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Fade Into You

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You want to be soft.

You want to be soft and joyful and carefree. More than anything, you want peace. Instead you are shattered glass put back together hurriedly and clumsily, raised in chaos magic, a hundred vices and needs hollering inside of you, running through your veins.

It all happens too fast.

You've done this so many times now, you know what to say, you know how to act. This role is yours and you've played it for years. But there's something off, you can't figure out what but that thing-that deplorable, disgusting thing breaks free from your spell, steps out of its bindings and stands right in front of you.

The creature is tall and angry and rotten, its flesh crusted with dirt and blood, hanging off its arms like sleeves. It inches closer and you want to throw up. Its eyes have been gouged out, but it seems to see you perfectly, opening its mouth to reveal sharp, decayed teeth. There's no doubt that it's hungry and angry. Your stomach turns. You feel weak. The thing tilts its head and smiles at you. You're already bleeding and sore from the fight before and you can't stand it anymore. Cold sweat runs down your spine as you hear John's voice calling your name. The monster in front of you is suddenly pushed back, hitting the wall and howling in pain.

Exhaustion takes you and you fall expecting to hit the hardwood floor with full force. Instead, John holds you and kneels with you, uses his own body to shield you as he calls the creature by its name and demands its demise. John says something to you but you can't understand what. The room grows cold and quiet, and everything spins for a moment until you realize he's carrying you, your blood staining his shirt, the pain coursing through your body enough for you to clench your teeth. "Hold on, love," he says, voice rough. You want to either drown in him or disappear into nothingness. There's a voice in your head humming away to the beat of your heart, all messy and static like, pleading with you. Give in give in give in give in. And you do. Darkness all around, the silence gets to you.

Broken and wounded. Nothing to see, nothing to be.

It's night time when you awaken.

Startled, you try to get up but your body screams in protest. Your head is pounding and you still feel nauseous. You blink to try and clear your vision from the blurriness and slowly you make sense of where you are. There's a dresser close to the bathroom door, a chair and a desk on the other side and a familiar trenchcoat on the edge of the bed you're on. Relief washes over you for one second before the pain takes over once more and you close your eyes to try and forget but that creature's face still haunts you.

Its piercing scream echoes through your mind, acts as your lullaby.

It wants you back.

When you come to again it's still dark out.

Your first thought is that you must have dozed off for a few minutes but the trenchcoat on the edge of the bed is now gone and your headache is not as bad. You push yourself up a little, look at your side and grab the water battle on the nightstand. You take small sips even though what you really want is to drink it all in one go to quench your thirst. When you're done, your lips feel softer, something you appreciate immensely. Ignoring the aching muscles, you stand up on unsteady feet, taking a step forward and having to brace yourself on the wall to get some support. Silence fills the room but you don't mind. You make your way to the bathroom, and despite everything, you smile when you pass the chair and see the folded clothes there.

Picking them up, you realize the sweatpants are the ones you left there a month ago, and the t-shirt is a ratty, old one that belongs to John. It's got a faded Misfits logo on the front. You set them aside on top of the bathroom sink and move to get out of the clothes you're wearing now. Your jeans are wasted and ripped, tank top stained and ruined. You throw the clothes on the floor while contemplating burning them.

Starting the shower, you rest against the tile wall as you wait for the water to get warm. The cold tile against your skin sends a chill down your spine, making you gasp in surprise. You stretch a hand out to check the water's temperature and then you step right in.

You can barely move your arms without feeling them burn, but you scrub your skin and wash your hair until it starts to hurt. Something is wrong. You know it. Something is wrong and there are no instructions for you to follow. You've never messed up a ritual before, not like this. And the way the creature looked at you, almost as if it was taunting you, daring you to provoke it.

Calling you out.

As the water runs down your body, you realize the extent of your injuries. Your left shoulder is bruised as well as your thighs, all purple and yellow, and if you squint they can even be seen as something pretty and delicate, little galaxies on your skin. There's a cut just above your hip that probably deserves more attention than you're currently showing. It stings and burns whenever you move but you think it's a nice reminder that you're still here.

