She clutched the edge of the blanket and twisted her face into an expression of pain. Or was it pleasure?
How had they gotten here? They had started as mere work acquaintances, him asking for body parts, her fetching the occasional coffee. Things hadn't progressed. They had remained static. He didn't notice her beyond manipulating her and she was left pining in a corner.
He gently dropped a kiss on her neck and she shivered at the sensation.
That party, that bloody party, had brought her to his notice. It was the most humiliating experience of her life, but it was strangely worth it. He could no longer convince himself that she was invisible or unimportant. The hurt in her eyes and his own reaction to it, the need to assuage the pain convinced him that he thought of her as more than a weak thing to be used. The remorse he felt hadn't lasted long, but it was too late. He could see her and there was no going back.
She twisted her fingers in his curls and his head reared backwards involuntarily at the touch of her fingers.
They had progressed smoothly. She never fell back into dull oblivion, but she never stood out. She was a constant, surpassed by the bright flame of others. They swiftly died out, but their momentary blaze was enough to drown out her tiny flicker. She was uninteresting, like a child's fingerpainting in a hall of Monet's. But she was always there, standing quietly in the shadows. She endeavored to be a steady port in the ever shifting melee that was his life. She wasn't like the others, who used him and discarded him like a worn-out toy. She was ready to help, ready to be there in his moment of need.
His fingers traced delicately up her sides as he hovered over her. She left a kiss on a swiftly pulsating artery.
Then, there was the night it had all changed. He needed her, admitted he needed her, and she had been ready as she always had been. She had hidden him away, helped him, kept his secret, followed him to remote countries when needed. He no longer took her for granted. She burned bright and he warmed himself at the constant flame. He needed her, and even though he would refuse to admit it, even though the thought was almost more painful to him than falling off a building, he wanted her.
She giggled when she felt his long fingers twine in her hair. He pulled her head back to kiss her ferociously.
She couldn't pinpoint the exact moment that their relationship had progressed past the point of no return. There was the handholding in Minsk, the stolen kiss in Oslo (which he always claimed was to keep in character), the drunken snogging in Dublin. She couldn't pinpoint the moment of creation, that one beautiful moment when the ember that had been lying dormant had burst into glorious blue flame. But she didn't need to. Because here they were, with matching gold bands around their ring fingers.
He flopped exhaustedly next to her, the sheen of sweat coating his body. Exhilaration, bordering on ecstasy was evinced in his closed eyes and slightly parted lips.
How had they gotten here? She would never know for certain. But she was eternally grateful they had.