La Petite Mort
"The anticipation is the worst bit.
"No, not the anticipation, the inevitability. You're helpless before the sheer inevitability. You feel it building, feel it coming and you know, you know there will be a point where you have no control. An indeterminate point, getting closer and closer, where you will not be able to stop it, cannot hold it back. You have to surrender and it scares you, yes, but you begin to welcome it. Perhaps it scares you because you welcome it. Perhaps it scares you because of all the defences that it strips you of.
"Your muscles lock when it happens, and you are frozen and it is there and you cannot stop it. It engulfs you like a flood and it's so very quick, when it happens, at least the first wave. Sometimes, though, time seems to slow to treacle and you are lost forever as it rolls over you. You cannot moan, you cannot scream, you cannot shout, though you want to, very badly. The sounds are lost in your throat and your mind is lost in the storm.
"It starts inside, the tiniest pinprick of intensity and it bubbles up to envelop you totally. You burn and freeze; you boil in agony and float in ecstasy. Your awareness is everywhere and nowhere and for just a few seconds, you are gone.
"And then it's over, and you are dragged back to reality. Your muscles twitching, your skin tingling, and it feels so very right and so very wrong. There is a roaring in your ears, and you are tired, drained. Everything that you are, every ounce of energy has been expended in one glorious, brutal moment and there is nothing but pitiful threads left. Sometimes you last a few minutes before unconsciousness claims you. Usually you're out fairly quickly. It's been different, once or twice, but it's better that way. You need to sleep, you need to process. You need to let the echoes of the burning wave fade and die so that you can awaken, renewed. So you sleep, and your dreams are strange and bright and new and..."
He paused, and looked at her straight in the eyes. "And that's what it feels like. That's what it feels like to regenerate."
Rose stared at him and her mouth was suddenly dry.
"Oh," she said.
And I hope your minds are thoroughly in the gutters by now :-).