hand again. "An' we're goin' to get them togethah," she vows, still looking into his eyes, "Ah promise. You know how Ah am when Ah put mah mind to somethin', an' mah mind is made up. We'll get our happily ever afters togethah."
Coco beams across the mattress at her and squeezes her hand. He does know how fierily determined his hermanita is. "Si," he whispers, and for the first time, he believes her. He believes his future may yet be a happy one, and that he may yet find love despite his differences from everybody else in their county, all because of his hermanita.