kestreldawn: ([pensive] intrigued)
Jyn Erso ([personal profile] kestreldawn) wrote in [community profile] maskormenacelogs2017-04-10 06:28 pm

[but if the silence takes you, then i hope it takes me, too.]

WHO: Jyn Erso/Cassian Andor
WHERE: De Chima #003
WHEN: Following Cassian's release from the hospital/medbay
WHAT: Jyn comes home to find Cassian there, to her surprise. Many feelings and emotions explode.
WARNINGS: It's Jyn and Cassian, so there'll be lots of mentions of death and war, probably. Will update as needed. ETA: And finally, a smut alert.

This strange, new life leaves something to be desired. There's a monotony to it, with Jyn waking to the obnoxious wailing of an alarm, going about her robotic morning routine, then going to work - a concept so entirely foreign she'd nearly opted not to go all together on the first day. Still, she forced herself - mostly out of lack of a better option, and partially out of proving to herself that she could do it.

She's nothing if not adaptable, after all.

Within a matter of days, she's already learned the ins and outs of the electronic system required for her position - Data Files Manager - and it's already begun to eat away at her proverbial Life Force. She often catches herself remembering, sometimes even wistfully, for her previous life. It hadn't been easy, and while she'd been in it, she'd wanted nothing but to get out of the damn thing, but now that it's gone - it seems that there's a piece of her that got left behind with it, back somewhere in the sands of Scarif.

Thoughts of Cassian sometimes trickle into her consciousness as though through a pinhole in a basin. It's often so unnoticeable and so natural that it's only when she remembers the warmth of his body against hers or the gravitation pull of his eyes, coagulated into the blasted image of his face somewhere in her mind's eye, that she has to forcibly shake her head, mumble words of discouragement, and demand he leave her alone. There's luckily no one around to hear these hushed ramblings, but if there were, they'd most certainly think she was mad.

This particular day, she's contemplating whether to stick with the job she's been given, absently scratching at the place where her glowing tattoo lurks beneath the surface of her skin. It's pink and lightly scabbed from how often she does this when her mind is distracted. She finds herself tracing her steps back to her house - a bizarre concept in itself - and wonders if the supposed room mates she has will already be there this time. She's yet to meet them and isn't even entirely sure they exist, but every time she's walked through the door she's prepared herself to see a stranger walking around.

She swings the door open.

Empty.

Or so she thinks. It's when she's walking up the stairs and towards her room that she hears movement - shuffling, a bit of grunting. She vaguely wonders whether it's a room mate or an intruder and how she could possibly know the difference between the two. She quietly approaches the room from which the noise seems to be originating, getting her face close enough to the door before bringing a loosely clasped fist up to rap her knuckles against the wooden surface.

"Hello? Is someone in there?"
candor1: (Jyn . arco)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-18 04:10 am (UTC)(link)
[OOC note for posterity ^_^ per our plurk conversation: the activation trigger for Cassian absorbing Jyn's telepathy is when she wants it: not consciously choosing to give her power, but just the desire to be understood/not alone in whatever she's experiencing. What he picks up in here also plotted via plurk]



Her additional touch causes his breath to hitch—perhaps feeling the shared, mutually amplifying agreement in what they both want but aren't ready to say… Not that he's realizing what that is even yet…

But he's about to.

He raises his eyes to hers, tempted to give her a reassuring smile (not sure to what), finding himself just searching those eyes instead (still not sure what for…)

When the sudden rush of images hits him behind the eyes.

The Death Star was pulsing with emerald light… She wasn't afraid of what would happen, but she didn't want to suffer… Jyn tightened her grip on Cassian… the cave below the broken hatch was illuminated with the strength of a sun, and then the walls turned to dust and there was no longer a cave but only her spirit and heart and everything she had ever been: the daughter of Galen and Lyra and Saw, the angry fighter and the shattered prisoner and the champion and the friend

but then none of that, transporting not dying, but still feeling—surely—like dying…

they were trying to explain, the speech, the pamphlet, but what did she care? what did that matter? there was only one important thing and they wouldn't or couldn't tell her:
where were the others?…where was he?

teleporters make no sense… they're nonsense…


(is this Jyn's thought or Cassian's?) what bantha-excreting nerf-herding bullshit to have such a thing here but not where and when they would have mattered… when they would saved all of them