You stand under the showerhead for a while, letting the hot water hit the back of your neck, easing your strain. The urge to cry is strong, eyes already rimmed with tears, but you're way too stubborn to let them fall. Not the smartest choice considering all the words you refuse to say out loud are choking you, chest tight with agony as you swallow back a sob.

You'd give anything to disappear right now.

Taking a deep breath, you find the courage to cut off the water and step out of the shower. You dry yourself with a towel, biting your bottom lip to keep the discomfort that raising your arms brings at bay and you put on the sweatpants and John's t-shirt. Then you search the cabinet for the spare toothbrush you also left there a month ago, smiling a bit when you find it next to your shampoo bottle. It's nice to see he's kept some of your stuff but you don't let yourself get carried away; it means nothing.

Probably.

You brush your teeth with your eyes glued to the sink since there's no way you can stand looking at your own reflection.

A small part of you wants to go downstairs, see him, talk to him but you can't. The room is already spinning, stomach turning again. You don't want to throw up, so you go back to the bed, throw yourself on the mattress and wait. For what, you're not sure.

Heart beats faster the second you hear footsteps.

He opens the door, stands on the threshold trying to see if you're still asleep. When he notices you're awake, he smiles and moves to sit by your side. You look at him but don't move. His shirt is clean and ruffled, he's not wearing a tie. His dirty blond hair is a mess, sticking up on all sides. There are dark circles under his eyes. You blame yourself for them.

"Finally awake, eh?" His tone is low, soft, almost soothing.

"How long have I been out?" you ask, shocked at how difficult it is for you to get the words out without feeling like you're about to faint.

"A day and a half," he answers, shaking his head. "No worrying about that now, though."

The statement makes you roll your eyes and chuckle. "What if I am worried?"

Raising an eyebrow, John tilts his head trying to get a better look at your face. Your hair's covering most of it and you still haven't moved from your spot. "That's not like you."

For a while you don't know what to say. You two met three years ago. You were playing a gig at this rundown bar and you noticed him in the middle of the crowd, looking at you as you sang and strummed your guitar. When some people got a bit too drunk and out of control, a fight broke out and you stood by John's side for some reason. He took out most of the idiots who thought they could do whatever they pleased but not without taking a punch that was meant for you.

In return, after everything had been sorted out, you took him to your place which was only a few blocks away and tended to his broken, bloody nose and injured hands. You didn't want to send him away so you let him crash on your couch. Both of you stayed up all night drinking and talking about music, poetry, the modern rock scene and how it's just as a dead as punk. When he asked for your name, you trembled, took a sip of your beer and answered quickly, "Anita."

Someone taught you a long time ago never to give your real name to strangers and you took the advice to heart.

He either bought the lie or chose not to question how tense the question made you, and you two carried on talking about punk versus classic rock versus grunge and how you thought no one could sing better than Layne Staley. A statement that got you a long and detailed rant in which John explained that the Pistols weren't about being the best, they were about attittude, the adrenalie-they had soul. You agreed with him but stuck to your guns, earning a chuckle out of him.

When you woke up the next morning he was already gone, having left his card on top of your coffee table.

You called him on a thursday night, unable to resist the temptation. "Hello, is the Master of the Dark Arts busy?" you asked, giggling. He was surprised you found it funny rather than weird. Most people questioned the title or looked at him as if he was insane. When he asked why you didn't care, you told him he should stop by the bar. You had a new gig and you couldn't afford to lose your fighting buddy now.

A friendship of sorts formed between the two of you. You can't exlain why. Something kept pulling you close to him. One day he showed up at your doorstep, panting, hurt, pale and bleeding. You asked then, asked him what kind of demon had done that to him. He stared at you, wide eyed for a second and scoffed, knowing full well that when you said demon, you actually meant it. He told you the truth about the nature of his job while you listened carefully. After a couple of beers, he told you about the ghosts too and the morbid reality he lived in. Perhaps you should have been scared, should have kicked him out. Instead you felt relieved and took the opportunity to talk about yourself, your heritage and the burden that came with it. He wasn't the only one dabbling in the occult.

