It was a bit of an atypical day. Sandy had, for homesickness related reasons, brought a metric ton of Saturn sand to the backyard of the Deetz-Maitland home. Lydia wanted to keep it, because it was sand from Saturn, but the sand had to be taken care of lest it ruin their hard worked upon garden. Adam volunteered to help clean it up while Barbara and Beetlejuice elected to stay in and do some spring cleaning in the attic. Well, Barbara was doing spring cleaning.
Beetlejuice, however, seemed to be determined to distract Barbara from said cleaning. “Babs. Hey. Hey Barbara. Ba-arb, look!”
Barbara blew a distracting strand of hair out of her face, carefully wiping dust off the coffee table while Beetlejuice continuously tried to vocally prod her from the couch. She smiled triumphantly at the pock marks being successfully wiped away. It’s taken her quite a few tries to successfully put proper pressure on the cleaning cloth, but with some practice, it was getting much easier to do.
Suddenly arms wrapped around her hips, startling Barbara into dropping the cloth. She hadn’t even heard Beetlejuice get off the couch. “Bee, I’m trying to clean here. If you’re gonna distract me, then go do something else,” she huffed, twisting her head to glare at the demon grinning up at her.
“But Barbara, I wanna cuddle,” Beetlejuice crowed, yanking them both side to side. He batted his eyes adorably, in the way he knew that Barbara had a hard time resisting.
“We could cuddle sooner if you helped me clean up in here,” Barbara replied steadily, raising an unimpressed eyebrow.
“You and Adam are such neat freaks. What’s wrong with a few decorative cobwebs? Makes it feel homey in here,” Beetlejuice finally let her go to float backwards into a corner of the attic where a home of spiderwebs lay.
Barbara jolted at the sight of the webs. “Because it shows other people we don’t care about our home!” She said, coming over with a new dust cloth to clean the silk up. Beetlejuice stayed stubbornly in place, forcing Barbara to try and reach around his body. She was quickly stopped by a second pair of arms sprouting out from Beetlejuice, grabbing her hands and spinning her.
“A, who is gonna come see our attic, and dos, who cares what other people think? All that matters is that we look creepy and have an excellent aesthetic,” Beetlejuice said, moving to spin Barbara around the attic. She couldn’t help but giggle at the impromptu dance, partially glad for the distraction.
Cleaning the attic wasn’t exactly necessary, Barbara and Adam usually kept it well maintained, and even Beetlejuice kept from tossing things wherever he pleased for them, but Barbara had been drilled by her parents to always keep her home spotless. She didn’t keep to the part that the task was only a woman’s job, she and Adam shared the work equally, as one should, but it was hard to shake off the rest of the teachings.
The two finally stopped their spin in front of the couch, where Beetlejuice swayed back and forth, his eyeballs actually rolling in his eye sockets. Barbara snickered at his antics, but took a step back. “Alright, enough distracting me, you. I still need to sweep under the furniture,” she said.
Beetlejuice leaned backwards with a groan onto the couch, making it creak and sag dangerously. “You literally sweep up here every two days, Babs. There’s not gonna be anything there to sweep,” he pointed out.
Barbara shrugged self consciously. “It’s important to do, in case there is any dust buildup,” she argued.
“Literally, who cares? It’s under furniture, we don’t ever have to deal with it. You know normal people don’t clean attics, right? Chuck and D aren’t, like, expecting you to clean up here, and Adam has sawdust all over his workstation all the time, he ain’t some kind of neatfreak. You’re literally just doing this for nothing,” he pointed out, shooting Barbara a pout.
She tried to think of a counter, but found she had nothing that would satisfy Beetlejuice. “It’s just something I’m gonna do, alright?” She finally said, turning to grab the broom.
Beetlejuice frowned and crossed his arms and legs, looking like a sulking child. “Fi-ine, whatever floats your boat, Barbie.”
Barbara froze, before slowly turning back to Beetlejuice. “What did you just call me?” She asked, her voice strained.
Beetlejuice shot her a strange look, before answering, “Uh, Barbie..?” Barbara’s shoulders rose up, and realization lit up Beetlejuice’s radiation green eyes, and a grin began to stretch across his face. “What, you don’t like it?”
“It’s awful,” Barbara replied flatly, crossing her arms.
“You don’t wanna be called Barbie?” Beetlejuice cooed.
“Why would I wanna be called that dumb dress up doll brand?” Barbara replied, her cheeks blazing red.
“Holy shit, you hate it! That’s hilarious!” Beetlejuice cackled, falling onto his back.
“What’s so funny? I don’t even look like that doll! It doesn’t make sense,” Barbara huffed.
“Oh my god, I am so using this, this is fantastic! You’re so mad!”
Barbara gasped. “Don’t you dare!”
Beetlejuice paused his laughter and shot her an evil grin. “Oh really? Whatcha you gonna do?”
Barbara pointed a finger at him warningly. “I will not hesitate, Lawrie.”
