Summary: His body has already been carved with pain. His head is full of scars.
Rating: Strong R
Caution: This story *is not* rapefic, non-con, or character death. However, it is a very dark, very angsty story, and although I won’t go into detail
here, I advise that you read at your own risk. Some images may be disturbing.
Rated: Strong R
Key Words: Mulder/Scully Romance, major angst, not sallie-safe
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Notes: Many thanks to Lib, for being there when I needed her urgent beta, and for her fantastic advice and encouragement! 🙂
Thanks also to Circe Invidiosa, who has generously given my stories a beautiful home: http://oracle.invidiosa.com/
Comments: I didn’t put time stamps on different sections, because I felt this would disrupt the flow of the narrative. However, note that sections written in the present tense are happening in the present. Sections written in the past tense happened in the past.
“oh beautiful release
memory seeps from my veins
let me be empty
and weightless and maybe
I’ll find some peace tonight”
–Sarah McLachlan, ‘Angel’
Mulder wakes slowly from the nightmare, his eyes squeezed closed as his mind adjusts. The whole length of his body aches. His throat is raw from screaming.
When he opens his eyes, he recognises the darkened master bedroom of the house Scully rented. He can hear the ocean roaring somewhere outside, driven by a howling wind. The windowpanes rattle violently in their frames.
He concentrates on the quieter sounds. A clock is ticking to his left, and someone is breathing softly, right beside him.
“Mulder, it’s me.”
He realizes Scully is sitting on the bed, her legs folded onto the comforter. Her face is blank in the gloom, her eyes like voids. Her fingers, smoothing his hair, feel clinical. She waits until his breathing evens before briskly removing her hand.
“Would you like a glass of water?” she murmurs, standing briefly to straighten his tangled bed sheets.
Mulder shakes his head, but can’t bring himself to speak just yet.
He wishes Scully would leave him to this humiliation. He doesn’t want her to see him like this, weakened and speechless, lying soaked in a cold sweat. Completely pathetic.
And he’s crying. Scully starts dabbing at his cheeks, making soft shushing noises and whispering nonsense words to him. He’s suddenly glad that he can’t read her eyes. He doesn’t want to see her pity, or worse, her professional detachment. She’s his nurse now, not his partner. She should be getting paid for taking care of him.
She shouldn’t even be here. He’s a burden. She must be sick of this by now.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers, turning his face aside. “Scully…I’m so sorry.”
“It’s only been a week,” she replies, squeezing his hand. “I understand, Mulder. I’m here. You don’t have to apologize.”
Mulder swallows, trying to calm down, but he can’t block the images from his dream.
//Scully, naked and covered in blood, folded into the
trunk of a car.
His navy blue tie wrenched around her wrists.
Broken glass crunching under his feet. His fingers,
dripping with blood, as someone clicks on a pair of
handcuffs. Harsh police lights flashing all around.
Voices, telling him to write a statement,
telling him to confess,
telling him that he’ll burn in hell.
A pen nib pressed against his skin.
Blood, everywhere, drowning him.//
He takes shallow breaths, telling himself that it’s all right, Scully’s here now, there’s no blood, although he knows it will never stop. His body has already been carved with pain. His head is full of scars.
“This isn’t going to get better, Scully. I think you should go home tomorrow.”
“Mulder…” Her small arms try to wrap around him.
He doesn’t move.
“Scully, get out of here. Go tomorrow.”
What can he say to make her leave? He wants to sound cold, distant. He wants her to hate him.
He tries, “I don’t want to see you again,” but all he hears is his pain.
Scully clasps his unresponsive hand and presses a kiss to his forehead. “Mulder, no.”
“You aren’t helping me, Scully. I don’t want you here.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” she says firmly, curling onto the bed. She embraces his rigid body as best she can.
