1. Ben/Will/Anna/Skandar/Georgie – Imagine one member of your polyship waking up from a nightmare and the rest of them curling up with them and holding them and comforting them until they can go back to sleep. [x]
When Georgie wakes up gasping for air, she doesn't immediately remember what the nightmare was about—she can only recall vague, frightening glimpses of ghosts hiding just out of sight and a feeling of total terror, her heart pounding away sickeningly. The first thing she's aware of is people closing in on either side of her and for a second it just makes her panic more, jolting and sitting bolt upright. But then the bedroom slowly takes shape around her, and she hears a soft, familiar voice murmuring, "Georgie? You okay?"
She doesn't respond right away, still trapped in a halfway world between her dreams and reality. But then as her eyes adjust to the dark she sees Will sitting up and looking at her, his expression sleepy but worried in the dim moonlight coming in through Ben's thin curtains.
"Oh," she says quietly, the rest of her surroundings slipping into place—Anna on her other side, her body soft and warm, comforting now instead of claustrophobic. She can dimly make out the shape of Skandar behind Will, lying on his front in his usual way, cheek smushed against the pillows. And she knows that Ben is on Anna's other side, his body probably curled against hers in his familiar habit of spooning whoever happens to be sleeping beside him.
"Did you have a bad dream?" Will whispers, and he's stroking her comfortingly now, his firm hand soothing her sweaty skin where her baggy t-shirt has slipped down to expose her shoulder.
"Yeah," she whispers back, and realises she's shivering, in a cold sweat still. "I don't know what—I don't know what it was but it was scary."
"It's okay," comes another voice, Anna's this time as she raises herself up on her elbow, head propped on her hand. "It was just a dream."
"Uh huh," Georgie says in a small voice. She still doesn't feel right—her heart is still beating too fast, she can hear it in her ears, and it feels like there's still some vague but imminent threat lurking around the corner, an unsettling feeling she can't shake.
"Lie back down, it's okay," Anna says soothingly, and Georgie does as she's told, comforted by the warmth of the blankets that Anna rearranges over her, tucking her back in—she's obviously been tossing and turning, because the bedding is a mess around them.
"What's happening," comes Skandar's groggy voice from Georgie's far right. He's speaking half into his pillow, not willing to allow himself to wake up fully until he knows it's worth it.
"Georgie had a nightmare," Will tells him, and Skandar rolls over clumsily to face them, rubbing his eyes.
"Oh no. Poor Georgie-Porgie," he says affectionately, his voice rough from sleep but still soft somehow and it makes Georgie feel a little better right away. "What was it about?"
"I don't know. I think there were ghosts." With four of them awake, they're starting to forget to keep their voices down, and Ben is stirring too now.
"It's okay, don't try and remember," Will says, "it won't help to dwell on it."
"Yeah," Ben chimes in, leaning over, tucking his chin over Anna's shoulder and giving Georgie a sleepy smile. "Think of kittens instead."
"And bunnies," Anna adds.
"And everything cute and small and furry."
Georgie does, and smiles, the memories of her dream slipping away faster now that she's got the four of them looking after her.
"Do you need a glass of water or anything?" Skandar offers, despite looking like he's still mostly asleep and completely incapable of actually getting out of bed and fulfilling such a task. He yawns, and Georgie grins.
"No, I'm okay." She snuggles down, and Anna strokes her forehead and Will plants a kiss on it. Skandar and Ben snuggle closer so that she's enveloped by the four of them, cosy in the very middle of the bed, and everything feels warm and safe. Her eyes are even starting to drift shut again, slow but sure.
"Go back to sleep," Ben whispers. "It's okay. We're here." He pauses and she can hear the smile in his voice. "We're all here."
2. Will/Anna/Skandar/Georgie – Imagine your polyship trying to fit into a bath tub for a bubble bath. [x]
"There is literally no way this is going to work," says Anna, ever the practical one, watching as the others eagerly strip off their clothes. The bathroom is steadily being overwhelmed by sweet-smelling steam as the bath fills up with hot water. Georgie has uncapped all the little complimentary bottles the hotel had left them and tipped their contents right in, ignoring Anna's advice to at least check if they were shampoo or lotion or what.
