Thank You, God, for everything.


So I'm doing this because I need to write some Host fanfiction in order to remain somewhat sane. :)

It's after they've brought Wanda her new body. It's after she's woken up, and everyone is relieved. It's after the lunch that follows where Melanie sits next to Jared, and Jared looks like he doesn't want her out of his sight. It's after they excuse themselves and they walk, almost civilly, together back to their room.

Melanie just replaces the door to the cave and Jared's all for it when she runs at him and practically slams him against the wall, her lips against his. He's startled for a moment, but takes it in stride as his hands automatically, knowingly, from the past, reach and hold her to him. One of his hands slides up her back and tangles in her dark hair, instantly feeling like she's never been gone.

It's been so long since she's kissed him like this. For nearly the past year, there was Wanda inside her and Wanda kissing him. He wanted his Mel, and now it almost astonished him that he had her in his arms now, that this was Mel and not Wanda he was holding to him.

Melanie pulls back after a moment, her face flushed. Not with embarrassment but with heat, with exertion of passion. He smiles at her, a genuine smile that he seldom gives anyone these days. He reaches out and brushes her dark hair out of her face, saying, "Mel."

She smiles at him, her smile sweet and mischievous and relieved. "It's been a while, Jared."

"Let's never wait that long again," he says.

She dips in so that their foreheads are touching, and says, her lips barely a centimeter away from his, "Agreed," and he kisses her back, his muscular arms holding her close to him once more. How she had missed this. She hadn't felt anything from him when he had kissed Wanda. All the physical feelings were Wanda's, and Melanie had only the knowledge that he was kissing Wanda.

It's this thought that makes Melanie wrench away from Jared, and a furious look comes on her face as she reaches out and slaps him, hard, across his face.

She stands back, hands on her hips, looking pissed at him. He breathes heavily, putting a hand to his jaw, which now aches. She has a hell of a punch.

"What was that?" she says. He feels like he should be saying that.

"Mel," he starts, but she interrupts him, "How could you treat Wanda like that? How could you almost murder her?"

Murder her? He remembers now. When Wanda had first come into the caves, when he slapped her, when he almost decided to give her over to Doc. He gulps, and is about to talk, but Mel hasn't talked much since she got her body back. She smiled with him on the raid, but now she is outraged with him. Just waiting for the perfect moment to pounce on him.

"She's my best friend, Jared, and it wasn't her fault that she was put into my body! You took all your aggression toward the Souls out on her, Jared, and she's as innocent as can be! Jared!"

He can hear her voice, hear her words, hear their sting. They hurt him, how true they are. He doesn't know what to say to tell Melanie who he felt. How he had felt so powerless to have her body wandering around without her. How he would have nightmares of their happy days together, when all they had was each other (and Jamie, but he was just a little kid brother to him), how he felt so angry at himself for letting her go. For letting her get stolen away from him after being with her so long. How he felt like his life wasn't complete and whole without her.

So he just dips forward and grabs her head firmly but lovingly with his hands and kisses her lips again, trying to let her know how sorry he is and how he just wants her through his kiss. He has done it before, back in the cabin. How long ago that seems. The last time he has seen the place was in his dreams.

She wants to resist him, to push him away, and so she forces her hands against his shoulder, and he, though reluctantly, lets her push herself away.

"I'm sorry," he says, and he catches her completely off-guard by how completely sincere he sounds saying it. She lets out a heavy breath, searching him, looking him over. He's not as tall as she remembers. He looks older, and slouches a bit in the shoulders. He looks so tired. She just now notices this.

And she wonders how he feels, how he felt about her being trapped away in her own body? It must have tortured him, she realizes. And now, though she has a great anger against him on behalf of being horrid to Wanda, she wants him to not look at her like that, like he's defeated and doesn't deserve the prize he could have won.

"Jared," she says, and she reaches forward. She wants to kiss him again, to kiss his lips and his jaw and his neck and tell him that everything is okay now, but instead she simply falls into his embrace, which he wraps her in again. It feels wonderful, after not feeling him against her for months. That was what had hurt her the most. She had been angry, at first, at having her body taken from her, but it had hurt her the most not to have him with her, to not feel him and feel reassured by his presence. While she had been with Wanda, all she knew was that he was not happy with the arrangements. Now, she can hold onto him forever. She can, too.

The two of them hold each other for a moment before they hear a noise by the door. Jamie comes bounding in, their names on his lips, but then he just stops and says, uncertain as to what is happening, "Should I come back later?"

Melanie lets go of Jared, though she doesn't want to, and turns back to Jamie. Jared, too, looks to the kid, and Melanie says, "No, you can stay, Jamie."

"Oh. Okay. Anyway, Jeb says he wants help with the fields. Watering and all that," Jamie says.

"We'll be there in a minute," Jared says.

"Okay." Jamie looks around the room. "Am I still going to sleep in here?"

The thought had occurred to both Melanie and Jared on their raid for Wanda's new body, and so they both look mischievously to Jamie, who now looks more confused than before.

"No," Melanie says.

"Why not?" Jamie wants to know.

"Because of big, grown up reasons," Jared says. His voice is laced with teasing. Melanie glances at him, a smile playing on her lips. He hasn't teased Jamie in forever. He is slowly coming back to her.

"Ew," Jamie says, making Melanie bend over with laughter. "Where am I going, then?"

"Find some room with Aaron and Brandt," Melanie says. She waves a hand at him, saying, "Go ask them, tell them, go on!"

"The sooner the better," Jared says, enjoying the fact that he and Melanie have the numbers against poor Jamie.

Jamie shakes his head as Melanie says, "Shoo!"

"Okay," Jamie says. Both Melanie and Jared know that he doesn't like going, but they'd rather not share a room with him. He would go with the two semi-single guys. That would work out better for everyone in the end. In the meantime, maybe they would help Jeb make more rooms in the caves.

Jamie heads out, replacing the door behind him, and Jared turns to Melanie, his head tilted so that he can look down into her soft brown eyes that no longer show any sign of anyone being there but her.

"Now," he says quietly, moving her stray hair behind her ear, "where were we?"

Melanie smiles against his lips.

I just made a story out of complete and utter fluff. There's no plot here whatsoever. Huh. BUT WHO CARES JELANIE FLUFF. Thanks for reading!