She’s shivering, her icy feet pressed against his thighs, and he can’t help but lift the covers for her, letting her slide in beside him. He can’t help warming her feet with his hands, running a thumb over her smooth instep. He bites his lip to stop from kissing the small freckles along her collarbone.
“Mulder, I want to be here,” she insists to the top of his head.
Wincing, he pulls away and leaves her to the cold.
He wishes he could believe her. And if not for what happened a week ago, maybe he still would.
It was his last day in the hospital, and she brought him his clothes. A grey T-shirt, some black jeans and a leather jacket. He’d always liked this ensemble, but he felt ashamed to be donning it now.
“Here,” she whispered, when she handed them to him. She looked shy for a moment, her eyes downcast, and he suddenly realized why.
“Look, Scully…you don’t have to stay and watch me dress.”
“Yes I do.” Her shyness was replaced with briskness, and she looked up at him. He recognised her determination. “Mulder, you know I have to stay with you.”
“I’m really not going to -”
She shook her head, her eyes hardening, and at that moment he knew she didn’t trust him any longer. She still cared about him, in a way. That was all.
“Okay,” he said quietly. He kept his eyes on hers as he stripped off his hospital gown.
She didn’t flinch at his nakedness. Slowly, almost casually, she ran her eyes over his body. Searching for something.
He decided to shorten the process for her, turning his arms so she could see the jagged scars running vertically along his wrists. Sewn shut scars that were still slightly puckered and red.
Her eyes filled with disgust.
That was all.
Mulder sits alone on the beach, looking out to sea, unaware that Scully is watching him.
Every few minutes she uses binoculars, just to bring him closer, if only in appearance. He’s been sitting out there for three hours now, wearing a blue-grey sweater, some faded jeans, and a scowl.
It’s five in the afternoon and he hasn’t said a word to her all day. Not even a ‘good morning’ when she woke up in his arms, half-pressed into the mattress with his face against her neck.
He just extracted himself and rolled out of bed, avoiding her eyes.
It’s been a week and she’s tried talking to him every day, until now. No sense pushing it, after what he said last night.
He told her to leave. While she was stroking his hair and drying his tears, trying not to cry herself, he told her to leave.
She should have realised it sooner–should have known from his terseness and emotional withdrawal, instead of regarding this behaviour as a symptom of shock.
She should have known straight away, just by seeing the guilt in his eyes.
Mulder has decided she’s going to leave him. He believes that even if his enforced distance doesn’t push her away, her anger at his decision will do the trick.
Of course, there’s no way she’ll go. Nothing he can do or say will drive her away–not now, not ever. Why can’t he understand that?
She’s afraid to keep her eyes off of him for more than one second. Even letting him sleep in his own room was a big concession on her part.
She takes comfort in the fact that it could be worse. She could be just as badly scarred.
Fortunately, whatever the hell Krycek and his cronies did to her brain, it certainly worked. She doesn’t remember a thing about her missing time, and hasn’t been plagued by nightmares or flashbacks.
Their technology must have improved, she thinks, sarcastic. Good for Them.
Mulder knows all of this. She’s told him everything she remembers, which isn’t much.
There was a bright light in her motel room followed by Alex Krycek’s hands on her shoulders, pulling her into a car. A shock of one event melding into another, with no connection between them.
By the time she’d woken up properly, Krycek was speeding through the night.
They were in the wilderness somewhere, judging by the lack of streetlights and the moon’s cool luminescence over everything. Forest around them maybe. Scully didn’t waste time with the details.
“What the fuck is going on?” she demanded, trying to grab the wheel.
Krycek easily knocked her pale, needle-marked arms aside. “I saved your life, Scully.”
“Oh, really?” She started struggling with the door lock but it wouldn’t budge. “Where the hell are you taking me, Krycek?”
“Why are you even asking, Scully? You know I won’t give you a straight answer.”
“You kidnapped me out of my motel room…you took me against my will…” she looked down at her arms, taking in the bruised puncture wounds. “What the fuck did you do to me?” she screamed, throwing herself against him.
