Saying Yes: Part 7
See disclaimers in part one.
I don't know if I ever mentioned a continuity point about this story. Hopefully, its at least a little obvious that this is set in the future, post-Apocalypse and all that. As for canon-continuity, it's way off. Obviously.
Thanks to Duey, who always makes me want to write more, and to all of the wonderful support I've gotten for this story.
"Nate?" She was sitting next to him, her arms hanging on her knees; as he opened his eyes she moved her face over his to look at him closely. She was frowning, the mirrors gone so her violet eyes made up the only color in the dark. "Nate?"
Night had opened its jeweled curtain of black above her.
"You've been out of it for hours. Out like a goddamned light. Are you okay?" Her hand touched gentle to his forehead and came away cool. He sat up slowly. Around them, the life of darkness was full, animals and crickets calling to each other. The heat was just a little dragon now, almost comforting.
"You scared the hell out of me, asshole." She didn't sound angry. "What was that all about? I mean, a nap is one thing - but you wouldn't wake up. What happened?"
"I don't know." Shaking his head to clear it, he stood up and looked down the hill. "But I feel better, at least."
"Good." She looked like she still didn't believe him. "I was thinking about dragging you back to the house with the motorcycle. You just wouldn't wake up."
He took her hand and pulled her to her feet, keeping her close to him. "I'm fine." Hesitantly, he slipped an arm around her waist; she braced herself to hold him up if need be, not trusting this. But he kept steady, and his hands were warm against her bare skin.
"Did you stay out here the whole time?"
"What, was I just gonna leave you? Dingos could have dragged you away, you were so dead to the world."
Chuckling, he pulled her a little bit tighter to him, until she finally slipped her arm across his back. "I weigh too much. It would have had to have been a big pack of dingos."
"Maybe the dingos stole your boyfriend," she said, but he just looked at her blankly, and she dissolved into a short giggle. "Never mind. You know you weigh a ton? I couldn't even roll you over. What are you these days? 280, even when you're not retaining water?"
"'bout that, yeah."
He was surprised when she turned, putting herself into his chest and wrapping her arms around him, squeezing hard. "Don't."
"Do that again." Her mouth was muffled against the skin over his heart. "Don't."
"Okay." He closed his embrace around her shoulders. "Sorry."
"Has no meaning." She garbled. "Just don't do it again."
"That's what I meant."
Leaning away, she tipped her head back to look at his face, checking to see if he wasn't serious. "Good." Then she put her head back, and they stayed there for a while. He watched the unblemished stars as they hung noiselessly, the moon making blue shadows on the trees.
"Did you ever do a hit on somebody from a federal building?"
"With one of those inside balconies....circular? Big railings?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Nothing. Just a dream."
"Are you sure you're okay? You were out for a long time."
He nodded, reaching for her fingers; she slipped them into his before thinking.
"Let's go back to the house." She said. He stood still and looked around the clearing; in the dark, it looked so different. Then he started walking.
"You know I didn't even have a way to call for help?" She said. "If I had left you laying there like a dead body and run up to the house to call the Australian 911, I wouldn't have been able to?"
His mouth stretched into a grin, and he looked down at her. "No phone."
"No phone." Her face lifted up to his, full of hesitant happiness.
The next morning, he came downstairs, barefoot and shirtless, to the sound a woman singing soulfully about her man, and Dom was burning waffles. "Morning," he murmured, heading for the coffee machine; she ignored him until after his second cup, at which point she thrust a plate of very brown waffles before him.
"I suggest high doses of butter and syrup. It'll mask the carbon-y taste."
"Mhm." He ate for a bit, wavering between eating and talking....talking seemed safer. "Got a question for you."
"Have you noticed something strange on our link?"
"Static, mostly." She was on the other side of the table, pretending to be interested in her waffles. With a gentle tap she pushed the plate aside.
"No, not really. Are you having static, or whatever?"
He nodded, swallowing. "Yes. It's strange...I don't know where it came from. But it's harder for me to hear you. Feel you."
Dom frowned, then looked at him closely. "When did it start?"
"When we got here. Before, actually. The beachhouse. Maybe even earlier."
Closing her eyes, Domino reached through the link - he could feel her, but it was as if she were touching the cotton wrapped around him. "No, Nate. There's no static. It feels exactly the same to me."
"It's just me, then."
"How could it be? Wouldn't it effect us both?"
"Not if it's my doing. If it's something in my head, not yours. Something....blocking it."
"Like what?" There was a knife-edge in her voice, and he recognized it for what it was: protectiveness. She thought somebody had messed with his head - he wanted to smile at her.
"Something in me." He stood up, taking his dishes to the sink. He ran water over them, and it slowly peeled the syrup away.
Domino set her plates beside the sink, then backed away until she was leaning against the refrigerator. "Any clues as to what that could be?"
Shrug. "I don't know, really. I started having....dreams. Not dreams. But something."
"Like on the plane."
He turned, putting his hands on the edge counter and leaning back on it, facing her. "Yes."
The familiar thickening ache in his stomach returned, and she smiled at him, gently. "You never talk about her. Or....or Tyler." His curt nod was all he could acknowledge that with. "You can, you know. I won't be hurt or jealous or some stupid thing like that."
"I'm not jealous. I'm jealous - but not of her, or of what you two had. I would never -"
"I know, Dom." He smiled at her, from across the kitchen. She smiled a little back.
"It wasn't like that for Milo and me."
That stunned him; he lifted his eyes fast. She snorted silently at his expression, shaking her head. "It wasn't that I didn't love him, either. I did. It's just...for you and Aliya, it was enough. It wasn't enough for us. If we'd been normal people with day jobs, we would have had a good five, ten years, and then we would have divorced. Probably somewhat amicably. If he was still alive, we wouldn't be together. I think of it as past tense. The person I was then will probably always love him. But I'm not her anymore."
Smiling at her was impossible; he felt, of all the stupid damn things, like crying.
"When I had it figured out that Milo and I wouldn't work....well, that's when I started being jealous of what you had with her. Not jealous. Envious. That's a much cleaner emotion, anyway."
Her feet made a small gesture forward, and hesitated; it was as indecisive as he'd ever seen her. Finally she walked to him and set her hand on his chest, right over his sternum. He didn't move. "I'm not exactly a talk-about-your-emotions/share kind of person. But I don't want you to think that you have to pretend to forget her just because I'm around." Deep breath. "And that goes for Tyler, too."
His hands came up to cover hers, so under their fingers they could feel his heart beating. She had her head bent and held her hand against his skin; there was sunlight streaming through the windows. He closed his eyes and held on tight to the sensation of her hand, afraid to even breathe.
The song in the background was mournful again, low and smooth. The slide of her hands along his skin as she wound her arms around his shoulders worked like water on rock, rounding off the edges of the ache in his chest. He buried his face in her neck, half hoisting her up into him.
If he could have fashioned his emotions into a thing, he would have, just to give it to her and show how much of him belonged to her. As it was, he tried to make his arms enough.
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