Title: Things Best Left Unsaid
Author: Nace M.
Email: CrashDarby@aol.com
Rating: R
Pairing: UC

***

The house is unusually still as he steps through the doorway. He looks to the stairs expecting to see her there waiting for him, but sees nothing. The quiet feels heavy on his body. Noise is something that isn't fluent here, but what he hears isn't the usual eerie calm of her solitary existence. Movement is something you only see when she bothers to leave her room. Or when she has a guest.

She never has guests.

None besides him.

He walks into the kitchen, head tilted lightly in an attempt to hear anything that would indicate she is here. What fills the space between the bare white walls is far from calm silence. It's empty. Hollow. Being a musician has granted him a great appreciation for sound of any form. He doesn't like the quiet. He doesn't like the emptiness. The window above the sink is cracked open and the air is slightly chilled. He rubs his arms swiftly to wipe it away. The tile of the floor squeaks against his shoes and he let's out a breath. Any noise will do to erase the silence.

"Tess?" He calls. "Tess?"

No reply.

His eyebrows crease together as he wanders into the living room. The bare walls and tan carpet stare back at him offering nothing. There is no couch, or chairs, or TV. No pictures. A yellow blanket lies in the middle of the room. He smiles as he bends down to touch it, the soft fabric causing memories to course through his mind. They lay next to each other on it for hours. Talking till their throats were sore. Not talking at all.

He runs a hand through his hair and sighs as he stands. She wasn't in school today. He came by thinking she was sick before he remembered that they don't get sick. Maybe she forgot to do the report for Mr. Anderson and just decided to bail on the whole day.

He walks to the door at the end of the hall. Peering his head through the door he sees that her car is in the garage.

"Huh," he mutters, the sound echoing through.

Closing the door gently, he walks to the foot of the stairs and gazes up, struggling to hear anything besides his own breathing.

"Tess?" He calls once more.

The wood creaks underneath him as he climbs slowly. He doesn't know why he is deliberately being this slow. It's not like she would be surprised by his coming here.

He was the only one that came here anymore.

She once told him they were alike in more ways than he ever cared to admit. That pining for something you could never have had bonded them to each other. They both knew what it was like to be unwanted. They both knew what it was like to want anyway.

He never saw it. He preferred his island of denial.

She insisted.

He caved.

Theirs was a simple arrangement.
Whenever they needed one another, day or night, rain, sleet or snow. They'd be there.

For any reason.

For no reason.

Rule one was that you didn't ask questions.

Rule two was only one person could talk at one time. The other was just supposed listen. No replies. No "yes, I understand. Yes I feel that way too."

Comments weren't needed.

An open ear and a shut mouth. It's what she wanted. It's what he gave her.

The talking and listening had gone on for months. Whenever some new alien crisis had come about, he was there. Whenever something lousy happened at school or at home, she was there. He thought it was nice having some hear him, and not have to know him for five years to get it. She thought it was nice for him knowing that she was an alien. She thought it was nice he didn't care about it. She never said anything, but he could tell.

He looks behind himself when he reaches the top. For a moment he feels like he is staring off a cliff. The silence is the fog resting atop the ocean; the emptiness is the jagged rocks below. She hates this house. He hates this house. But they have nowhere else to go. It's all she has. They deal with it.

Turning on his heels he notices the ladder to the attic is pulled down.

Strange.

There was no reason to be in the attic. There was nothing up there.

He walks to the door of her room. The only room in the house that has any kind of decoration. A few posters adorn her walls, a picture or two of where she used to live. Her bed is only a mattress propped on the floor, but her sheets are nice. They aren't real silk, but they feel like it. There's a condom wrapper sitting on top her dresser.

Their encounters are a release. Not so much an act of lust, it isn't that deeply routed in the movement of there bodies. It's something to do to keep themselves from talking each other to death. Something to do if they've talked too much.

Love isn't involved.

Ask anyone and they'll tell you love is rarely ever associated with sex anymore.

When they're done, she rolls to her side of the mattress. He stays put. They sleep.

The next day it'll happen again.

He's not sure when the arrangement branched from social to physical.

One day she opened up like she never had before. He was clueless what to do with her. If it were Liz or Maria there wouldn't have been a moments hesitation. He would have hugged them and comforted them and said words of encouragement.

He couldn't do that with her.

Rule two was that only one person could talk at a time.

He didn't know if it was okay to touch her.

She looked at him. He looked at her.

It happened.

The kiss was as gentle as a baby's whisper. One of understanding.

He pulled away quickly, his eyes full of surprise. His hands and words fumbling. An attempt of an apology. She shakes her head, stills his hands.

"You're just lonely," she said.

It wasn't a question.

Rule one is that you don't ask questions.

