It was cold outside, fall trying desperately to cling to trees with subtle warmth, but being torn away carelessly by the winter winds. The heat in the lab was turned up almost all the way by Marie, who hated the bitter nips of the cold seeping in, turning her comfort into shivers. Dr. Stein didn't mind it as much. He welcomed it, in fact. The cold weather kept him on edge, which is where he liked to stay. He could keep a lid on the madness that threatened to bubble over when he was on edge. However, with Marie around, he was always on edge. He didn't need his lab frigid how he usually kept it.

Marie was on the couch, sipping Earl Grey from a beaker. Stein didn't like Earl Grey and she knew it. It was sentiment that touched her in a way she couldn't quite put a finger on. It wasn't hard to tell she felt something for him. She gave it away in how she closely watched how he moved, admiring his grace. The first time she saw him flip his rolling chair she was so struck by it because that was just so out of his norm. He moved deliberately, not carelessly. Which is why the first time she handed Stein a beaker of tea and his fingers brushed against hers, he did not move away quickly and she took notice. Marie mused about this, knowing that it was more than a simple gesture of a thank you from him. The seed that he had planted the first time they got too close began to grow. He knew this too.

Stein knew about love. He knew of its existence. He knew that normal humans formed bonds with each other that grew into something more than simple companionship. He knew the closest he'd ever been to love was when he was holding a scalpel, in the throes of a good dissection. He knew this as a fact, an irrevocable law of his being. But somehow with Marie occupying the same space as he, there was a slight shift in his core. It put him slightly off kilter. He turned his gear, hoping to bring some calm to the storm raging in his head. Everything was different with her around. Stein felt like his sanity could slip any minute. But it didn't. Even though he always teetered on that edge between white and red, sane and crazed, she kept him there. Never pulled him back, never pushed him over. She kept him right on the edge. He enjoyed that about her.

He moved over to the couch and stood quietly in front of her. Marie looked up at Stein, words thick on her tongue. He knew this, but something compelled him to speak first.


"Yes, Franken?" she replied softly. Silence. Stein turned his gear. Marie looked worried.

"Why don't you sit? I'll make you some tea," she offered, and with a resigned sigh, Stein sat where she wasn't. He looked over his shoulder at her, trying to pinpoint what exactly it was he meant to say. He doesn't love her, he knows that. He's incapable of love. But it's something. She obviously cares about me, Stein thought to himself. And I care about her. But…There's always a but for him. Usually it's his work, but when they're working together, so closely, he almost catches himself thinking about her. The way she speaks, it's so intense, yet so put together. He couldn't help but be impressed. He smiled, just as Marie was heading back towards him with a beaker of tea.

"What?" she asked with a chuckle, soft pink coloring her cheeks. Oh, how he loved when that happened. She sat again, looking at him, and he admired that color in her cheeks, how her skin was stitched together, naturally, like a blanket. So much unlike his own skin, haphazardly stitched back together by his own hands after experimentation. He twisted his gear.

"Franken… you're staring." Marie stated simply, seemingly unmoved, not noticing how taken he was with her in that moment.

"Marie," Stein cleared his throat, "Marie, we should talk about us."

"What do you mean?" Marie probed, her pulse quickening. She knew what was going on. She just wanted him to have to say it. With a sharp exhale, he began again.

"Marie, we've been partners for a while now, and I think it's time we—"

Stein was cut off by her lips on his. She prayed she wasn't misreading the signals. Stein stiffened at her touch, unsure of how to react. His heart was rocketing out of his chest, adrenaline screaming fight or flight. Logic was telling him no, this is a terrible idea, she's your partner, you work with her. But the other side of him, the illogical one, was quaking. All the irrefutable knowledge he held of himself was being shaken, transformed by this simple gesture. A touch of an emotion he couldn't quite identify threatened to spill over. This, right here, was his true savior. She saved him from the clutches of madness with her healing wavelength. She reached him when nobody else- not himself, nor his pupils- could. Stein eased into the kiss, letting the terrifying sensation of his illogical side take over.