As the daughter of a witch you knew exactly what it was like to live on the edge of a bad dream.

When he asked more about your past you looked down and he took the hint. He didn't need to know anything else except that you lived with ghosts too, sometimes, but you barely knew any of them. They took an interest in showing you pain and suffering, the realm they existed in, and that's why, you explained, that's why falling asleep was so damn difficult. That's when they liked you the most. You'd spent your childhood with your face buried in books, trying to learn anything you could about spell casting, binding magic, banishing rituals and so on. Tarot cards became your most prized posession but you were never able to read into your own future which was frustrating to say the least.

"Anita is not your real name," John stated.

"No," your voice almost cracked. He had a right to be a bit mad here, sure, you had no problem admitting that. Lying about your name implied a lot of bad things about yourself, but if he asked for the truth than it was game over for the friendship you two had going on. And you really didn't want to kick him out of your life, not when he seemed to be the only one in the world who could understand you.

"It's still a pretty name, love," he said instead, shrugging. "Suits you."

Soon after that you and John were going on jobs together. You made quite the team: People around him died and people around you had a tendency to walk out of your life without even bothering to look back, so you two balanced each other out. All right, you help me and I help you, was the deal. There'd be some flirting between you two but up until a while ago nothing had ever happened.

Then last month he called you, asked for help. It was a tough job; a kid who refused to cross over, completely in denial about his fate. It left you both drained, sad, empty. At the end of all the tragedy there was a moment in which John pulled you close and leaned in, kissing you. It wasn't a gentle kiss and you liked it better that way. His lips were soft though, his stubble sctrached your skin in the most perfect way and you swear you could have melted into him.

And now here you are, again, and John's saying these things, talking to you as if he's got you all figured out. It's not like you to be worried, in his opinion. Not like you. What makes him so certain? It's weird. You know exactly how he is. You know about the things he's done, the misery that insists on following him. Yet you feel safe with him.

How's that for dysfunctional?

You finally move, managing to sit up on the bed, back resting against the headboard. He's looking at you, searching for any sign of pain. "Easy," he says.

"I screwed up," you blurt out.

"Happens to the best of us, love."

"No," shaking your head, you bite your bottom lip and look up to the ceiling, trying to find the right words. "There's something wrong."

"Wrong how?" he asks, moving closer to you. There's an urgency to fall apart here. An urgency to let go and scream, an attempt to get the agony in your chest out. "Nita," he adds when you don't respond.

You almost smile at the nickname.

A nickname for a fake name, how perfect.

"It felt off," is your answer. "That thing broke free and walked right up to me, smiling. Provoking me."

"That's what demons do."

"I know, but-felt like I was being taunted by it."

"It wanted a reaction out of you-"

"No, John, you're not getting it-"

"Well, then bloody explain it to me."

Sighing, you take a moment to try and phrase it in a way that would make sense but you still can't understand what happened back there, let alone elaborate on it. "I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted and not making sense, so just...I don't know."

He looks away in exasperation.

"You need to eat something."

"Okay," you nod, meeting his eyes. "But not...not now, all right? I just want to sleep."

For a second it seems like he's about to contest, but he knows it's not a lie. He can see it in your eyes how tired and hurt you are. He leaves the bedroom with little ceremony, closes the door on his way out and you finally allow yourself to break down, face buried into the pillow, muffling your sobs.

(and you wake up to feel the water hitting your skin and you float into nothingness and nothingness is dead but you can't move so you close your eyes
cold as ice the seaweed curl around your feet pulling you down down down into the blue emptiness trying to get to you
but that thing-
-that hollowed eye thing is with you too and it says something it does it says it says it says
wretched child, what did you do?
wrecthed child
wrecthed child child child
what did you do?)

You only realize what's happening when you feel his arms around you, holding you tight, trying to calm you down. You're screaming, tears streaming down your face, and John is desperately trying to get you to notice him, to let you know you're safe. It's only when he embraces you that reality sinks in. You cling to him as he runs a hand up and down your back, waiting for you to get a hold of yourself.