"But it's the biggest bath tub I've ever seen," Will says, hopping on one leg as he pulls off his boxers, the quickest to get naked (ever the competitive one).
"It's the biggest bath tub in the world," Skandar insists.
"In the universe," Georgie adds.
"Yeah, 'cause they have baths on other planets," Skandar teases, and Georgie elbows him as she pulls her t-shirt over her head—either on purpose or by accident, it's difficult to tell.
Anna has to admit the tub is pretty ridiculously huge. It takes up at least a third of the bathroom, and it's a pretty big room in the first place. Still, that doesn't mean they can fit four people in it. Even if one of those people is still quite small.
"Don't be so skeptical," Will says, lifting one leg over the tall rim of the tub and sinking it into the water and then making a lot of ridiculous 'HOO' and 'HAH' noises that Anna takes to mean the water is too hot. She leans over to flip the tap off and Will takes the opportunity to splash her, flicking a handful of water right down her front.
"William!!" she shrieks, as the three of them crack up laughing.
"Oh no," Skandar deadpans. "Looks like you're gonna have to get out of those clothes."
Anna makes a face at him, but complies, unbuttoning her shirt and watching as Will eases his way into the bath, still sort of grimacing at the temperature of it but gradually ending up crouched down in the middle. Skandar joins him, hissing at the heat, his pale skin turning very pink very quickly, and with the displacement the two of them have caused, the water level is beginning to look a little dangerous already (though perhaps it's just the mammoth amount of bubbles Georgie has concocted from whatever she threw in there). Anna eyes them as they splash each other playfully and some of the water sloshes over onto the tiled floor.
"Anna, relax," says Georgie, struggling out of her leggings and then kicking them across the floor. "We're not going to flood the hotel."
"I wouldn't put it past you," Anna retorts, but she's grinning, at the ridiculousness of this whole situation and the fact that she's willingly involving herself in it. Georgie clambers over the side of the bath tub, unsteady on her little bare feet, and joins Will and Skandar in one fell swoop, plunging herself into the water right up to the neck. She immediately squeals and lunges for the cold tap, turning it on full blast.
"Don't put more water in!" Anna exclaims. "It'll overflow!"
Georgie just makes a face at her, gathering up a handful of bubbles and blowing them into Anna's face, a cloud of flowery-smelling foam. Anna realises that there's really no other option now but to get into the bath herself and take control of the situation, so she does: wriggling out of her jeans and knickers in one go and carefully stepping into the one small space that's left unoccupied by bodies. She tries to find the plug with her toes to pull it out, but just ends up fondling everybody with her feet instead and causing lots of hysterical giggles. In all the squirming and chaos, she ends up slipping and landing hard on her backside, and more water splashes over the side of the tub.
"I'm going to have a really bad bruise there," she says, pouting a little, but she can't quite hide the smile that's creeping its way across her lips.
"We'll kiss it better," Will says, and Anna tries to poke his thigh with her toes but gets a totally different part of his anatomy instead, resulting in more squirming and wriggling and splashing, and there really isn't much room to move with all four of them packed into the tub like sardines. Not to mention the water level is still rising.
Eventually Anna succeeds in locating the plug and letting enough water drain for her to feel a bit more comfortable, and the bath has levelled out to a more reasonable temperature now from the added cold water being swished around.
"Honestly," she says, settling back, "you lot are a hazard."
"Yeah, but you love us anyway," says Skandar. The ends of his hair are curling from the humidity and his cheeks have two bright pink splotches on them.
"And you love me," she reminds them. "Or you'd better. What would you do without me?"
"Drown, I expect," says Will, smirking at her.
"But look, we do fit," Georgie pipes up, relaxing in a corner with her arms resting against the porcelain rim. "I told you we'd fit."
