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A Light in a Darkened World

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“I love you. That's all I know right now.”

Sara kisses him, and he feels his world center. She has that effect on him, always. She grounds him. Brings him back. The weeks he's spent thinking she was dead have been, by far, the worst of his life. She was his bright spot; the light at the end of the tunnel. Without her, the world is a dark storm with no end in sight.

She settles her head against his shoulder, but he decides it's not enough. His fingers trail her jaw before his hand closes on her cheek, urging her face upward again. He leans in and kisses her -- all heat and want. He decides he needs to feel her hands on his skin again, and so he shifts, unwilling to break the kiss as he pulls the rose from her hand and kneels over her.

The rose is temporarily forgotten about when it's set on the bedside table. His focus now is her. His Sara. Alive and in his arms again. He settles back on his knees to tug his shirt over his head, and she pulls the clip from her hair. He rids her of her shirt and lowers himself to kiss her again.

Part of him believes this to be a fever dream… that he never left that prison in Panama… that he's haunted by the thought of her; be the feeling of her. The rational part of him, however, knows she's real. They're real. This is real.

They shed the rest of the clothes, removing the barrier between them. Though he's desperate and feverish, he takes his time. Reacquaints himself with her body. Draws it out as long as he possibly can until he falls over the edge, his face buried in her shoulder, their fingers tangled together against the mattress, one hand on her hip.

It takes him a while to regain his breath. He lays beside her and holds her, stroking her soft hair, until she falls asleep in his arms. “I love you, Sara,” he whispers, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. Finally facing the mounting exhaustion he's put off for so long, he follows not long after.

Michael wakes sometime later to an empty bed. When he sits up, he finds her beside the window. With a heavy sigh, he runs a hand over his face. The realities of their world had crept in while they slept, dragging back the curtains to reveal the ugliness was still there. Even in the sanctuary of each other, there was still so much to resolve.

One day, he thinks as he pulls on his clothes and crosses the room to her. One day we’ll be free.