"Whoa…" His hands spasm away from hers, palms suddenly flat on the mattress, like he's trying to stop it spinning out from under him.

finally acceding to all this to introduce herself on the network, getting response, but finding all she really wanted, what she needed to prioritize, was shooting something
because there were too many feelings inside her and she'd never been trained to do anything else with them but siphon them, focus and redirect them, into violence…

lying in bed staring at the ceiling. Not nothingness. Nothingness would have been nicer. Inescapable, profound sadness
feels like a hole no don't think his name

an unknown face talking about familiar things…
I am Count Dooku, of the planet Serenno. Leader of the Confederacy of Independent Systems
I was born in a Separatist prison
Madness, sheer madness — It goes too far, much too far… a vile act, contrary to every principle the Separatist movement was founded upon

one he knows now—giving the same future history he'd give Cassian too… skies no, Alderaan…? but then the less sympathetic Would've been nice to have a warning…!

and being stuck in her assigned job doing the work of a droid, reorganizing the entire system on her first day, then waiting, waiting, to find out what the point of it is, why this drudgery, and all the time the gaping hole of sadness and loneliness and wondering why she made it when not the others, when not him…?

and the sudden injection of the shockingly familiar:
I think they have as much competence assigning me a job as I have in lying convincingly.



One of Cassian's hands left the mattress to press his head.

I didn't. Get away, that is. I experienced total shutdown three seconds after that.
(wondering whether to ask if he's seen Cassian but the mere thought of his name makes her want to scream)
At least there's a 2% chance of hope


Cassian gasped at being suddenly blinded. He pressed his hand over his eyes until they readjusted… to what he realized was just the ambient light of the room reasserting itself through the…

…what were they…

…his and Jyn's thoughts swirling in and out of each other…

He was no longer propped up one on arm, just lying on his side on the bed, shaking a bit as he tried to come back to himself.

Oh Yavá… if that was what it was like for her… if he could have wrapped her in his arms and protected her from it, he would have. But right now he was trying to get his head to stop spinning and not fall off the face of the world.

"Yes," he gasped belatedly, "I seem to inherit someone else's powers."

…And one other power, besides. The reason it had stopped—how he'd stopped it on pure instinct, without realizing. A sudden burst of forceful energy that had sprung around him like a shield, nearly pushing Jyn back—but, as if unwilling to harm her, dissipating the moment it touched her.

But it had broken the other power, at least while it lasted. And which, for the moment, in the forcefield's wake, remained quiet.
Edited 2017-04-18 04:19 (UTC)
candor1: (Jyn . levantame)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-18 04:51 am (UTC)(link)
He would have pulled himself fully upright, but her face is close to him already, so he just turns to meet it better. It'll be another moment before he fully regulates his pulse and catches his breath. But the new tension—perhaps dread—albeit mercifully fading—in her face and eyes, causes him, without the overthinking of before, to put his arms around her again. Keeping them face to face. But making their arms, their hands on one another's shoulders, to take the place of the defensive shield; containing them to this present moment and one another. Anchoring, reassuring.

Breathlessly or mentally, the echo: I'm right here. I'm here. I haven't left. I'm with you.

How have they covered so much in one hour…

…it was Jyn. He'd been waiting for her. And she, apparently, for him. How could they not. How could they wait to spill over into one another's borders again.

If this is true, that he can see her mind as much as she his…

No, focus. Where his mind started to go was too… transcendent… awe-ful… in some ways could be taken as potentially… erm… what's the spiritual equivalent of filthy…?

But it barely registers even in his own mind. Just as he can take in a room at a glance and call up the details later; that no sooner enters his brain as it's automatically stored away.

Later.

Now: now. Confirmation. Reassurance. This.

"They put you to work in… some sort of data library," he murmured. That and the rest of what he said put forth with the quick dispassionate flow of a technical report. But also with the air of a question—requesting confirmation. "Your first transmission on the net was to find a firing range. Han Solo told you about Alderaan and Luke Skywalker destroying the Death Star. Wasn't glad when you discovered your power. You spoke to someone—" That Cassian obviously has to meet but can't really be bothered with just now. That's the old life. Jyn trumps it. "—who took credit for the Confederacy. And…"

His face tilts a little, so his eyes can meet hers all the clearer—with a new light in them. Report tone broken, to ask: "Kay-tu?"
candor1: (Jyn . brilla)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-19 08:15 pm (UTC)(link)
His mouth drops open—he closes it again. Caught between equally powerful forces… Yes of course he wants to see Kay again—overwrite that last awful moment (Climb… Goodbye…) and let him know Cassian's all right too.

