A/N: just a brief little something, a snippet of a dream i had. hope you like it -- you know i love to hear from you. xoxo, mia

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Like a Moth to a Flame

a oneshot.

They are on the hood of his truck, legs dangling, intercepting the beams of the headlights flooding the perimeter of the park, highlighting the laurel trees. Another case solved, another body to be buried. He reclines, his back resting on the windshield.

She holds a single sheet of paper in her hands; a letter that has been folded and unfolded again and again absentmindedly as they speak. It twirls in her hands, the edges catching the glow from the headlamps. He has not read it, and yet, he implicitly hates whatever it says. It has been nearly a year, long enough that he wishes it could be forgotten.

"He sounds happy," she says quietly. "He talks about the wind on his face."

As if someone above is listening, a breeze catches, pulling ribbons of her hair across her cheek.

"Are you sorry?" he manages, his hand coming up unconsciously, falling over his mouth, almost as if to prevent the words from reaching her, to prevent her from answering.

Her head swivels slowly; her eyes are a second set of headlights, washing over him, lighting his face. "I made the right choice."

It's a half-answer.

He is silent for several moments, the rustling of leaves reminding them they are merely two small figures on the edge of a park; that others grow and change even if they choose to remain stagnant yet again.

"What would you have done?"

He lifts his eyes.

She has turned around, her back greeting him as he looks up. "Would you have found a new partner?"

"No."

The letter suddenly balances on her knee. "No?"

"No," he repeats. "You're my partner."

Again her eyes are on his. "You told me to go."

He sits up and stares at the large moth that is suddenly flipping it's wings in the glare of headlight, trying desperately, it seems, to find some small way past the glass to the light.

He remembers, suddenly, years ago, being a young boy and entranced by the moths that fluttered along the surface of the lake on a warm summer night, his father seated next to him, their legs dangling over the lapping waves. A light from the dock shimmered beneath the water, just out of reach.

"They think it's the moon," he'd said. "Damn fool things will drown themselves trying to get to it."

Now, he lifts his eyes to hers. "But I wouldn't have let you."

Her lips part, her breath hitches.

"I would have come after you," he admits, his eyes returning to the fluttering white wings. "I would have rented a goddamn boat, Temperance, I would have hired a helicopter or commandeered the coast guard." He swallows. "I would have dragged you back here with me because this is where you belong."

He is the moth and she is the moon, and this distance he's placed between them – it's the surface of the water. If he isn't careful, he sees now, he'll eventually drown.

Easing back against he dash, his mind whirls. She tugs a piece of hair that the breeze has blown into her mouth free, releasing it to the wind.

Crawling slowly, the weight of her body balances on the hood until she hovers above him, her eyes lost in the dark of the night sky -- yet a halo of light from those headlights still manages to illuminate the edge of her hair.

His heartbeat is arrested as she dips low, and they are breath to breath.

She tastes like coffee with cinnamon and the small piece of dark chocolate he'd slipped into her palm an hour ago, bought for a quarter by the cash register at the diner. His hand slips to her lower back, and he feels her lips part damply against his as she fits her body like a puzzle piece against his own.

A clutching in his crotch, like a sweet ache, travels a swift path through his limbs, his head fuzzy with the feel of her.

And then her voice touches his ear, lilting softly like a song.

"I would never have left you."

The sheet of paper rests against his chest, dropped from her fingers. She glances at it as a cloud above them shifts, revealing the moon. With a smile, she pulls it again into her hands, turning in his arms, and before her back comes to rest against the windshield alongside him, she sends another man's words sailing through the air, the edges of the paper catching the breeze as it flutters to the ground, softly like the wings of a moth.