Her fingers were soft, warm.

Stroking along the angles of his face – cheekbones, brow bone, nose.

Then, a gentle thumb over his lower lip.

Apprehension and longing thrill in his stomach. After all he has done, this is the thing that undoes him.

Her eyes confirm what her touch indicates.

Love. Trust. Desire. Comfort.

He can feel his breath quicken, his mind itching with the desire to run, hide. His fingers flex where they rest entwined with hers. Their embracing hands press between their chests.

"It's okay," she murmurs. "You don't have to be afraid. I'm here."

There is a sound, a low-pitched whine of uncertainty. Belatedly, he realizes it comes from him. He forces his eyes open – when did he close them? There is no judgment as she gazes back at him.

His legs are shaky. He drops to the floor. She follows.

She doesn't complain as he wraps her tightly in his arms, burying his head in her mass of dark hair. He knows she won't let him fall back into despair and self-hatred. She smells like cedar and jasmine and peppermint. She smells like home and for now, he is content to hide there, in her arms, until he is strong enough to face the weight of what he has done.