Frowning in worry, I hurry after Cheddar. I wonder who's
crying? And so hard that Cheddar was worried... Rounding the
corner, my eyes fly wide open, taking in the rocking figure of
my Captain. Oh, _goddess_. _Lance and Sven_ must be the ones
in the rec room.
It's hard to believe that this shaking, huddled figure is really
Keith. He's always so strong, so confident and, much to my
dismay, untouchable. But right now, curled in protectively on
himself, rocking slightly, he is anything but. Lips compressed,
I carefully reach out and enfold him in my arms. I can't believe
Lance would do this to Keith. Keith loves him so very much. It
shows in everything he does — and Lance just takes it as his due!
I know Lance loved Sven, but he hasn't been back for even a full
day yet. And, he's so … different.
I know one thing, if Keith ever looked at me, even for a moment,
the way he looks at Lance, I would never take it for granted. I
could live my life on such a moment. But the one I'm in is far
more urgent. Not quite knowing what to say to this Keith who
huddles miserably in my arms, I say the truth, only hoping the
bitterness doesn't come through. "I'm here for you, Keith."
No mention of who is NOT here.
He turns slightly in my arms, opening his eyes and looking at
me… oh, goddess, with a naked need pouring from those eyes that
have haunted my dreams, eyes that are now red-rimmed and shining
with tears. "I don't want to be alone."
I take a deep breath, feeling determination strengthen my
resolve. Filling my voice with a quiet intensity, willing him
to understand the depth of my sincerity, I respond. "You're
not alone." Lance may take him for granted, may betray him with
an old lover, but as long as I am there, Keith will never be
alone. I'll gladly give him my heart, if he'll only take it.
And I know of only one way to show him — by offering something
else. I lean forward, and kiss him.
For a moment, his lips are still and unresponsive, and I wonder
if I've made a mistake. It feels so strange, pouring my heart
into this kiss only to be met with… nothing. Like the practice
kisses I performed on my own arm as a child. But I can not give
up so easily, and I am rewarded as suddenly, he comes to life
under me, kissing me back, hands roaming down my back and pulling
me even closer.
I am surprised by the sudden ardor for a moment, until I recognize
it for what it is. I feel the painful sting of tears building
behind my eyelids, but I refuse to cry. I shiver at the sensation
of his tongue against my lips, slipping between them and into my
mouth. His lips are thickened, clumsy and swollen with grief, and
his mouth carries the bitter, stale taste of tears.
He pulls away, and I have to fight a near-panic, have to stop
myself from forcing his mouth back to mine. But even as his neck
arches back and a sob hitches past his throat, his hands grow
more demanding, one clutching me tighter, the other starting to
loosen the bodice of my gown. I quiver with the sudden thrill
that sends through me, and allow my own hands to run over his
body for the first time. How long I've wanted to do this...
And then his lips are back on mine, and somehow he shifts us so
he is leaning over me. I peek at him, though I know you're
supposed to kiss with your eyes closed. His are. They are
squeezed shut tightly, as if they may never open again, and his
lovely, thick eyebrows are drawn together, making harsh lines
on his face. I do not peek again. Instead, trembling but
determined, I slide my hand underneath his shirt, the nerve
endings in my fingers tingling at the contact with his bare skin
as I run my hand up his marbled stomach to his chest.
My inexpert caresses strike some right place though, because
he suddenly inhales sharply, and odd little noises rise
involuntarily from him. And his kisses change. No longer do his
lips feel clumsy. I am allowed one tiny moment for understanding
-- his actions had been driven by grief, but now there is desire
there too -- and then such comprehension is swept beyond me. It is
as if his body burst into flame against mine, there is such sudden
heat, overwhelming me, forcing my breath to begin coming in
panting gasps. His mouth is hot and wet and demanding, a lake of
fire that will drown me.
I feel something that is half fear, half blind exhilaration. It
strikes me as funny, suddenly (though I do not have the presence
of mind to laugh), that I came to comfort him, to help him, to
give him a shoulder to cry on and a body to hold. Because I am
none of those things anymore. The sheer force of the passion he
turns on me has swept me aside until I am nothing. I am a tiny
satellite in his space.
I've been into space. Space has none of this heat, does not leave
damp trails of pleasure across my skin, and does not have any of
this inexorable velvet darkness. But space is the only thing I've
ever experienced that is this vast, so vast that I am lost in it,
each soft sound he makes sinking me in another infinite level.
Goddess, how does Lance do it? How does he hold onto himself in
the face of this?
I am only vaguely aware that both of my hands are under his shirt
now, moving feverishly against his skin, and sounds are coming
from my throat, and words, but I don't know what they are; it
doesn't matter. His lips are savage against my neck... and
suddenly he goes still. Entirely, deathly, frighteningly still.
The velvet infinity I was drowning in drops away and I can do no
more than whimper through still-panting breaths in loss and
confusion. His lips still touch my throat, the only part of him
that moves as he says, quite clearly, "Lance."
My eyes fly open to see Lance standing pale in the doorway of
the cubicle. Keith's back is to him, I don't know how he knew
he was there, for I heard nothing. The world has quite suddenly
stopped, and I am terrified of what will happen when I take my
next breath and it starts moving again.
Praise Forest (and possibly nag for more fics)
JoAnn's Conclusion which is hosted on Taryn's site