But he also… the thought of leaving Jyn again so soon after finding her…

no, it's all right. All right.

Probably best, actually, for them both to take a moment.

Make sure whatever happens next isn't just a result of adrenaline, heightened… anything…

It's still with great reluctance that he moves back from her. But yes, though he isn't quite smiling, there's a new brightness and clarity to his face, too.

—But before he leaves, he pauses and turns back to her… slips an arm around her one more time to pull her in for a quick hug.

"You'll be here when I get back?" he says quietly into her hair. An undercurrent of pain, of lingering fear, beneath the warmth.
candor1: (Jedha . de reojo)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-19 08:56 pm (UTC)(link)
It's when their thoughts and feelings align that he seems to feel the mental sharing most… reinforcing and feeding and heightening both… it's not even thoughts, as one might subdivide them, but almost sensation… as if he can feel her hand on his back, on his face, from both their perspectives…

He forces himself to let her go before he loses the will to leave. (Though if it were for anything or anyone other than Kay… he might not have tried.)

For the same reason, he doesn't try to kiss her cheek again. Just gives her a smile unlike any she's probably seen on his face before. (For all the warmth and openness, lack of self-consciousness, only pride and attention to her, that had been in his smiles when smiles finally broke open, on the tower citadel, in the lift, on the beach; the surprise and stripping away of anything controlled or contained or half-concealed in the shuttle, on Yavin IV after she accepted his volunteering; the open astonishment of fulfilled interreliance any of the times she'd saved his life or he had hers; most definitely not the affect he could put on as an implement that seemed so friendly and welcoming but was entirely false. This one could almost be called shy.)

…and he ducked out.




[ooc: Shall we time-jump to after he gets back? :-) I don't think I'm ready to leave this first day yet…]
Edited 2017-04-19 20:58 (UTC)
candor1: (Jyn . doble cero siete)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-20 09:49 pm (UTC)(link)
Seeing Jyn again—talking to her, touching her, having his mind… go through whatever it gone through with hers—had been like fully waking from a half-effective palliative haze (where it had induced stasis without full relief, slowing and dimming the mind without granting oblivion); or rehabilitation from neural damage; or when the migraine and disorientation finally lifted after a STERC treatment; or, less dismally, setting foot on Yavin IV and being able to climb the ziggurat over the trees again after months underground or in flight. The dizzyingly upward spike of relief, energy, euphoria, after prolonged pain or confinement or depression. …Or even just… remembering what it meant to be alive after too long soldiering through being half- [the internal one] -dead.

Seeing Kay again was like settling back down into equilibrium. Not high, not low, just able to exist and function. A palate-cleansing clarity—the good kind of emptiness. Not tangibly hollow, just lacking the inner chaos. Not worrying about taking care of anyone else or having to be taken care of. Able just to be.

As calm and quiet (less eventful and preoccupied than their norm; usually they'd be talking while doing several other things—crunching data, flying, exercise or maintenance or physical therapy or repairs) as the visit with Kay was, Cassian felt himself crashing into exhaustion on the short walk back to…

his… and Jyn's

…what did he call it? Quarters? Rooms? …House? (He had literally never had one before. Not ever. To himself or otherwise.)

He hoped the crash wouldn't take him all the way back down into the crushing horror of… depression or… disinterest.

But he doubted it.

Different as the impact of Jyn's and Kay's restoration to him was, each in their own way, being with both… made it almost feel as if the last weeks, months, hadn't happened. The separation had been the strangeness, the injury, the hard work. Having them alive and reunited restored natural balance and ease, felt too natural not to have been true all along.

…Which was ridiculous because Cassian's full acquaintance with Jyn in their last life had been…

…forty-eight hours?

But even if he hadn't died, that would have been the end of his old life regardless. The new one…

…was hard to anticipate but…

…was about to start…?

Which…

Relatively calm as his mind was now, and the underlying currents being positive now (instead of dreadful as they'd been for the past weeks), that might be why he'd… snuck in.

And lingered just outside the archway to the kitchen, looking at Jyn's back—whom he shouldn't have recognized at once in those clothes, but he had, and not just because he was trained to see through disguises.

