TITLE: The World Can Wait (1/1)

AUTHOR: c. midori

CATEGORY: abby angst, with a healthy dose of smut! woo.

RATING: R

SPOILERS: none

ARCHIVE: please ask first for permission

DISCLAIMER: story is based on characters and situations owned by Not Me. etc.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: i can't write fluff. i just can't. *wrings hands woefully* anyhoo, this ficlet is a product of too many conversations with JD about hot croatian sex and my current inability to write anything remotely TTD-related. sorry, carter. *pats head* title of fic is taken from an over the rhine song, as are the opening lyrics.

*          *          *

haven't I said enough
haven't I said far too much
haven't we done enough
haven't we done far too much

*          *          *

The windows are thrown open like church doors. Shafts of night pour in through the open sluice gates and with the night comes the chill of late autumn, spicy and biting and bearing the slightest hint of winter. Maybe it's the bright square of sky open before her, its dark curves gilded in the soft ivory sheen of moonlight, or maybe it's the warm length of body tucked close to hers, but she feels vulnerable, stripped down and naked like peeled fruit, and it makes her uneasy.

She's not cold, but she shivers.

"Cold?"

Wordless, she shakes her head. Enough to feel the scratchy cotton of the pillowcase against her cheek. It's his pillowcase. Her head on his pillow and her body in his bed.

"I thought you were asleep," he murmurs against her neck, in a voice reserved only for prayers and birthday wishes, and one arm snakes around her waist to trace lazy circles just below her ribcage. She clenches. She can't help it. She swears silently to herself.

"Abby?"

Blinking, her eyes focus on a triangle of lights making their way across the cold, flat sky. A plane keeping company with the stars.

"What's wrong?" He's awake now; she can tell. His hand flattens protectively over her stomach, his words are steeped in anxiety and alarm.

"Nothing," she says softly. "Go back to sleep."

She counts to ten in her head, her eyes still following the plane as it skates a trajectory across time and space, and she waits for the inevitable question to which she has her answer.

He hesitates before he speaks. She hears it. She expects it. "Is this what you want?"

Predictable. Like the gentle pulsing of his heart snuggled against her bare back. Swallowing, she turns to face him, her eyes hooded and her hands slipping beneath the sheets.

She feels him jerk. With a cold assurance she knows that there will be no more words tonight. She closes her eyes as his hands reach out to cup her breasts. His fingers trace the gentle swell, pinch the tips of her nipples, swollen and throbbing under his expert touch.

This is the dance they do; this is the only dance they know. And she feels herself react to it like it's the first day, and the first touch, all over again, except for the second time. It's wrong, all wrong again. But it's wrong in a completely different way.

They begin to move together. His body is beneath hers. She likes it this way; she's in control. His hips rise to meet hers as he begins to thrust, first with an aching slowness then with a messy kind of desperation. Their bodies move beneath the sheets as if they have something to hide, which they do, and their eyes remain locked upon the darkness as if they have something to apologize for, which they don't. Cotton and moonlight twists around them as she leans into him but keeps her eyes open, focused on an empty space above his head.

She can't look at him like this. She recognizes the expression on his face. He wore it in another lifetime. This is the peculiar brand of bewilderment and unbridled joy that she brings him. It can't be any other way, any other way but this way. In the morning she'll go back to Carter and he'll go back to whatever private hell he keeps when she's not around.