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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
When Caring Can Be A Step in the Wrong Direction
This is how it always begins.
The air is thick with heat; the heater is turned up to full blast, filling the room with a stifling warmth that neither of them needs. Her heart is pounding wildly in her chest, and she can hear the resounding thud-thuds in her ears, can feel the rush of blood coursing through her veins as she sits on one end of the bed, wanting to reach out and touch the brunette next to her yet resisting the urge to do so.
She never makes the first move that's Kate's job.
Sometimes Kate doesn't waste a second, pressing her lips firmly against Claire's and drawing out low moans with her deft fingers; other times, she takes it slow, making Claire wait for minutes that never seem to tick by before she'll lift a hand to Claire's face and whisper sweet nothings into her ear as she places feathery light kisses down her neck.
No matter how it starts out, it always ends up frantic and frenzied. Claire will bite her lip when Kate digs her nails into her back, and she will curl her fingers and press her nails into the other woman's toned skin.
Claire always wants to look at Kate then, to see if she can detect a shred of emotion in the brunette's eyes. Kate never seems to feel anymore, never seems to register the pain that Claire feels when Kate's sharp fingers are pressing into her.
But Claire doesn't look at Kate.
That's not something she does, not something they do, not something Kate wants her to do.
Kate never looks at Claire, either, never pauses to see if Claire is okay, never seems to care about what Claire wants. During moments like these, when Kate's eyes are closed and her mouth is parted, ragged breaths escaping her lips, Claire always wonders if Kate is trying to conjure up an image of someone else; someone more built, someone more aggressive, someone more Sawyer.
But then Kate will brush her lips across Claire's ear, will murmur her name, and Claire will drink it all in, will savour this moment, because she knows it won't last.
And later, after Claire has come down from her high, the both of them will lie together but apart, their limbs still half-tangled in the sheets, their hands close but not touching never touching. Claire will listen to Kate's steady breathing as she drifts in and out of sleep, watch the rise and fall of her chest as the night turns into morning.
She always yearns to touch; she wants to run her hands through messy dark locks, wants to trace the contour of Kate's body and map every inch of it for a second time. She wants to hold Kate, wants Kate to hold her. She knows that that's not possible, that Kate won't let her do any of those things. She knows Kate freezes up every time she tries to move a little bit closer, and knows that this is something that she cannot fix.
When Claire wakes up later, the sun is bright and Kate is gone.
The painful tugging at her heart doesn't surprise her; she's been expecting it.
And even though she knows Kate will be back, it doesn't stop her from hurting any less.
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