She wanted to push him right off the road. She wanted the car to explode. At that moment, she was perfectly willing to go up in flames if it meant he did too.
But she was weakened, and he was resolute.
“I should have waited to wipe your memory,” he whispered, tightening his grip on the wheel. “I should have fucking waited. Then you’d just be a shivering, whimpering wreck like you were when we got you out of the facility.”
“No straight answers, remember?”
She rubbed her wrists, looking out at the night sky and resigning herself to imprisonment, at least for now.
“You really expect me to believe that you rescued me,” she said, dryly.
“Always the skeptic,” he smirked. “I like that about you. Mulder does too, you know. You’re such a stubborn little bitch.”
She felt Krycek’s eyes sliding over her, sizing up her reaction, but she was impassive.
“Anyway,” he said, attention back on the road, “I got you out, whether you believe it or not. With a little help from my friends, of course.”
“Why the hell would you help me?”
“The times are a’ changing, Scully. Tides are turning. And you know me, I always go with the flow.”
She decided not to say anymore. She would wait it out, gather her strength. So she kept silent, staring through the window as the monotonous countryside passed by.
And then, without meaning to, she fell asleep.
When she awoke, it was broad daylight and they were stuck in traffic somewhere outside DC. She recognised the road, the buildings, but there were some changes. A new apartment block had sprung up. There were Christmas decorations on the streetlights.
“Why, good morning, sleepy head,” Krycek drawled. He had the window wound down and was smoking a Morley, his shirtsleeves rolled up. Some women might have found him attractive, with his smooth features, his dark green eyes and cat-like grace, but Scully’s skin crawled just looking at him.
The car stank of his sweat after driving all night, and she longed to get out. She found herself actually craving Mulder. Physically craving his presence, his scent. His embrace.
She kept her face carefully blank. “How long was I gone, this time?” she asked.
“Two months,” Krycek replied, flicking his cigarette butt out the window. “Give or take a few days. I found out They were holding you after a month, and it took me another to get you out.”
Two months. She noticed some dirty snow on the sidewalk.
It was early January. He wasn’t lying.
“Where are you taking me?”
“We’ll be there soon.”
Later, Scully told Mulder all of this. Word for word. She even described Krycek, right down to his rolled sleeves, his sweat. Mulder just nodded. He didn’t meet her eyes. He didn’t argue or apologize.
That was how all their conversations went, at the hospital. She and Mulder were like acquaintances at a bus stop.
She talked and he listened, nodding. Sometimes he’d be watching baseball and she would ask who was winning. Only then would he reply.
Sometimes he’d eat the sunflower seeds she brought him.
Sometimes he wouldn’t even open his eyes for her.
It’s evening now, close to seven-o-clock. Scully sits in an old rocking chair by the window, a fire blazing in the hearth beside her. Every few seconds she glances up at Mulder, who hasn’t moved from his place on the beach.
Sometimes he glances down at his wrists, gazing at them as though he can see right through his sweater sleeves to the scars. She wonders what he’s feeling.
Although he hasn’t told her anything, she knows what happened to him during the two months she was gone. She’s read the newspaper articles, the police reports, the witness statements and the evidence for both sides. She’s seen the crime scene photographs and read the autopsy findings.
She’s read Mulder’s own statement at least a dozen times now. At first she kept expecting to find something in it, some way to reach him. Now she’s given up that hope.
There will be no easy way.
Even so, she can’t help re-reading his statement. It’s all she has of his version.
She picks it up, out of a manila folder on the coffee table, and skims over it.
//We worked on the case until about seven. I drove us
back to the motel. We said good night and went into our
separate rooms. I watched TV for a while. I could hear
Scully taking a shower. I dozed off on the bed.
When I woke up I was in our rental car. It was night. I
was on a bridge. I heard police sirens behind me. I got
out of the car. My feet crunched on broken glass. I
realised the car had smashed into the railing of the
An officer was yelling at me to put my hands in the air.