"C'mon, let's get you out of this bed," he says and next thing you know you're being carried downstairs. In the living room you tell him to put you down. He holds your hand as you lean on him to find some balance and then he watches as you make your way to the couch, hands shaking. It's difficult for you to catch a breath. He says something and walks away. You sit down, bringing your knees up to your chest, feeling small and pathetic.

John comes back with a glass of water and a plate of food. He sets it on the coffee table, sitting next to you, urging you to drink and to at least take a bite out of the sandwich he made you. You do as you're told, slowly and quietly. As much as you hate to admit it, you feel a lot better with some food in your stomach but three bites is all you can manage. Placing the plate and the glass back on the coffee table, you turn to look at John, grabbing his right arm and lifting it so you can curl up to him.

"Where's everyone?" you ask, the words scratching the back of your throat, sore from all the screaming and crying.

It takes a moment for him to answer. "Chas is a devoted family man and Zed, well, Zed is gone," you crane your neck to look up at him, alarmed, and he adds: "Not like that. She just...decided she needed to follow her own path."

"So it's just you here?"

He nods, gazing down at you, playing with your hair while you take a moment to let the words sink; Chas and Zed have managed to crawl their way into your heart, occupying a little bit of space here and there, especially Zed. The two of you seemed drawn to each other since the start and it's always been a comfort to have her by your side, to talk to her, confide in her. Knowing she's not around anymore hurts a lot more than you're willing to admit.

"John," you start, calmly, breaking the silence." When I said something felt off, I meant with me. Like there's something coming for me."

"If that's the case then we'll deal with it when the time comes, love," he says, tone rich with certainty.

"We?"

"You help me, I help you."

"Tit for tat and all that."

"Aye."

"You're being sweet."

He scoffs. "I'm always sweet."

"You're charming. There's a difference."

"Really?"

"Yep."

"That's bloody terrific."

You laugh. For the first time since this whole ordeal started, you laugh, making him chuckle and smile at you in the process.

Both of you agree that it's better for you to heal and stay at the Mill house before going anywhere else so you're on bed rest for a few days. John does prove to be more than prestative, cooking for you, bringing you painkillers and even stopping by your place to get some of your clothes. If it's out of guilt or something else you don't know. Maybe it's because of what you said. Whatever the reason, you can't deny how helpful he's being. The nightmares have stopped and you're not sure if that's a good thing or not although you refuse to talk about this with John. No point dragging the issue, especially when all you want is to forget about it.

To say that your heart is free from that agony would be a lie but by the fourth day the only thing that truly bothers you is your shoulder, still aching and keeping you from sleeping on your left side. The rest of the injuries are fading, bruises yellowing, cuts and scratches closing and healing. Fifth day comes around and he's got a job, an easy cleansing ritual on some poor old woman's house. You're still out of comission, but you urge him to go. He does but you don't miss his hesitation. Still, you think nothing of it. He comes back at night with pizza, telling you all about the grumpy old lady hanging on to her husband's spirit, refusing to let him go. You listen intently, glad to have a distraction after spending the day doing nothing but sleeping, drowsy from the pain meds.

On the sixth day, you get out of the shower, put on another one of John's shirts and a pair of panties and head down to the kitchen to help with dinner. He smiles when he sees you, jokes he's going to start charging for the borrowed clothes.

You stick your tongue out, stealing his beer, taking a sip and smirking at him. You expect him to tease you, go on about all the trouble he went through to get your clothes or something dramatic like that.

Instead, he steps closer, leans in and kisses you. Just like that, no warning, no nothing, as if you two have been doing this forever, like it's a habit you'll never grow out of. And you respond by kissing back, arms going around his neck when he deepens the kiss, his tongue on yours, hands firmly placed on your hips, holding you.