Anna has to admit she's right. It's a tight squeeze and everybody is rather sweaty and not exactly comfortable, but they do, indeed, fit. She can feel slippery skin against her every way she turns, but that's not altogether a bad thing. In a way, it's almost cosy.
"Admit it," says Skandar, watching her, "this is kind of nice. Right?"
Anna gives in and admits it, and then regrets it ten seconds later when he starts giving her a beard made out of bubbles.
3. Ben/Will/Anna/Skandar/Will P./Georgie – Imagine your polyship painting their nails. [x]
"I've got it!" cries Georgie, running into the room clutching a large shoebox.
"You've got what?" asks Skandar in a bored tone, lifting his head up from where it's resting on the comfortable pillow of Anna's chest.
"The cure for our rainy day blues," Georgie announces, plonking the shoebox down onto the coffee table and removing the lid with a flourish.
"Nail varnish?" asks Will P. skeptically, peeking into the box and surveying its contents—piles and piles of colourful little glass bottles.
"Uh huh," Georgie says proudly. "This is my entire collection. Apart from this one awesome lime green I had that Rachael stole. But I think at least six of these belonged to her in the first place, so."
"I don't see how this is a solution to our boredom," says Skandar, staring morosely out of the French windows at the rain pouring down onto the garden.
"We're going to have a mass mani-pedi session," Georgie informs him, rummaging around in the box, the bottles all clinking together. "I have so many colours and I don't use them enough."
"Well, that's cool for you and Anna and everything, Georgie, but in case you haven't noticed, four of us are boys."
Georgie makes a 'psh' noise, still pulling out handfuls of bottles and scattering them across the table along with some foamy things that Will P. recognises as toe separators (which makes him wonder if he may have spent too much time in his sisters' bedrooms as a child). "It's basically just paint, Skandar. It's not a threat to your masculinity."
"I'm game," says Ben, from where he's sprawled across the sofa. "Do you have any with glitter in it?"
"Um, like, twenty bottles," Georgie says, like the alternative would be completely ridiculous. She holds up one bottle, full of little gold strands, and Ben reaches to take it from her, turning it around in his hand and admiring it.
"Ooh," he says approvingly, "sparkly."
"I don't know if my nails are in good enough condition to be painted," Will speaks up from where he's hunched over in an armchair, agitatedly tapping his feet and fiddling with things. Rainy days are one of his least favourite things in the world and though he's slightly apprehensive about Georgie's solution to this one, he's eager to do just about anything that isn't sitting around watching the rain through the windows, which is what they've been doing all morning so far.
Georgie beams at him. "I will paint them the most fluorescent pink I can find and then it won't matter."
Skandar snorts, fully intending not to move from his very comfortable position on the floor and just to watch the hilarity that will likely ensue from all of this, but then Anna starts to sit up and sadly he has to as well. "I'll paint yours black if you like," Anna offers. "That's like, semi-masculine."
"I'm really not trying to be like, all macho or anything, I just—"
"Try this then," says Georgie, smirking and holding up a bottle of pearly pink polish with little hearts floating in it.
Skandar narrows his eyes at her. "All right, where's the black?"
Five minutes later, everyone is fully entrenched in this activity, the rain all but forgotten as it splatters against the windows outside. Ben has decided to paint Georgie's nails in a rainbow, picking out every bright colour he can find and painstakingly painting it on, his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth in concentration. Will is attempting to colour Anna's nails a rather vampy red, but he doesn't really have the patience for it and there's more polish on her skin than her nails so far.
"This stuff stinks," Skandar complains as the fumes fill the living room. He waves one hand around as if trying to get the smell to dissipate and Anna flicks his arm.
"Hey, careful," she says, dipping the brush back into the black polish she's using on his bitten fingernails. "You'll mess it up."
Will P. hasn't decided what colour he wants yet and is still rooting through Georgie's box of treasures, amazed at the variety of shades she has. Every time he thinks he's found his favourite he stumbles across another that he likes even more. Then he sees some little sheets of paper tucked into the side and fishes them out, curious, to find that they're covered in tiny little stickers, hearts and stars and flowers and even some cute little cartoon animals.