Marie couldn't contain herself. Her first love, the one that got away was kindled at last and consuming her like a fire. Her senses were commanded by his presence. There was no direction, only the feel of his body against hers. His cigarette tinged breath mingling with her own. The fire bloomed, burning her from the inside out, so hot she was afraid he could feel it. It callously stole the air from her lungs, filling them instead with desire. So, when Stein eased into the kiss, enveloping her in his arms, she dissolved. Her nerves were alight, sparking with electricity. He was the fuel to her fire, searing her. In this moment, she was the stitches holding him together. Marie never shied away from any part of Stein. She welcomed all of him. She was one of the few who understood the complexities of his mind.

Marie deepened the kiss, tangling her fingers in his hair, drinking in the sensation. Her heart was drumming away a tuneless rhythm in her head, and she moved slowly, carefully, until she was straddling him. Then the world stilled. She freed her hands from his hair and pulled back, eyes still closed. She let her hands fall to his chest. Stein's heart was steady, much unlike her own. Cautiously, she opened her eyes, expecting to see at least a twinge of regret on his face. Instead, she found a grin almost sinister in nature spread across his lips. She held his gaze for a moment before returning the smile.

This time, it was Stein who leaned in. He moved more decisively than Marie, placing a slow kiss on her mouth before moving to her neck. It had been so long since he made love- no, not made love, but something else- with a woman. He remembered the motions, knew how to make a woman cry out in pleasure, but it never reached him. He didn't fuck for the sake of fucking much anymore. But either way this was different. He didn't want to dissect her, see her painted red with blood. He would rather paint her with a different red; the red of flush skin against his own. She moaned when Stein began to use his teeth, nibbling around her collarbone.

The fervent kisses placed on her neck slowed to a near stop, much to Marie's dismay. She panicked a moment, wondering if he was having second thoughts. But suddenly, she found herself breathless and on her back. In one swift motion, Stein had done this. It's no surprise, really. Being her meister, and the best one at the academy, he was obviously capable of such maneuvers. Stein's face, hovering only inches above hers, made her breath catch. She held his forearms, looking into his hungry eyes, her hands aching for the feel of his skin. She shrugged him out of his lab coat and shirt, gently tracing the contours of his body, taking note of every stitch he had sewn himself. She slid her hands down to his belt and promptly unbuckled it, tossing it aside. With a chuckle, Stein returned the favor, unbuttoning her blazer and removing it, letting it fall to the floor with a soft thud.

Marie closed the distance between them and found his mouth again. Hands in his hair, tugging softly, enticed my by the soft moans he was releasing, she wondered what would happen if she turned his gear. He always did it to comfort himself or clear his mind, but what if it was turned now? Without a second thought, she turned it. Just a few clicks. The response was not something she expected. Stein growled into her mouth and picked up the pace. He started kissing down her neck, to her collarbones, to her chest, leaving marks where he had bitten. He marveled at how perfect her breasts were, suckling on either side, alternating. Marie let out a soft whine at the touch of his mouth. Hands still in his hair, she gave his gear another experimental twist. This time, Stein's touch was more ardent, grappling at the fabric of her skirt, sliding it off. He ran his hands up over her breasts and caressed them, thumbing over her nipples until erect. Marie was wound so tightly, she felt as though she might spring. The sensation between her legs was incredible, and he hadn't even gotten there yet. The undergarment situation was becoming an issue for her. She untangled her hands from Stein's hair and tugged at a belt loop of his. Stein knew what she meant. He removed his hands from her skin, Marie releasing a quiet whimper at the loss of heat. This was really happening. She watched as he kicked them off, leaving only the last of garments to be removed.

Stein was never one to believe in many things. He refuted the existence of god and luck. His domain was science. He could boil everything down to science. However, with Marie laying bare in front of him, he was unable to make it scientific. The pleasure that soared through his body when she twisted his gear was formidable and confounding. He only knew what he felt. He couldn't trust his brain right now. Marie extended her hand and brushed his face with her fingertips, sending sparks crackling underneath his skin. He leaned into the touch, kissing her palm, welcoming the sensation. Marie wondered how it felt when she turned Stein's gear. Was it comparable to the way he had been touching her? She had considered asking him, but settled for one last turn. She had begun to reach for it, but Stein moved. He was moving away from her. Marie propped herself up on one arm, mouth starting to form a "what's wrong" when he had placed his hands on her hips and dipped his head down to her belly button. He began kissing a trail down to her panties and captured the hem between his teeth, tugging gently downward. Marie could think herself shocked, but she knew he was capable of so much more than she knew. He was full of surprises.

