Realization

()()()

Nicky brushed her teeth with even, firm strokes—not circular, as all of her frustrated dentists had recommended, but harshly up and down. Often there were pink streaks of blood when she spit into the yellowing basin of her sink. She was examining the faintly receding line of her gums one night, several days after her conversation with Conklin, and reflecting that she aught to change her dental habits, when she heard movement downstairs.

Even though she had a fairly good idea of who it was—dread sank like a stone in her gut—she still grabbed the 9 millimeter sidearm she kept in the drawer by her bed with unpracticed fingers and carried it with her as she descended the stairs. Upon seeing Jason close the front door less than gently behind him, she sighed loudly both in order to voice her displeasure and alert him to her presence.

"Don't you ever knock?" she asked rather rudely, setting the gun down on a table.

"Not usually," he replied, and then added, as an afterthought: "Sorry."

"Ring the goddamn bell next time." Realizing her vitriol, she forced tranquility into her tone. "Ugh… sorry. I was about to go to bed. Um…. What's the matter?"

He had been circulating, like a caged cat, but halted at her question and looked at her. She shivered; she couldn't see his eyes in the shadows. "I can't remember things again."

All exhaustion fled from her body as a rush of adrenaline quickened her pulse. "What can't you remember? This is important, Jason."

"The address of my family's home back in the States… other little things that don't matter unless you suddenly forget them." His voice was low, apparently calm, and it was only because she had studied him so completely that she was able to discern the tightly-wound panic in his tone.

"Why don't you sit down… the most important thing is that you relax. Would you like some tea?" He didn't reply but she went to the kitchen anyway and filled her electric kettle with tap water. Upon returning she found him seated on the couch, head in hands, the familiar line of tension thrumming over his shoulders. A soothing hum leapt suddenly from her lips and the maternal nature of it surprised her. She sat down next to him. "When did it start?" It was a near whisper.

"About an hour ago, I guess. I was doing some recon on Gasteau but it blew my concentration."

"Understandable."

"Mostly I forget little things. It's worse when it's faces, the faces of people I've known."

"PTSD can have strange, unforeseen effects. Honestly? Every case is different, and I need to observe and study as much as I can before I come up with concrete treatment options."

She watched his lips press into a tight line and the chords in his neck thicken as he caught her eyes, his own desperately searching. "I hate this. How can we make it stop? It's unbearable."

She was flustered by such a direct question, by his sudden candor, and could not curb the answering honesty of her reply. "I'm not altogether sure. There are drugs, anti-anxiety and depression—"

"No more drugs."

The addition of the second word did not escape her study; ever since she'd known him he'd used nothing much more than ibuprofen. "I…I need to do some more research. This isn't my specialty…I'm not a trauma therapist…"

"Please."

He said it so simply, so earnestly, that she could not restrain herself from staring at him, from almost manically absorbing the stark honesty in his gaze, the deepening furrows between his brows, the way his lips formed the word.

(It's not as if she hadn't seen this coming. It's not as if she hadn't anticipated - desired - for this to happen.)

She felt rather than commanded her body to move, observed as if outside herself the way her shoulders closed in towards him. If surprise registered on his face it was only for a second before her lips positioned themselves mere centimeters from his own. She hovered there, her breath coming in shakes and tremors, both unaware and completely under the spell of her raging thoughts, like a malfunctioning machine, as they flashed through her mind. She felt his breath on her lips and then brought hers to his abruptly, hard and almost unpleasant but for the welcome blankness that washed over her. She could feel his teeth beneath the sheaths of their lips as she pressed into him. She heard a whimper that must have come from her rent the darkness of the flat, silent but for their breathing.

The machine caught itself, righted its gears, and she tore away from him, all but gasping. "O-oh, oh my god. I'm sorry—" She tried to say his name but it wouldn't come. "I don't know… oh Christ." Her voice sounded unbelievably foolish to her own ears. She couldn't look at him and rose quickly, bolting.

His hand caught her wrist.

She stared at it, the way his sure fingers, deft and strong, curled around her flesh, around bones that seemed bird-like in their delicacy. She stared at it because she could still not meet his eyes or stop her mouth from running away from her. "That was a mistake… I'm sorry… so unprofessional, I didn't… I shouldn't… We…"

He was exerting a faint, non-threatening pressure where their skin touched, and it burned her. His thumb pressed pleasantly into the papery skin on the underside of her wrist, and she felt her pulse pounding there. She finally shut up, deafened by the sound of that same pulse in her ears, and—finally—stared into his eyes. They were unreadable but for a darkening that could have been the shadows. He licked his lips and she felt her breath leave her with an audible sound.

His grip turned hard and he pulled her against his chest, his lips seeking hers as his free hand snaked under her hair to grasp the back of her neck, pressing her face closer to his. For a minute she sat, limp, her legs folded under her awkwardly from when she'd fallen against him, before her body lit up and she shifted, drawing herself closer to him and then over him, feeling his body between her knees and then her thighs like it was an opiate and she an addict. She felt the vibration of his throaty groan in her stomach as she dipped her tongue into his mouth and her hands traversed the broad width of his shoulders. She heard herself making little sounds, involuntary and somewhat embarrassing, but the nebulosity of her thoughts paid them no mind.

