aurallyfixated: (Default)
The first time she sees him, she can't look away. The sight of him sets some deep-buried instinct jangling, and she tells herself it's normal. He's a smuggler, certainly dangerous, probably big enough to pick her up and pitch her out the airlock one-handed if she gets on his bad side. Besides which, the voice of reason tells her, it's rude to stare.

She laughs aloud at that thought. The career-dropping, family-abandoning, fiance-ditching runaway telling herself to mind her manners with the professional criminal. The noise slips out before she can catch it and he looks at her sharply, one hand full of unmarked credit chits and his remarkable eyes full of a question, and she thinks for a moment she sees recognition in his face.

It's stupid. Of course she hasn't seen him before. A man that tall, she'd remember.

---

The nagging feeling doesn't leave. Everything is strange and new and terrifying and exhilarating but he feels familiar despite his every effort to discourage familiarity. He shushes her when she tries to tell him anything – her name, for God's sake – and tells her nothing of himself. He tolerates her presence, though, even smiling when she announces that since he won't tell her where he's from she's going to make it up. Out of work actor too clumsy to wait tables, heir to a dynasty determined to upset his parents. One day she tells him: country boy with a taste for adventure, left his big family with a promise to make them a fortune, headed to space and discovered he had no marketable skills except being big and looking kind of scary. He doesn't smile at that one. She drops it.

---

She thinks she loves him, maybe. That's idiotic. But in the moments when she's not watching him she feels him watching her, eyes trailing her when she slips from room to room largely ignored by the rest of the crew, following the movement of her hands when she twists her hair up behind her head to keep it out of her face. Curiosity, probably. They know she's got some kind of money, must have to be able to pay her way. Expensive DNA locked cases, too, and when it's anybody but him watching her she can't help wondering why it didn't occur to her before she ran away that she's got the same DNA dead as alive, but something tells her he won't let them hurt you, and she believes it.

---

There's a fight. His nose is broken. She tells him to expect two black eyes and to call her immediately if he feels numbness, tingling, if his vision is affected. Then she lifts her hands to straighten it and like that – facing him, hands on his face – she has the urge to lean her forehead against his and tell him she understands now. She doesn't know what she's supposed to understand, but it takes her a moment to pull her hands back anyway.

---

Enough is enough, she thinks. She sneaks out of her room one night and over to his, lets herself in when he calls in answer to her knock. Crosses to where he sits and plants her feet either side of his, puts her hands back on his face and kisses him. Waits for it to snap into place - yes, this is what was missing - as her tongue bridges the border between his lips and hers and her hand slips back into his hair. His hands settle on her waist and it's gentle, almost delicate, like they're there to keep her from overbalancing rather than any reflection of desire. She makes a quiet sound of vexation, kisses harder, bites his lip, almost pulls his hair, and -

no. She drops her hands, pulls back, distressed and angry at still not having the answer and moreso and the look of surprised amusement on his face.

“This isn't it, is it,” she says, defeated, and he shakes his head. She's so frustrated she could cry, and then he says

“I don't know what it is.”

---

Much, much later, when they're planetside and lying belly to belly in a strange bed, tangled-limbed and skirting the edges of sleep, she'll look at his face and remember that moment and laugh, and when she thinks she sees recognition in his face

it'll be real.
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Tilly

February 2014

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