Without realizing it, Elder finds himself playing with strands of Amy's hair.
Twirling it around his dark fingers, tucking it out of her face.
"My Mom always told me it looked like fire." She whispers to him one day, when they're caught in one of those rare moments when they're alone, counting each other's heavy breaths. They lay on her bed in the hospital, and the sheets scratch at their legs.
"Fire?" He echoes, picking up a piece of hair before he lets it drop, lock by lock.
So she explains it to him, flames licking at skin, orange and red and bright, destruction, warmth. The caveman's discovery, forest fires, bonfire parties as Jason's house.
She peeks at him when he stops asking for more, more, thirsty for the unknown of a planet he'll never know.
Elder falls asleep in her bed with his head cradled in his hands, and in the dim light of her room, he looks so young and so lost.
A child with the world at his feet.
The notion of kissing always struck him as horrifying, the only memory he had to pair with the word was peeking through curtains at savage Godspeed citizens, tearing at each others clothes, tearing through each others skin.
Amy's lips are warm against his, soft and slow, but like the stories of fire she tells him about, he wants more, wants it to all go up in smoke.
The curve of her hips fit perfectly against his hands and suddenly he's struck with images of her, frozen under layer upon layer of ice.
Got to keep her warm, got to keep her here, got to-
He pulls her hips to his, his mind spinning and reeling around smoke and ice and girls with flames for hair.
They find one of Harley's blank canvases in his room after he flies to the stars.
"I'm not good at painting." Amy says softly, her distant as she picks up one of his splatter stained brushes, swirling it around in purple.
"Me neither." He says, brushing his fingers across her arm, making her jump out of her thoughts.
She hands him a brush and they create a mess, blurred colors and shapes with no end or beginning, not leaving once inch of space white.
"For Harley?" She asks as they stand near the hatch, clutching at their disaster, getting blue and pink and red on her fingertips.
"For Harley." Elder agrees, and they throw the painting out to the stars.
Amy tries to think of Jason, tries to remember his face - but all she can remember is blurred shape, no eye color, no hair color.
Most important of all, she tries to remember how she felt when he would touch her, but no matter how hard she tries to conjure up memories no longer there, she knows none of them would amount to the way her skin feels on fire when Elder's skin is on hers.
On the day they're destined for Centauri-Earth, Amy wakes up with one word on her lips: home.
Elder wakes up with his mind racing, and the taste of Amy on her lips.
After all, what worth is a home when your job is tending to flames?