TITLE: The Sleepless
CHAPTER ONE: "After Midnight"
AUTHOR: Caroline
E-MAIL:in my profile, I think. (flames will be giggled at, FYI, so don't bother sending 'em)
SPOILERS: "The Gamble"; "The Debut"... takes place in season one.
RATING: M (very very M)
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I know this is a completely unconventional pairing, but let's face it -- anyone who can't see the sparks between these two, is blind. Also, to the author kirstencohen: apologies for how similar my story may seem to a portion of yours starting out, but I assure you, it is purely by coincidence.
SUMMARY: It all came crashing down around them on one sleepless night.


Moonlight lit her way, filtering down through the numerous skylights and through the windows, creating pathways of silver leading to her destination. She raked a hand through her pillow-tousled golden locks and padded down the stairs, careful not to make too much noise. Sandy would start to ask questions if he knew that she hadn't been sleeping the past few weeks. And if he knew why, he'd really start interrogating.

Kirsten Cohen adored her husband -- loved him with every bit of herself -- but, lately there had been something missing. Their newlywed status, which had surprisingly lasted for nearly twenty years, was starting to wear off. Their spark, that unique charge that constantly kept her energized, kept her under his spell, was starting to wane. She was finding electricity emanating from a slightly more disconcerting source these days, something that both frightened and ashamed her.

She wandered toward the kitchen, pausing along the way to admire how the moonbeams shimmered off the water in the infinity pool, not watching where she was going. When she crashed into a warm body, she gasped loudly and stumbled back, losing her footing.

Two strong hands reached out and found her waist, pulling her against that warm body for a moment to brace her. His gruff whisper drifted toward her ear. "Sorry."

Her hands fluttered up to his muscular chest of their own accord, trembling slightly both at the scare, and at the close contact. She pushed herself away gently and averted her eyes, fighting not to think too hard about just how muscular he really was. "No, Ryan, I'm sorry. I wasn't paying attention, and I--" She paused then, meeting his shadowed gaze. "What are you doing up?"

His head was tilted slightly downward, his eyes branding her through his lashes. "Couldn't sleep," he muttered, that low voice scraping her nerve endings. He finally removed his hands from her slim waist, her body craving more contact though her heart and mind deemed the action appropriate. "What about you?"

Kirsten shook her head gently, whispering, "I couldn't sleep, either."

Ryan nodded his response and glanced around the moonlit kitchen. "I was thinking about watching some TV or maybe putting on some coffee, but... I didn't want to wake anybody up."

"How about some juice, instead?" she suggested, heading toward the refrigerator and extracting a carton of orange juice.

A shrug rolled off his broad shoulders. "Sure."

"Let me just get the glasses." She made her way around the island, leaning into one corner of the countertop while rising onto her toes and reaching into the cabinet, searching for the glasses.

"Here, let me," he offered, gallant as he was, and hovered behind her, his body heat mingling with hers while he reached over her head.

Kirsten stood perfectly still as she felt his hard body slide against hers, one hand absently finding her hip while the other continued its search through the cabinet. "Ah, here we go," he announced in a whisper, and pulled two glasses down. "Found them."

She swallowed hard and closed her eyes, concentrating on where his hand was touching her hip, warmth transferring through her silk robe and nightie. She felt like one of those crystal balls one finds in a novelty shop -- the kind that emanate ultraviolet waves of electricity, instantly attracted to where it is touched. Electricity coursed through her system, gathering where Ryan's hand rested innocently on her hip.

She shouldn't be feeling like this, she was well aware of such a fact. Ryan was not only twenty-plus years her junior, but he was now... technically... in her care. Attraction just couldn't be in the cards. Though, as much as she told herself this, she was powerless to stop being attracted to him. There was just something about him that had been there since they'd met.

And he cared for her, quite a bit from what she could tell. He was truly interested in the kind of work she did -- something nobody had ever really attempted to fake an interest in. He defended her honor, and even took quite the beating while doing so. And, according to his own mother, Dawn Atwood... he looked at her a certain way. Yes, Ryan cared... very much.

But was it too much? She couldn't help but wonder; wonder if he was feeling the same electricity every time they came in contact... anytime their bodies were even remotely close to touching. And she couldn't help but wonder about the looks he gave her -- about what exactly went through his head every time he looked at her. Was Dawn right in her assumption? Did he look at her with the adoration ayoung manwould feel for a maternal figure? Or was there something more than just adoration in his eyes?

"Sorry," he whispered in her ear again, and removed his hand from her hip but made no move to step away from her. Instead, he placed his hand on the countertop.

