Author's note: I just want to say this. I've no freaking clue where this came from. Honestly, I was just listening to "My Skin" by Natalie Merchant while trying to make myself go to bed, and this came out. My muse is a random, little thing. I'm tired and half unaware of what exactly I wrote, but hopefully it came out okay enough to be posted in public. Reviews are always appreciated (okay, they are totally loved and adored).

Disclaimer: I don't own, please don't sue.


SKIN

It had been two years. Two years that felt like eternities until they passed like seconds, looked upon in memory. They felt distant, as if they were long ago, and not the past two years of her past. They had been uneventful, nothing but recovery and work and dinners with her father and drinks with Cynthia. They had been quiet and filled with so many unspoken feelings.

All the wounds had healed, leaving only scars, battle scars. The ones that weren't visible were the ones Lisa was most proud of. The mental trophies of when she had fought back, when she had taken her control, that much needed control that Jackson had almost successfully ripped away for good.

There was no Stockholm Syndrome, and there was no bitter hatred. There was recovery. There was acceptance. There was a desire for more, a new lust for exhilarating passion and the freedom it brought. There were sleepless nights of working out and going to be unsatisfied. There were hours of work and thinking of what had hurt the most.

Her father had worried about her the most after Jackson's death. After seeing her lack of reaction, nothing but a mere nod and a distracted, "Hhm," to acknowledge she'd heard him speak at all. But he remained silent, hoping that maybe she had simply moved on.

In many ways, she had. In so many ways, she had moved on, from more than just the Red Eye and Jackson. In many ways, she owed a lot to Jackson.

He had torn her apart, finishing the job her rapist had started, and afterwards, she had finally been able to piece herself back together. He had taken her semblance of control and slapped her in the face with it. He had made her feel wanted and then made her feel like victim again, and then she had finally become comfortable in her own skin again.

She was at ease now. She was never tense in a parking lot, merely alert, merely ready. She didn't shy from a man's attention, and even welcomed flirtatious glances. She no longer avoided going out in clothing that showed more than her hands, feet, and calves. She made her father happy as she began to date a nice man, and spent time out in public without acting reckless and suicidal.

But there was still something missing. It was as though when she'd pieced herself back together, when she'd stitched her skin back together, she had missed a piece. And it kept her up, kept her determined to try new ways of finding it. Everything was fine, except that nagging feeling in the back of her mind. It wasn't always bothering her, it wasn't always plaguing her and making her paranoid or go thrill seeking.

It was just a steady ache for that missing piece. For that passion, that exhilaration, that drive. The struggle for control, the stakes that hung in the balance. Part of her wanted to feel it again, and Lisa sometimes made herself forget why. But it was always there.

For two years, she had worked out, eased up on work, dated a sweet man who was all he appeared to be and perhaps less, made her father happy, and drank Seabreezes with Cynthia. For two years, she relaxed and waited, hoping that the missing piece would come back. For two years, she was comfortable in her skin, but craved to remember what it felt like to find and prove herself again.

They crawled by like slow moving trains, and then they were gone like instants. So distant, so foreign.

And then he came back from the dead. Just like she had known since her father had told her the news. Healed up and comfortable in his skin. The wounds now scars, the invisible ones the ones he was proudest of. He had come back, all pieced back together and stitched up, good as new.

It was night, and it was dark, and shadows danced around them. He wasn't gentle, and she wasn't scared. It was a different game, with much higher stakes, and much more rewarding satisfaction. She didn't hold back, and he didn't give in. It was endless and over too soon. He bit, and she clawed, he kissed, and she clung.

She was gone in the morning. Already at work, either hoping he would be gone when she returned or arrogant enough to believe he would stay.

He was there in the evening. Already at home, either knowing she wouldn't mind, or conceited enough to think she would lose tonight.

In the end neither of them won, they never won, always lost, over and over. It couldn't last forever, but they both knew nothing did, and they both knew the other didn't care. They had torn each other apart, helped the other piece themselves back together. They were comfortable in their own skin, and comfortable against each other's.

It wasn't romantic and yet in so many ways it was love. It was that missing piece that didn't break them or make them fall apart when it was gone, but the one that completed them when they were together. It wasn't happily ever after. But neither of them wanted a fairy tale.