A/N: This idea would not let me rest until it was written. I'm not completely satisfied with the results, but I'm sick of looking at it, sick of revising, reconsidering, and second guessing every damn word. Make of it what you will. All I ask is that you enjoy. :-D Obviously, I'm deviating from accepted canon here, but I hope you won't mind. Thanks for reading!

~Charlynn~

The Candor of Touch
A Fever Series One Shot

Most children are guilty of tunnel vision on their first day of school.

She had been no different.

Eyes locked upon their mothers, and, in her case, her father, too, they board the bus for the first time, nervous excitement buckling their trembling, dimpled knees. There would be tears, both of sorrow and joy, smiles aplenty, and waves so enthusiastic it was a wonder elbow joints weren't permanently damaged afterwards. In her case, maybe the moment was more poignant because she was the baby, the younger of the two daughters her parents had given up hope of ever having.

Whatever their reason, I can recall frowning at the scene they made from where I lurked in the open several houses down. Too absorbed in their own little melodrama, neither the child nor the adults paid me any attention or mind. Though that suited my purpose, I had to admit that it riled somewhat. After all, I only liked being invisible when I intended to be.

As the cheerful school bus filled with noisy five year olds rolled away and as the parents melted back into their air conditioned homes, I remember realizing something else. Instead of being awash in the blues, greens, and yellows of a bright, late summer's day, my world had suddenly and temporarily been tinted pink.

The only thing I could see in color was her.

Growling the recollection away, I slithered down her naked body, my single-minded intent focused upon seeking out and finding that hated but cherished, recently forgotten but distinctly missed blush hue. The woman pinned beneath me simply widened her already spread legs in supplication.

Another memory sliced through me as I watched her sleep. Physically exhausted, she should have been resting peacefully, but she stirred and moaned in complaint whenever her body unconsciously shifted away from mine. The only way she was at peace was if our skin was touching, our limbs hopelessly entangled, our forms joined together in the embrace older than time itself. Just like that night so many years before, her face pinched in emotional discomfort and her lips thinned as she fought the dreams being forced upon her.

It had been the first and only time I had taken Ryodan with me. There. To see her. Intentionally, I had made sure that, when we stepped into the silvers, we'd arrive in Georgia during the darkest hour of the night, partly to cloak our presence and partly in a futile attempt to disguise some of her innocence.

I had hoped the midnight hour would dim her obvious naiveté and, if not stain and blot out her love of all things pretty, prim, and pink, then, at least, cover it in shadows. But her room, even in the dark, was just as cheery, and her golden hair spread out against her pillow in a sickening representation of a homemade halo. I can still recall Ryodan's laughter and his taunting remarks as if we were still sitting on that roof's outcropping, still glancing in through her bedroom window, still so many days away from the present and quickly encroaching future. He had questioned, sarcastically of course, the veracity of my knowledge pertaining to her identity.

Though his queries had been whispered, mere exhalations no mere mortal could comprehend, they had echoed through my mind like the reverberations of a mallet striking a base drum. But there had been no time to respond, for, just as she does now beside me, the six year old version of Mac all those years prior had shifted in sleep to roll towards where the presence watching her was positioned, her nightmare clenched face beginning to open in awareness.

This time, though, I didn't melt into the night. Instead, I melted into her, slipping inside her slippery, wet heat in the only way I know how to sooth her frayed and ravaged nerves. Despite still being asleep, she sighed in delight and undulated her hips against mine. As I moved softly, slowly with her, I closed my eyes to imagine that golden hair just one more time.

Chasing away a rivulet of water, my finger races to catch the drop before it can expire or disappear, but I halt when I realize just how closely it resembles a tear. Falling from the apple of her cheek, it glides smoothly off the corner of her jaw before trailing away to join the millions of other droplets of water falling to land by our feet, the gushing showerhead above soaking us in its cleansing intent.

We're showering together. Of course, that's not all we're doing, because she's too demanding, and I'm all too willing to be a slave to her unnatural desire, and the steam and condensation of hot water just seems to breed passion and want, but that solo bead of moisture has made me pause, and, like a razor sharp spell of magic, I'm transported back in time once more to the first moment I ever really saw her cry.

