“I wake up wanting you. I fall asleep wanting you. I watch a magnificent sunrise and can think only of sharing it with you. I glimpse a piece of amber and see your eyes… I’ve caught a disease, and the fever abates only when I’m near you.”
— Karen Marie Moning
I lied, you know. I said some things that weren’t true to spare your feelings and conscience while clouding my own. Shame on me for being less than 100% honest because it is me that is losing sleep now.
I am angry with myself that I feel genuine surprise that we ended up here, or rather that I did. I am hurt and more to the point, disappointed. There aren’t enough words to describe how much.
It’s your loss.
You can’t ever say I didn’t try.
You. Your grin. Your voice. How your voice sounds when you’re sleepy. Your laugh. The way you make me laugh. Your complicated mind. Your awkwardness. Your honesty. The way you say my name. Your words. Your lack of words. Everything. You.
Her arms still around his neck, cheek pressed against his, she held on for a little longer, either not noticing his stiffness at first, and then mild discomfort with the position he was in, or not paying it any mind at all. Small fingers twisted and toyed with his hair falling down his back for several long, silent moments and she would eventually shrug her shoulders, crinkle her nose and make a squeaky little “Mhm!” sound.
“Ya sleepy?” she asks him, lips brushing unintentionally against his ear, and then she yawns herself, just a little yawn, and giggles.
His body relaxed, if by his own intention or the muscles acting on their own was impossible to tell. His ear would twitch in response to the contact, and he spoke in airy words.
“I could sleep, yeah.”
“Would ya sleep with me?” she asks, no connotation in her tone other than innocence, whether that was her intention or not, he would or could only assume. And from her point of view, what was the worst he could do? Say no? She had her reasons for asking, and part of those went back to why she’d brought him here in the first place. He’d asked her that, and she’d told him. She missed having a man around, and truth be told, she hadn’t expected him to come out here this night, but he had, and she would take advantage of it, until it … he … was inevitably gone again.
He was nearly frozen on the spot. Even his breath was absent, and his lungs would begin to burn for air. Still he wouldn’t give them what they needed most. He was stuck. Mounted in a position that he was unfamiliar with. He had walked through hell and back, and yet this moment caused him hesitation. He gritted his teeth for a moment and relaxed them, testing to see if in fact his muscles did work. He finally took his needed breath and whispered just barely audible enough for her to catch the words.
“I’ll stay here tonight.”
She straightens up then, finally and giggles, a smile finally back on her face.
“So it’s decided!”
She lets go of his neck at the same time, but instead of retracting her touch from him completely, she drops her hands to find his and tugs him towards the middle of the untidy pile of blankets, if he allows her to. Sitting up on her knees, she scoots towards the fire, throws a few more pieces of wood on the fire until it is roaring again and then settles back down where he is.
“Remember how I said I could do anythin’ ya wanted me to? An’ ya said there’s nothin’ ya expected or wanted from nobody, or somethin’ like that?”
He allowed her to have control over his body to this extent, and he was brought to the very center of the unusual amount of blankets and sheets. He reached over for one when she had released his hand to tend to the fire. He couldn’t feel the fabric through his leathers, but he was able to tell that there were plenty of them. And they were large. What was this woman doing with so many huge sheets. He didn’t spend too much of a thought on it as he shifted on his spot, trying to find a comfortable place to sit. He sat more or less facing her, whether it was his attention or not. As she sat and spoke to him, he nodded a single time.
“Aye. I remember saying something like that.”
She watches him as he talks, the room almost in complete darkness now apart from the flickering of the fire, and then leans against him heavily where he sits, her head on his shoulder and she stares into the flames as she she reaches up to toy with a piece of his hair.
“I was thinkin’ ’bout that. An’ I never do ask nobody for nothin’ m’self.”
His eyes happen to be upon the fire. He could feel the heat, and even in this fireplace there was a flow of magic. He kept his attention on it despite her words. As she lay against him, she would be held up rather firmly by his form, it barely giving any sort of play when she had placed herself against him as if it was no bother in the world that she had decided to place herself where she did. He had given up long ago trying to deter her from touching him, and allowed her to play with the rust colored hair that she seemed so fond of.
