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Crave

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Crave, by potionsmaster

 

Rating: M for implied meaningless sex, meandering thoughts of death and dying 

 

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Jesus, Shepard,” Jack wipes her lips angrily with the back of her hand.  “Next time you fuck a girl, how about keeping your mind on her in the moment and not up your goddamn ass?”

 

I can’t meet her eyes as I buckle my fatigue pants.  A momentary pleasure with an afterburn of guilt. Just what I needed.  At least down in the subdeck of engineering there was little opportunity for anybody to witness our debacle.  

 

“Where the hell do you get off pulling shit like that?  Huh? Christ, Shepard,” she continues to gripe, angrily securing her own curious assortment of straps back into her outfit.  “Next time, do me a favor and just let me use a dildo and you fuck off somewhere else.”

 

Her dark brown eyes are accusatory and...I don’t want to say hurt, per se, but she definitely is not happy with me.  Can’t say I blame her. I hadn’t really been in the moment or paying all that much attention to her; I had been a lifetime away in my head, trying to remember.  His hands, his voice, his touch. But it isn’t him. It’s Jack. I just...let her use me the way she had wanted.  I didn’t want to think anymore, just wanted to feel something again.  Our bodies moving together had allowed me to forget, if even for just a stolen instant.    

 

A means to an end for both of us.

 

That’s all.

 

I chance a glance up and let myself get lost in the wrong brown eyes a moment.  So dark, so deep, so...soulful. Then she blinks and the spell is broken once more.

 

“...Why’re you looking at me like that?”

 

There’s a moment where she’s meek and small, nervous as she asks.  Vulnerable. And then it’s gone, back behind defiant challenge and smoldering heat, brown holding sparks and flames, burning with a fierce intelligence.  They track my movements, my face. So like his, back when-

 

When.

 

Seems a little odd, I suppose, to say ‘back when we were together’.  I remember it so clearly, his arms around me, the warm circle of his embrace so strong and sure.  But I can’t pinpoint when it happened. Everything’s a jumbled mess in my head; I have memories and not-memories, sensations banked in my mind but no link to them besides wisps of semi-forgotten wishes and whiskey-soaked smiles.

 

“You reminded me of someone for a second,” I mutter, “Sorry.”  I focus on adjusting a strap on my uniform that doesn’t need it and peel myself off the workbench.  Papers and datapads are scattered haphazardly around the floor from where she had hastily brushed off the surface and shoved me back on it.

 

“No shit,” she snaps, hands on her hips.  “Probably the same one you were pretending I was.  I know it was just a fuck, Shepard, but at least have the courtesy to hide it in the middle of it, huh?”

 

“I...I should go...”

 

I don’t wait for her to respond, I simply leave.  I know it’s cowardly, hiding in the elevator and taking it straight up to my overly-large quarters so I don’t have to talk to anybody.  I walk past the hamster, past the aquarium I can’t seem to keep fish in for more than a week at a time, and curl up on my overly-large and too-hard bed.  There are shadows layered on top of the darkness in the corners that fade away into nothingness as I stare at the open skylights above my bed.

 

FTL has blue-shift aura licking around the port, wreathing us in biotic blue.  My heart pounds as I focus beyond it and onto the stars. I had watched them fall, fade away into black and flames as I fell through atmo.  Beautiful and peaceful.  I couldn’t be bothered to be afraid of what was happening to me as long as I had kept my attention on them. I stare at them now, pulling one of the pillows into my arms and curling around it, tapping my fingers in a count to steady my breathing.  It's more a habit than anything else at this point; Miranda had said my heart had muscle weave reinforcements to patch the weaker portions and a micro-pacemaker had been placed 'just in case' for the arrhythmia.  One more reminder that my old life is dead and gone.  The pillow doesn't care, though.  My body heat is reflected back into me after awhile; it’s easier to pretend he’s sleeping and it’s my turn to watch over him for once, even though the pillow is still. I lose myself in my thoughts.

 

Did he look up at the sky and watch the clouds before…?

 

Did he feel calm wash over him in the end?

 

Did he feel as alone as I had?

 

...Did he see our life together?  As I had?

 

I know it’s not real, never had been.  How could it? He had died without us even sharing a kiss.  I had died with Danya’s words thundering in my skull. “I’ve never seen him so infatuated with anyone before.”  My arms tighten around the pillow as my throat does, trying and failing to constrict the uncomfortably hot tears gathering in the corners of my eyes.

 

It felt so real, though, how could it not have been?  The corners of his eyes crinkle in my mind’s eye as he smiles at me, wipes the wet under my eyes away with gentle thumbs, and places a soft kiss on my forehead.

 

“...I miss you,” I whisper in the quiet rush of the aquarium filter in the empty cabin.  There's no answer.  “You should be here.  With me.  I...I just want to come home.”

 

Home.

 

That wonderful place I had been, that warm and comfortable existence that lives only in my memory now.  I find myself thinking about it more and more lately, wanting it so bad it aches inside. I want to touch him again, feel his skin on mine, his lips caressing mine.  I want to wrap myself in him and fade away. My own arms tighten harder around the pillow. Jack had been a temporary distraction, but now I was even more aware of just how much I need someone to touch and be touched.  It burns through me, leaving cold ash in my veins, cold as the stars glittering in the blue haze above my head and I drift, memories of a life I crave and never had vanishing in the vacuum of a dreamless sleep.