DISCLAIMER: Yes, there is one, because despite the lack of proper nouns, I did have a fannish leaning in mind while writing this. However, I donít want to give it away, so letís just say that they belong to whom they belong to and Iím not looking for anything other than an excuse to kick my muse into shape.
CHALLENGE: Written for the second 24 Hour Challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

As Yet
By sHaYcH


It is morning and her hands are like ice. Dark strands of sleep-matted hair stick to eyes still half closed in sleep. With casual impatience, she pushes them away and stands. Stumbling to the dresser, it is impossible to avoid the tangle of uniforms scattered on the floor. Crisp blue wool and khaki cotton camouflage silently mock choices that should never have been made.

Bullshit. You said yes. You wanted it. God, you practically begged for it.

In the mirror is an image of a night best remembered as never going to happen again. Scattered on her breasts, tiny marks of possession tell a story that is finished by the pleasant ache in her thighs.

Sunlight flares through the curtained window, limning the bed and illuminating the sleeping form of a woman in a halo of gold.

In the mirror, amber eyes are caught, mesmerized by the sight. God, she is so beautiful. Seeing only patterns of guilt in the reflection, she struggles to look elsewhere, only to be drawn back to the vision of her lover's body. This is only a symptom of my disease. This had not been the intention. It was only a kiss. It shouldn't have been anything more than that.

Still cold fingertips tap gently against her lips. Honestly, how can you plan on jumping into bed with your best friend? Is there a field guide to falling in love? Memory flares and it is almost painful in its sheer exquisiteness.

Short blonde hair feels like silk. Their kisses taste of wine and chocolate, and the joyful smile in familiar gray- blue eyes makes her guts burn.

"You want this as much as I do." A caress that starts at the lapel of her uniform and ends up tickling the edges of her waistband speaks volumes about her would-be lover's intentions. The touch is electric and from that moment on, she's lost.

"Yes, God help me."

Behind her, the sleeper stirs. Fabric rustles and shifts as arms still hot from sleep enclose her from behind.

For that matter, how do you deal with the aftermath? Haunted eyes stare back at her from the mirror. There is a truth within them that cannot yet be acknowledged.

"Morning," rumbles a sleepy voice that is sexier than she ever imagined. Kisses retrace paths of nighttime desire.

For the briefest of moments, she wonders, Can it really be this easy? The world teeters on the brink of a decision.

Instead, she turns to pull away.

"No. Stay," comes the whispered plea.

"How can I?" she murmurs. In that question, a myriad of others reside. Fears, both live and dormant pepper every line of worry that shapes her face.

No one can know. Don't let them ask because you'll never tell. So much rests upon their shoulders. How dare they try to steal even a fragment of pleasure?

Fingers graze her cheek softly, and then slide down to cover her still icy hands. The warmth is terrifyingly addictive.

She looks up into eyes that have seen enough of both good and evil to leave a saint permanently broken. Instead, what is reflected is a depth of need and a desire so profound that she wants to dive into it and stay surrounded in its comfort for eternity.

"Because it's worth it," is the soft reply. Unsaid are those three little words that can change the universe if she wants them to.

Is there enough coin to pay the debts incurred by her wish for happiness?

She laughs then – a harsh bark of sound that crackles through the room like lightning. "Is it?" She wants to say all the reasons why it isn't. One word lingers on the edge of her tongue. Duty. It mingles with a thousand others that whirl about in a nauseating churn. Her throat begins to burn as moisture gathers in her eyes.

As tears fall, she is taken captive by a kiss that is just the barest of soft caresses.

In between rapid heartbeats, she realizes that there never was another choice.

This is my Hell. She thinks it could be heaven as well.

The mirror reflects only their passion, leaving the future to pay for itself.

The End

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