“It’s easiest to do things yourself. That way you know it gets done right. I’m sure that’s why you do the same unless I am mistaken.”
“Mhm. Dunno ’bout gettin’ everythin’ right but sure is easier. It’s lonely though, at nights.”
She is quiet again, twirling his hair around and around her fingers, uncoiling it and starting over again, a repetitive action, but one he doesn’t stop her from doing. She shifts a little and lays her head on the front of his shoulder, fingers still in his hair and yawns, her eyes starting to feel heavy.
He remains motionless, speechless for the time being. He allowed her to speak and adjust herself against him. He didn’t budge towards or away from her at this point. It would be hard to tell if he was actually enjoying the contact or if he was just remaining there for her own enjoyment. Somewhere in the depths of his memories, he would revel in the contact. It was something he yearned for in the deepest pit of his heart, but so many walls were up. So much pain and loss prevented him from being able to have it, and thus he would shut it out. He had to. It was what he was forced to do. He shook his head gently, trying to force the memories from his mind.
“Sometimes you have to just learn to be lonely and love a life that is lived alone. It’s not the easiest thing, but sometimes necessary.”
He didn’t mean those words, but they sprang to life anyway. He almost didn’t believe that he had spoken them, but there they were, hanging in the air. He secretly bathed in the loathing of his own speech.
She gasps and sits up straight at these words and shakes her head emphatically.
“Oh no! That’s jus’ sad! Nobody should ever been lonely … not forever an’ ever.”
And then she claps a hand over her own mouth as if she is surprised at the words for coming out. Once, she would have agreed with him, or if not agreed with him, at least been of a quiet acceptance that being alone, and taking care of oneself was just the way things were. But that had been before Mister Green, funny, silly, angry little Mister G, and she’d gotten used to having somebody around. He was her best friend in the whole world. Maybe if this one didn’t die like everyone else had, she’d tell him about the goblin one day, maybe. She started to hum a tune, although she wouldn’t sing the word she usually did with it. “Freeee as a bee that flies o’er the seeeea…” She’d just keep the words to herself. He probably thought she was crazy enough anyway. Everyone else seemed to.
“Nope, “she said again, before leaning against him again, nestling her head underneath his chin, “nobody should be lonely forever an’ ever.”
He couldn’t help but turn his head to her out of reflex of her movement. The magics he sensed were churned and upset, but there was something in there that he couldn’t quite pick up on. Emotion was something he could pick up on, but he was still not very good with it. Probably from only paying attention to location rather than actual composition of the magics that he could feel. Suddenly she would slip underneath his chin, and his arms moved out of her way in an instinctive manner. He breathed out a sigh and would again hesitantly close his arms around her. He slowly closed his eyes and she would be able to feel his body relax for the first time that night.
“Sometimes it’s a necessity, for in some cases … the alternative is deadly.”
His words would be dark, but his deliverance would be soft and gentle, as if trying to soften any blow they may have on the woman. Or to himself? The words were so whispered that he could be talking to either of them. Perhaps trying to communicate to her or trying to convince himself. Either way, he kept his eyes closed and his breathing grew steady.
She blinked at his words but was either too tired to discuss it anymore or didn’t entirely disagree. He wouldn’t know and they wouldn’t talk about it any more that night, not unless he wanted to, but she had felt him relax for the first time, really relax and all she wanted to do was lay her head down, curl up with him and sleep for as long as she was able. She’d heard words like his before, too, so she didn’t necessarily believe them. People said all kinds of things out of habit, out of trying to hide things from other people, from themselves. She’d done it herself. Just as long as they weren’t lies it was okay. As much as she wanted to just close her eyes and fall asleep against him, it probably wouldn’t be terribly comfortable for the entire night, so Lylah did shift away from him, fluffing one of the sheets into a large pillow type shape and moved to lie down, her front towards the fire, but reaching out for his hand to try to pull him with her.
