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The moonlight through the windows was soft, making it seem to the dark eyes watching as if some unseen hand had painted everything in the room with watercolors in a thousand shades of grey and black. Even the silken hair spread carelessly on the pillows - hair that would normally shine burnished gold - appeared to have been dipped in silver with a skill worthy of a master.
Against the velvet darkness of the bedclothes, the pale strokes of the moon outlined two figures: one, still and unaware, lost to the healing embrace of Morpheus; the other still but awake, their focus firmly fixed on the other.
Careful not to wake her sleeping partner, the watcher placed her hand above the woman's heart, her dark eyes fluttering closed at the rush of emotion that simple action and its accompanying sensations produced. Beneath her fingers, the watcher could feel each heart beat, the steady drum beat low and perfect, while each breath lifted her hand a hair's breadth as oxygen was drawn into lungs. Such simple, ordinary actions, performed by the human body a million times each day and consequently taken for granted until they were nearly taken away.
Beneath her fingers lay proof of life; proof that the intricate and beautiful sculpture of muscle and bone and blood and sinew and nerve was whole. It wasn't until the sleeping figure stirred and opened her eyes, sparkling and reminiscent of a summer sky somehow even in the dimness, that the watcher had proof the fragile sculpture of the body still held its soul.
It was ridiculous she knew, to be so afraid. Danger was inherent in their chosen crusade against those that preyed on humanity. But as questing fingertips traced the bandage tape - stark and sickly white against moon-touched skin - worrying at its crinkled synthetic edges, she couldn't help the cold, gnawing, terrible fear that crept up inside her from a place of memory and 'might have been'.
Before the watcher could speak however, her now wakeful partner moved, taking the hand that rested on her chest and lacing the fingers with her own until in the low light, there was no telling where one ended and the other began; the link overcoming even the separation of the shadows.
"I'm here Emily, I'm not leaving you."
"You can't promise that," came the reply, roughened by worry and exhaustion and the remnants of fear.
"No," JJ, spoke plainly, knowing that in this moment, only the truth held any strength, bittersweet though it might be. "We both know that there's no seeing the future. But I'm here, now, for as long as I have. And I plan on having a very, very long time."
"Not long enough," Emily whispered, her voice frail, but her eyes full of emotion almost stunning in its intensity.
"No," JJ agreed, bringing their joined hands to her lips. "It never is."
And with that, she tugged Emily down to lay her head over JJ's heart; the two women eventually lulled to sleep by its steady, perfect beat.
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