"so short an attachment wrought"

Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating: PG
Time Frame: Missing scene, of a sort
Characters: Elle Bishop, Gabriel Gray

Summary: So what if she was watching the BBC run of Jane Eyre for the hundredth time? The five empty cartons of Ben 'n Jerry's didn't mean anything either. She wasn't wallowing – she wasn't! Really. Wallowing would imply there being something to mourn in the first place – which there wasn't. Not really. No.

Notes: It's scarily easy and ridiculously fun to write for these two. I'm not sure what that says about me . . .

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine but for the words.


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"so short an attachment wrought"
by Mira-Jade

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They stop at a small hotel right outside of Queens the night after the Gray job, her and Noah. Their plane back to Texas leaves in the morning, ridiculously bright and early – early enough to ensure that she would need coffee by the vats (God, how she hated flying), and even more so for her 'partner' (how he hated flying with her). He was downright crabby when not properly caffeinated. And that was something that she would not be able to deal with in the morning without violence. At all.

She thinks that she is holding up remarkably well right now, anyway. She had changed into her night clothes – a large gray shirt with scorch marks on it, and plaid pants that were four sizes too big. After throwing her hair up sloppily on top of her head she sat down on the room's one bed and promptly ordered a vat of whatever ice cream room service had to offer. She noticed with relief that it was Ben 'n Jerry's. Every girl's classic answer for a end of a long day.

Her fingers tapped against the DVDs that she had in her suitcase. Her hands still shook if she let herself think for too long. Which she didn't. She couldn't. Not yet. Still, if she closes her eyes for too long, she sees endlessly black ones, brimming with power and hunger, searching back. To think that she had disregarded warnings about his nature so very well . . .

She would not be sleeping this night, she knew. She hadn't the night before, either. She has little liking for nightmares, no matter what horrors she had seen on waking hours.

With a sigh, she drew out her box set of Jane Eyre. It was every girl's good wallowing movie. And it was long. She could pass the night with these.

Carton of ice cream and remote control in hand, she sat down on the armchair next to the bed. She didn't need any further inclination to sleep. She had a red slusho at her side on the coffee table. Extra extra large . . . she thinks that that may have been Noah's form of an apology. She hadn't said anything to it at the time – her own form of vindication, she thinks.

The ice cream and the movie passed the time well. She was quoting lines and steadily going through the cartons with a dedicated sort of persistence. When she reaches her fourth one, she wonders if she should be worried. She shrugs the notion off before dwelling on it. She didn't care tonight.

She is nearly halfway through the film when she was aware of something being wrong.

Very wrong.

On the back of her neck, the fine hairs stood up. Her skin tingled like there was static running through right underneath the surface. Her blood flushed with a warning heat, the tell tale surges of adrenaline threatening to be there if she needed them . . . She has been the hunter enough to know when she was the prey.

She frowns as the sensation of being watched flooded through her. It washed over her, lingering with whispering fingers traveling up and down her spine . . . There's a gaze from the window. A man in black across the street. Ah. Someone had to tell the newbie badguy how not to be seen by others who knew his trade so very well . . . He would learn in time.

Uncomfortable within her skin, she crosses her legs. Uncrosses them. Tucks them under her like a little girl before draping them over the side of the couch. She sets her hands on her stomach, casual, not like she knows she's being watched -ish. If she flicked her hair to the side, showing the long expanse of her neck, the hollow to her throat, it didn't mean anything. It was simply a product of sitting still so long, that was all.

Because she's still mad at him, and he knows that. If she was the only one in their pair that knew that the thread of emotion – thick and red inside of her – wasn't just anger, but a far off sort of fear and an even scarier sort of longing, then that was all for the better.

On screen Toby Stephens was leading Ruth Wilson in quite a merry little drama about his choice of bride. She likes this version best for this scene, no matter what else they may have tweaked from the book. It was pretty to watch. In her half open suitcase, Mr. Dalton and Mr. Hinds both wait for their turn.

"Bastard," she mumbles under her breath when she sees poor Jane's face turn in anguish at the prospect of being sent to Ireland. When she reached for the ice cream spoon again, it was to point it menacingly at the small screen. "All men are bastards," she muttered, and stuck the spoon into the carton with a little more force than necessary.

It was empty. Of course it was.

She got to her feet in a leisurely way, turning her back to the figure in the distance. She could feel his gaze between her shoulder blades.

The small room service unit was well stocked. Erm, well, it had been anyway. She takes out carton number five with a shrug and a muttered, "Company money, girl. Don't sweat it," under her breath.