He swallowed and nodded, not looking at her. The realization striking him like a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky. He is lonely. Has been for months. Has been all his life. Her hand touched his cheek, offering solace.

"Me too."

They kissed again, and they didn't stop till the morning came.

"Hello?" He half-shouts into the hole on the ceiling.

Halfway up the steps his head pokes through the attic floor and he sneezes from the dust.

He sees her hunched over an old looking leather-bound chest, sitting with her back to him. She's holding something he can't see. Her head is bowed down; he can't hear her breathing.

"Tess?" He says quietly.

She shows no sign of hearing him.

He climbs the rest of the way in and walks slowly over to her, hunching from the low ceiling. Placing a hand on her shoulder she finally registers his existence.

Her eyes look like she's been crying, but he knows better. Tess doesn't cry.

She never cried.

Not when she told him about her childhood. Not when she'd spent months on her own while Nasedo tried to track down the others. Not when the other kids at school were all talking about their birthdays and she realized she didn't have one. Not when Nasedo yelled at her for having such human weakness in wanting what the other kids had.

She didn't cry then, and she wasn't crying now. But she looked close.

He looked over her shoulder to peer at what she was looking at. His eyes grow wide when he sees.

A black and white photo of Max, Michael, and Isabel. It looked like one that Nasedo had taken. Her thumb was covering Michael's face, she wasn't looking at him.

Isabel and Max.

He stares at their familiar faces. He wonders why she was sitting in here in the attic, staring at the two people that had caused them to...

Rule three is that no one else is supposed to know.

He is very good at following that rule.

"Why?" She muttered softly.

He blinked, a gasp of surprise rushing past his lips.

She had just broken the cardinal rule.

She had just asked a question.

You don't ask questions.

You don't let your thoughts divulge into reasons why, or how. Or when, or where. You don't sit in the attic and pine over something you vowed to get over with each other.

He wonders if she's been doing this all day. Sitting Indian style on the dusty floor, breathing in the stale air, not moving. Wondering why, over and over again.

He doesn't ask.

He follows the rules.

You're not supposed to break the fucking rules.

His heart is beating inside his ears, but he's not mad. He doesn't get angry easily. He's unsure of what to do.

She looks at him finally; their eyes meet in a kind of peaceful stand off.

Blue versus blue.

"It's not what you think," she says.

His eyebrows arch. The words perched on the tip of his tongue, but he will not ask.

She smiles at him. Appreciating his respect for their agreement. Kissing him for it.

Her tongue is eager to calm him, dancing inside his mouth, quelling his inquires.

His eyes close as he attempts to lose himself in her kiss. His heart is still pounding inside his ears, his tongue melting with hers. He feels something against her mouth. He hadn't noticed it a second ago. He's kissed her for hours before and he hasn't ever felt this.

"Mhmm," she mumbles against his lips.

She breaks the kiss and looks into his eyes again. He sees hesitation, he sees tension.

He sees determination.

"I was thinking about why I don't care anymore," she says firmly.

He wonders what she meant by that. He wonders why his hand is on her cheek. He wonders why he smiles when she leans into it.

They kiss again and he feels that little ping somewhere inside.

Dust puffs up into faint clouds around them as they collapse onto the floor. Mouths hungry, feeding from each other, desire swelling up inside.

Their clothes turn gray from the dust, and soon they are covered in it.

"Bedroom," he breathes into her lips.

She grins at him. A sensuous, devilish grin.

He grabs her hand and pulls her down the steps; mouth crashing into hers once more as her feet hit the floor. The scramble with each other's dirty clothes, filling the house with gasps and moans of their desire. The fog of silence lifting from its walls.

They hit her room and flop onto her mattress on the floor. The silk feeling sheets so smooth against their skin.

They've slept together many times.

Never has it been like this.

It wasn't filled with pain. It wasn't filled with rejection. It wasn't fueled by the need to simply forget.

"Alex," she whispers into his ear in a way he's never heard his name pronounced.

He grabs a condom from the pack next to the bed.

She is ready for him, he is eager for her.

He knew today was going to be different.

***

Her breath is warm against his chest as she breathes dreamily against him. He runs his hand lightly through her hair and occasionally stops to kiss the top of her head. He's glad she didn't roll over to her side. He likes the feel of her in his arms. He likes the fact that tonight she was thinking of him. He likes the fact that he was thinking of her.

He still feels that little ping somewhere inside his chest.

He likes how it feels, he likes what it means.

Tess stirs mumbles something against him, before sighing contently and falling silent.

He smiles and kisses her head once more as he finally admits to himself what the ping is.

Love.

They didn't say it. They didn't have too.

They knew what it was like to want.

They know what it's like to have.

He doesn't know why it happened. He doesn't know where it came from.

Maybe he never will.

Rule one is that you don't ask questions.