When Love Was New Contest

Title of Entry: Hours Past Tomorrow

Your pen name: rain (dot) soaked (dot) hello

If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this contest visit: When Love Was New C2 Community

http://www(DOT)fanfiction(DOT)net/community/When_Love_Was_New_Contest_Entries/73614/

Disclaimer: SM owns all. I am however the proud owner of the swine flu.


Twelve.

Twelve fucking hours of mile after mile, walking through this godforsaken green haze of moss and trees and unending nature. Where was I heading? Fuck if I knew. All I cared was that each muddy step took me farther from the hell I was leaving behind. That shit was war without the luxury of guns.

The rain fell hard and fast, running rivers through the dirt and rock around my feet. So fitting—water to wash away the sins I carry in flesh and bone. Too bad it was the heavens failed attempt to cleanse the shit that's etched in my skin. I'm fucking doomed to wear that forever.

My body cut through the fall of water like I were pushing past a curtain, but I got nowhere with each step. It soaked my skin, tracing lines of ink and scars and veins till it fell from the balls my fists had become over time.

I was weathered and worn and way too fucking old for my years. I've seen more shit than I'd ever care to admit and I've fucked my life over six ways to Sunday. All the good in me was gone, lost to broken bones and shed blood that time refuses to erase.

Now, I was nothing, walking towards nothing, away from everything that meant nothing anymore.

~.~

Fifteen. Fifteen was marked by more trees, more grass, more fucking green and a numbing ache in my broken hands and broken body.

Eighteen was the pavement and eyes lit up by glaring headlights cutting through the curtains of rain as cars escaped in the night.

Twenty-one. Twenty-one was nothingness—a fog—oppressing and liberating.

Twenty-nine. City. Crackling lights. Noise. Her.

~.~

The platform was dirty—an expanse of metal and rust, hiding the lost souls of the city in its shadows. My shoes squeaked against the metal as the water pulsed from their waterlogged soles. There were honks of horns and a buzz of hushed voice and booms and bangs and whistles all creating the most fucked up symphony echoing in my ears. My head was throbbing, a barely numbing reprieve from the ache deep in my bones. But none of that mattered.

Tucked against the metal railing of an overused bench was her. A small body and deep, haunted eyes, speaking in silence of the short life aged beyond measure, she was captivating and enthralling—a fallen angel among the weary and the broken. Those eyes bore into mine, chilling and warming my drenched bones like the perfect contradiction.

Old and young.

Tough and soft.

Woman and scared little girl.

"You're late." Her voice, as sweet as fucking bells, rang straight through the night, resonating in my bones, though barely a breathed whisper.

"I suppose I am," I spoke, voice hoarse with misuse. To be honest, I had no damn clue as to who she was or what the fuck I was late for, but I'm not passing up the potential for a warm body. I've been lost for too fucking long.

Those eyes held to mine, searching out the depths and probably finding the fucked up shit I'm running from. I was haunted by the demons buried under my skin and written in ink and scars over the surface. You can't escape the past, though I was trying my damnedest to find a way out.

I stood.

She sat.

I stared.

She looked.

I shook.

She reached out her hand.

My mind told me to back away from the contact of the girl, but my body protested any action, finally finding reprieve in the stillness after so many fucking hours. A soft warmth found my shaking hand, holding life and begging trust in the simple grasp. I obeyed, too broken to fight this life any longer for today.

The tiny girl pulled with a gentle force until my feet were shuffling over the concrete and metal next to the hush sounds of her graceful gait. We walked, her grasp clinging to my hand. We walked past the lights. We walked past the noise. We walked past the pulse of the night to the silent heart of the city. We walked to trees and grass and more green. More fucking green.

With an asking glint, the girl's eyes searched my blank face before dropping her hand from my own. Her little form retreated to an inconspicuous bush of tiny green leaves, pulling a mass of fabric from shadows. She clung to the blanket like it was her only anchor to this world and this life. As the girl laid the blanket against the grass, smoothing the edges with care, I watched with dead eyes. I stood lifeless and dead to the world, lost in the fucking maze of my own mind.

Her warmth pulled me to reality again as she brought me forward and down onto the worn gray fabric. I barely registered any actions—my own or the girl's—as my mind and body fell victim to the exhaustion of my life. The only touch or sound that pulled me from the dark was the sound of those sweet bells again. Her voice rang through a whisper, asking my name and giving my dead soul comfort in the sound.

"Jasper." My voice was hollow; broken; lost. I closed my eyes, letting the toll of the day fall on my shoulders and the memories to ache in my chest. My life was one fucking broken mess, if you could even call it a life anymore.

Minutes past in silence. Fuck, maybe even hours. I couldn't tell any longer. I couldn't tell up from down until the light touch of fingertips found my cheek. The touch was comforting and promising and trusting. The touch was something new. "Alice," her voice was quiet not to disturb the moment and causing my eyes to finally open to the world again.

