If you can hold on
If you can hold on, hold on
I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
You know, you know - no you don't, you don't
I wanna shine on in the hearts of men
I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand

I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier

--"All These Things That I've Done" The Killers


I can't believe it's been two months. Two months since I got my casts off. Stork sat in his room staring at his hands. The others haven't caught on yet, at least not that I know of. They think I haven't even tried to fly her yet. Except Piper. Piper knows. And she did. He didn't know how she knew, but he was sure she had somehow figured out that he had tried to fly the Condor and failed miserably. Well… maybe she didn't know that. He glanced over to the bag on his desk and they looked around the even sparser than usual walls of his room. "Only a few more hours and I won't be here to weigh you down any more, baby." He mumbled to the walls of his- no- the Storm Hawks'- air ship.

His eyes went back to his hands and he gingerly flexed his fingers. It didn't hurt as much now. He could hold onto things, just not turn them. And he couldn't fly. He closed his eyes tiredly. He had considered making one more attempt at flying the Condor before leaving, but it might wake the others and if he couldn't do it… it would hurt too much. He wouldn't be able to just walk away. If he tried and it meant ending his piloting career, it would have to mean ending his life as well.

"Stork!" Piper banged on his door and brought him out of the spiraling depression of his musings. Sighing, he pulled on his gloves and got up to answer the door. The plate of metal slid up and he looked at her. She had her hands on her hips and was giving him the same look she gave Finn when she caught him messing around in her crystal lab.

"Umm… did I do something?"

"No, and you're not going to either!" She marched into his room and picked up his bag off his desk, tossing it onto his bed and sitting down next to it; arms crossed defiantly.

Stork shook his head. "How'd you know I was going to leave tonight?"

"I pay attention, unlike some people, and I can tell when you're planning something!" Her face fell. "I can't believe you weren't even going to say goodbye."

He shrugged and rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "I figured it would be easier on everyone, and once I found a different job I was going to come back so you would know I wasn't dead."

She jumped up. "Stork, that's just not fair! Not to the guys and not to yourself and not to me!"

"Why do you care so much anyway?!" He said, irritated, holding out his hands. That was the wrong move. Piper strode quickly across the room and took hold of his wrists.

"Why do you wear these gloves all the time? Some sort of mark of shame? You can't use them as well as you used to so they're not fit to be seen by society?"

"Don't touch the gloves." He muttered angrily, jerking out of her grasp and holding his hands beyond her reach.

"Why not?!"

"Because!"

"Stork, just let me-"

"No!"

"Just-"

"NO!" Frustrated, Piper grabbed the front of his uniform and pressed their lips together, shocking him into submission. His arms fell to his sides. She quickly broke away and caught his hands, tugging off his gloves in one swift motion. Stork was still staring at her, his mouth moving but no sound coming out.

She gasped. Where the bones ran along under his skin there were thick ridges of scar tissue, knotted crosses forming at each of his knuckles. He moved his fingers without thinking and she could see the thin folds of skin that extended, allowing him to bend his fingers. "Oh, Gods, Stork!" She cradled his hands in hers, oblivious to his stunned gaze.

"You- you just-"

"I'm so sorry, I had no idea it was this bad!"

"Piper, you just kissed me!"

"But-"

He grabbed her shoulders. "My hands will still be here in five minutes; could we please deal with the you kissing me part first?!" Surprised at his outburst, they stood and looked at each other. Then Piper gently took his face in her hands and guided their lips together. It was a little bit awkward and a little bit hesitant at first, and it damn sure wasn't perfect, but it was good. Stork slid his arms around her and pulled her closer and realized that he hadn't had enough good in his life for going on a year; and he hadn't had this kind of good since- since- ever.

Fifteen minutes of kissing and murmured words later they disentangled themselves from one another's embrace. Piper looked up at him and smiled shyly. "You're still gonna be here in the morning, right?" Stork just nodded and watched her leave, an unconscious smile playing across his face.


Piper woke to the gentle thrumming of the Condor's engines and bolted upright. Stork. Stork almost leaving and then deciding to stay but- "Shit." –never actually saying he would. That's just the kind of loophole he would use! She shot out of bed and ran down the hall toward the bridge. Aerrow must be flying. I have to get him to turn around so we can find Stork and I can kick his butt for- the bridge doors flew open and she skidded to a halt.

Stork glanced over his shoulder at the crystal specialist and smiled teasingly. "What are you doing up so early?"

"Stork!" She launched herself at him, hitting him with a tight hug around his middle and bursting into tears, her sobs drowned out by her laughter.

Stork laid one hand on her head. "Piper, I know you're happy and everything, but could we do this later?" She looked up at him and he half-grinned. "It's kind of hard to steer even without you holding onto me."

Piper let go, still smiling and with tears streaming from her eyes. "Of course! I'll let you get back to it!" She backed away from him, unable to tear her eyes away, and almost ran into Aerrow who was coming through the door behind her.

"What's going on? I heard someone yelling!"

She gestured toward the pilot, smiling too hard to get any words out. "Stork- Stork-"

Aerrow followed her gaze, bewildered, and spotted the source of her excitement. Stork was standing at the controls of the Condor, fingers curled around the steering, and he was watching the skies in front of him with an air of confidence that Aerrow had never seen in him before.

Piper squeaked happily and waltzed into the kitchen to start cooking breakfast.


I BLAME THE INTERNETS!!!!! They're the reason I haven't been able to post anything in so long. Because my internets are FAIL.

And yes, Piper's making sandcakes.

This last chapter could have drifted into the 'M' rating but I really didn't feel like typing it out as of yet, so let me know if you'd like a continuation into that catagory. (It will be posted as a separate story if that ends up happening, and if no one reviews or messages me saying they want it then don't worry; I won't waste your time.)

Chapters of other stuffs (read: "Dance With Me") will be posted momentarily, Dea willing.

Review please!

My regrets and my gratitude, Dotskip.

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