Title: Another Blink of an Eye
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Warnings: none
Category: Romance, Drama, AU
Keywords: Henry/Betty, Henry/Charlie, hints of past Daniel/Betty.
Spoilers: Derailed; Icing on the Cake; Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Series: Five Things
Summary: Five things Henry knows about Betty.
Disclaimer: Ugly Betty is the property of Silent H Productions, Reveille and Ventanarosa, and Touchstone Television. The story is mine.
Website: http://www.vespertanmer.com
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: In the order they were written, with chronological numbering. Title from "100 Years" by Five For Fighting. I didn't intend to go any further than this, but MaddieStJ inspired me. Expect a continuation soon that will hopefully fill in some of the holes of this alternate universe.

iii. for another day

Not long after their first anniversary, Betty goes on a rummage through some of the boxes she still hasn't unpacked. Three hours later (two hours unpacking, one hour replacing) she lets out an exasperated huff and says, "I'm going to visit my Dad."

Amused, he smiles at her and answers, "I'll come with you."

Betty pulls Ignacio aside as soon as they get there and he's left sitting downstairs, watching Galavisión, thinking that the house is very empty without Hilda and Justin there, and twenty minutes later, Betty comes downstairs, a large book in hand.

She asks, "Ready?"

He nods.

Ignacio gives Betty a kiss on the cheek, as they leave, with an admonishment to visit again soon.

It isn't until they get home that she shows him what the book is and says, "It's my album. Hilda has her own."

Pictures of a younger Betty and Justin as a baby fill the pages and he watches her as she pages through it, telling him stories about the photos. It's not what she says, but the wistful expression on her face while she talks that tells him quite a bit more than he thinks she intended.

He thinks about a conversation they had soon after they were married when he asked, "What about children?"

She had said, "I want a girl. Someday."

Now he understands why she said 'someday' with such longing in her voice.

Betty wants children; she's just not ready for them. That's okay, he can wait.

i. useless

Charlie sinks down into the purple couch she's found. It's large and looks like someone spilled cough syrup all over a bunch of marshmallows. She says, "Henry, this is awesome. Sit down. Try it out."

He does. For all its overly fluffy appearance, it is comfortable. They've been out the entire afternoon and he's tired of visiting store after store, so he says, "Okay. It'll do."

Charlie jumps up and then leans down, planting a swift kiss on his cheek that he's unprepared for and flinches away from. Charlie, thankfully, doesn't notice because she's already gone to find a salesperson. Henry closes his eyes, sighs, and then gets up to follow her.

It's while Charlie's settling everything with the salespeople for delivery that he shoves his hands in his coat pockets. Encountering something with serrated edges, he's puzzled. Halfway through pulling it out to look at it, he realizes it's one of the mustard packets he'd snatched up for Betty. He turns it over and over.

Charlie says the taste of mustard makes her gag.

He jumps when Charlie calls for him and quickly stuffs the packet back into his pocket.

The next time they pass a trash bin, he chucks it inside.

iv. once upon a time

Betty peeks into the room, just as Henry's putting the bottle down on the nightstand.

She says, "Done?"

Henry looks down, wipes a small trail of milk away from their baby's slack-jawed mouth and says, "Out like a light."

Betty says, "Give her to me. I'll burp her."

He stands, carefully handing her over to Betty, who settles down with her in the chair and snuggles their daughter to her shoulder.

He smiles, takes the bottle, and drops a kiss first on Betty's mouth and then on the soft hair of the baby. She gurgles and then settles back down.

As he leaves, he can hear Betty say, "Once upon a time, there was a girl named Cinderella...."

ii. peace offering

Betty is slamming cabinet doors in the kitchen. He watches, apprehensive, from the doorway. He says, "I'll be back in awhile."

She snaps, "Take your time," her back to him.

He takes a deep breath and lets it out in a heavy sigh. In response, she slams the drawer she was looking in shut.

"Okay," he says and leaves.

They'd be better off with the time apart.

He comes back after forty-five minutes, in which she didn't call him and he knows that his welcome home is going to be less than warm, but he doesn't care. He has a plan, so when he comes in and she asks, "Where were you?" he answers, "Getting you these."

He brings the daisies he'd been hiding behind his back forward.

She looks first at them and then him.

She says, "You think these are going to solve everything?"

He says, "Well, no, but I hoped they'd help." He raises his eyebrows and asks, "Is it working?"

She takes the bunch of flowers from him and strokes the petals of one. She says, not looking at him, "Yes?"

He says, "I'm sorry," just as she says, "Oh, Henry, I'm sorry," at the same time and they break down into relieved laughter.

He kisses her and the daisies don't get put into water for another hour.

v. against doubt

Daniel Meade gets married. It's not for the first time.

Betty and Henry attend, of course, Elena in tow. At two years old, she's still overwhelmed by too much excitement and she spends most of the ceremony hiding her face against her father's neck.

Daniel comes up to them afterward, shakes Henry's hand and gives Betty a hug, says, "She's gotten so big. Still a cutie, though."

Elena gives Daniel a blank stare, while Betty beams.

Elena says, "Change diaper," although it comes out more like, "Change diter."

They laugh.

Henry says, "I'll take her."

When he comes back, he spots Betty still talking to Daniel, although they've found seats.

Her face is alight with happiness, glowing with the same intensity and fire as a candle and Henry just stops.

Elena babbles in his ear, but he ignores her, watches as Daniel's bride comes up, greets Betty and then all but hauls Daniel away. Daniel gives Betty a sheepish look, going with alacrity.

Betty straightens her skirt, looks around, and then sees Henry. She waves him over, giving him the same bright smile she gave Daniel.

He sits down next to her. Betty holds out her hands to Elena, saying, "Come to Mommy?"

Elena holds out her arms and Henry reluctantly gives her over. Betty sits Elena on her knee and then looks over to him. She gets a crease between her eyebrows and asks, "Is something wrong?"

Henry says, "Nothing."

She tips her head, the concerned look not going away.

"No, really, I'm okay."

She stares at him a bit longer, then leans over and covers his mouth with her own. It takes him a moment to respond, but he does.

Elena says, "Mommy, Daddy!" and starts trying to climb over to Henry.

Henry takes her, gives her a kiss on the top of her head. He looks over to Betty, who's smiling at them.

He asks, "What was that for?"

She says, "You looked like you needed it."

Henry lets out a breath he didn't realize he was holding. He says, "I love you."

She answers, "I love you, too," reaches over, takes his hand, laces her fingers with his.

It's true.

He sometimes forgets what it took to get them here. He sits there and reminds himself--Betty chose him, not Daniel.


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