Someone said there was something in the trunk.
They made me look in the trunk.
Scully was in the trunk.
They told me she was dead. I said she wasn’t. They
pushed me up against the car, handcuffed me, and read
me my rights. They said there was blood on my hands.
I said she wasn’t dead.
They made me look in the trunk again. Scully was naked.
There was a lot of blood. I looked at her face. Her
eyes were gone.
I told them she wasn’t dead.//
His handwriting is a jagged, spidery scrawl, and Scully is crying. She wipes her eyes with her sleeve and shoves his statement back into the folder.
When she looks up, Mulder is standing in the doorway, watching her. Before she can say anything, he turns away and walks into his bedroom.
After another week of near silence, she and Mulder go out to dinner, to little restaurant next to a quay.
They walk down a splinter-rough wharf, past piles of lobster pots and boats adrift in the black water. A biting wind swirls around them. Mittenless, Scully subtly tries to take Mulder’s hand for warmth, but he purposely widens the gap between them.
The restaurant is crowded for so early in the evening. They sit in a small corner booth, a topsy-turvy barrel as their table. A thick white candle stands burning in its centre, half-jammed in an old whiskey bottle.
Mulder watches the flame and remains silent, forcing Scully to order for both of them. She asks for five oysters, half a lobster and a bowl of white chowder, hoping he’ll like at least one dish.
A weather-roughened waiter with huge, callused hands delivers the food. “Best lobster in the world,” he says gruffly, setting it down in front of Mulder, who doesn’t touch it.
“Mulder, eat,” Scully finally insists.
He shrugs unapologetically, still not looking at her. After a while he pushes his plate away, his lips curled in distaste.
Scully swallows her hurt, reminding herself of his motives. She’s not going to let him get rid of her.
“Would you prefer the soup?” she asks softly, reaching over to switch meals with him.
He holds up a hand to stop her, and his sweater sleeve slips down a few inches.
For a second she stares, just stares, at the scar. It’s relatively smooth now, shiny and earthworm-coloured in the candlelight. She wants to reach out and touch it, curious to how it must feel, but a part of her also recoils.
The idea that he harmed himself like this…the idea of the pain he must have felt, to do this to himself…
It’s too much for her. She can’t stand the thought of his pain. It’s tangible to her. While the scars are a part of him, in some way, they feel like a part of her as well.
When she first saw them, in the hospital, it was agony. It was like the aftermath of being shot in the gut, when the shock fades and the pain breaks lose, burning from the wound.
It hurt so much she almost bent over. She almost started screaming.
Now, in the restaurant, she goes through the same flashes of pain, the same inevitable anger.
She sees Mulder in a prison cell, a pen in his hand. Mulder sitting there and putting the pen to his wrist and somehow drawing it right through his own skin, even as his blood spills out onto the concrete floor.
Mulder, caged and defeated. Trying to bleed himself dry because there’s nothing left.
Everything has been taken from him, by all the nameless, shadowy men. The assassins, spies, double agents and scientists. The politicians and informants. The murderers.
They did this to him, Scully thinks. They drove him to this.
And as she stares at Mulder’s scar, she fills with fury and disgust.
When she finally snaps out of it, she realizes Mulder has been watching her closely, cataloguing her reactions. She tries to meet his eyes, to reassure him, but he suddenly stands up, almost upsetting his plate.
He grabs his coat and strides out of the restaurant, into the frozen night.
When Mulder had been in jail for a few days, Mrs. Scully came to see him.
She spoke to him over an old rickety table, a guard watching their every move.
Mrs. Scully wasn’t wearing any make-up, but she had Scully’s gold cross around her neck. She was dressed in mourning black.
Mulder pretended he was somewhere else.
“I know you didn’t do it, Fox,” she told him.
He didn’t say anything.