The tenderness is almost alarming, a stark contrast from the first time his lips were on yours. He's taking his time, enjoying every sensation and you can't help but press against him. He gets the hint, smiling in the middle of the kiss, sliding his hands down your body, grabbing your ass and squeezing, making you moan. You draw back to catch your breath, already missing him. He brings a hand up to cup your face, thumb swiping across your bottom lip as he rests his forehead on yours, staring right into your eyes. There's another kiss before he drags his mouth away to focus on your neck, biting and sucking, leaving his mark on your flesh. You give in to him so eagerly, mind racing with need. Reaching down you try to unbuckle his belt but the action proves to be a bit too much for your shoulder and you end up hissing in pain, wincing as the burning sensation flares up all the way down to your hand.

He stops everything he's doing, stepping back to look at you. You can feel the blush across your face and you hate it. "It's nothing, I'm fine," you say. The last thing you want is to ruin the mood, especially when he's got you all worked up already. John shakes his head, "C'mere", he breathes out before picking you up. You don't really know his plan, but you hook your right arm around his neck as he takes you to the bedroom. His scent, the mixture of alcohol and cigarettes is intoxicating and by the time he gets you inside the room letting go of him seems like the hardest thing in the world. But then he sets you down on the bed, all handsome and sweet and you can hardly wait for what's to come.

Sitting up, you adjust yourself a bit and watch as he takes off his tie and shirt, unbuckles his belt, kicks his shoes and socks off before climbing on top of you, diving back in for your lips, hands working on unbuttoning your shirt, the one you stole from him, and helping you out of the sleeves. He discards the piece of clothing by throwing it across the room and draws back to take a good look at you. You're on display, breasts exposed, nipples hard, an old scar on your left side all pretty and pearly white, chest rising and falling rapidly as you long for more.

"Oh," John starts, licking his bottom lip. He leans down, right hand fixing up a few strands of your hair before traveling to the back of your neck. "You're bloody gorgeous, love." You hide how much his words mean to you in a grin and he goes back to biting and sucking your neck which suits you just fine. You trail a hand down his torso before reaching his unbuckled belt and then going further, palming him through his pants. He's hard and you're soaking wet and anxious and the little grunt he lets out in your ear doesn't help things.

All hope of self control goes out the window the second he kisses his way down to your breasts, bringing a hand to cup one of them while his mouth works on the other one, the tip of his tongue circling your nipple before sucking on it, making you arch your back and moan. He steals a quick glance at you, smirking like the smug bastard he is, and you can hardly breathe.

He alternates between one and the other, enjoying your gasps and moans and by the time he's done, when he comes back up for a kiss, your breasts are glistening with saliva, a slight flush covering them. His actions serve only to encourage you, demolishing any kind of hesitation. You waste no time unzipping his pants as he kisses you long and good, reaching inside his boxers to pull his cock out, holding it in your hand firmly, and he is big and thick, precome trickling down his length, and you start stroking him, up and down, pressing right against that sweet, sensitive spot under the head of his cock with each upstroke. He groans, mouth open on yours, closes his eyes and lets himself fall into your touch, hips thrusting slowly, trying to set his own rhythm, showing you how he likes it. And it's surreal to have him like this, throbbing in your hand, full of want, waiting for you to give in, to be his.

Panting, he grabs your wrist to cease your movements and grins, leaning back, hands sliding up and down your legs until he hooks his fingers on the waistband of your panties and pulls them down. You lift your hips and bend your knees to help him take them off and he flings the piece of clothing over his shoulder.

And then he's ordering you to spread your legs. "Be a good girl for us," he says, and you do as you're told. At first he's content just to tease, fingertips running imaginary lines down your stomach, then your inner thighs, enjoying the way you try not to crumble under his command. Finally, he touches you, fingers sliding between your folds lightly until his thumb finds your clit, rubbing it in circular motions, tenderly and leisurely, so much so that you start moving your hips, trying to get more friction. "John, please," you say.

"Please what?" he asks and stops moving but keeps his thumb pressed against your clit, urging you to seek your own relief. You want to protest but he leans forward, body hovering over yours while you keep rocking against him, his face an inch away from yours and he's all hungry and needy when he kisses you, backing away only to see you squirm under him.