On a whim, I had decided to travel through the silvers to see her. I told myself it was just to make sure that she was alright, to reaffirm what I already knew: that no one else had discovered her role in the world's destiny yet, and I was practiced enough in lying to others that I didn't recognize the fact that I was lying to myself.

I can't really recall how many years ago exactly the moment was, for, during my lifetime, such mortal means of measurement have ceased to possess much meaning, but I remember that she was young, still in grade school, and, of course, I recall exactly what happened. Half way across the monkey bars, her hands slipped, and she fell off, immediately bursting into hearty tears. Teachers ran, students gaped, and, somewhere off in the distance, someone ran for the nurse. By the time her injuries were assessed, it was determined that she would be alright, but the knee that she had landed upon would need several stitches, and her scraped and gravel abraded, bleeding chin would be sore for several days. But that's not why she was bawling.

No, rather, she was upset because she had ruined her new dress – her new pink dress, and nothing anybody did or said could console her.

The touch of her impatient fingers, always seeking, always greedy, upon the inside of my thighs made me surge back to the present, but I refused to grant her the sexual satisfaction she demanded. Rather, I dropped down to kneel before her, leaned forward, and reverently licked the tiny scar that remained from her childhood accident. Just because she doesn't remember the fall, that doesn't mean that I don't... even if she is unaware and always will be of just how well qualified I am to remind her of the woman she had been before. Perhaps, in a more unbiased way, I know her better than she's ever known herself.

Laughter.

Her laughter. My laughter. Our laughter combined. In the bleakness of a world where she doesn't even know what the word laughter means, such blatant, beautiful joy would be welcome.

I can recall the first time that I ever laughed at her. The next time I had just so happened to pop into her life came the night of her school's annual spelling bee. When asked to spell fairytale in an early round, she had offered up f-a-e-r-y-t-a-l-e. Quickly, the judges told her she was incorrect and that she was disqualified from the competition, inciting a rant from the child that included several choice Gaelic cuss words.

Of course, the audience had no idea what it was that she was calling her teachers, neither did her parents, but I certainly did, and I laughed heartily for several minutes before disappearing from sun-kissed Georgia once more and going back to the perpetually drizzling Dublin. If there had ever been a doubt in mind before of her true identity, it had vanished that evening.

Now, though, she doesn't laugh, and the only time she smiles is when she's so deeply tossed into the depths of sensual bliss that she doesn't realize the corners of her ripe, red mouth are hitched in pleasure. For what may be the first time in my life, though, I crave to give a woman a different kind of happiness. Refusing to sate her sexually, I look to amuse her, using my fingers to tickle her sides instead of teasing them inside of her.

It works.

Once she laughs, though, I reward both of us by moving my talented digits down her body until they still momentarily against her molten core before plunging into her fiery, desperate, utterly addictive depths. Instead of hilarity, we sigh simultaneously in gratification.

Birthdays are something I don't celebrate, as she has since learned, but I once watched by as she turned another year older, another year wiser, another year closer to becoming the woman she was fated to be, another year closer to becoming mine.

I believe, at the time, she had been in middle school, securely entrenched in those awkward, preteen adolescent years where everything is a disaster, and it seems to a girl like she'll never be old enough, tall enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. My visits during this time slowed down somewhat. To be honest, I simply couldn't stomach the angst, and, looking back, I, too, during those years, had been plagued with my own doubts as to her important identity. It was just impossible to picture such an awkward, anxious girl as the woman who would one day stand and fight by my side. Utter ridiculousness.

To further cement my lingering uncertainty, after I had traveled through the silver that year, I stumbled upon her birthday party – a gaggle of girls her age gathered in a beauty parlor to have their hair, make-up, and nails done. They were all giggly, and flamboyant, and I can remember clenching my teeth at the sheer amount of high pitched noise they made. The only quiet one in the bunch had been Alina, her older sister, and, lounging here with her now, our bodies sticky with our own and each other's sweat and release, I can shamefully admit to, all those years ago, wishing my knowledge to be false and hoping for it to be Alina who would serve such a vital role in the future, our current present.

