Open Your Mind

by Alicia McKenzie


DISCLAIMER: Characters are Marvel's, not mine. I just like alternating between torturing them and giving them moments of rare bliss...<snicker> This was written for Em's '350 Words' Challenge, and I can't BELIEVE I actually managed it. :)


Afternoon sunlight pierces the canopy of leaves, falling on the woman, raven-haired and pale, who sits cross-legged on the ground, eyes closed. A man, silver-haired and powerfully built, floats upside-down in the same position several feet above the ground, a faint golden glow that is not sunlight surrounding his body.

Their hearts beat slowly, in time. They breathe as one. A gentle wind rustles the leaves, stirring her dark hair, pushing him into a lazy drift.

#Do you hear--?#


Voices on the wind, close and faint alike. Vibrant with joy and pain, sadness and laughter.

A bird calls from a nearby tree. A squirrel chatters madly. Softer voices, adding to the whole.

She marvels. All of it. Even them.

#No difference, really.#



Fainter still. Sounds of life in the lake nearby. Even in the ground beneath her. Not thoughts, not really. Just sounds, flickering at the edge of borrowed perceptions.


Her heartbeat. His. And another. A deeper, more complex rhythm. Beyond them, yet part of them. Pulsing through her from head to toe, connecting her to him, to everything.

A--backbeat? Mirth, bubbling up inside her.

Wry amusement. #Don't be flippant.# Not a rebuke. Not really. And yet--

To her, an experiment. Something more, to him. Sorry. Sincerely.

#Don't worry.# The warm golden light of his presence edges closer, tentatively. #Just listen.#

This is what he hears, she thinks. This pulsing rhythm, the voices greater and softer, all combining. Growing, building, a vast tide, yet compressing into one sustained note, high and sweet, so pure it burns.

Beauty enough to make her weep.

It fades slowly, leaving a lingering awe. Someone touches her face, brushes away stray tears. She opens her eyes, stares into his.

"Beautiful," she whispers.

A smile tugs at his mouth. "Very," he replies. Not talking about the 'music'.

Amusement again, but tender. Smug bastard. "The things you'll do to seduce me."

"Oh?" Such an innocent look.

Such a short distance between them.

Easy enough to cross. And in his arms, she hears the world sing through them both.


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