Author's Note: So after being on MAJOR creep status for about three months, I've finally decided to stop lurking in the shadows of , make my own account, and publish my own fanfiction. This is the first thing I've written since my senior year in high school and the first thing I've let anyone else read EVER. So go easy on me guys, ok? I'm here to hopefully get over my severe case of writer's block and improve my mad crazy skillzzz, and I would surely appreciate your reviews. **Smile**
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
You didn't know why you had even gotten into bed. All it was was a waste of your damn time because, lately, your mind couldn't rest. Every time you got into bed, you followed one of two patterns; sometimes, you fell asleep quickly but woke up less than an hour later panting, drenched in sweat, and terrified out of your mind after another nightmare. Other times, your mind was so busy reliving your worst memories that you never fell asleep at all. You weren't sure which fate was worse but, no matter what, you were haunted all night by demons you once thought that you'd defeated, but that your capture by the gravedigger and the mystical appearance of Teddy had brought rushing back.
The demons were memories. They were your very worst Ranger days, your very worst moments as a sniper. The tears of an eight-year-old whose father you had killed. Teddy's blood, so much of it, because you had neglected to make sure he stayed down. Being captured, the torture you'd been through, watching as your closest buddies died one after another. They were memories of waking up inside of some sort of steel structure, trapped on board a boat that was set to blow. Memories of how it felt to think that you would never, never again see your son or your partner—your fascinating, beautiful partner to whom you didn't have the guts to admit that, yes, you were madly in love with her and, yes, you knew that she was an alpha female of sorts but that didn't stop you from wanting her more than you'd ever wanted anyone else before.
Memories of all the times you had felt defeated and hopeless. Memories of all the times you had been sure that you were going to die.
Tonight was not very much different from any other night. It had been a long day and you were exhausted, yet here it was three-fifteen in the morning and you hadn't slept a wink all night. You'd gone to bed nearly three hours ago, but all you'd done was toss and turn and unsuccessfully try to get rid of those demons.
Tonight's worst demon was the body that Bones—and, subsequently, you—had been called in to identify the day before. A badly decomposed man, late thirties, had washed up on the beach. An accidental drowning, it would turn out, once Bones figured out he was the same father of two who'd gone overboard during a stormy late-night canoe trip a month earlier. An easy case, but that wasn't what bothered you.
What bothered you was the smell. It was the smell of the body and, honestly, you had no idea why this smell was different from any other. Bodies smelled bad all the time. Gruesome sights and smells were things you had sort of become immune to since you started working with Bones. You had to.
But the stench of this body was exceptionally strong. And revolting. The first whiff had given you the urge to puke right then and there, but with Bones around to glare at you you'd managed to keep it all down. The last thing you wanted to do was throw up in front of the woman of your dreams, anyway; a woman who had seen things just as bad—if not worse—than you had and still managed to keep the contents of her stomach under control.
You had stood a good distance away and held a handkerchief to your face while Bones did her thing—she, of course, was outwardly unfazed by her surroundings—but that didn't stop the stench from invading you. It got in your nostrils, in your hair, in your clothes. It crawled under your skin and now, fifteen hours after you'd last seen the body, you could still smell it.
You had no idea why. No idea what made the stench of this body cling to you like no other. All you knew was that you could still smell it. Still. And, exhausted as you were, it would not let you sleep.
You had showered. Twice. You scrubbed extra hard. You shampooed four times. You had even lit some of those aromatherapy candles that Tessa had left behind all those years ago.
But you could still smell it. Nothing could get rid of that smell.
You smelled it even as you were haunted by your normal nighttime memories. Your mind carried you back to Guatemala, to Kosovo, to dark rooms and torture chambers, and that smell came right along with you.
Three-thirty, and you stared wide-eyed at the ceiling above your bed. You could still smell it. You could still smell it. It. Would. Not. Go. Away.
And it wouldn't let you sleep.
Sleep. That was all you wanted. One night of pure, uninterrupted, dead-to-the-world sleep. You didn't want to feel so tired all the time anymore. You didn't want your work to become affected by your lack of sleep. And you sure as hell didn't want Bones to notice—although you were positive she already had. She was the most observant person you'd ever met; of course she noticed the extra coffee per day you'd been drinking recently. Of course she noticed that you nodded off that time while waiting for her to finish her paperwork so the two of you could grab a bite to eat. Of course she noticed the shadows under your eyes, the ones that grew heavier by the day.
