The Professor hummed contentedly as Ginger stroked his hair. His head was in her lap and the man looked as though he were in heaven. She often saw him looking at his books the way he was currently staring at her, upside down.
So far it had been two days since the Professor drank the somnium tropicus and Ginger didn't know for sure, but it didn't look as though the effects of the extract was gonna slow down anytime soon.
The last 48 hours were the happiest she's had in ages. The Professor was constantly by her side complimenting her, declaring his love, hugging her, kissing her, etc etc. Ginger felt a little overwhelmed by all the attention but she'd have to call herself a liar if she said she wasn't enjoying it all. It had been so long since she had been around a man brave enough to show her affection. Most men were intimidated by her beauty.
She was also feeling disgusted with herself. She knew his adoration for her wasn't real and was only received through deception. Ginger couldn't even bring herself to think the word 'drugged.' She tried as hard as she could not to think about the truth. She wanted to enjoy herself. She finally had the man she wanted, on her lap, telling her how much he loved her.
The other castaways were bewildered at the Professor's behavior – they had never known him to look at a woman so ardently. There was that little episode with Erika Tiffany-Smith, but nobody was sure if that counted. He wanted to be with Erika, but he was under the assumption that she liked the same things he did. He was more interested in the idea of a study partner than a life partner. It was all about the plants for him.
With Ginger, it was all about Ginger. The Professor didn't want to study plants or wildlife. He wanted to study her. For once, he was interested in romance for romance's sake. Nobody knew about the extract, that much was clear. Ginger was sure there would be hell to pay if anyone knew what she had done.
For now, all she could do was wait it out. She would try to make amends with the Professor later.
Two days later
"I can't believe I've lived so long without you," the Professor said while massaging Ginger's upper back and shoulders. "I'll never leave your side again."
Ginger smiled up at the Professor. "You say that now…"
"And I mean it," he said firmly. "You're mine and I'm yours. I don't want to be apart from you ever again. Seeing you makes my heart feel full."
Her smile turned sad at his response. Ginger wasn't sure how long she could keep this up. It was hard to stay happy when her own conscience wouldn't let up on her.
"Are you hungry," she asked, standing up. "I'm gonna get something to eat."
"Sure," he said. "I'll just have whatever you're having."
Ginger went and got a few bananas and some mangoes, cut them up into bite sized pieces and brought them back to where the Professor was sitting outside her hut.
"Let me feed you," the Professor said, taking the plate of fruit away from her. "You went to get it for us, the least I can do is help you relax."
"It's no big deal," Ginger replied weakly as the Professor sat her down in a chair. "I can feed myself, it's alright – no really, Professor -"
"Call me Roy," the Professor cut in smoothly.
"Profes – Roy, really, it's alright!" Ginger tried to take the plate back but he would hear none of it.
The Professor ended up feeding Ginger. She felt a piece of her self-worth wither away every time his thumb brushed against her lower lip; when she realized she enjoyed the Professor feeding her; every time he gave her one of those trusting, loving smiles. Ginger felt like garbage by the time he was done feeding her.
Over the next day and a half, Ginger started noticing little changed in the Professor. He would be talking one minute and for just a second, would falter or stop talking altogether. It was in those fleeting moments that Ginger could see the real Professor. He looked sad and a bit dazed, as though he was trying to figure out what was happening before the effects of the extract would drag him back under again. She was happy and sad to see the changes. It meant their little ordeal would be over soon enough.
As the hours passed, she could see more and more of the Professor emerging from the extract's hold. Still, she was sure that he had to fight for every inch. The Professor drank so much of the extract, he had a long way to go yet before it fully left his system.
The next night
Ginger climbed into her cot, ready for bed. She had helped Mary Ann clean up dinner – which was suspicious in itself because she never asks for help. Ginger suspected Mary Ann wanted to know what was going on with her. She then spent some time chatting with Gilligan and the Skipper – who were also unusually inquisitive about her well being. Ginger sat with the Professor for awhile, convincing him of the merits of returning to his work – "I'm not going anywhere Prof, I mean Roy. You go and do some work. I know you miss it" – and then said goodnight to him so she could get some sleep herself.
Ginger had slept soundly for a few hours when she felt someone's hands on her shoulders. She was still more asleep than awake, so it took nearly a full minute for her to realize someone was currently in her bed with their hands on her person. Sleep fled and suddenly Ginger was wide awake and terrified.
