TITLE: The Unconsoled (1/1)

AUTHOR: c. midori

EMAIL: socksless@hotmail.com

CATEGORY: abby angst, with a second helping of smut :D

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: a special shoutout to everyone at the LJ for making the fandom a lovely place to be--and especially to JD for pimping out the orphan fic at TWoP, thus inspiring a second spin around the (writer's) block. this vignette takes place in the same alternative universe as, and some time after the events of, the world can wait. the title is borrowed from author kazuo ishiguro, the quotation is from the band over the rhine, the idea of a place that is no place is from author haruki murakami, the characters are the brainchild of TPTB, and the flame retardant igloo is all my own.

SUMMARY: abby makes her bed and lies in it. companion piece to the world can wait.

* * *

i know a love that will not let me go

* * *

There is light where she chances to be, darkness where she is not, and so it comes to pass that he finds himself drawn to her once again, a satellite caught in her orbit.

The night is cold, the sky moonless and Bible-black, the stars a colorless sort of bright. She sits by his window. One leg to a chest and the other tucked under her. One hand tangled in the dark mess of hair that halos a pale face and the other wrapped loosely around the swell of an ankle. Both eyes fixed on him. A cigarette caught in the narrow space between two knuckles.

He is so very aware of her; of her restless gaze, of the bent cigarette that finds itself between her lips, of the body wrapped in a radiance that is all her own. She is white where the light touches her, black where it does not, cast in the colors of piano keys but far more beautiful than any music they could ever hope to make.

Suddenly, he cannot bear the distance. He wraps a sheet around his midsection and he goes to her. It is inevitable: a moth to a flame, a tide to the moon, a flower to the sun.

He reaches out. Gently, very gently, because she is fragile, he tips her chin upward.

She does not jerk from his touch like the first time. Nor does she turn away like the last time. Instead, she holds him with a gaze that is silent and restless, like water flowing rapidly under ice, and again he is at a loss for words. Language is so imperfect; English, his second tongue; and love, escaping efforts altogether.

So he does what he can. He leans over and he kisses her. She smells like ash and soap, smoke and cold night air. He speaks when the silence becomes too much to bear. Even for him.

"Abby."

Mutely, she touches the cigarette to her lips and does not reply.

"Love," he tries again, "What is it?"

Time passes, swift and silent, dead leaves on a current. Once more he is reaching out to her, this time to caress the soft halo of her cheek, to brush his mouth low over her neck.

She succumbs to his ministrations. Her eyes fall shut.

He draws back. She takes a long drag off her smoke but she doesn't look at him. Instead, she takes care not to exhale in his face.

"Abby," he says again, more softly.

She stamps out her cigarette. It surrenders to the weight of her fingertips, bent and crushed and reduced to a smoldering pile of cinders. He is aware of her standing, of the her hands working at the stubborn knot that holds his sheet in place, of the blanket that falls away from her body until she is naked before him. Even in the dark she is cut in porcelain--cold, beautiful, and perfect.

The city glitters like a handful of spilt jewels beyond the curve of her bare shoulder when he enters her. The smell of smoke lingers on her skin like a memory, the woman hovering over him a specter made flesh.

She arches against him. She lets one hand fall between them both. She drags her mouth along the curve of his shoulder, her nipples against his chest, her hand along the length of him. She throws her head back. She grinds so hard against him he finds bruises on his hips the next morning.

He can no longer tell where he ends and she begins, whether his eyes are open or shut, whether it is night he sees or merely the shadows across her face.

He comes first. She comes soon thereafter, her fingers fluttering against herself, the name on her lips not his own. She kisses him before he can say anything. She kisses him as if may be the first time, she kisses him as if it may be the last time, and it is not until she speaks that he figures out which one she means.

"I have to go."

She shuts the door behind her but leaves the window open. He watches her retreat. He is lost, cut loose, left adrift in the center of a place that is no place, nothing left for him but a spent cigarette and its ashes.

Outside, the night is cold, the sky moonless and Bible-black, and streetlights measure the distance that lengthens between them.