He felt so…

…dreading.

…to care about someone.

It had been easy to be alone. So many years.

Cold, somehow. But easy.

Kay had been an acceptable exception. Not because the potential of losing him wasn't painful to Cassian… but at least because Cassian knew his own thoughts and behaviors and need of Kay wasn't going to adversely affect the droid, ever. Kay couldn't be frightened or offended or overburdened by Cassian needing him. It was his function. Nor would Kay ever take Cassian losing his composure personally. And Cassian couldn't accidentally injure or kill Kay if any of his worst nightmares about himself somehow came true.

All in all: Cassian could not hurt Kay. It would simply require too large a convergence of too many intensely narrow and implausible possibilities to worry about.

The need Cassian felt for Jyn…

…was like the need he'd seen in her eyes, felt in her gravitational orbit, that had made it impossible for him to ever…

…not try to see it filled.

She had ended up having that need crushed. Repeatedly. Yet had come out the other side. She had started with her sights being relatively small—survival, continuance—and had grown vast.

He…

…his world had become…

…he couldn't even think this way. Not because she might overhear but because he couldn't risk…

…feeling that way? Risking himself?

No.

doing that to her. They'd known each other forty-eight hours. How on any world could it be reasonable or realistic or fair to have any hopes or expectations whatsoever. He didn't even know himself what exactly… was needed.

Except that reality, and especially other organic beings, were too frail, too tenuous, to want that much…

Her need had been with much greater foundation than his.

How he could he put all of his own… life… onto her like…

…Too early to worry about any of this. Thoughts and feelings… maybe should have mattered all along more than he'd let them, but they are not the same as actions.

One moment at a time.

This is a new life. He retired. He died. Which means… he should find out what it's like not to try and plan everything ten steps ahead.

And certainly not all by himself. As concerned others.

…Which, like being with Jyn and Kay again… somehow is so easy to slip into. Is this further fallout from Scarif? Or was his entire life been spent in the effort to resist this? And now it wasn't so much changing gears as just… letting it? Stop fighting it?

For a change, just see what happens.

He doesn't know if he can. But the possibility is…

Oh, kriff it, he literally can't think about it.

—And if he had managed to come in without her hearing him, versus her just letting him think so, she could probably pick up on all that crashing mental wave about now. (If probably too incoherent and tangled to make sense of.) But just in case, Cassian deliberately stepped heavily on the floor to make a sound, to alert her, as he came properly into the room.

Whether or not she picked up on any of that, his entire affect would probably seem… new. He looked around, and at her, smiling but… not shyly, exactly, but lacking of his customary air of absolutely self-assured, self-contained control. Like he was… trespassing or… for the first time since they'd met… didn't know what he was doing.

…Because he wasn't doinganything.

And that… he definitely didn't know how to do.

"Still here," he said, with a smile that said he knew what an inane greeting it was. But it had to be celebrated nonetheless. They were both still here. It hadn't proved a hallucination just yet.
Edited (multiple formatting fails ;-)) 2017-04-20 21:53 (UTC)
candor1: (Jedha . ansiedad)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-21 03:22 am (UTC)(link)
His gaze drifts from her to the cabinets… and shakes his head in slow wonder. All the rooms… the size of them… and all these provisions… "How many others are we sharing this place with?"
candor1: (Eadu . hacia)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-21 04:07 am (UTC)(link)
He shakes his head again, though in agreement, moving instinctively closer to her, as well. "The only space I've ever had wholly to myself was a cockpit."

…He finds himself starting to think something else… and, since he's already determined not to adapt to her telepathy by trying to block his own thoughts, he tries instead speaking them. (Which is… less natural to him than suppression. But again… when he makes up his mind to do something, he does it. And the determination now is to stop being a spy.

Which… is so many levels of his life of functioning… possibly all of them…?

But. As he has to keep reminding himself. As he was reminded by doctors and medics and nurses over and over, and only now is caring to accept. One thing at a time.)

"—That's not true. I was given private officer's quarters at the Temple Base. —Yavin IV." She probably hadn't heard it called that. It was an unofficial name. "I just spent as little time in them as possible. I always wanted either a task to do or people nearby to keep me focused. While planet-bound I don't like sleeping alone."