She sat up and opened her mouth to scream for Mary Ann – or anyone – to help her when she saw the Professor's face lit up in the moonlight shining through the window.
"Professor – you scared me!" Ginger brought her voice down to a whisper for fear of waking Mary Ann up, now that she knew who the intruder was. She put a hand over her heart and tried to slow her breathing. "What are you doing here?"
"I missed you," the Professor replied simply before putting his hands back on her shoulders to rub them.
"So you just crawled into my bed?" Fear gave way to anger as Ginger knocked his hands off her shoulders. "You could've frightened Mary Ann! Why didn't you just wake me up? And why are you in my bed?"
"I already told you – I missed you." The Professor seemed mildly repentant. Ginger calmed down a little. "I wanted to be with you."
Ginger was ready to lecture the Professor on personal space – not a talk she thought she would ever have to have with him of all people – when he kissed her suddenly. His kiss was demanding and needy. It was far from the gentlemanly, closed mouthed pecks she had been getting as of late. Ginger smiled against his lips – she couldn't help herself. He had become such a good kisser in a short amount of time. And she was all about telling people what you want. She didn't believe in mixed signals and the Professor wasn't giving any at the moment.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back just as hard. Ginger felt warmth on her thigh just below her nightshirt and her left side and realized that the Professor had put his hands in those spots. She allowed it but gently put her hand on his hand when he began to move his hand under her nightshirt.
He tried again and she broke the kiss, staring at him.
"What's wrong," he asked.
"I – nothing," Ginger said, feeling flustered. "But – let's keep it PG, ok? We wouldn't want to wake anyone up."
She gave one of her bedroom smiles and heard the Professor chuckle before he began to kiss her again. Ginger quickly slipped back into the zone, enjoying his ministrations, when he stopped kissing her. She felt his lips on her again – her neck this time – and went back to basking in his attention.
She became so involved in what the Professor was doing that she didn't even notice when his shirt came off. Ginger came to herself for a moment when she saw his bare, surprisingly well muscled chest, and felt insecurity start to take over.
'I shouldn't like this so much,' she thought as he began to kiss her on the shoulder.
Ginger ignored that thought and ran her fingers through his hair. The voice in the back of her head became much louder when he started to take her nightshirt off.
She knew she was fighting a losing battle.
"Professor." Ginger gently but firmly put her hands on his again and brought her nightshirt back down over her form. "Let's go for a walk."
"You wanna go for a walk? Now?" The Professor was confused and taken aback by her change of pace. "Is there something wrong? Did I do something? I thought everything was going well."
"No Professor… you didn't do anything wrong." Ginger felt very tired all of a sudden.
She took his hand and led him out of the hut and down to her spot on the beach.
He felt afraid. She wouldn't look at him and Ginger looked terribly upset. The Professor hoped he hadn't done anything to make her so sad – he didn't want her to leave him. He would never hurt her on purpose.
"I've done something terrible." Ginger turned to face him, eyes overly bright.
"You're perfect," the Professor said. "What could you have done that's so bad?"
He sat on the beach long after Ginger had left. The Professor felt his heart break into pieces when she told him they should be apart for some time. She explained why – "I'm so sorry Professor" - and he horrible afterwards. He was confused – he loved her with every fiber of his being. She didn't force him to love her – he just did. But Ginger insisted that his love wasn't real, which just hurt him more. Of course it was real. He loved her, always had, and always would.
But there was that little voice in the back of his head reminding him that his love for her was very new. Five days old, as a matter of face. That voice was very reasonable. It was always a comfort to him but had been a nuisance as of late, bringing up things he would rather not think about or consider. But the Professor was nothing if not a gentleman. He would respect Ginger's wishes. If she thought they needed to be apart, he would do his best to stay clear of her, no matter how much it killed him to do so.
Over the next few days, the Professor saw only glimpses of Ginger, which was a feat considering that there was only seven of them together 24/7 on a tiny island. He knew she spent a lot of time at the beach where she had taken him. The Professor thought things would get better as the days passed, but the situation seemed to deteriorate further. The extract was wearing off quickly now and the more it wore off, the more of him came back.