“Fox -” her voice broke. “Tell me you didn’t do it. Tell me you didn’t kill my baby girl.”
For a moment he was pulled back into reality. He saw Mrs. Scully sitting in front of him, trying not to cry as she tugged at the necklace.
“I know you loved her,” she said.
It was too much. It slid into his mind like a metal spike between the eyes.
He pretended he was somewhere else.
Mulder remembers every day he was in that place, down to the finest detail. Two months of jail time in perfect surround sound, with digital quality picture.
And out of all those remembered moments, his one meeting with Scully’s mom stands out in his mind.
He’s not sure why. Maybe it was the way she touched the necklace, or the color of her eyes. Just like Scully.
He sits huddled in the corner of his bed, listening to the waves cutting into the coast outside, carving the black, jagged rocks along the beach. The noise is somehow satisfying.
It blocks out the sound of Scully’s yells, her hands jiggling the doorknob.
“Mulder, open the damn door!”
He closes his eyes, wondering if she’ll try to break it down. After he got back from the restaurant, he jammed a sturdy chair beneath the knob. He knows she won’t get through.
This is it, he tells himself. After this, she’ll be so angry with me, she’ll have to leave.
His success would make him smile, if it wasn’t so horrifying. When she’s gone, he’ll…
When she’s gone.
And suddenly he recalls the way it all ended.
As the second month drew to a close, he stopped talking altogether. He stopped eating and sleeping, too. Skinner still came to see him, every day, in
an apparent effort to reason with him.
“Mulder, you can only get out if you want to get out.”
“The trial is coming up in a week. You’ve got to get it together.”
“Mulder, listen to me, you didn’t kill her.”
“I know how you felt about her. You didn’t do it.”
“Damn it, Mulder! She wouldn’t have wanted this.”
“Mulder, talk to me.”
Eventually Skinner made them send Mulder to a psychiatrist, who left a steel-nibbed pen on the edge of his desk while he went to the bathroom.
Mulder was handcuffed to a chair. Getting the pen and tucking it into his sleeve was a difficult maneuvre. Difficult, but manageable.
He didn’t even have to think about it. The action was almost automatic. He’d stopped thinking, by then, because there was only one plan left. One thought.
That night he waited until all the lights were turned off.
Then he took out the pen.
Scully leans against his door, crying silently into her hands. Somehow she’s handled him in exactly the wrong way, but she can’t pinpoint what she’s done. Maybe she’s been trying too hard. Maybe not hard enough. Maybe there was nothing she could do to begin with.
She tries again. “Mulder, please.” She’s begging now. She’s reduced herself to this for him, but he still won’t let her in. “Please, Mulder, just open the door.”
Doesn’t he feel anything any more?
She sinks down onto the carpet, curling up beside the door.
The rented house, shadowed and empty around her, seems utterly bleak. There are no family photos on the walls, no homey ornaments. She should never have brought him here.
“Mulder, I’m still waiting. Please come out and talk to me.”
She waits and waits, but she doesn’t hear him move. There’s only the sound of the wind and the ocean, driving one another into the rocks.
It’s hopeless, she thinks. He’s gone. I’ve lost him.
Still, she refuses to give up.
“Mulder,” she yells, turning her head against the door, pressing her cheek to the smooth wood. “I’m not leaving. Do you understand? You’re not going to make me leave.” She’s almost screaming at him now. “Mulder, damn it, do you hear me? I’m staying. Not because you want me here, or because I feel obliged to be here.”
Finally, she hears a footfall behind the door. The creak of his new dress shoes.
She pulls herself to her feet, staring at the blank, white door, but picturing Mulder in front of her. “I’m here because I want to be here,” she yells. “How many times do I have to say it? I’m not leaving, Mulder. I’m not leaving, I’m not leaving…do you hear me, Mulder?”
She’s bruising her knuckles against the door, and she realizes that if he doesn’t come out of the room, she’ll break her way in on adrenaline. She’ll rip right through the door, head first.
