Title: Castles in the Sky
Season/Timeline: Basically whenever fits your own personal head-canon.
Summary: Touching her still seems like a dream sometimes.
Your hand hesitates a mere breath from her skin. You can feel the heat of her, radiant in the crisp cool of early autumn, and your fingertips tingle with anticipation. Your body aches like you're mere days into this journey with her, instead of years and years down the road.
Touching her still seems like a dream sometimes. Slow, drawn-out, pulled taut like fine wire that could snap at any time – and cut you when it does. Like the first time, when you sat against your headboard in the deep dark of midnight and she crawled up in your lap and kissed you, hard and wet and deep. Her hands pulled tight in your hair till it stung your scalp, and yours drew out her muffled moans and sighs with long, soft strokes across the bare skin of her hips and back and breasts. It was hot, and wonderful, and terrifying, and you half-expected she'd vanish into the shadows long before you ever got to the part where you buried your face in her neck and your cock between her legs and let her take the broken pieces of yourself you'd always secretly wanted to give.
She hadn't vanished, though. She'd stayed with you, there in your bed, all night long. Like the best kind of fantasy-turned-truth.
You'd wondered, at the time, how long your dreams would stay so real and so vivid and so blessedly alive.
A few weeks later, she'd tried so damn hard to get herself killed off-world. And you came home pissed as hell, and she'd come home even more furious than you, and you'd stood there in the hallway staring daggers at each other, close enough to feel her breath hot against your face but carefully – oh so carefully – touching nowhere.
You stood there for a very long time, rage the only thing drowning out the litany of I cannot lose you now that kept looping in your head, until your self-control finally snapped and you breathed, "Carter," soft and low and broken, and she'd come into your arms without being asked.
You're never quite in control of yourself when it comes to her now. Not anymore.
That was the first night you let go, though. Really let go, pinned her to the bed and drove into her with a primal and feverish want, with abandon that only multiplied at the arch of her back and the sound of her voice, gasping and needy and begging for more.
She'd held you afterwards, kissed you softly and whispered how much she loved you. If you'd had any tears left after a lifetime of bloodletting and loss and sorrow, you think you might have wept them at the relief of her touch, the gentle press of her arms around you, her hands slipping up and down your back.
She'd stayed that night, too. Whole and alive and needing you even more for knowing that you'll never be able to ask her to be less than she is, no matter how desperately you wish you could. That night, and every night after that you could possibly manage.
You've never looked back once, not for all this time.
But even now, there's something special about touch with her, something different – electric – that you don't quite understand. Maybe it's all those years of not touching, of fingers that could hover just a breath away from skin but never close the gap, for fear of waking the sleeping dragon that always lay between you. That's a simple enough explanation. Too simple, maybe. Too simple to explain standing in the kitchen and watching her eyes close at the feel of your breath against the nape of her neck. Too simple to justify your unending compulsion to memorize her, every word and movement and soft little sigh, whenever your hands brush her skin.
Too simple to be the reason why you can stand motionless, not touching, and stare into each other's eyes and know you've somehow said it all without saying a single blessed word.
You've never cared that much about whys, fortunately. You've always been content to let Carter worry her far too pretty, far too clever little head about that. Which leaves you free to enjoy moments like this one, to revel in the slow, soft breathing of the woman sleeping next to you and the deep, aching pull of early-morning anticipation.
Your fingers are still hovering, poised over her shoulder, when she stirs, lets out a sleepy sound that's as familiar to you now as your own voice, and one side of your mouth quirks up in a half-smile. You drop your hand, close the last few millimeters of space, and run your fingertips down her bare arm and back up, chasing the flickers of the pale-grey light of dawn.
She sighs, and your breath catches hard in your throat.
Your hand drifts, fingers slipping from her arm to her breast, teasing, and her eyes blink open, and you think you stop breathing altogether.
She smiles up at you, soft and sweet and with a lilt of challenge – that's Carter, that's your Carter – and yawns a little before she speaks.
"I was having the nicest dream," she says. "So you'd better make waking up even better."
You groan a little at the flare of heat and desire, and she smiles brighter because she knows. You slide your hand up to her face and kiss her, light but sure, then you pull her close and promise her with skin-on-skin that you're going to do exactly that.