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this will be my last confession

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“Agent Cooper.” she says, and her voice is determined, unwavering. He leans forward a little, hand on the bedpost to hold himself steady. An increasing necessity, where Audrey is concerned, though if he were perfectly honest, it had been necessary since they day they met. She waits for him to meet her eyes before continuing. “When I was at One-Eyed Jack’s, I never, never let anyone-”

“Audrey,” he interrupts. Not for her sake- he can see from the steadiness in her posture and her resolute gaze that she does not fear speaking of the brothel. He does not share her courage. Hearing the name reminds him too much of Audrey as he saw her there, weak, drugged, and helpless. It reminds him of how badly he failed her, and how much worse it could have been had he not arrived when he did. The terror he felt when he saw her lying on that bed has yet to leave him; it resurfaces when he closes his eyes each night. “You don’t have to say anything.”

There’s a slight shift in her expression; earnest as before, but her mask slips long enough for him to catch a glimpse of fear. Of what? Of him? “But I want you to know-”

“I know.” he says, stronger this time. It isn’t her place to be the strong one. She had been kidnapped, drugged, held hostage; why was she reassuring him? Like so many things about Audrey, it throws him off-balance.

There is a pause, so heavy that it hangs in the air between them. Audrey doesn’t break their gaze, but she shifts slightly on the bed, drawing her bottom lip between her teeth. Something almost like a smile touches her lips- tentative and trembling, but a smile. Without even thinking, he finds himself returning it. She is so strong- even now, with a father in jail for killing a classmate, the poise she exhibits is stunning. She shouldn’t have to. Half unconsciously, he reaches out to touch her fac

As soon as he realizes what he’s doing, he snatches his hand away and spins on his heel to face the wall, bringing both hands up to rub his face. This is wrong. It isn’t fair to Audrey, who came here looking for reassurance. To act now would be to betray her trust in him. It would be taking advantage. To act at all would be taking advantage. She’s a high school girl.

High school. The words had acted as a talisman against his own nature up until now, but he thinks- knows- that they will fail him if he turns around and looks at her now. Even knowing that she is sitting there is enough to make him forget the badge and her age and the fact that her father is sitting in lockup and turn towards her again. High school. The talisman is losing its potency, even now.

He drops a hand; she reaches out and catches at it with her fingers, leaving his breath caught somewhere in his chest. “Agent Cooper?”

He knows the battle is lost when he turns to face her. She is resolute as ever, straight-backed and head held high, but there is something beyond courage and stoicism glimmering in her eyes. She still hasn’t dropped his hand. “Please.” She turns it over, running her fingers down the length of his wrist. Even this casual contact makes him shiver, and he hates himself for doing it. “I need this.”

He’s lost himself now, lost somewhere between his badge and his morals, his head and his heart, his job and the inexorable pull of Twin Peaks and the lonely wind that whistles outside the window and the girl sitting on his bed. He’s lost himself to Audrey Horne- had weeks ago, if he was honest, has as soon as she sat down across from him at the breakfast table. It’s only now that he can admit it.

She sees the shift in him; he can see in in the slightest change in expression from fear to relief. She rises on her knees, drawing her face level with his, hand rising up to his shoulder so that she can balance herself. He cups her face in one hand, drawing the other through her hair and over her face, brushing away the few tears that have made tracks down her cheeks. She hovers inches away from him, so close he can feel her breath on his face, but she doesn’t move any closer. It takes him a moment to realize she’s waiting for him.

He kisses her. It starts with the faintest brush of lips, the tentative contact making him feel weak in the knees the way he hasn’t since he was a schoolboy. She apparently feels the same way; she grasps his other shoulder for support, and both his hands go around her waist, holding her steady. That seems to be the impetus they need, because the kiss deepens then as he draws her in closer. Her mouth is open- warm, wet, and impossibly sweet as he probes her cautiously. He doesn’t know what might frighten her, and with every move he makes, he’s afraid of spooking her and frightening her away from the only place she came to when she needed security. He can’t do that to her.

But his fears seem unfounded. She winds both hands around his neck, one fisting in his hair, and opens her mouth eagerly to let him in. This most basic of sensations sets a groan rumbling deep in his chest, and she answers it with a sigh. Her hands leave his neck, and he wonders for a fleeting second what she’s doing before realizing that she’s unbuttoning her shirt and drawing him backwards onto the bed.

They lie on top of the covers- no time for pushing them out of the way, no use for crawling under them- as she shrugs her shirt off, leaving herself covered in nothing but a bra and a skirt. The feel of her breasts pressed against him is driving him mad, but he holds himself in check long enough to deliberately unbutton the shirt he did up only minutes earlier. He leans against her carefully, so carefully- he can’t lean too hard, or he’ll crush her. She’s making little impatient noises in the back of her throat, one hand resting on his back, the other clinging to his face as though she’s afraid he’ll pull away if she lets go. She has nothing to worry about.