The door swings open.
Mulder is standing in the darkness of his room, staring at her through a calm mask of suspicion and mistrust. He doesn’t have to say that he doesn’t believe her.
She’s tempted to ram her fist into his nose, but decides she doesn’t want to deal with the blood.
“Mulder, instead of trying to drive me away, why don’t you leave?” she whispers. “If you really want to go, I don’t know how I could stop you.”
“Good idea, Scully,” he says, flatly. Immediately, she knows he’s misunderstood.
Before she can protest, he strides back into his room and tears open a cupboard, nearly pulling it off the wall. He starts ripping his clothes out and throwing them onto the bed.
“Well, Scully,” he says, without looking at her. “If you want me to get out of here, can you get my suitcase? I think it’s in the hall closet.”
Scully presses a hand to her mouth. She finds she can’t move.
Mulder is visibly shaking as he starts folding a dress shirt. His tears, shining on his face, could be blood in the darkened room.
Scully wills herself into action, knowing she has to do something before he walks out of the house. She snatches the shirt from his trembling hands, thinking he’s too misery-weakened to put up a fight.
She’s wrong. He wrenches the shirt from her and she stumbles, tilting backwards until she knows she’s going to fall.
The room spins, the floor coming up to meet her.
Mulder pulls her into his arms before she can hit the ground.
“I’m sorry, Scully,” he says, tucking her against his body. “Oh God, Scully, so sorry. I never want to hurt you. You know I don’t want to hurt you.”
He nuzzles her neck, murmuring into her ear. He smells of fear and tangy sweat.
She pulls his hands from around her waist. Before he can figure out what she’s doing, she has tugged his sweater sleeves down to his elbows, uncovering his scars.
His muscles tense in her grip. When she looks to his face, he closes his eyes, a few more tears slipping from beneath his lashes.
“I was weak, Scully. I know I was. You can…you can say anything you want. I already know what you think.”
She traces his left scar with her thumb, amazed at the soft, silky feel of a mark that almost killed him. “What do I think?” she asks quietly.
“That I…that I wasn’t strong enough. That I should be pitied.” He swallows, his face hardening in pain. “And deep down, that I disgust you.”
She understands now, what she’s done wrong.
“No, Mulder,” she whispers. “That’s what you think.”
Slowly, she lifts his wrist to her mouth and kisses his scar, feeling his pulse hum beneath her lips.
Mulder’s eyes snap open, as her nose brushes his palm, her tongue flickering around the scar. “Scully, how can you…?” he breathes. “What are you doing?”
She pulls away, but her small, warm hands remain on his arm. “Kissing you.”
He waits, still watching her, as she brings his hand to cup the side of her face. The wind is calming outside, its wail fading into a mournful whisper. He places his other hand on her shoulder, his thumb stroking her collarbone. “Scully, I don’t understand.”
“Why do you want me to leave, Mulder?”
“I don’t…” he leans his forehead against hers, his voice catching, “you know I don’t want you to leave.”
“You asked me to leave.”
“You should leave.”
Her arms wind around his neck, pulling him closer, closer, until his mouth brushes hers, until his tongue is tracing her full, ripe lips. She tastes of life.
He stops after only a second, pulling away from her as his emotions finally boil over.
“I don’t want to see you hurt, ever again,” he says, and each word sounds like a ripped-open wound. “When I close my eyes I see your body, twisted, in the trunk of the car. There’s too much blood.”
“Mulder, it wasn’t me. It wasn’t even a person.”
“It looked exactly like you.” He sinks onto the bed, curling into himself and pressing his palms against his eyes. “They told me I raped you,” he whispers, “before I slit your throat.”
He feels her sit down beside him, her hand tentatively stroking his back.
“Did you believe them?” she asks.
“Not at first, but the evidence spoke for itself. Even the Gunmen believed it, you know. They wouldn’t say it, but they believed I did it.”