Kirsten's heart bumped up into her throat at the realization -- she was pinned. He had one hand on either side of her waist, pressed against the counter, while he just hovered behind her. She felt his gaze on her hair... her neck... and when she backed up a step, she gulped at the hardness that was now making itself known against the small of her back.

She spun in the minute space between his arms and met his eyes in shock. Even in the dim moonlight, she saw the blues of his eyes darken... saw his pupils dilate. His gaze drifted to her lips and she parted them unconsciously. This was about to go over the line. This was so dangerously close to crossing the line. What was it about the night that erased any inhibitions?

As if tuned in to her thoughts, Ryan posed a low, raspy question: "What happens to the air after midnight that makes everybody lose their inhibitions?"

She drew in a shuddering breath, taking a step back when he took a step forward, only to find herself now trapped, completely, against the counter. "I don't know," she whispered, keeping her voice as level as she could, though with his proximity that proved to be quite a daunting task. "It's just something about the night," she found the strength to utter, "it makes everybody feel out of control."


Her eyes slid closed as she felt him advance one more miniscule step, their bodies connecting from toe to pelvis, his arms still keeping her trapped against the counter. "I gotta say, Kirsten..."

"Hmm?" She opened her eyes and nearly startled at how close his face now was to hers.

Each of his hands slid inward, his forearms now touching her waist, locking her where she was. Her hands drifted to his arms of their own volition, fingertips tingling at the sensation of his bare biceps. He gently thrust himself against her, his lips finding the outer shell of her ear as he replied, "I'm starting to really enjoy the night."

Kirsten was barely able to let out a whimper as he dragged his lips down her jawline and claimed her mouth, his hands leaving the counter to grasp her hips, feeling over the silky material of her robe. She gasped against his lips and he took the opportunity to deepen the kiss, the slow, seductive glide of his tongue against hers turning her legs to jello.

So it was more than adoration in his eyes when he looked at her. That became even more evident when his fingers suddenly dug into her hips and he lifted her in one swift motion, depositing her on the countertop without breaking contact with her lips and tongue. She moaned into his mouth when he pulled her closer, cupping her buttocks in each hand and sliding her toward him. A gasp escaped her lips when his length met her center through their pajamas.

Ryan was the first to break the intense kiss, only to move to her neck, brushing the hair aside gently before latching onto the taut skin. Kirsten bucked against him in response, her fingers threading through the short-cropped hair at the nape of his neck... encouraging him.


Was that her voice, crippled and desperate, begging him to take it further? She wasn't sure until he moaned his response into the hollow of her shoulder, his hands sliding across her hips and inward to untie the sash on her robe.

This couldn't be happening. She shouldn't allow it to be happening. And yet, she felt no urge whatsoever to stop it. He felt amazing against her, around her... and knew he'd feel even more incredible inside her. Illicit or not, she wanted him; hell, it was far past that. She needed him. He was her energy, the electricity sparking her soul back to life. He was as much of a necessity to her now as oxygen.

Once the sash was untied, Ryan gently parted the sides of her robe, meeting her eyes as he slipped it from her shoulders, caressing her arms along the way. She shivered under both his touch and his appreciative stare, and reached out to cup the back of his neck, bringing him back to her for another searing kiss.

As their tongues dueled once more, Kirsten reached for the hem of the beater he wore so well, drawing it upward over his toned abdomen and pectorals... reluctantly breaking the kiss to pull it off him and toss it onto the island. Then, she let her eyes unabashedly wander his prone form, a wave of heat suddenly sliding down her spine, gathering at her core. She ached for him.

He shyly flushed at her appreciation and pulled her close, his smiling lips mirroring hers before they fell into another heated kiss. What was most disconcerting to Kirsten about this whole thing was... it didn't feel wrong. Not in the slightest. There was nothing awkward about the way they kissed and touched... no regret or guilt glimmered in their eyes. It was only passion -- and a blinding one, at that -- fueling the motion of their limbs, their lips.

Ryan slipped the spaghetti-straps of her silk nightie off her shoulders, bending his head to plant tender kisses to her moonlit skin. Kirsten let loose a hum in the back of her throat at the sensation and raked her fingers through his hair, waves of love and lust alternately washing over her. This was not wrong. Quite the opposite.

She jumped slightly, startled out of her reverie when his hands found her knees, gliding upward... taking the hem of her nightie with him as he went. He slipped his hands under the silken material and rubbed his thumbs over the waistband of her panties, pulling his head back to silently ask permission. She granted it with another kiss, this one soft, tender... affectionate pecks exchanged between her lips and his while she lifted her hips and let him tug her underwear down.

Ryan caressed her thighs with one hand as he moved the scrap of material down her legs with the other, letting it dangle around one ankle. He then slipped one hand up her leg, past her knee and in, teasing the soft skin of her inner thigh with light, tickling caresses of his fingertips. Kirsten shuddered and thrust her tongue back into his open mouth, cupping his face. When his fingers touched her core, she whimpered his name.