"Awww," he says before he can stop himself, and Georgie immediately pounces on them.
"Aha," she says, a little wickedly. "Now we know what kind of manicure you're getting."
By lunchtime, everyone's nails are finished. Ben has requested that Georgie paint his with all of the sparkly polishes she owns, brushing aside her warnings that it's probably going to take him approximately three hours to remove. "Men should definitely do this more often," he decides, holding one hand up to the light to admire the way the glitter shines.
Skandar has insisted on painting Will's finger and toenails with the threatened fuschia shade. He's actually pretty impressed by what a neat job he's done of it, and annoyed that Will starts picking at it practically right away, fidgety. Anna has spent the last fifteen minutes trying to clean up the smears of red on her hands with nail varnish remover, further adding to the fumes in the room and not actually succeeding in removing the stains altogether. Will P. comments that she looks like she's recently murdered someone rather messily. Will P.'s own nails are now adorned with lots of stickers, and Georgie's are a crazy rainbow with the occasional flecks of silver glitter that Ben couldn't resist adding on top.
"Okay, but was that a good way to kill a couple of hours or what," says Georgie, proudly, wiggling her candy-coloured toenails in the air.
Everyone has to admit that it did at least keep their minds off the disappointing weather.
"So, lunchtime?" Will asks, getting up and heading towards the kitchen.
"Right," says Georgie, trailing after him. "And then, the rest of my make-up."
4. Ben/Will/Anna/Skandar/Georgie – Imagine your polyship all going grocery shopping together because they need more than one cart anyway. [x]
"Is there a reason we all had to come?" asks Anna, unfolding the shopping list and feeling slightly harassed as the others swarm around her.
"Well, Georgie and Ben are here because they get irrationally excited about supermarkets," Skandar says, "Will's here because he didn't want to be left out, and we're here because we're the only ones who possess enough common sense to actually get this done properly."
"Ben, what does passion fruit taste like?" Georgie is asking, tugging on Ben's sleeve. "Can we get one? I wanna try it."
"Okay," agrees Ben, tossing one into the trolley, and Anna frowns at them.
"That's not on the list."
"No, but we do need fruit," Georgie points out. "Ooh, lychees," she adds, and Anna sighs.
"This is boring," Will moans, wandering off.
"Is it more boring than being left at home on your own?" Skandar calls after him.
There is a hold-up of some kind in approximately every aisle, usually due to Georgie getting overly enthusiastic about something like paper towels with little cartoon vegetables printed on them. She has a tendency to ask for novelty items that they really don't need, and is sneaky enough about it to direct most of her requests towards Ben, the one who finds it hardest to say no to her. Skandar, meanwhile, turns out to be surprisingly picky about things that Anna's pretty sure aren't a big deal, like the scent of their fabric softener, and he spends at least five whole minutes standing in the coffee aisle trying to decide on the perfect kind.
"Next time I'm doing this alone," laments Anna.
"But look how helpful we're being," says Ben, appearing from around the corner with an armful of random items, including mango flavoured vodka and some small furry mouse-shaped things which Anna's pretty sure are cat toys.
"Ben, we don't even have a cat," she says exasperatedly.
"No, but we might get one," Ben explains, emptying everything into the trolley. It is almost overflowing by now, and yet barely anything on Anna's list has been crossed off.
"Oh my god, can we?! Can we get a cat?" asks Georgie excitedly, trotting up behind Ben.
Anna looks to Skandar for help, but is dismayed to see that his eyes seem to have lit up. "Actually, that would be really cool," he says, and then notices the way she's looking at him. "What? It would!"
"I don't think now is the best time for this discussion," says Anna with a sigh. "Where did Will go?"
"I think he found the clothing section," says Ben gravely.
"Well, let's leave him behind, if we must," says Georgie with a shrug. "Are we nearly done?"
"No, the only actual food we've got in here is some weird exotic fruit and a chocolate cake shaped like a caterpillar," says Anna despairingly. "I don't even understand how this is happening."