Title: Guilty Pleasure

Characters/Pairings: Shannon/Boone, pre-crash

Rating Warnings : PG-13. Incest.

Summary: Boone has a secret habit.


He liked to watch her when she slept.

Awake, she was unreachable. Untouchable. Always wearing that scowl, the sneer that said "I'm too cool to smile." But in sleep her face relaxed into a peaceful, almost serene expression. She looked younger, vulnerable, and he wanted so badly to protect her.

He didn't know when he started watching. Sometime after their families merged and she had the bedroom down the hall from his. He'd sneak in sometime after midnight but before the sky began to lighten, when everything was still and quiet and he was nothing more than a shadow slipping into her room. He'd sit in the chair by her bed for hours, just watching her; counting her breaths, watching her eyelids flutter and wondering what images she saw behind them.

At first, watching was enough. He'd sit and watch, then go back to his room to dream about her. Soon, though, watching wasn't enough. He didn't want to sit and wait and wish. He wanted something more.

He allowed himself small gestures. When he was twelve, he let himself brush her hair out of her face. Just the barest of contact; two fingertips against her temple, the feel of her silken strands, and the paralyzing moment of fear when she stirred, murmured something, and rolled over. It felt so wrong, like he'd crossed an invisible line and couldn't go back. He'd rushed back to his room then, and spent all night agonizing over that tiny, meaningless event.

After that, he grew more courageous every night, especially after he realized she was a deep sleeper.

He'd touch her, ghost his hands across her body. Her face, her shoulder, her leg. Run his hand through her hair. If she showed any sign of reacting to his touch, he would run. It would be too hard to explain what he was doing in her room so late at night if she woke up and caught her. Uncomfortable questions, awkwardness, and that scowl. He didn't want that.

She never woke up. He watched her almost every night for years, until they weren't kids anymore. He became a man, and her child's body developed into a woman's, sensuous and tantalizing. Watching her became less and less satisfying, and the brief touches were like torture. His hands would burn for hours later, remembering the feel of her beneath them.

One night, when they were both grown and only came home for sporadic visits, he'd gone out with some friends and came home drunk. Stumbled into her room, bypassing the chair that was his usual post. Falling to his knees beside her bed, he tangled one hand in her hair and crushed his lips to hers.

Desperation. Frustration. Need, want, need. Passion and frenzy. His forbidden obsession. Silken hair, soft lips, warm mouth.

When the first tear leaked out of his tightly shut eyes, he wrenched himself away from her and ducked into the bathroom. Emptying his stomach into the toilet, he felt a burning shame in the pit of his stomach for what he'd done.

Watching her was one thing. Touching another thing entirely. But this kiss was an irrevocable sin, and he hated himself for giving in so easily to this desire. It was wrong, so wrong, and he knew he should feel dirty for it. But a part of him had still enjoyed it. A part of him wanted to try it again.

In his drunken state, Boone could almost convince himself that Shannon had kissed back, that her mouth had moved against his and had opened willingly to his searching tongue. And he thought, maybe, this was a sign that something had changed, that he had somehow found a crack in her wall.

But nothing had changed. The next morning, she came in his bedroom at ten and woke him by shaking his shoulder roughly. Seeing her in his bedroom gave him a jolt of hope, until he looked in her eyes and found the same cold contempt she always had.

"Can I borrow some cash? Promise I'll pay you back." Boone couldn't count how many times she'd said this to him over the years. She always promised to pay him back. She never did.

He found his wallet and dug a couple twenties out of it, stuffing them in her hand and watching her miniskirt flare out when she turned on her heel and stalked out of the room.

That night, Boone went back to watching her. Just watching, like he'd done when she was young and pure. Except, something was different on that night.

She wasn't wearing that same innocent expression. Even as she slept, the shadow of the scowl she had perfected crossed her face, and Boone's stomach twisted to think that his actions had put it there.