Upon hearing her nickname for him, Beetlejuice’s grin impossibly widened, cracking his jawbones. It was a strange name the ghost couple had come up with, but he loved how warm it made him feel. Beetlejuice raised his hands reassuringly, looking away innocently. “Ok, ok, I’ll be good. No more of that nickname from me,” he said.
Barbara shot him a suspicious look, slowly turning back to her previous task. “Alright…”
“Yup. Not even gonna think of the word, trust me Barbi-“
Barbara tackled Beetlejuice on the couch, tucking his legs firmly between her thighs as she sat upon his lap and the air filled with his crackling laughter. She began to dig her fingers into his sides, making the demon jump from the sudden, tickling sensation.
“Weh-! No! No fair, I can’t actually feel your ghost fingers, no!” He wheezed, trying to shove her away.
“I told you, this is just what you get for not listening!” Barbara grinned, using one hand to clamp the demon’s hands above him, her dancing fingers moving from Beetlejuice's expansive belly to his armpits.
“No, stop! Oh my god, stop!” Beetlejuice howled. He managed to wriggle onto his stomach, but found it didn’t help, as she had more access to his neck, and began to kiss it as she dug into his sides, knowing it was just as ticklish as any other spot. “Knock it off, you wraith!” Beetlejuice wheezed, rolling back to his previous position and shoved his feet to press against Barbara’s chest. She giggled, and lurched forward again, her fingers wiggling threateningly towards his sides.
Beetlejuice pushed her back and Barbara found herself hanging against Beetlejuice’s feet above the demon. “Aw, c’mon, that’s not fair!” Barbara laughed, wriggling against Beetlejuice’s surprisingly strong calves.
“I don’t care if it’s fair, I never play fair, Barbie!” Beetlejuice grinned.
Barbara squawked in mock outrage, making grabbing motions at Beetlejuice. “I will get you back for that dumb nickname, you jerk!” She threatened, her smile wider still.
Beetlejuice laughed at how futile her attacks were, watching her for a moment.
Her blond hair was flying around wildly, roughed up from the play fighting, her face was red and she was huffing, slightly out of breath, and her eyes . They were crinkled up with laugh lines, shining brighter than the surface of UY Scuti, bluer than the depths of the ocean, and filled to the brim with care, and they were directed to him . She was laughing so beautifully, filled with adorable snorts and chortles, it made his long dead heart quiver like it was struck with heart attack inducing arrhythmia. He loved these moments, loved how easy and warm they were. Loved that he was never afraid of her and Adam, never had to hide himself from them. He could just lose himself, freely tease them and just enjoy his afterlife. He loved Barbara and Adam so much…
Beetlejuice froze, his face falling into one of shock, and Barbara paused upon seeing this. “Lawrie? What’s wrong?” She asked.
Beetlejuice stared at her for a long moment, his hair starting to darken to a gorgeous magenta she’d never seen before. His eyes traced her face, the demon unnerving,h silent, before blinking out of his stupor.
“I love you,” he said, voice breathless.
Barbara froze, staring back at him in shock. He… he said that. He actually said that.
The door opened, causing the two to look up. “You would not believe how much sand a sandworm can carry from Saturn, I’m more dust than ghost right now,” Adam huffed, patting his clothes down as he came in. He looked up and paused upon seeing the scene, before smiling a fond grin.
“What are you two doing now?” He asked, leaning back and crossing his arms. His hair was highlighted with a warm copper tone, dusted a gray-yellow from the Saturn sands, his body framed by the golden sun filtering through the attic windows. His green eyes were twinkling, so fond and happy of the sight before him.
“And I love you,” Beetlejuice said, his voice in awe at the long known realization finally washing over him.
Barbara whipped her head back around to stare wide eyed at a Beetlejuice again, and Adam nearly choked on the sand still built up in his throat.
Beetlejuice seemed to have realized that the room was now silent. His hair became a flustered pink, white and blue . “I-“ he gulped, pale. He’d ruined it, he ruined everything. He went too fast, veered too far off course, he fucked it all up like he always did-
Suddenly Beetlejuice was almost knocked off the couch with an arm full of Barbara. She had his cheeks squished together and was pressing hundreds of kisses to his face. “Love you too, god, I love you too!” She whispered between kisses, reassuring and happy .
They were both enveloped in Adam’s arms as he scrunched into the couch behind Beetlejuice’s back. He pressed a warm, long kiss to Beetlejuice’s ear, grinning widely. “Love you too,” he added, resting his forehead against Beetlejuice’s hair. Barbara chuckled at his long gesture, before looking back to make sure the other colors were gone from Beetlejuice’s hair.
The magenta was back, and the tension was gone. He looked dazed, but there was a huge, drunk grin on Beetlejuice’s face, looking like he’d just been told that hallucinogens were reintroduced to modern medical treatment. “Cool,” he rasped, his voice somehow even more gravelly than before, and his body was lax. He didn’t need to hold onto the Maitlands tight, they were right here, they weren’t leaving. He had all the time in the world to just soak in their softness.