DISCLAIMER: I own nothing but my own name.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for Season One, then we go off script and into a possible future. Love, angst, introspection, and spy stuff.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To spheeris1[at]yahoo.com
The Two of Us In the Unknown
Sometimes, you look at yourself from a distance.
There are new lines, new cracks upon your face, all from where you've been and from what you've left behind, losses and longings leaving their mark. There's a new kind of light in your eyes now, too a light more like darkness, but you revel in it. You bathe in it at night, alone in your bed and alone in this house, a shadow no longer confined to the outreaches of your body.
Sometimes you look at yourself from a distance and you count the roads you've gone down to get to here in a new town, in a new job, in a whole new existence and, sometimes, you find the young girl you once were blinking back at you... the young girl you once were ruddy cheeks, shallow breaths, palms to something hot and your mother scolding you boundless in her curiosity, a wild animal sniffing out trouble at every turn...
You got burned all those years ago, fingers too close to the flames.
You still get burned these days, too. You've just learned to love the pain.
You watch her bleed. You want to reach out and touch it, touch the source of her living and being, and it is only her cursing that shakes you from that strange, tingling craving.
You hand her string and you hand her gauze. You clip here and you dab there. You glance at the mess she's made, in your kitchen always your goddamn kitchen and you'd love to pay someone to clean this up, but then there would be a million questions that you cannot answer.
You save your interrogation for later as she slumps in the chair, eyes bleary and drugged-up, and you coach her into standing, into walking, into falling semi-unconscious onto the couch. You've finally moved to the bedroom for sleeping so you don't mind letting her stay here. Besides, your neck isn't as young as it once was and it began to let you know this fact every single morning you dared to wake up downstairs.
You check that she is breathing. You place a glass of water on the table. You wipe down everything, dirt from her boots and blood from her body, and you scrub your hands clean. You watch her for a few moments, watch her eyelids twitch and her mouth sag open in slumber, and she's no mystery right now, she's so perfectly clear.
But you, you are still a story to be worked out.
You can feel Niko's stare on you one morning, your neck prickling in recognition, and you're not sure you want to know what he is looking for. You've been dating for three months now, it's easy and he is easy, simple, calming, but you get the feeling that things are about to get complicated.
Not that love is complicated. Or it shouldn't be, right?
You ask him, though. "Everything okay?" You don't turn around, toothbrush held in your hand, corners of your mouth minty-fresh as you wait for him to respond.
"I was just remembering something from last night, something I meant to tell you about."
You sigh in relief. And it is relief, sadly. Weirdly. God, what is wrong with you? You like Niko a lot, in fact. He makes you laugh. He seems to find your quirks endearing instead of bizarre. And yet, you aren't there yet that place that means commitment, means living together, means forever and ever. You aren't there yet and you don't want to think about if you never reach that place, if you can never give more than this.
"You were talking in your sleep."
You quirk an eyebrow at yourself in the mirror. You go back to brushing your teeth, fast in finishing, and you finally face him. He's sitting comfortably on the edge of his bed, bare feet and just shorts on and warm-eyed gaze; he's handsome, like a flannel worn in wintertime, secure and sound from the ground up.
"What did I say?"
"Ah, it was mostly nonsense, but I did catch a bit... You said 'you're wrong', you said that a couple times."
Niko nods his head and he is smiling at you, another charming thing about you that he can adore. But you feel unsettled somehow, as if dreaming you is revealing things awake you isn't ready to talk about. Not to Niko. Maybe not even to yourself or else you'd remember what all that you said... right?
"Who do you think you were talking to?"
You shrug nonchalantly and step back into the bathroom. You can hear Niko eventually get up, closet door opening, and he is talking about something else now you mutter a 'yes' or a 'sure', mind on auto-pilot and you wonder who were you talking to... who was wrong and, conversely, does this mean you were right? Or were you just talking to yourself, to some other version of you lurking beneath this skin you wear?
Have you been wrong all along, all this time, and are you ready for the truth to come out?
"Eve... Eve, wake up."
You jolt up, startled and arms flinging outward in defense, and you feel hands on you. They aren't holding you down, more like they are blocking you, and you hear your name being said again.
You swallow hard and your eyes readjust to the blue-like hue of your room at the edge of dawn and she's in your bed. You don't remember her being here with you, not at first, but then the night's events slowly seep back into your brain. And you catch your breath and you only see the contours of her face, but she is quite close, and without thinking, you reach out and cup her cheek and pull her to you, pull her so that her forehead gently collides with your own.
"I'm very warm. And sore."
You focus on her words, focus on being aware and not caught in the cobwebs of sleep, and she is burning up, you can tell from where you are touching her.
You'll have to contact a doctor, one that works for the people you both work for. She needs antibiotics and rest and to have her wound inspected. She dips her head down and kisses you and you exhale against her lips and she groans not in pleasure, but in discomfort and you move away so that you can hold her head in your hands.
"Lay down. I'm going to get a cold cloth and, uh, some ice-water for you to drink. Then I need to make a call, get you some real help."
"I want you to stay, though...," and her fingers trip over themselves to keep a hold on you, "...you were telling me a story in your sleep..."
You guide her body down to the mattress and you ignore her as she mumbles a bit more, words lost in the folds of your bedsheets, and you call that number you now have memorized, tell someone you don't know but have to trust to come over in about an hour, and then you sit down by her side. You place your palm against her back, close your own eyes and time every breath of yours to hers.
'...you were telling me a story in your sleep...'
Some part of you doesn't want to know what you were saying, doesn't want to know the tales you are weaving subconsciously and slipping into the ears of anyone who comes near you. Some part of you doesn't want to know about those other sides of yourself, waiting instead to be shocked by your actions as they suddenly come to life, a sharp turn from where you are and into where you want to be, into who you want to be.
You wonder if you've always been wrong, a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, and you wonder if the mirror of yourself is laying beside you right now a knife to the gut, glass to be shattered, agony and desire twined together and you wonder if she's the story of you and if you are the story of her, all blood and death and wicked joy... a fire to be burned by... a pain to be loved... the two of you, wild animals, cut loose and seeking out the other desperate in their need, aching and angry all at once.
But she isn't wild in this moment. And perhaps neither are you.
You, with a woman in your bed and your hand pressed to her spine.
Her, sweat coating her flesh and curled up in your lap.
And you wonder if this is what it feels like to be right.
"What kind of story was I telling you last night?"
"I'm not sure, but I know it was a good one."
And she smiles at you, softer than she has any right to be, and you wonder... you wonder.... you wonder.
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