The skirt is next to go- it’s already bunched around her hips, but he tugs it down and off. Her fingers are already busy making short work of his trousers, and as she pushes them out of the way, she slides a leg over his hip, holding him in place. The sensation of skin on bare skin sends shockwaves through him, and he kisses her more fiercely, groaning aloud into her mouth as she presses against him. He slides his hands over her shoulders, over her exposed breasts, and down to her waist, trying not to shudder with the sheer amount of sensation. He wants to touch every inch of her- has wanted to for so long, and now she’s here and he can hardly gather his wits long enough to think of what to do next. He knows what she wants, he can feel her silently urging him on, but he draws back. He doesn’t want to hurt her.

She can read it in his eyes. “I want you to,” she says, eyes shining. “Please.”

Not yet. Not quite. He slips a hand down lower, between her legs, to where she’s already wet and ready for him. She bucks against the pressure of his hand, a wild keening noise rising from her throat that almost makes him break his resolve and push into her then and there. He holds back instead, stroking her gently, letting her open to his touch before he repositions himself on top of her. Another look, just to make sure. She stares up at him boldly, fearlessly, her look both challenging and reassuring him. Yes. Now.

He pushes into her slowly, restraining himself from giving over to the new rush of sensation. She makes a tiny noise, half-whimper half-groan, and her hand tightens on his shoulder. For a moment, he’s afraid he’s hurt her, but she recovers quickly. She twines her other leg over his hips, pushing him the rest of the way in. Her hips cant upwards towards him, and she kisses him fiercely, unapologetically, craning her neck so that he’s forced to push back against her. She likes that; it’s met with a delicious wiggle of her hips that makes his breath catch and his head spin and calls him back to the moment he first say her striding across the dining room, hips rolling with every step she took. The memory is almost enough to push him over the edge there and then, but he holds back; he doesn’t want this to be over yet. Audrey’s head is lolling back, her long white neck exposed, and he kisses it greedily, leaving a trail of red marks along the pale skin of her throat and shoulder. He doesn’t even care if the marks will be there the next morning; he’s too captivated by the noises she’s making, sighs and moans and whimpers that set a fire burning low and hot in his stomach and make him think that it’s alright to let go, because she’s tilting towards the edge as well.

He’s right. Her groans turn to cries, and she muffles herself by kissing him again, sinking her teeth into his bottom lip in her excitement. The faint sting only urges him further on, and he follows her shortly, burying his head in the crook of her shoulder to keep someone from the neighbouring rooms from banging on the walls demanding to know what they’re doing. Audrey’s breath slowly regains a steady rhythm; one hand slides from his back, but the other is still resting on his arm, as if she’s afraid even now that he’ll send her away. He rolls off her, onto the pillow next to the nightstand, and runs gentle fingers through her hair, untangling the sweat-dampened strands. His own breathing takes longer to return to normal; a reminder, of sorts, that he’s not as young as he once was. Audrey tucks her face into his arm, nose nestled against his elbow. He raises the arm and puts it around her shoulder, drawing her close. She leans her head on his chest and sighs, a sigh of contentment mingled with relief. He doesn’t ask what she’s thinking, preferring the mutual silence. He knows she’ll speak when she wants to.

Eventually, she raises her head. “Agent Cooper?”

He chuckles. “After that, Audrey, I think you can call me Dale.”

“Dale, then.” There’s a touch of that old impish sparkle in her voice when she says his name. “When the case is over-” When my father is in jail, she doesn’t say- “where will you go?”

The question gives him pause, and his hand stills in her hair as he considers it. A few weeks ago- had the time really been that short?- the answer would have been obvious. He would have solved the case, shaken the sheriff’s hand, and driven back across the state line to the capital, where he would board a plane to a new destination, a new case. That had been the plan. But he hadn’t expected the town of Twin Peaks to work its magic on him, drawing him ever deeper into the peoples’ homes and lives and hearts. He hadn’t expected Audrey.

“I don’t know.” he says at last, and she lets out a quiet breath, nestling further into his shoulder. “It won’t be an issue for several weeks. I’ll be needed here for the trial.” She makes a soft “mmm” noise, and closes her eyes, her hair dangling down in front of her face; it makes her look younger, now that he can’t see the bone-deep pain in her eyes. He lets a hand fall onto her shoulder, letting his own eyes drift shut. He still doesn’t have an answer for her, or for himself, but he thinks he might be able to find one in the sound of their shared breathing as they sink into sleep together.