I found her deep eyes looking into my own with a gentle smile on her perfect lips. Alice. Her name rolled off my tongue as if I've said it all my life. I kept repeating it in a whisper, letting it fall from my lips and sound in the silence as she pulled the still soaked shirt from my body. The night air held a chill against my damp skin, but the touch of the girl held rivers of blessed fire.

Gossamer. A barely there touch, light and unhurried, her fingers traced the jagged scars outlining the fucked up past I was running from—fourth rib on the left and down the dips of stomach muscles toned in survival, blending into black script running the line of my side. Those haunting eyes bore into mine, ancient and morning their absent innocence, asking in silence the story written in ink and skin.

"Charlotte." The word fell from my tongue, landing heavy in the air with the name I hadn't spoken in years.

"A love lost?" her voice questioned, small and distant. The moment only brought a nod.

Those tiny fingers traced across each letter, spelling the name permanently marked as my retribution, knitting together the invisible frayed edges of flesh and body. "A sister lost," I clarified, finally finding my voice raspy and hollow.

Her eyes held sadness and pity as they looked from the angry flesh to the broken man. With such fucking care despite the savage beast inside, I grasped her tiny wrist while my eyes remained fixed to her deep gaze. I pressed her palm to the marred flesh that was now my shoulder, covering the long-healed wound. "A revenge found."

Clear-as-fucking-day images spun through my vision taking me back to the beginning of my memory. I failed that day, collapsed in blood and death that wasn't my own. She died because I wasn't fucking man enough to save her and save myself. A selfish bastard I was, even back then. I killed the only fucking person to ever love me because I was too weak to be the one to die instead. James won and I…I fucking failed. Fucking failed and the tally of my misdeeds began.

Vision faded as quickly as it had flashed in, leaving me a shell of self-hatred, loathing every broken fiber of my being. My eyes cast sideways, afraid to fucking look at the girl whose tiny hand held to the beginning and end of my worthless life. I couldn't take the look of revulsion that was sure to cloud my fallen angel's face. The seconds ticked off as I was waiting for the numb to return to my bones, as the girl was sure to walk away. Hell, I'd walk away from me if I could. Instead I was in a futile race, running from the shadow attached to my soles.

Heat and wet replaced the soft warmth, begging my eyes back for the absence of numb. She wasn't running. She wasn't calling me out on my murderous ass. She was there, kissing and mending and breathing life into my lifeless soul. I didn't deserve this. I didn't deserve to feel something beside pain and numb, but being honest for once in my damned life, I was reveling in the touch. I'd forgotten what it was to breathe.

Her lips strayed from the scarred flesh her touch had been mending. The touches, like the faintest breath of air, worked over my shoulders to my chest to the expanse of scars and ink. Over and over the black letters, her soft lips worked their simple magic.

I pulled back, away from her; away from everything I wanted out of life in that single moment. This moment was so wrong. I deserved the pain and memories of blood and death and my 12' by 12' cell. I deserved to pay the price of my sins and not taint something as sweet as the girl.

The eyes fixed to my cowering form from across the expanse of blanket were patient, not judging. They held the silence of the night, but the warmth of the day and the sole promise of something better. They spoke volumes, screaming at me to trust and believe for the first fucking time in my life. The girl's body slowly moved towards mine. Slow, like I was to be feared or treated like glass. My muscles pulled back, taking my body farther from her approaching form. I had to go. I had to run. I had to leave before I broke her too.

But my legs refused to listen and my arms refused to unlock their hold from my knees. I was pathetic, unable to even run to save a pure soul. Tiny but sure, her voice pulled my thoughts from blackness. "Jasper, please." My hollow eyes found her steady ones and my body rocked with pain and numb and so much self-loathing, not allowing the girl to hold my salvation.

Watching her watch me, I started, laying my fucked up life before her. "I've spilt blood and played God, deciding innocence and guilt. These hands are no good. They've fucking murdered and nothing goods comes from their touch." I balled my fists, stealing them from marring the fragile girl before me. "I…fuck Alice. I fucking can't," my voice cracked, defeat laced through every syllable because this was me, completely exposed—bare and fucking more vulnerable than I've ever been.

"You're wrong." Her voice, barely more than a whispered breath, echoed deep within.

Tiny hands, shaking but determined, unfurled my fists and took hold of my wrists, guiding them to the swells of bones and skin making her hips. Those searching eyes found mine, grounding herself in my hollow gaze. I found my fingers toying with the edges of fabric while the girl pulled my wrists to grab the fabric, only releasing me so I could pull the cloth from her body. My fingers traced the black fabric shielding her breasts from the world, while never unlocking from her haunted eyes.

