Author's Note: This piece is a series of vignettes inspired by the seven deadly sins; be warned that lust is well… a little lusty. Consider that a warning.
This fic is the result of a meme and a request by RainbowStevie. She asked me to write something featuring Horatio or, if I felt especially adventurous, something with Horatio/Marisol. So this is for her.
A special thanks to my beta for putting up with me.
Secrets and Lies
By Duckie Nicks
They don't get married in a church for reasons neither wants to talk about. She tells her family that they are so in love that they can't wait. He tells his relatives that she's dying and talks of nothing but cancer when he thinks she's not looking.
And Marisol is a little more than aware that they are both lying. She loves him less than she'd like. He's older, paler, and sadder than she imagined her husband to be. She loves him for taking care of her – and resents it as well. Which is something a bride shouldn't feel for the groom, she knows.
And for all of his talk, Marisol also knows that Horatio loves her more than he will ever say. He speaks of duty and cancer to hide what they both know when they are alone. He loves her, but he is ashamed to feel this way. Sometimes, she catches him looking at her with doe eyes, a sight not all too fitting for the redhead. And upon seeing her seeing him, he frowns because he doesn't like that this makes him vulnerable.
Loving her makes him feel weak, and she thinks a groom shouldn't feel that for his bride.
They don't get married in a church because it's easier this way and somehow not as serious because it's not in God's eyes. They rush through an engagement so they don't have to answer the questions their friends and family have. They treat this decision as though it were ripping off a band-aid. Because if they don't have time to doubt, then they can believe there were no doubts at all.
They marry quickly and sign a couple forms because when this is over (not "if" because they know it will end, though they refuse to talk about it), he can pretend as though it were never real.
Driving over to her apartment, Horatio tells himself that he's going just for the food. He loves ropa vieja, not the way she looks at him or the way she makes him feel. He's going because he can't resist eating mounds of shredded beef. It is the mantra he repeats at each turn, at each intersection, and whenever his mind tells him that he's being a lovesick teenager.
Two hours later, and what must be a pound of ropa vieja later, Marisol comments that she's never seen anyone eat so much food (and this includes her brother, she says, who could probably eat a horse).
He blushes, can feel his neck and ears turning a telltale pink. And she smiles at him, and the redhead can't deny that the warmth spreading through his body has everything to do with her and absolutely nothing to do with the overcooked, under-seasoned beef. This is definitely not her specialty, he thinks, but still, he keeps eating.
And a half hour later, with the meat sitting uncomfortably in his stomach, Horatio knows he should leave, but he likes her company.
Clearing away his plate, the brunette asks him if he wants dessert. He's stuffed to the brim and feeling awful, but she flashes another toothy smile at him, and all he can do is say "Yes."
They should not be doing this, she thinks. The doctors said no strenuous activity, and as Horatio pushes into her with a breathtaking intensity, Marisol has to admit that maybe she should have listened.
He stills, waiting for her, and she has half a mind to tell him to stop.
But she's on borrowed time as it is, so what does it really matter?
He pulls her closer, his rough hands gripping her hips now too angular from the chemo. And, the pain giving way to the desire welling within her, she kisses him as hard as she can. Their bodies pressed tightly together, she tries to close the gaps between their bodies – needs to feel his lips on hers, his chest pressed against her.
She wants to memorize every touch, every sensation, every moment because she is so afraid this will be their last time together. A whimper escapes her lips then, and he slows his pace, just a little, so she can catch her breath.
It's always this way; they make love as though the world will come crashing down on them immediately afterwards. He's a little too rough and passionate. She's definitely too needy and forces down the urge to throw up afterwards just so that he can hold her and whisper proclamations of love and tomorrows.
They shouldn't be doing this, and she's sure that when she dies, he'll wish they had never started. But they can't stop – haven't been able to since it began – and she draws him closer still in complete surrender, just praying her body doesn't give out on her before she's ready.
Sometimes Horatio is absolutely convinced that they will break up. Not because of the cancer – though that isn't very far from his mind – but because there are times when it feels as though they are the only people who approve of this relationship.