“Those things I never ask for. I did ask ya for one, an’ ya did it ’cause yer here, “she spoke, not looking at him, just stating it, and then she added, “But I want t’ ask ya for another.”
He didn’t seem very responsive physically to the woman moving away, and thoughts were fleeting as he finally, for the first time in a long, long while be able to relax. Once she had reached out, he hesitantly took her hand and allowed her to guide him.
“What is it..?” He questioned, the words lulling from his mouth before he realized it.
Tugging at his hand a little, she rolled over to face him. Her face on the pillow she stared at his face now, in the fading light of the fire, and for several long minutes she didn’t even reply. When she did her voice almost sounding as if she might start to sing, relaxed such as she hadn’t been since, well, a long time. A long, long time. “Hold me until I go to sleep, sleep sleep, countin’ sheep.”
He would lay himself next to her upon the ground, and wouldn’t make any effort to remove any of his protective layering. It was like a second skin to him and seemed better kept than his own body. It was well crafted, but had seen much use. He wouldn’t respond to her. Not verbally, anyway. His only response would be to very slowly lay his arm over and around her midsection. There was still a small gap between their bodies that she would be able to close, though this is where he kept himself. Even as he held her awkwardly there’d be space. His eyes remained upon her for a long time before they’d slowly close. ))
Smiling, she wriggled in close to him, as close as she could get, pressing her small body against his, one arm underneath her head, and the other slipping around him, snaking her hand up his back to curl his hair around her fingers. Smiling, she tucked her face into his neck, murmuring, her lips brushing against his skin as she did so.
“Night night … until it’s light.”
He remained statuesque for a long time, his muscles tightening almost defensively as she cuddled into his chest and against his body. After a short few minutes he slowly comes to relax once more as the woman began to rest. It would be some time before he himself would finally fall to unconsciousness.
Blinking her eyes slowly, she realized it was daylight. Her arm, still beneath her head was a little numb, from sleeping on it unmoving all night. That was a first. Stretching it up and out, she squeaked and complained as the feeling slowly started to come back into it.
Eyes fully open now she looked for him, expecting him to be up and gone already. Old expectations perhaps.
Capathios was, by some bit of surprise or not, laying completely still. It was as if he was a corpse with the lack of movement. Even his breath was shallow. However it was with her voiced complaints that his eyes opened. A very light sleeper, apparently. His breathing deepened a little bit and he felt her still so close to him. Almost as if he wasn’t expecting it his hand twitched partially. He cleared his throat quickly and almost soundlessly.
“Uh-. Good morning I guess.”
She giggled, but didn’t make any signs of moving yet, instead wriggling closer to him again until he moved, and impulsively, she reached up to run her finger along his bottom lip.
“It is a good mornin’!” she grinned. “I slept so good I think I’m gonna be awake for a whole week or somethin’ now!”
She was aware, more than aware that she would actually have to move soon, though. There was no food in the manor, and even if she didn’t get hungry soon, the fat mouse would and there was no shutting him up once that happened. But for now, she didn’t want to.
He pursed his lips together at her touch, but didn’t move away from it, instead as she moved closer he remains motionless, allowing her to move and cuddle how she wanted, though his arm wouldn’t tighten around her. Was he enjoying this? Or was he simply just allowing her to do what she wanted and was just okay with going along for the ride? He took in a deep breath and let it out through his nose and spoke softly due to her proximity.
“Quite a while, that. I’m glad you slept well. I did as well, surprisingly.”
Pressing herself against him as she had done the night before, she ventured her fingers from his lips to his nose, to his cheeks, his forehead, tracing lines as if she were drawing pictures, connecting the dots, or something, and then back to rest on his lips again, talking while she did so.
“Mhm! It’s a long, long time. An’ then I’mma need t’ do it all over again, an’ how’m I gonna do that? I’ll have t’ come an’ find ya an’ make ya sleep with me all over again!”