That he hadn't thought through before saying it aloud. If she hadn't grown to know him shockingly well over so little time, she mightn't have caught the slight new tension in his stance and face. I didn't mean…
candor1: (Jyn . florero)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-21 04:48 am (UTC)(link)
The warmth of her hand in his…

It's the same hand he grabbed on Jedha, where, in the square, it had felt like steel; in Saw's fortress, like glass. The same as on Eadu where it had felt like a live wire. And on the beach, where it had felt… like…

He's not sure he can hold it in his mind, now. Not quite. But it was different. It had set all of him on fire and burned him away.

Now… it just feels…

…still warm… a warmth that still spreads…

…but…

alive. …Human.

He stays steady. …Mostly. As his fingers slip between hers, there may be a slight tremor.

He knows he won't be able to sleep without her. He'll be more comfortable on the floor of her room than in his bed alone.

He hears her thought. Feels… what both of them are feeling. It sings between them, putting everything on the same frequency.

…But thinking… feeling… is still not the same as…

…are feelings enough to…?

They're back in it. He thought there might be more… transition, but… again. Being so linked is their natural state. Trying to stay out of it… is difficult, and he's so tired…

"I don't know how to do this," he says quietly. "Any of this. Be on one planet. Be in a house. Not have a mission. Not have a war. …Have a tomorrow.

"Be…"

Don't think it. Thinking is not enough. Feeling is not enough. Make a decision. Speak.

"…with you."

Whatever that means. I'm not in charge anymore.

…Though he hadn't been, with her. …Ever.
candor1: (Jyn . casi beso)

I know I just repeated a same thing across 2 diff. threads, but… it's the crux really…

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-21 05:34 am (UTC)(link)
To hold you. Forever.

To kiss you.




…He should say it. She's asked him. …She hasn't recoiled from the thoughts… and now she's asked.



He tries.

Please believe that he tries.

But suddenly the dread is so strong, it reopens all the hurts in his chest. The split ribs, the ruptured lung, the bleeding, the black hole…

The cascade, again. The vortex.

Not now. Not yet. We haven't had enough time to…

It doesn't matter. The thoughts are all there. Dams don't break selectively.

He's had sex with more people than he'd wanted to. …He's not sure with any of them he'd actually wanted to. Not… oh god. …because of them. Voluntarily, yes… some. Others… yielding to… needs—his or theirs. And others still…

…in the line of duty.

(That's not how people… That's not how it should… How could she ever want to…)

But even where he'd acted as a free agent… it had been a different kind of need that drove it. Not for the other individual person. Not necessarily. For some kind of connection, diversion, release, where none other was available… seeking comfort and life in desperation… everything fleeting, everything doomed… All, even when it had been about the other person, had been taking advantage of the moment lest they were about to die. And they were always about to die.

There'd been no one he'd wanted to live with.

And that was sex. Sleeping—actually going to sleep—with… which in some ways felt more intimate… requiring more trust…

Only two. Ever.

And that still out of similar need. For warmth, for safety, for solace, for companionship. Not…



The need he feels now is… for all of those things, certainly, but not as ends in of themselves. As byproducts of wanting to be with, singularly, uniquely, irreplaceably, her.

The only other thing he's ever felt this need for—to live or die for, to make him want to get through the next minute and to the next one, want to know what will happen, want to help it happen—was…

…the Rebellion.

And for the Rebellion, he'd done…

…he can't need Jyn like that. He can't. Because that level of need… he'd been made too good at manipulating events and beings, do anything necessary, to fulfill such needs. She cannot be a goal. He can not… fall into… those behaviors. The only ways he'd learned how to achieve goals. Never. Not with her. He can't.

He tries to remember that he hadn't been able to with Jyn even when he'd wanted to. He'd never been able to dominate or manipulate her. When he thought he had to. She'd seen through it, pushed back against it, or simply ignored it. The only effortless way was when they'd worked together—no, indeed, no fighting for control or dominance, no competing, just seamlessly unifed.

They'd gotten there from being in opposition.

Surely now that he doesn't want anything else, knows there's no other way, it should be easier…?

But the thought of making her… have to… she could stand up to him, could fight him off, but…

…could he bear it…

He lets out a breath like a groan of pain and shakes his head, his fingers going slack in hers, as he tries to pull away.

And some part of his brain—maybe the strategic brain, that's been subdivided to operate almost independently of the rest, always running its subroutines in the background until it's needed to counteract shock or panic—when the rest is currently eating itself alive—reaches out to her.