The simple sound seemed to spur him into action, for he quickly lowered his sleep pants just far enough to expose himself, and tugged her close again, planting kisses just below her ear. "There's no going back from here," he whispered, tugging the lobe between his teeth while he stroked her hips.

She nodded and hugged him close, a small smile flitting across her lips at the realization -- he was giving her one last out. "I know," she whispered back, kissing his cheek while she continued to hug him tight. She pulled away and stared deep into his eyes, letting him see what she really wanted. "I don't want to go back. I need you."

His lips parted on a silent groan, and he slipped inside her with one little push. Her eyes widened and she gasped at the sudden pressure coiling inside her, threatening to splinter her in half. He was... anatomically gifted, moreso than she'd expected, and it had been awhile for her, to say the least. She heard him panting with the exertion of holding back for her, and she pulled him close, kissing him gently to let him know he could continue.

Ryan went slow, pushing further inside inch by inch until he was completely sheathed within her... and for a moment, he just remained completely still, staring into her half-lidded eyes. Then, he pulled almost completely out of her before sinking in slowly again... and Kirsten shuddered against him, her legs locking around his waist.

He began to move while still holding her gaze, his breath coming out in short puffs with every thrust. "I can't... believe... this is happening," came his awed exhalation. "You feel... so good."

"Oh God, Ryan," she whispered, her lips straining for his.

Their tongues met and he quickened his pace. Kirsten grunted her approval as she dug her fingernails into his shoulders, marking him. His groan was swallowed by their kiss before he pulled away to latch on to her shoulder, sucking the skin into his mouth.

She gasped and dug into him even harder, moving her hips in tandem with his. "Ryan... so close..." she managed to get out, mind spinning as her body steadily climbed toward euphoria.

"Me too," he grunted softly.

The sound of his voice, dripping with lust, coupled with the feeling of him inside her drove Kirsten promptly over the edge. She clutched at him desperately as her mouth dropped in a silent scream, one which Ryan quickly covered with his lips while she shuddered against him. One last thrust and he toppled over the edge with her, a long, breathy moan cascading past his lips and into her mouth as he pulsed inside her.

They then slumped bonelessly together, still entwined, back against the cabinets. Kirsten held him tight as she breathed deeply through her nose, eyes slipping closed while she willed her heartbeat to resume its normal pace. Ryan slid his hands up and down her back, rubbing gently before pulling away to look into her eyes.

When she met his own, her heart lurched at the sadness she found there. A vertical crease appeared between her eyebrows, and she touched his cheek. "What?"

"Things are seen differently during the day than at night," he responded, somber. His eyes flitted everywhere on the counter, as if searching for something other than her to stare at.


He lifted his eyes to hers once more, and she gave a gentle smile. "I wouldn't have let this happen if I didn't want it to happen. I hope you know that."

Ryan nodded, ducking his head until she grasped his chin and forced him to look at her. She held his gaze... "And whatever tomorrow brings, I will not regret this. Will you?"

He swallowed, hard, and shook his head vehemently, his voice a hushed whisper. "No. No, of course not. I've wanted this since--"


Sandy's sleep-addled voice floated down from the stairs, and Kirsten gently lay a finger against Ryan's lips, both of them completely still. "Yeah?"

"Honey, where are you? Why aren't you in bed?"

"I just came down for some juice, Sandy. I'll be right up. Go back to bed."

They remained frozen in their places as they listened to the sound of Sandy's footfalls going back toward the master bedroom, before Kirsten took her finger from Ryan's lips and both sighed in relief. She threw him an apologetic look. "I should get back up there."

He nodded, helping her down from the counter and watching as she redressed. He did the same, resituating his sleep pants on his hips and retrieving his beater from the island, pulling it over his head. The pair stared at each other for a moment before Kirsten leaned in, kissing him softly, laying her hand over his still-calming heart. "Get some sleep," she whispered, to which he smiled ironically.

"I'll try."

She spun around once she reached the doorway. "The juice. I almost forgot--"

"I'll put everything away," he promised with a smile, and turned to put the glasses back in the cabinet.

Kirsten smiled at his back, visually caressing him one last time before turning on her heel and heading toward the stairs... moonlight guiding her way.


Whaddya think? Those of you that hate Rysten, I already know what you think -- and yes, it makes me giggle. Profusely. I'm more interested in what the enlightened ones think -- the true Rysten fans. How about another chapter?

P.S. Apologies for any formatting errors. I attempted to fix this document in my doc manager, yet didn't seem to want to pay attention to that. (:shrug:) Sorry!