"Tell me, love, 'please what', huh?" you break into a moan when he goes back to rubbing your clit. "'Cos you're so wet, so fucking wet and ready for me."

It's all you can take, so you hold on to him, gasping as he keeps touching you. "I need more, please," you beg.

"I'll give you more, then," he whispers in your ear, letting go of you and sliding out of his pants. You barely have time to think and he grabs your legs, bringing you closer to him, holding his cock by the base then guiding himself inside you with a hard thrust. Moaning, you're grateful for the time he gives you to get used to him, feeling him inside you, his body covering yours as he props himself up with one arm to keep from crushing you.

"John," you say, grinding against him and he starts moving. It's a steady pace at first, as if he's trying to understand you, trying to see what drives you crazy and when you wrap your legs around his waist, he increases the rhythm a little, his right hand cupping your face. He doesn't break eye contact for a while, looks at you as if you're made of stardust and something else, something out of this world, and you take the time to appreciate how he looks too. Vulnerable and strong at the same time, in charge, but ready to drown himself in you if you ask him to.

You get lost in the feeling, his cock sliding in and out of you, stretching you out so damn perfectly that you clench around him, making him grunt. "You feel good," he says, voice hoarse. "So good, you have no idea what you're doing to me."

"I have some idea," you manage to say. He shakes his head, never once stopping his movements, but his thrusts are a bit harder now, rocking you both back and forth on the bed.

"Don't know how long I've been waiting for this, love," is his confession. You moan when he draws back, almost slipping out of you only to thrust into you again, all the way in. "How much I've wanted you like this, under me, taking my cock." He buries his head on your neck, muffling his groans. "You're so bloody tight," he says through gritted teeth, leaning back to look at you again, pushing away a strand of hair that's falling on your eyes. You're mesmerized, his words seeping into your skin, finding their way into your bones.

Lost in a trance that makes you forget about your injury, you try to throw your arms around his neck quickly, only to end up flinching.

"You okay?," he asks.

"Yeah, don't stop," you answer. "Please don't stop."

His thrusts are controlled now, you can tell, and without stopping he plants a small kiss on your mouth and then drags his lips to your shoulder, placing a kiss there as well. The gesture is small but enough to make your heart skip a beat.

"Faster," you plead.

"Yeah?" he increases the rhythm, doing exactly as you asked, and you try to move your hips to meet his thrusts, try to grind against him, but it all feels so good that you can only take it, and you manage to place your arms around his neck despite the pain, screw the pain, you just want to cling to him, breasts against his chest, you're both skin to skin, sweating and moaning and you're begging him, so close, you're so close and he keeps up the pace while sliding a hand down your body, finding your clit. This time you cry out, holding on to him. It's overwhelming, you're right at the edge and you don't want it to end, fuck, don't let this end.

He's losing control, pumping into you, dropping his head, his hot breath on your skin, and when you start to tighten around him, when the first wave of your orgasm hits you, he swears and grunts like an animal and you come, arching your back and shaking under him but pleading with him not to stop, no, don't stop, you're not done.

John showers your neck and cheek with small kisses, reassuring you. He slows down, but doesn't stop. "Gonna come again?" he asks in between pants, voice rough and brash and still laced with adoration, a small smirk tugging at his lips. You nod, eyes wide, every inch of you screaming for release again, and you don't feel anything but him, this, there's nothing else in the universe except you two. "Then do it, love, come again for me," and he pounds into you with hard, fast, long strokes, and you feel it hitting you again, clenching around his thick cock, coming with such intensity that you bite down on your bottom lip, drawing a bit of blood.

He thrusts into you a few more times, movements erratic, his grunts and groans a lot louder, and then he's pulling out and coming too, shooting his load all over your belly, stroking himself to ride out his orgasm. You sit up to touch him, one of your hands on his shoulder for support while the other one is grabbing his cock, helping him. There's not even a hint of pain in your body right now, but you're shaking all over, adrenaline wearing off and you almost fall back onto the mattress but he catches you and next thing you know his tongue is on yours in a hazy, lazy kiss.