Jyn. I'm sorry. Please help me.

I'll never trust it if it comes from me.
Edited 2017-04-21 05:41 (UTC)
candor1: (Jyn . ayuadame)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-21 03:25 pm (UTC)(link)
His heart pounds under her ear. But it hears hers, too, and begins to sync.

His neck curves, arching into her touch, his head coming to rest atop hers.

His arms go around her, too. In trying to provide shelter from the storm for her, becoming them for himself.

It's dying down inside him… her words the…

…droid analogy unwelcome because the slicerspeak would be "kill code"

But his mind grasps at her words, more fumblingly, but no less gently than his hands finding the curve of her back and the nape of her neck. Resting there, welcoming her, thanking her.

It's a cheat… normal people wouldn't be able to—?

—Oh hush. "Normal" people, as if there were such a thing, might not need as much—have as much to overcome.

…It's just a slice. Minds able to circumvent bodily or verbal defenses. …Defenses that no longer have anything to defend and so have turned on themselves. Need to be cut through.

A slice may be considered a cheat, by some. But the Alliance knows how those can save the day.

In an echo of a voice—(yes, hers)—he murmured back to her, "…I'm not used to people sticking around…"
candor1: (Jyn . levantame)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-23 03:13 am (UTC)(link)
The words. Her kiss. He arches again into… all of it. Closing his eyes. Feeling every thread of it… contact, welcome pressure, warmth, tingle, life… … …everywhere…

It's not really a decision… not really a thought.

It hadn't felt right before. Fearing it would just be out of adrenaline rush, release from grief, euphoria at the impossible. He'd wanted to be more certain it was a decision.

But… now… as her lips disconnect from his skin, he turns his face to hers.
Holding back just shy of… so close to…
His eyes had been lowered. For a barest instant they flicker up.
Edited 2017-04-23 03:14 (UTC)
candor1: (Jyn . la Fuerza)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-23 04:00 am (UTC)(link)
Let them melt. He's holding her and she can never fall. Just as much as he feels like she's the only thing holding him up.

Again. And again. Stronger together than either alone.

He has fallen… against her, into her; lost all awareness of his body apart from hers; just the warmth… the empty spaces and alternating molecules gliding effortlessly between and inside each other; merged into one as they'd been in the kyber light. He sees the light behind his eyes. But this time it isn't a flashback. Isn't a nightmare. Doesn't make him recoil. Because it isn't encroaching. It's not death. It's from within. It's her.

Somewhere, he has hands. One moves across the curve of her waist, her spine, pressing her gently, holding her into him, following, moulding to her every shift. One finding the flowing landscape of her cheek, fingers trailing up her jaw, through her hair, thumb alighting in her cheek's hollow, riding its motions, other fingers tracing her ear and cupping her head…
as his mouth…

How can a first kiss feel so… …

How can they each feel so…


…like they are known

like this, of course; like this

And welcomed back
candor1: (Jyn . acoplar)

[personal profile] candor1 2017-04-23 04:46 am (UTC)(link)
Like each part of him she's touched, he moves into her, against her, readily meeting her; hips pressing gently forward, into her hand, against…

Her moanlike breath draws one out of him, too. Their lips part to breathe.

He seizes the moment to try and remember… where they are.

Planetside.

New life.

De Chima.

House.

Which room…


He slides one foot slightly.

Hard floor.

…Right. Kitchen.

All of which takes barely a moment. The next fraction in decision: stay in this moment (yes kriff please) or find the will to break it long enough to ask…

…what…

…no. Lying down with her would be… but not going to rush… not going to risk seeming to expect… This is an end in itself. No need to worry about next.

…But standing unaided is too difficult. Easiest available compromise…

Strategic brain finishes all this in the remainder of the second. Shuts up so he can focus on kissing her again.

It feels like breathing. The closeness. Not urgent. But essential. His jaw is rough but his mouth is not. It creates with hers… a place like the sea at Scarif but definitely not there. Someplace of rest and safety and gentle waves lapping them into everconcaving sand… Just as the way they were moving with and against each other, a kind of tide…

Both his hands slide across her back, now; behind her shoulders. She could lean back into them and be fully supported. He shifts his weight and angles himself. Not pushing her by force but suggesting a move. Backing her gently until the solid support, the cool marble, of the counter touched her back.

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