What she was doing was memorizing every bump, every angle of his face in case she didn’t see it again. And why? She found it fascinating. She wondered as she stared at him while her fingers moved what he’d looked like before somebody had made him ugly. Outwardly at least. Inwardly, she couldn’t tell, not entirely. He was guarded, very much so, and that in itself fascinated her. Telling him stories, talking to him, listening to him talk, cuddling him, touching him. It all evoked very little response in any sort of way that she was able to understand and it only made her want to inspire something, anything.
He took in her words as they graced his ears, though a response would not be able to formulate. It seemed like lifetimes ago when he had someone sleeping next to him. Much less someone who seemed enthralled with the idea in itself. It seemed so foreign to him though not entirely unwelcome. The very glow of his eyes was dimmed a small amount as it often was when he was in thought should she be perceptive enough to pick up on it. Finally speech came to his lips and they escaped softly.
“I mean no disrespect but I do not think that that is a good idea. It’s not that I want to leave.”
His words got choked out at that point, as if he was incapable of speaking any more.
She blinked and frowned a little, watching him carefully when he spoke, still unmoving but did his ears wilt a little when he said that, when his eyes dulled a little? He might not have or be able to expressed emotions on his face like she could, and did, often, that much was obvious to anyone but the … blind, and in fact thinking about it that way made her feel a little strange given the circumstances, but she wasn’t stupid either.
“If ya don’t wanna, ya gonna have t’ tell me why ya gonna ’cause I can’t tell a lie, Mister. That don’t make no sense t’ me.”
He closed his eyes momentarily and his head shook just barely, trying to once more push thoughts from his mind that were unwelcome and unpleasant. Eyes opened slowly, unfocused and untrained. In her arms he felt statuesque. Hardly breathing and rigid. His words came slowly and heavily. If she was perceptive enough to pick up on it, a hint of pain in his voice.
“I am a danger to everyone I spend too much time with. And I don’t want to be the harbinger of whatever foul deeds will descend upon you given enough time.”
Her forehead furrows and her eyes darken a little, reflecting the sudden seriousness of her change in mood. It had been a good morning, briefly, and things she’d tried to push aside now came up in her mind as a result of this conversation, things she always made a concerted effort to keep buried because she didn’t like to be sad, not all the time anyway. She stops toying with his hair, sighing a little and her big eyes blink as she stares at him, a weighted silence hanging between them for what seemed like a long time to her.
“Well … everyone I ever got close to went crazy or died or somethin’, “she told him, and she would sound perhaps a little defeated, and sad. Her ear flicked and she scowled to herself, hissing at the mouse to keep his opinions to himself.
He heaves a sigh at this and a noise catches in his throat. It was as though he tried to speak, though the words did not quite make their way into existance. He tried again, now speaking properly.
“I don’t mean to ruin the morning… or the night. Anyone I ever spent time with was hunted down and tortured.” He cut himself off, muscles in his neck flexing. “By the same person who’s been attacking me.”
“Ya ruined nothin’ . All’s ya did was make me think. ”
She shrugs lightly and then just lies there, her body unmoved, the proximity still close but she doesn’t play with his hair now or stroke his face or bother him in any other way.
“Tell ya jus’ one thing, though. I ain’t dead yet An’ I shoulda been ’cause o’ other people an’ things. I can make my own mind up same as you.”
His response this time would be quicker, more ready. As if his own thought processes had sped up somehow.
“I know. I’ve just seen this person do so much. This man knows no boundaries of what is too much to put on a person in terms of pain and torture. He… he ki-..”
It was as if something strangled the words out of him at this point, and he was struggling with the very thought of saying anything more. Due to her proximity she’d be able to feel his leg muscles flex and unflex over and over again.
It was decided. Feeling the muscles of his leg twitching, she hooked her leg over his, reaching once more for his hair, twirling it the way she did, and the way that he by now let her do, and she pressed the finger of her free hand against his lips.
“Ssh now, Mister Capa. That man’s not here right now…”
“I told you. You don’t love someone because of their looks or their clothes or their car. You love them because they sing a song only your heart can understand.”
Because I feel this emotion stronger than any single other occasion before it, ever. So I believe that everything is going to be okay. I will be, you will be, we will be. And I’ll be here while it isn’t and until it is.