His hands, rougher than she had expected, rucked up her t-shirt and rested, possessive in a way that raised some discomfort in an increasingly fuzzy area of her mind, over her lower back, before winding their way around her waist. She felt the flex of his arms as he used that leverage to draw her sharply against him, and she let out a very un-ladylike gnuh as her pubic bone collided with the firm plane of his lower belly and the long-unused region below came to rest over his erection. She tried a little movement, a rickety, unpracticed sway, and the friction there combined with the way his hands were creeping up the sides of her breasts and his thumbs smoothed over her nipples made it so that continued breathing became rather difficult and she broke away from his lips with a gasped exclamation. He seemed to enjoy the sequence of events as well so she did it again. And again.

Just as the way his mouth worked over her throat shot a direct frisson of energy from her neck down to a little coil of tremulous tension in her groin, a thought occurred to her: we are going to have sex now. I am going to fuck Jason Bourne. I am going to come so hard I give myself a migraine. And the foreignness and the absurdity of it made her giggle not without some hysteria. He seemed to read her thoughts and pushed some space between them to look at her, panting hard. She watched his tongue, resting against his front teeth, as he prepared to speak, and felt even the little hairs all over her body stand up in an effort to touch him. "Are you sure," he paused to take a breath, his voice husky in a way that seemed to curdle her insides, "you want to do this?"

Answering him seemed ridiculous, so she pressed her body against him in reply and curled her tongue past his lips with a languid stroke. His fingers gripped the dampening hairs at the base of her neck. She vaguely remembered that somewhere in her closet there was a dusty box of condoms, and she hoped that they weren't expired as she recognized that their need for them was fairly urgent.

(Pressure pressure yes yes. His hands seemed everywhere, his breath was deliciously hot, strained and desperate, in her ear. She bore down against the heat, seeking, seeking, and drew from him an agonized moan. God… god… Jason…)

Bracing herself against his shoulders, she sat back a little, sucking on air. She gulped, tried pathetically to speak, and could not. He was studying her with an inferno in his eyes and a jaw that was working in a way that made her stomach quiver all over again. She rose on legs that felt atrophied, welcoming the way his strong grip supported her at her waist as he silently followed her lead up the stairs. They were momentarily distracted as, midway up to her room, he wrapped his arms tightly around her belly and crushed her to him, his face pressed to the back of her neck and his chest molded around her shoulders, as if they were both unable to bear lost contact, as if physical connection kept them from falling.

(Tighter, tighter. The heat of his mouth on her skin, the contours of her body fitted into his. Darkness shielding them.)

She didn't really remember how their clothes ended up on the floor of her bedroom, nor how a condom got from her closet onto his cock, nor how they came to be lying on her bed, but she did certainly remember telling him (pleading with him), in a voice that seemed both far away and not her own, now now Jason please. She could not forget the sensation of tissues and muscles tight from disuse stretching, yielding, and the brief twinge—a momentary, fleeting discomfort—before the feeling of astonishing fullness. A wince or a furrowing of the brow must have shown on her face because he paused for an unbearable moment, poised on his elbows over her, and opened his mouth as if to speak. All thoughts of conversation apparently ceased when she wrapped her legs around his hips, tilted her pelvis upwards, releasing a halted o-ohhh as she took him in, and tightened a somewhat select set of muscles as if to draw him yet further inside her. He made a low sound, exhaled loudly through his nose, and began to move.

(So she had not forgotten. So she had not yet resigned herself.)

She kissed him—slowly, carefully—as her heartbeat quickened.

()()()

She was spared the headache, but experienced a peculiar numbness of the soles of her feet upon the event of her rather powerful orgasm. She pondered hazily over this new experience as he collapsed beside her, sweating profusely and smelling deliciously of sex and hard work. She glanced sideways at him, saw him panting, eyes closed, into her sheets, and let loose an involuntary giggle. She was relieved to see the corner of his mouth go crooked, if only for a second.

They lay in relatively comfortable silence for some time. He seemed to be dozing, which, she was surprised to find, did not bother her in the slightest, although it was a bit of a trick to maneuver herself under the duvet once her skin began to cool without disturbing him. Despite her languid, jelly-limbed exhaustion she lay awake, reflecting.

Sex had become a non-entity in her life over the past year and a half, but she had a rather destructive feeling that this notable taste of what was once a latent desire would definitively put an end to that. She didn't know whether she hoped or dreaded that this (coupling? fucking? fornicating?) would become a frequent occurrence. It certainly made her professional life more difficult; she was pretty sure she would be unceremoniously sacked were this to get out.

She found that her gaze had come to rest on Jason's face, and she could not resist placing her fingertips lightly in the masculine hollow of his cheek, feeling the same roughness under her skin that had left a not unpleasant chafe on her jawline. She drew her hand quickly away when she saw his eyelashes flutter open and hoped he hadn't noticed.

They watched one another for a moment, both of them unsure of what to say. "You thinking?" He finally asked, his voice a deep, satisfied rumble.

She nodded, strangely shy. He tapped her chin with his index finger—it was not a caress, nor even really very affectionate, more of a brief, grounding contact. "Don't think too much."

This made her smile. "I do that a lot."

"Me too." He paused, frowning slightly. She found his faint frown-lines very adorable. He took a breath before speaking again. "I remember. I remember again."

She stared at him, incredulous, before she burst out laughing. Its volume was startling in the stillness of the room. He smiled only in response to her outburst, his eyes confused. "I guess we found the cure, didn't we?" she joked, still fairly snorting with laughter.

He now grinned in earnest. "I guess so."

()()()

He was gone before she woke, but she hadn't expected to find him in the morning anyway.

()()()

A/N: Mmmmm that made me happy. Hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.