Despite the fact that she'll never know of these traitorous past thoughts or that I had knowledge of both her fate and her sister's before they both became true, I still feel guilty. So, to alleviate my regret, I reach across the bed and rummage through the small nightstand, plucking out the small, glass bottle I was looking for without requiring a single glance in the table's direction. Opening it, the scent of the polish's alcohol burns both of our noses and rouses her from the near slumber she had been lazying contently in. Without comment on either of our parts, I begin to paint her nails, and she smiles in response, in appreciation.

I feel momentarily absolved.

Adam.

Of course, her first boyfriend would have that name.

It wasn't on purpose that I witness her first date, her first kiss, but I don't regret it either. Obviously, someone has to be there seeing as how her father didn't trouble himself. Whereas he should have been there, moving silently behind her as the shadow she was lacking thanks to the dullness of the moon-less night sky – protecting her and interrupting anything improper, he wasn't. But I was.

Unfortunately, though, if I would have stepped in, I just would have been some creepy stranger. Sure, I could have snapped the teenager's wrist for daring to touch her, but then she would have been irate, probably scared, and no doubt vindictive enough to call the cops, and, even if I would have managed to slip away before either the police arrived or the little peckerhead could touch her again, my cover would have been blown.

So, instead, I follow her from a distance and am forced to stand by while the creep slobbers all over her, sits too close, and tries to cop a feel of what aren't even fully developed breasts yet. The pink of her dress expands and multiplies, deepening into a ferocious hue of red that eclipses the rest of my visage. By the time I return to the book store, my hands are cut and bruised from being clenched so tightly, and I'm angry with myself for my inappropriate reaction. If it simply would have been a fatherly concern, I wouldn't have minded so much. Yes, it would have been inconvenient but not dangerous.

Instead, though, my temper had been fueled by sparks of jealousy, my rage territorial. It didn't matter that I was twice the teenager's age in looks. It didn't matter that she was a kid and I was a man no more human than the monsters we would someday kill together. It didn't matter that she was light, and sweetness, and beguiling purity whereas I was nothing but an empty, dark cavern of deception. At that point, I didn't even want her yet, but she was still mine.

This time, it was her turn to return me to the land of consciousness, sucking away my dreams of the past with her oh-so-temptingly decadent and accomplished mouth, literally speaking. As I enjoyed her attentions – her lips wrapping, her tongue tasting, her teeth biting, my past jealousies were quickly banished. After all, while Adam might have received her first kiss, she'd never kissed him like this.

Roses.

Her junior prom date gave her a bouquet of roses.

For some reason – whether it was intention or not, I didn't want to contemplate, I always arrived to check on her when she was in the romantic company of another male. Each trip, though, proved to me just how incapable and wrong for her the boys she chose to date were.

She was not the type of girl a guy gave roses to.

Roses were for prissy, prim English girls, for girls who were already staid and mature, for girls like Alina. No, she was the type of girl who deserved exotic, unique flowers, blooms that spoke of originality and passion, temptation and lust, of orgasm after orgasm underneath a tropical waterfall. Lotus flowers. Calatheas. Musas. Anthuriums. And Dutch Amaryllis, just to name a few.

But, then again, looking back now, I have to wonder if I would have been satisfied with seeing her hold my flowers merely in her arms. Rather, at least now with the recent shift in our relationship, I believe I would have preferred her wearing nothing but a few choice blossoms, strategically placed, of course, for my eventual and tortuously slow removal.

I can't offer her flowers now, not that she would be interested in such a sentimental gesture, but I can worship her and her body in other ways. My fingers pry her open like the gentle breeze separating a bloom's protective leaves, and I drop my face, my mouth, my lips to the petals of her sex, the touches I rain down upon her softer and more seductive than a midnight dew.

Rage froths at the edge of my awareness as I watch her ascend the stage to collect her diploma. All these years, I believed myself to be merely treading water until it was time for us to confront our fate together, but I was wrong. Now, confronted with just how very close the future is, for she only has a few more years of blind and naïve innocence remaining, I want to will time to stop, even if that means I'll never be able to face her, confront her honestly, that I'll never be able to have her face me, confront me as well.