I felt her hand, still trembling and cool, press against the back of my own. Her fingers flexed around my hand, drawing our entwined mass of fingers down her chest and stomach to press flat against the taught skin over muscle and girl.

Motionless. Silent, save for our mixed breaths. "A lifetime lost," she whispered out, as if afraid the words would cause time to crumble around us.

I broke my gaze from her to understand, meeting with the mangled pink of scars extending below my palm. From left to right the angry line was screaming the brokenness and stolen innocence hidden in the girl's eyes. "A life never begun," she whispered a little louder, pressing my palm firmer against the marred flesh. "A first breath never taken."

My eyes found hers, asking through the silence her story of loss and broken hopes. Soft body movements were her answer, just as silent as the question. Eyes locked, hands shaking and a steady movement down her marred abdomen, the girl pressed my fingertips past worn fabric to bone and flesh. He eyes left mine, looking down to our entwined hands, drawing my gaze to follow. Nestled against the bone and thin skin of her delicate hip, spidery lines of ink traced out the pattern of wings. "Isabella," the girl spoke, soft and reserved and voicing an immortal reverence.

The lines of ink contrasted with the ivory flesh. It was a painful and excruciatingly beautiful sight. Loss. Remembrance. Punishment. I knew the emotions well, having worn them on my own flesh lest I ever wish to forget.

Her loss was so crushing in the darkness—the loss of life; the loss of love; the loss of an innocence that she fucking deserves more than anyone. I understand the pain, locked deep in your bones and mocking in the scars that time won't heal. Only the broken truly understand the broken and her pain hangs heavy against my shoulders.

I have nothing to give to heal the edges and dull the ache the girl carries. I barely ever find the blissful numb to just get myself through the day. But her eyes don't deserve the pain that dulled the life in them and I'd take her grief on my broken bones if I could. Instead my thumb moved in a hypnotic rhythm, trying to erase the forever marks that shouldn't claim a creature such as beautiful Alice.

My eyes were trained to the ink and flesh and scars and rhythmic circles. I was trying to will away the pain and lifetimes lost, but failing because I—a worthless man—was inept to heal. I was a destroyer. A murderer. A disgrace of flesh and bones. The nerves and brittle psyche housed silently inside were cracking and crumbling with each unworthy breath my lungs greedily sought. I am nothing. I am nothing. I am nothing. The fucking mantra chanted over and over in my skull, pushing me farther—deeper—while the steady circles remained the only anchor.

Warmth and softness found purchase against the sweaty sheen of my forehead. The girl's lips pressed firm, moving down my nose and the faint scars lying upon the bridge of bone and cartilage. Gentle and silent. Perfect and healing. My thumb never ceased its circular pattern as the girl cupped my face with a care I'd never been shown.

The broken girl and the broken man. She was mending me when I should be saving her. I want to be the knight in shining armor, but maybe it wasn't meant for me to be. My head rested in her hands as her soft kisses found my eyelids as they fell shut. Too much. It was too much to finally feel.

I finally dared to look up to my fallen angel's face. A soft and gentle smiled played on her lips and I kissed them in nothing more than a peaceful, loving manner. Loving. That one thought—that one intense emotion—reeled in my brain and danced out my fingers that were now holding her face in a mirrored motion. My thumbs found rhythm as they traced the lines of worry and pain that already etched out her beautiful face. It was my turn to heal. It was my turn to not fail again. My chance to make right the all the wrong turns I'd taken to get here.

Her tiny body cradled against my own battered bones as I laid our bodies down against the blanket and grass. She fit to every curve with her heart drumming a peaceful cadence so soft it could barely be heard. I let my fingers trail the ink wings, memorizing every line and delicate feather as Alice's breath evened out into the gentle hush of sleep. Careful, to allow sleeping beauty to sleep, my lips found her neck, trying to will away my girl's pain with patience. My actions held no other motive than to heal. And to love.

How after mere hours could I allow love to steal away from my icy heart for an eerily beautiful fallen angel? There was no part of my body or soul that deserved the warmth and want of love. My entire being was black and poisonous and led by deadly hands. I saw myself this way. Fuck, the entire world saw me this way. Except. Except her.

To her, I was more—I was salvation and rebirth. Somehow, somewhere, I actually meant greater than I could see. To me, the future was dark and blank. But she was light. And she…she was love. I couldn't see past now. She'd have to show me; lead me; light me. I would gladly follow, like the moth to the flame.

This was life. This was love. Raw. Dirty. Broken. Bare. It was fucking love and I was drowning in it. For the first time, I welcomed the rush.

~.~

Purpose. Purpose had been lost to the years spent sleeping against iron and cement and less fucked up men that were there by choice. I never had a choice. It never boiled down to an option to succeed or fail; between right and wrong. I was always supposed to save her; no other option was supposed to exist. But I fucking failed like everything that came before and came after Charlotte.

Until now.

I never had love before.