The Professor remembered everything that happened – a curious finding, one would think all memories of time spent under the effects of the extract would be fuzzy at the very best, if anything was remembered at all. The more he remembered, the worse he felt. Ginger drugged him. Coerced him into drinking the extract. The Professor cringed at the memories – he couldn't believe the way it made him behave. He felt violated.
After the extract was fully out of his system, the Professor found he couldn't really look at Ginger for some time. He felt something unfamiliar rise up in him. Anger, that logical part of his mind told him. He was feeling anger and hurt towards her. It was so new to him, all these feelings.
He spent most of his time alone. The others were obviously ignorant to what had happened although they knew something was wrong, the Professor had no doubt of that. Mr. Howell had offered him $500 if he would just talk and tell him and Mrs. Howell how he was really doing. He knew he looked had to look pretty bad if they Howells were offering him money to talk, greedy as they were.
The Skipper had tried to have a 'boys' night' get together for him and the other men. The Professor reacted badly to that. There was a lot of hyperventilating before he ran off into the jungle. He was still mortified about how he reacted to the Skipper's kind gesture.
She didn't tell anyone what happened and he wouldn't either. He didn't want to talk about it. He didn't think he could.
It was several weeks before the Professor could really think about what happened to him and why. The voice in the back of his head reminded him of something he had read once – sometimes victims go years before they can really think about what happened to them. Some cry, shake or even vomit at a mere picture of their violator. He was making progress.
A few more weeks went by and he made even more progress. He was talking to everyone again. He ran into Ginger one day and found he could be around her without having an 'episode,' as he took to calling it. There was a tentative truce between them. She had apologized so many times that night, but he could still see the apology in her eyes very clearly. He could also tell that she hadn't slept much. Neither had he, to be honest.
He spent a lot of time thinking not just about what Ginger did, but why she did it. He started thinking about where she was coming from and her motivation for going as far as she did. He warred with himself over this.
'You look like one of those victims that end up marrying her rapist,' he thought scathingly.
'Nobody's marrying anybody,' he countered. 'But if I don't forgiver her, I'll never be able to move on. And for me, part of forgiving her is understanding her. Not excusing her behavior, but trying to understand it better, because I believe she really did love me.'
'I don't know how she feels anymore.'
'How do you feel? Do you like her?'
The Professor felt cagey as he abruptly cut his thoughts off. He stood and paced his hut. How did he feel about Ginger? He didn't hate the girl, that much was certain. He was still reeling from what happened, but they were still friends. But was there something more? He thought back to all the declarations of love he made to her. It couldn't have all been fake, could it? Maybe Ginger was right – maybe it wasn't real. But it felt real at the time. And he still felt some of that, even now.
His chest hurt when he thought about Ginger, and not in the heartbreak-y way. Not so much anymore. He didn't know how to describe it. The Professor didn't know who to go to about any of this - his go to person for matters of the heart was always Ginger.
But he thought he could start from just forgiving her and moving forward from there. And so he forgave her.
They talked long into the night after he called her over to his hut. She came clean about everything – the sequence of events that took place was suddenly so clear to him. She swore that she would be open and honest with him and if he wasn't catching what she was trying to say, she would find a way to make herself clear. Ginger was careful not to hug him and he was grateful for that. He still had a hard time with physical contact, and he wasn't a very touchy person to begin with.
He also told her what was on his mind, how he felt after it all happened. There were tears nearly the entire time. Another new sensation, crying. The Professor found it to be rather cleansing but didn't like how much it made his head hurt or how puffy his eyes were. But he felt immensely better after talking with Ginger and crying with her. He felt as though they could move on.
The Professor hadn't forgotten about his earlier thoughts – the man never forgot anything. But he couldn't really answer that. He had to heal first before he could look any further. But for the first time that he could recall, he felt like he was truly living. Sure, he was alive in the biological sense, but there were so many things he had not experienced. It made him feel as though he were being born all over again.
He felt happiness, heartbreak, betrayal, anger, emotional pain, and now peace. Real peace. He had always heard the phrase 'ignorance is bliss' but now he felt as though he could truly understand it.
He wasn't just idly existing or living only for his books. For once, he was living for himself.
A/N: Hi everyone, I see the light at the end of the tunnel! The story is nearly done, I only have the epilogue left. But we're almost there. I hope you've enjoyed reading it. Let me know what you think. :)