She's not valedictorian. In fact, she's not even in the top ten percent of her class. It's not that she isn't intelligent; it's just that her smarts, though she hasn't realized or awakened them yet, revolve around survival and instinct, base, primitive knowledge she has no use for yet in her sheltered, pretty in pink world. Unfortunately, though, we're the only two people present at her graduation who will fully acknowledge her true potential and promise one day.

She retakes her seat, and I marvel at how quickly the ceremony is progressing. She falls asleep briefly during the long, drawn out, boring speeches, and I cheer her on, knowing that she needs to take advantage of any available moment of rest now that she still can. She tosses her cap into the air and fails to catch another, already moving off to the packed stands to find her parents and sister, and I wonder, not for the first time, how they can't see the tightly coiled, dangerous predator that lurks beneath her supple, tanned flesh.

There's no lurking now, though, I realize as I recline in between her muscled thighs, against he toned abdomen, my head lulling on her femininely sculpted shoulder. Luckily for me, her breasts are still just as round and deliciously perky, womanly, but the rest of her, thanks to our weeks of... exercise... is a lethal, killing machine, barely disguised in the body of a modern day Venus.

In my sexually satisfied lull, I close my eyes and imagine both versions of her side by side, admiring the both of them for their differences and similarities. Suddenly, my vision coalesces, and I join the fantasy, the three of us sampling each other's delicacies.

The dream doesn't last for long, though, because, as if sensing my thoughts, her hand grips me between the legs, squeezes to the point of pain, and then she bites the lobe of my ear in punishment. The last thing on my mind now is sleep or even the pleasures available in my delusion, for the woman behind me, around me, inside of me is already nearly more than enough for me to handle.

Nearly.

And, besides, sometimes, pain is more fun than pleasure anyway... at least, it can be with her.

On top of me, she rides us both closer and closer to our release, and, not for the first time, I find myself wondering about the moment when I'll finally see the memories of her other men wash through her consciousness. Obviously, I'm a masochist, because what other type of man would imagine such self-inflicted cruelties while he's enjoying some of the best sex he's ever had? I'm also a realist, though, so I know such a hateful, wretched moment will occur, whether I want it to or not evenutally.

Before I started this... whatever it is now that exists between us, I knew that she wasn't completely inexperienced. Hell, I had surreptitiously watched as she lost her virginity years before. It had been a truly voyeuristic moment, but I still don't feel guilty about it. Right or wrong, I knew then what I know now – a part of her always has been and always will be mine; it's just up to her how big of a part that is. However, because of this, I felt as though I had a right to be there to witness something being taken from her, and, in a way, being taken from me as well. After all, if someone else was going to pop her cheery, I, at least, wanted to see it happen.

Again, just like with all my other memories of her from before she came to Ireland, I'll never tell her that I watched her first real sexual experience. It had been awkward, as expected, but it had also been enlightening. Gone was the timid little girl I watched mature and grow for years, and, suddenly, in her place stood a woman – a luscious, curved, impossibly beautiful woman... or, more accurately, sprawled a woman, for, when she had lost her virginity, I recall that she had been lying down.

The sex had been bland and basic, and, after that one night together, she had quickly broken up with the boy. And that's exactly what he had been – a boy, surely not a man. There had been several other paramours during her college days, but, just like with her first, their encounters with her had been boring, nothing like the sex I now share, steal, and surrender to and from with her.

And, if I have my way, no one else will ever experience it either.

Nothing is as scary or as unbelievably amusing as she is drunk. Over the years, I had watched Alina slip her sister a beer here and there, but I've only seen her rip roaring, fall down drunk once.

As we sprawled across the bed together, gloriously loose with expired energy and waning sexual contentment, her absolute freedom in that moment reminded me of when she was drunk. Thinking back, it wasn't all that long ago, considering just how long I'd been watching her before she came to Ireland. It was at a typically clichéd college frat party. She had gone with some friends, had drank and danced the night away to the point where her body became lax with alcoholic languor.

