Author's Notes — I wrote this back in March 2008 as part of one of those "Seven Things That Never Happened to Fancy Crane"-type stories. Unfortunately, I never wrote the other six parts, but I was looking through the "unfinished fanfiction" folder on my computer and came across this, and I thought that it stood well enough on its own as a one-shot. :P

The inspiration for the title comes from episode 6.18 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Entropy". This story actually mirrors aspects of that episode, although I don't think that I had that comparison in mind when I wrote it.

Story Notes — This story is set in April 2006, right after pirate!Fancy and Sam find Noah in bed with Maya and Noah "pretends" to be a jerk and tells them both off.

DisclaimerPassions is property of James E. Reilly and NBC. Lines in italics are actual quotes from the April 3, 2006 episode, the transcript for which can be found at www. tvmegasite. net :8080/ day/ passions/ transcripts/ older/ 2006/ pass-trans-03-31-06. shtml (remove the spaces). I make no profit from this exercise in creativity.

Her mind is a jumble of memories and emotions, skittering in and out of her thoughts so quickly that it's making her head pound. The only constant is the words.

You're beautiful, you're rich, you've got your face on all of the covers of the magazines... and in all honesty, what guy wouldn't want to get in on that?

The entire confrontation plays through her head like some goddamn soundtrack. It claws at her heart, so she kisses Sam desperately, molds herself to his body — anything to make this overwhelming pain go away. He kisses her back, one hand tangled in her hair while the other fumbles with the button on her pants. This could get complicated, because she's straddling him in the driver's seat on the side of the road somewhere between his house and Raven Hill, and the steering wheel's digging into her back, and how the hell is she supposed to take off her pants?

They manage, somehow, and their shirts and shoes, his jacket, and her scarf and bra follow, and then there's nothing but them and the hurt. He's hurting so badly, too, because his own son has turned against him. It's why she tells herself that he can save her, that she can save him, because they were both there, because they both know.

He pushes a strand of loose hair behind her ear, and she shouldn't do this; she shouldn't betray Noah, or her mother. Then she remembers how her mother treated her for the first twenty-four years of her life, and she remembers Noah in bed with Maya, blissfully unaware of her presence.

I guess I just thought of it as kind of a big game.

And he's inside of her, and oh God, it's the greatest feeling she's ever known; all of her pain is pushed to the back of her mind, a dull ache. She is the sea, rising and falling on his lap in time with his movements, and he is her rock, the only solid thing in sight; she clings to him, hard.

Maya is here because I want her to be, all right?

She cries out. "Harder, Sam," she urges in his ear, voice laced with desperation. "I know you can, Sam, please." Her voice barely audible, she adds, "Only you can make it go away."

He buries his fingers in her hips, bruising and drawing blood as he slams her pelvis into his own, and she feels as if her bones will crunch and turn to dust from the force. She throws her head back and rides him, lets the agony between her thighs and the ecstasy in the pit of her stomach build. With each thrust she comes closer — closer to euphoria, closer to oblivion...

And then she's crashing to the shore, and the stars are plummeting from the sky, such beautiful, vivid colors, and all that she can feel is this exquisite sensation flowing freely through her veins like a drug. She collapses against Sam's chest and presses a light kiss into his warm, damp skin. He moans slightly and wraps his arms around her, drawing her close.

Then the bliss fades away, like all drugs; the stars disappear, and the pain seeps back into her stomach. She pulls away to see his face, and she can see her own emotions mirrored there, reflected in his eyes.

The next thing we know you're letting Mom run off with some random guy, breaking up a twenty-year marriage just so you can move in with your old girlfriend. Come on, Dad. You of all people should understand why I can't be faithful to some chick that I only met a couple of months ago.

She's not the sea; she's a shell, battered to and fro by the ocean's merciless currents, sinking ever-so-slowly to her grave at the ocean floor, where she'll be buried beneath the sand and water, so far away from the sun. Her eyes are brimming with tears, but she can still see the horror on Sam's face as he whispers her name. "What have we done?"

And she's such a fuck-up, such a Crane, because he's engaged to her mother, he's Noah and Ethan's father, and why did she think that this would help? Why did she think that this would make everything better? She's painfully aware of the fact that he's still inside of her, that her legs are still wrapped around his waist, that his fingers are still wound in her hair, but she can't move. God, what has she done? The pain she felt before is now magnified, crushing her lungs and tearing apart her stomach and oh God she just wants Noah to hold her! She just wants Noah to make things better, but he doesn't want her anymore; he never wanted her...

"Oh God, Sam!" she sobs. He pulls her to him once more, lets her cry. She'd say his gesture is paternal, that it's something that he probably did for Kay and Jessica and... and Noah when they were young, but she can feel his own tears splashing on her shoulder, and he's holding on to her as tightly as she's holding on to him. She's going to drown, but if she holds on to him, if they hold on to one another, maybe they can find a way to stay afloat...

You were my Mount Everest, and I had to conquer you.