But you couldn't sleep. You couldn't.
You rolled around in bed, each new position becoming uncomfortable after the first three minutes, until your covers became a tangled mess at your feet. You had started sweating hours ago, and now your sheets were drenched despite the fact that you'd opened all the windows and stripped down to your boxers.
It was hot. Sweltering. And you couldn't breathe. All you could do was smell.
Three forty-five. You sat up, punched your pillows furiously, and slammed your body back down. You shut your eyes tightly and willed yourself to feel nothing, think nothing, smell nothing.
It didn't work.
Finally, you couldn't take it anymore. You got out of bed and slowly made your way through the pitch darkness to your kitchen. You quickly downed two full glasses of water and stood there for a moment, eyes closed. You prayed to God, wished desperately for it to go away.
But. You. Could. Still. Smell. It.
You were choking. Suffocating. Drowning. Your head pounded relentlessly, and it was so hot. The smell made you want to vomit, but you clenched your mouth shut and wouldn't let anything come up. You swallowed the bile in your throat. It was so hot. You were suffocating. Your head hurt. You could still smell it.
Then, a sudden surge anger swept over you—anger at your exhaustion, at your inability to sleep, at that smell—and you couldn't help it. You whirled around and punched your wall furiously, your fist breaking through the plaster and leaving behind an ugly, gaping hole.
Your knuckles hurt—maybe they were bleeding—and you cursed, but you could still smell. Irate, you were about to punch the wall again, but then you saw it.
You froze, your eyes fixated on it. And suddenly you longed for her. You'd be willing to beg, plead, anything to get her over here. You couldn't call her. The sound of her voice wouldn't be enough. You would need to touch her, to hold her in your arms, to bring her soft, slender frame close to yours, to bury your face in her hair, and inhale.
You needed her. You were crazy, madly in love with her, but you restrained yourself. She was one of the few things in this world that made you feel good, like a better man, but you couldn't have her. She was half your reason for living. You adored her. But she would never let you have her.
You could, however, have the white scarf she had left behind—if only for one night. It was laying there, on your kitchen table, where she'd innocently dropped it earlier when she'd come over to do some paperwork. She'd forgotten to take it with her when she left. And there it was. Right there on the table.
Unthinking, you snatched it up and pressed it against your face.
It was soft and, somehow, it was still warm. As though she'd discarded it minutes ago instead of hours. Best of all, it had been around her neck, brushing against her hair, soaking up her perfume and her shampoo. It smelled just like her.
You loved her smell. You spent so much time with her, you would know it anywhere. It was unique, something distinctly her. You couldn't define it, but you loved it. All day long you fought the urge to sniff her hair, to place your nose in the crook of her neck and just breathe. She was all you really wanted, all you ever wanted, but you knew you couldn't have her.
But you could have her scarf, and it smelled like her, and that soothed you.
Feeling the tension, the anxiety, the fear, the smell evaporate from your body, you carried the scarf with you to your sofa. As long as you could smell her, you knew the other smell would leave you. You knew you would be okay.
You lay down and, making sure you kept the scarf firmly in place around your mouth and nose, you grabbed a pillow and hugged it to your chest. You pretended it was her. You pretended you were holding her in your arms as her scent washed over you, took you over. And it made you feel more relaxed than you had felt in days.
She would probably think you were pathetic if she could see you. She would probably be disturbed if she could see you. She might even think you were a pervert, getting off on her smell like that. But it didn't matter.
What mattered was that, for the first time in days, you drifted off into a deep, easy slumber. You had dreams, but they were only sweet dreams. Of her. With her scarf—her scent—enveloping you, you slept longer and more peacefully than you had in a very long time.
You finally woke up feeling fresh, rested, and ready to take on a new day. And you knew that if you wanted to continue to sleep easily, you would have to make her "forget" articles of clothing in your apartment more often.
So didja like it? Didja? Didja? If you did (or did not for that matter, since I am trying to grow here) I would surely like to know. Constructive criticism would be a huuuuuuge help! Also, I hate grammer mistakes/typos/tense issues so if you see any, get at me will you? Please and thank you!!
Also, this is a one shot for now but I suppose I might be able to be persuaded to make it a five-shot about all of the senses. If you want me to. Maybe even if you don't. I've got a couple of ideas, but ehhhh...nothing concrete yet.