Quietly and without attracting attention upon herself, she found a dim, unpopulated corner and slid down the edge of the wall to sit unceremoniously on her rump. Without actual knowledge of her movement, she swayed slightly – to and fro, back and forth, from side to side. Sometimes, she even manged to look as though she were lolling in a circular pattern. She didn't giggle in the annoying fashion some drunk women do, and she didn't become loud, boisterous, or even mischievous. Simply, she sat, and she watched, and she did nothing. It was the most static he had ever seen her.

Eventually, her buzz wore off enough for her to stand, find her friends, and leave again. After making sure that she made it home okay, I, too, returned to where I lived, a thin, crooked smirk curling the edges of my lips. As I lounge here, observing her drunk with satisfaction and bliss countenance, I can recall how drunk I myself got that night afterwards, for I had known she'd never be at such peace again.

Now, though, we keep each other constantly intoxicated with one another, never allowing too much time to pass between sexual escapades. However, underneath my orgasm muddled present, is the reality that life will soon return, refocus. As each new day passes, she becomes stronger, remembers more, fades just that much further from my reach. Soon, I'll be the wall, the crutch she stands up against and moves away from, going back to others – I can't quite call them friends – and returning to the place she was before. I can't call it home, though, because home is here with me where she can be blonde, and pink, and drunk without care or shame in my mind, and I'll go back, like I always do, to the bookstore where, just like all those months before, I'll wait, once more, for her to come to me, only this time she'll shy away from my face because she knows it and not because she doesn't.

I'm not sure which is worse.

She saw me once.

It was just a few weeks before Alina died – was murdered, before she came to Ireland and barreled into my life. Like I had done for years, I made a trip through the silvers to Georgia, intent upon checking up on her, but somehow I calculated wrong, and, instead of finding her alone at home, I stumbled into the the very crowded bar in which she worked.

Common sense told me to go back and come again, but I was already there, and it had already been too long since I had seen her, and I wanted to stay. I wanted to see her busy on the job, laughing with her coworkers, putting on the show she no doubt performed every night for her customers, and I wanted to stake out my territory around her, even if she was unaware that I was doing such a thing.

A man can give off vibes that only other men can pick up on. No matter how much women think they know about us, they'll never know everything. This is just one example. So, as I sat down at her bar that evening, choosing a stool located in the duskiest, murkiest corner, I did just that. I projected my ownership, my possession of her onto the other males around me, and, just as I wanted them to, they backed off. Oh, they still ordered their drinks and flirted harmlessly, but they did it with deference towards me and my stake upon her.

I almost laugh now at the mere thought of how she would have reacted had she known about the stunt I pulled that evening, but I restrain myself. The last thing I ever want to do is make a noise, move, even breathe in fear of waking her. There was an obvious, tangible difference in our coupling this evening – a harshness of awareness never before present, and I know what it means. The next time she wakes, she'll be gone from me. We'll have either gone back to the way we were before, or, more likely, we'll shift into a new, even more precarious connection than the one we once shared. The way we are now is almost over.

However, my memory shifts back in, and, just like how her teasing punch to the shoulder that long ago evening spurred me into action, the memory of it does the same tonight as well, and I pull her closer, slide into her deeper, hold her just that much tighter. Before, the punch had been a means to capture my attention. Lost in my own thoughts, I had failed to hear her asking me for my order, and, after tiring of being patient and kind, she had resorted to a closed fist to my arm. Automatically, I asked for a shot of bourbon, and she went about procuring my drink, my face blurring into the multitudes of others she had gazed upon over the years. I had made no more of an impression upon her than the local drunk in the back booth, the song playing on the jukebox, the dust clumps on the blades of the ceiling fans whirling above.

Without waiting for my drink, I stood from my barstool that night and slipped back out into the steamy, suffocating Georgia summer night. However, unlike my actions all those months ago, I refuse to leave her now. She's stuck with me.

Though I won't tell her any of this or how I feel, my thoughts, my emotions, the very truth of who I am, of what I am, I have already expressed. It's in every single touch I bestowed upon her – every kiss, every embrace, every deep thrust of my hips into the waiting, welcoming, withering heat of her body. All she has to do is remember.

Now, it's her turn.