“You can’t know that.”
“I could see it in their eyes, whenever they came to visit me. They checked everything out, Scully, all the evidence, and they found nothing to clear me.” He takes sharp breath, “So I started to believe it too. It began as nightmares, of me…of me hurting you…”
Scully drops to her knees in front of him, pulling his hands from his face to uncover his eyes. He keeps them closed.
“You would never hurt me,” she tells him.
“I couldn’t get the images out of my head,” he continues quietly. “That’s when I knew. I knew what I had to do.”
“No,” she says, and suddenly she’s kissing his eyelids, his cheeks, and down across his stubbled chin. “No, Mulder, no…” Shaking, she holds onto him like he’s keeping her afloat. “Mulder, you would never hurt me. I can’t…it’s too much…”
“Shh…” he whispers, his hands soothing her back, “shh, Scully…”
“Mulder, I thought you were okay…thought you would be waiting for me. And then Krycek pushed me out of his car in front of the hospital, and he told me you’d tried to…that you’d…”
“I’m so sorry,” he murmurs, burying his face in the smooth curve of her neck. He rocks her gently, back and forth, as she sobs.
“I want to kill them for what they did to you,” Scully says at last, between shuddering breaths. “I want to torture them, like they tortured you.”
Her voice is sheer ice, disgust crawling beneath the surface, and he finally understands. She has never pitied him, never loathed him. She loves him.
He allows himself to breathe in her scent, murmuring her name as he presses his lips beneath her jaw.
“I want to kill them too,” he whispers, “after all they’ve done to you. They took you, Scully, not me.”
And who knows what they did to you this time, he almost adds.
She shakes her head, “I don’t remember anything -”
“It doesn’t matter. They took another two months from you.”
He pulls away slightly, and she stiffens in his arms. She knows what’s coming, what he’s going to say.
“Mulder, don’t -”
“I know you don’t want to quit,” he murmurs, staring into her eyes. “I know you’re strong, Scully. Stronger than me. But it isn’t safe -”
“No, Mulder,” she says, putting a finger to his lips. “I’m not giving up now, and neither are you. *We’ll* fight them, Mulder. *We’ll* bring them down.”
She slides her finger along his lower lip, strokes the corner of his mouth, and leans forward to kiss his cheek, her tongue soothing his skin.
He replies by pushing her onto the bed and kissing her shoulders, her neck, her face, until he finds her mouth.
The initial taste is an explosion, a flash fire. At first they can’t stop kissing, just kissing, as an inferno builds.
Thought is slowly replaced with a desperation for release, an ache for skin against skin. She tells him what she wants with her mouth on his neck, her hands tugging at his belt loops. He responds with a groan, a nip at her earlobe.
They begin to bruise each other with teeth and nails, moaning helplessly, kissing until they nearly suffocate. Their clothes are torn away in the struggle, their flesh burning for connection, and for a moment it hurts like a rush of saltwater over a graze.
Then they become lost, tangled in each other. He is reminded of his massive blood loss, of the spiraling darkness, only this time he’s drowning in light.
He sinks into her and she takes him, shifting under him, until they are one.
A hush settles around them, of soft breaths between kisses, of hands tracing across bare skin.
Outside, a gentle rain falls, swirled by a breeze into the calming sea. Inside, the air is flushed with warmth and whispered words, the gloom draped over their bodies like velvet.
When they finally succumb to the quiet, inescapable pull between them, it is like riptide, like gravity.
Thanks again to Lib for her wonderful beta, and to Circe for creating such a gorgeous site for my stories 🙂
Also, muchos thank yous to everyone who has supported me through the gradual posting of this story. You guys rock!
Although she’ll never read this, I also want to thank my best friend, who has stuck by me through the craziness
of this year, even in my worst moments, and even in hers.
2003 Spooky Awards Honourable Mention for Outstanding Mid-Length Story