The air felt heavier when she turned again. Her skin prickled; her senses were overly aware. She turned up her nose at it. She had stopped fearing monsters under the bed a long time ago, anyway. Right about the time where she had become one of them . . .

Sure enough, a shadow broke away from the deep curves of black that made up the corners of her room, and strode forward to observe the empty cartons and the boxed DVDs with a sardonic sort of smile. In her time spent with him, she had not known that his face could make a look that dark. Even when he had turned on greasy Trevor (eugh). . . there had been only greed in his eyes, on his face. Longing, even, twisted and warped. Twinged with pain that she had not been who or what she said she was . . .

And, well, . . . he doesn't look so very much like Gabriel Gray anymore now anyway. Gabriel Gray had been all soft lines and warm words and glasses and sweater vests and perfectly combed hair. Like that one comic guy . . . Clark Kent, was it? Peter Parker, maybe? The nerd vibe with the potential to be something incredible . . . She was never very good with keeping her comics straight.

Now, he was just . . . black. Black jeans over long legs that she had admired before, and a black turtleneck with a long black jacket. He fit the image of a childhood villain perfectly. Part of her wanted to tell him that real killers didn't dress like that – they only in the comics where spandex wasn't an option. It fit though, all of the black emphasized the paleness of his skin – he never did get out of that shop, did he? – and the darkness of his eyes. A baseball cap was pulled low over his tousled hair – no longer combed – and she wanted to laugh at the touch. She didn't in the end.

Part of her knew that he was more dangerous to her all nerded up and lonely . . . When he was like that she could forget his other nature so very well . . . Here, she was constantly reminded. The broken watch on his wrist ticked out an ugly cadence into the stale air. No . . . she could not forget. She could not forget that she had broken what was already cracked so very well. He had put the shattered pieces back together with super glue, and the result was now a mess that had followed where she had never expected to see him again.

His gaze was openly meeting hers. He doesn't apologize – for invading her room, for following her. For not holding up when it had all been a test – a stupid test that he had failed with a big fat zero. A big fat red zero. No extra credit possible. Ever.

To be fair, she doesn't apologize either. She had been so very good at playing pretend with him . . . so very good, that in the end she forgets what was real and what was pretend. She likes to think that some of the moments – eating pie on the floor of his apartment, his long legs stretching off for forever, and her mind wondering if she could count this a date (a first for her. Him as well, it would seem) – were not pretend. That would ruin the high place they held in her mind.

He opened his mouth once, as if he had something to say, but couldn't find the words. His eyes softened for a second, an uncomfortable second where she saw underneath the black and the grit and piercing sort of anger that cloaked him like a second skin.

She had no idea if he was going to kiss her or lift a hand to her forehead. She tensed with the instinct to fight, to flee . . . Wondering if she should listen or she should speak. Should she apologize? Explain? Let him explain? Fix things here? Let him go? Make him go? Her head hurt. The ice cream was threatening to melt in her hands.

She can hear the mournful confession on the television behind him. "I feel as if I have a string under my rib, knotted to you, connecting our frames. When we are parted - when you leave me – I am afraid that that bond will snap. And I will take to bleeding inwardly . . . And you . . . you will forget me in time, I know."

The words tangled deep inside of her, and with an annoyed sort of expression she stepped forward to the coffee table, and grabbed the remote to mute the TV. When she turned back, he was gone.

It shouldn't of hurt. But it does.

It burned and bled, and she thinks that this may have been worse than seeing him turn on poor, doomed Trevor, commanding her to go in a low sort of voice, the promise of violence in the turn of his eyes, the press of his hand against her arm . . . He's a killer, her mind supplies unhelpfully, not a good enough explanation, because really – she was too. Her sparks crackling at her fingertips remind her of this.

She shouldn't miss him, but she does.

She sees his shadow flit away through the night past the window – coward, her mind supplies viciously. Her sparks let the carton in her hand catch on fire with a satisfying wave of electric blue. She tossed in to the carpet, smelling the singe of burnt things as she stomped it out without a care. She was used to being burnt.

When she sat back down – completely sans ice cream – she didn't feel completely lifted as she watched the movie's couple skip through the rain, laughing and kissing under archways. She eyed the rain with disdain – who thought that that was a romantic image, anyway? It was painful. When she shorted the power to the TV with a burst of electricity, she watched with satisfaction as the ancient box sputtered and blew, yellow sparks shooting into the now black expanse of the motel room.

She sat there in the dark for a long time, surrounded by destroyed things and the far off sound of rain threatening in the distance.

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FIN
~MJ

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