The fire that Stein had lit inside her began to concentrate in her abdomen, sinking lower. She was slick, primed for this. Marie assisted him in the disposal of her final garment, exposing herself completely. He began by skimming his hands up her legs, blooming her like a flower before him. Then he swooped in, leaving hot kisses up her thighs until he reached the apex. Marie's breath hitched as he got closer, mewling quietly when his tongue first made contact with her clitoris. He sucked gently, reveling in the sensation of her hands finding their way to his hair again. Her hips bucked involuntarily when he began to lightly nip. Marie's mouth went slack with pleasure, her eyes heavy with lust. Stein introduced one finger, then two, eliciting soft moans from her. The sound, the feel of her, was almost enough to send him over the edge. He was ready for this. He occupied his mouth with her hipbone, using his fingers to beckon her pleasure, bringing it to the surface. Her senses went feral with it, unable to form a cohesive thought, except for one word: turn. She turned Stein's gear a final time, and all motion stopped. Absent of him, she looked down at his face, panting, and shot him a wicked grin. That was all the invitation he needed. He grasped Marie's hips, pulling her toward him. He leaned down, kissed her slightly open mouth, and slid into her.

There seemed to be an explosion inside of Stein, sheathed in Marie. He retreated from her almost completely before re-entering. His thrusts were slow and calculated, breath becoming increasingly strained. Marie cried out his name, her mind in a haze. He was going much too slow. It wasn't enough to take her over, not quite filling her to the brim. She met his thrusts with her own, but it still wasn't enough. She would normally be impressed by Stein's self control, but now it was torture. Maybe it was time to show him some moves of her own.

With the meager strength she could muster in her state, Marie swiftly flipped Stein over onto his back and took control. His eyes were wide, surprised, but Marie relished in it. She placed his hands on her waist and leaned down to whisper, "It's better this way, don't you think?"

Stein swallowed hard and nodded.

"Good," Marie breathed in his ear. He shuddered, goosebumps rising on his shoulders. Marie leaned back with a smile, setting her hands on either sides of his thighs and swiveled her hips. Stein's head fell back, a deep rumble rising from his throat. He gripped her waist tighter, moving her hips, urging her forward. Marie was lost in him, keening at every movement. He was the ocean and she was a ship. The waves that moved her, that pushed her over the edge, were him. She trembled, almost to her precipice, and slumped forward, placing her hands firmly on his chest.

There was no holding back now. Stein couldn't control his thrusts, and Marie was matching them with equal intensity. The only sound was the howling wind layered with their shallow breaths. The stillness of the lab contrasted with the storm inside the two of them. Stein was at the threshold of his pleasure, senses electric and sharp as a razor. With every buck of Marie's hips, he slipped further away. The tension in his groin boiled over and he grew rigid, motions no longer fluid, as his climax tore out of him. Marie wasn't too far behind, a few gyrations more and she fell over the edge, collapsing on top of him. She picked up her head and barely brushed her lips to his, breath coming in ragged gasps. Stein held her face, gazing momentarily into her eyes before touching his lips to hers. Marie relaxed against him, lowering herself to rest her head on his chest. Stein, again, wrapped her in his arms. This was it, she thought to herself. Maybe she had finally found the one. Gone were the days of hopeless commitment to men who couldn't keep her pace.

As they both came down and Stein regained control of his logical side, he pondered about Marie. Maybe the closest he can get to love isn't when he's clutching a scalpel, hovering over a subject of dissection and discovery. Maybe the closest he can get to love is when he's with her. Stein chuckled in a hushed tone at the thought. He groped at the floor around the couch for his lab coat and fished out his cigarettes.

"What is it, Franken?" Marie inquired, placidly.

"Do you want a cigarette?"

"Yeah, I'd like that." She replied with a smile.