He doesn't tell his family. His brother and nephew would hardly care, but Horatio is absolutely sure that Yelina would have a different take on the matter. And he thinks he'd be able to handle any potential jealousy… by ignoring it. But he's not sure he could take any valid criticism she might have.
This relationship works best when he keeps the logic out of it.
But even knowing that, there are times he wishes he could tell his family. He wishes he had the same courage and disregard for the rules that Marisol has. He wishes that he didn't feel so old and damaged.
Sometimes, Horatio wishes that he could give her everything she deserves.
He planned a whole day at the beach for them, and she looked forward to it because very rarely did she feel energetic enough to do much of anything.
The night before Marisol spent her evening preparing various sandwiches and snacks to take with them. She set out the perfect outfit to wear (one that would make Horatio crazy), and all the while, she imagined the fun they would have – frolicking together in the ocean and kissing on a beach blanket underneath an umbrella to protect his delicate skin.
Crawling into bed that night, Marisol thought that even if the actual day turned out slightly differently, it would still be fun. Special. A day that wouldn't revolve around cancer and all the crap that went with the illness.
But clearly God or Mother Nature or whatever had different plans for her, she thinks, because the moment they woke up, the sky darkened, and the rain came down in an unrelenting, screw-your-romantic-plans pour.
And yet… the day turns out okay, she realizes after the fact. Horatio dragged her out of bed, and they set the picnic up in the living room by the fireplace.
Hours later, the food gone, she rests her head in his lap, and he strokes her hair. His fingers gently card through the strands, and she's never been happier to still have her hair. And perhaps intuitively knowing her thoughts, he tells her that he would pat her bald head if she had one. The mental picture makes her laugh almost uncontrollably, even though it's something that could very well happen to her.
It might happen to her, but…
But for today, rain and all, lying with him, Marisol thinks she's untouchable. Just for today, she is willing to believe that time has stood still for the both of them, is convinced that, despite what tomorrow may bring, they will always have a picnic indoors.
She'll have to tell him that she's stopped the chemo treatments.
It's not something she can hide. You don't have cancer one day and then have it magically disappear. Marisol knows she'll have to come clean, and she knows that he won't like her reasons. Because she can't even really justify them to herself.
But she doesn't want to ruin this relationship – which is what will happen if she goes through with the treatment; she doesn't want to force him to deal with vomit and marijuana and hair loss and all the unattractive things she'll get to experience, thanks to the chemo.
And it's not a fear that he'll leave her, Marisol tells herself. Horatio isn't the kind to abandon. There have been, already, plenty of times to leave, and he hasn't. He'll stay till the end – the inevitable end.
She'd just rather give him a few months of absolute bliss, even if it's not who she really is, than let him watch her deteriorate and die. She'd rather pretend that children could be in her future than accept that she probably won't live long enough for that to happen.
And if she does long enough to give birth… then at least Horatio can have something to remember her by.
It's a horrible thought, a selfish one, and she hates herself for thinking this way. But as a child raised on fairy tales, Marisol has always preferred fantasy to reality.
He has tried so hard to keep his anger in check – to be the nice, caring, positive man that she wants him to be. He has worked so hard at being the man she deserves.
The redhead has spent the last months pretending that he is not angry that his brother is a mess, has pretended to not notice his sister-in-law and nephew's absence. He has tried very hard to not curse God for giving his wife cancer, for being some sick sadistic bastard who thinks it's okay to kill young people full of life.
But now, she is dead – the curtains close on his performance abruptly – and this is not how he imagined the play ending. Marisol should have at least died with some dignity, not with bullet holes and sterile hospital rooms.
Not that it matters now – because she's dead, and he's done pretending. The reason to pretend, to lie, is gone.
And Horatio willingly gives himself over to the anger he's tried to keep at bay. This probably isn't what she would have wanted, but he doesn't care. He gave her months of what she wanted, and now it's his turn, and God only knows he doesn't do grief very well.
With gun in hand, he sets out to make the world over, attempts to inflict the pain he feels on everyone in his path. Because as long as he keeps moving, as long as he keeps the anger close to his chest, he won't have to think about how much he misses his wife.
He won't have to think about how much she meant to him at all.