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[Edge of Tomorrow Fic Rec]: "Better Late Than Never" by thedevilchicken

TITLE: Better Late Than Never
AUTHOR: thedevilchicken
AUTHOR'S LJ NAME: [info]thedevilchicken, auhor's AO3
FANDOM: Edge of Tomorrow
PAIRING: Bill/Rita
OTHER PAIRINGS: none
GENRES: het, first time, Time-Loop, hurt/comfort
WARNINGS: graphic het sex, language, slight violence
CONTAINS: highlight if you wish to know: *hurt!Rita, worried!Bill, Alien Invasion, Rebuilding, description of post-war scenario, lack of communication*
RATING: NC-17
TIME FRAME: post-movie, post-canon
WORDS: approx 15,076
SUMMARY After the war, the work's not over. And Cage needs to tell Rita a story. (Given by the author.)

QUOTE:
“How did you know this was here?” she asks, and gestures to the coffee, to the room, to the house, to the farm.

He just shrugs in response and pours himself a second cup.

“How many times have you been here?” she asks.

“I’ve never been to France before,” he says. “Today’s my first time.”

She rolls her eyes and she sits back heavily in her spindle-backed wooden chair that’s like something out of a history flick, like they’ve stepped straight into occupied France in the 30s and it’s not nearly a hundred years later. He guesses time’s relative.

“Neither had I, before Verdun,” she says. “Have I ever told you how many times I was there in the end?”

“Your service record says once.”

“Bastard,” she says, and she shakes her head. “Don’t be an arse. You know exactly what I mean.”

He does. He knows exactly what she means and he’s not sure why he doesn’t just admit that he does and then tell her the story, except now there’s no do-overs and he’s not sure when he started to regret that instead of giving a God-almighty fucking cheer about it. But he thinks he’ll say the wrong thing because he knows there’s any number of wrong things he could say and Rita Vrataski is a minefield just as surely as the beach was the day before the day it was suddenly disconcertingly safe. He hasn’t found the words yet, not the right ones.

“I don’t know what you want me to tell you,” he says.

She sighs so deeply that her breath almost blows out half of the candles. They flicker dangerously.
“The truth would be a good place to start,” she says.

“Sure, when I know what that is you’ll be the first to know,” he tells her, because he thinks there are probably as many truths as there’ve been days.

Rita drinks her coffee in stony silence, takes her time about it but he’s not in a hurry and wouldn’t try to hurry her. Then she leaves her seat to refill her cup from the pot sitting over the low flame of the camp stove and she leans back against the counter where he’s sitting, his muddy heels leaving marks against a cupboard door but he doesn’t even know if the owner’s still alive so he can’t quite bring himself to care about it.

“Just tell me one thing,” she says in the end, after the next few minutes standing there in silence, just close enough for him to feel uncomfortable when her elbow brushes his knee every now and then, and she glances at him sideways over her newly empty cup. She moves to put it down in the sink across the room like maybe someone will come back there at any moment and find it and wash it and put it back in the cupboard where he found it, and maybe they will. Then she comes back to him and she steps in close and she rests her hands against his thighs; he can feel how warm her palms are now through the fabric of his pants right there above his knees. “Are you still resetting the day or is it over?”

He takes a long breath that tastes of coffee and dust and candle smoke and the grease that’s still clinging to their clothes and their skin from their suits. She’s so close and so real and she’s living and breathing and he’d been so sure she was gone and then so was he, just for a second, for the blink of an eye between Paris and London, between drowning and the thwip-thwip-thwip of a helicopter’s rotors. He should kiss her, he thinks, she’s right there and this time she’d remember it, and maybe she wouldn’t even break his jaw. Maybe she’d let him get away with it or maybe that’s just so much wishful thinking.

He slips down from the counter in front of her. In a second he’s pressed against her from belly to thigh and she’s still looking at him steadily, doesn’t move away because he’s obviously so much more uncomfortable with it than she is. She’s unflappable. She puts her hands at the edge of the counter either side of his waist and she leans in till she’s almost too close for his eyes to focus on her.

“It’s over,” he says, and he pushes her away just far enough to step aside and make some space. She lets him, and has the good grace not to look triumphant.


WHY I LIKE THAT FIC:
First Edge of Tomorrow fic I've read. I only watched this movie on June 18th this year and was instantly intrigued by the plot, the character William Cage, Rita's strong female character, and their unique chemistry. Rita is really badass. A tough, yet still feminine woman. I really liked that. I also loved the atypical role reversal. It's the male character who is inexperienced and gets trained by the expert female character. The male character also tries to protect the female one, but she is taking none of it. She wants to fight, after all she volunteered, and if she dies fighting? So what? I really, really liked that.

“Better Late Than Never” starts right where the movie ends, and it reads like a perfect continuation. So much so, that it could easily be canon. In this fic, Bill takes Rita and the J Squad on his mission to document the world after the war. And while they are at it, he tries to find the right words to tell Rita about the hundreds of resets. It's not easy. And Rita is not dumb. She just knows what's up.

This is a wonderful, gorgeously written fic. The characterizations are superb. The plot is interesting. The sex is hot. If you liked that movie and ever wondered what Rita and Bill did after Bill went to her, read this. It's truly beautiful and definitely worth your time.


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