You both hold on to each other, waiting until you can breathe normally again. Then you look at him and smile, lying back down on the bed, staring at him as he stands up to grab his pants. He fishes a lighter and a packet of Silk Cuts, pulling a cigarette out, placing it on his lips and lightning it up, taking a long drag before bending down to pick up his shirt and making his way to you. He wipes your stomach clean with it, and you appreciate the gesture because moving is not something you can do right now. He then sits next to you, right knee bent while his left leg is stretched out, his foot bumping against yours, making you chuckle.

"How's the shoulder?" he asks.

"Probably worse."

"Sorry, love," he says, laughing.

"Not your fault."

"No?"

"Maybe it's a little your fault," you conclude.

He stretches out his arm and you accept his invitation, slides closer to him until you're resting your head on his lap, staring up at him as he runs a hand through your hair. There's a lot to be said here, a lot of questions. He isn't a stranger. This would be a lot easier if he was. You two managed to go three years without any of this, and now it's all messy and wonderful and you can't stop thinking about it, about what just happened, the things he's told you. And you want even more, want to know what he tastes like, want his face buried between your legs, you want everything now and that can't be a good thing. But you don't give voice to any of those thoughts, keep them well hidden within you, sinking further into his caress, further into-

(-the depths tugging at your feet trying to drag you down again and again and again the water lilies floating up above on the surface what a wonderful lovely thing you
find at the end you find it at the end wretched child what a joyful occasion it drowns you
and your-
it drowns you and and
pale and blue
moonchild what have you
become?)

You wake up sore and alone, the sun shining through the window, illuminating the bedroom and forcing you to squint your eyes. You can hear John downstairs, probably in the kitchen. You don't let yourself think about it too much, you just act; jump out of bed, get in the shower, brush your teeth, put on your own clothes and pack the rest of your things. This is going to send the wrong message, you're more than aware. But you can't drag John down with you-your dreams have never been this vivid, you've been feeling cornered ever since your encounter with that creature, the one that put you here in the first place. What if it's all connected? It's too risky. The man has enough problems already, and sure, he can be the biggest asshole in the world sometimes but he doesn't deserve more trouble.

Taking a deep breath, you make your way downstairs, finding him in the living room, sitting on the couch, ashtray on the coffe table, beer in hand. He turns his head to look at you, noticing the bag. "There's breakfast," he says, taking a sip from his beer. You shake your head. "I, uh, I need to go home." He nods and you've been around him long enough to know he's annoyed. You want to explain but then you'll have to talk about the nightmares and the water and the creature and you just want to go, find out what's going on.

He stands up, walking over to you. "You're still hurt," he says, cupping your cheek, staring into your eyes.

You lean into his hand and all you can think about is last night, how he made you come twice, how good he felt inside you, how this should've happened a long time ago.

"I know," you say, sighing. "But I've been gone too long, there's some stuff I need to get sorted out."

"You're a lousy liar," he points out with a sarcastic smile.

Ignoring him, you stare down at your feet. He's always been able to read you a little too well, which is why sometimes you choose to keep some things to yourself. "I still haven't thanked you," you say, looking back at him. "You've been really great to me these past few days."

"Then thank me."

It's in the way he says it, the way he dares you, so you drop your bag and give in, crash your mouth against his, hands clutching at the front of his shirt while he holds you tight, last night flashing right through your mind and god, he drives you mad, always has, but you don't want to give this up now. You both know nothing has changed. You still need to leave, and you will, but for now enjoying this a bit longer seems like a better idea.

He starts walking back to the couch, pulling you with him. Sitting down, he gets you on his lap, your legs on each side of him, his hands on your waist as he kisses you again and again and again and again, making you forget about everything else.

You are shattered glass put back together hurriedly and clumsily and he's a mess of a man but it's all right, it's fine, just fine. The rest of the world can fade into oblivion, there's nothing better than this.