Yon was never gentle when he touched me. It wasn’t like I was gentle with him, either. We didn’t allow ourselves those vulnerabilities with each other, with anyone. Between ourselves, especially, when we were together. All we ever did was fight and spar and argue and fuck. There was no love or gentleness in it. The pulling of my hair, the tugging of my clothes, the groping of my thighs… it was all done with a fervor of lust borne not out of love but out of pent-up frustration.
We would fuck on the mat, half-clothed sometimes and completely sweaty, after a sparring match, an argument, a too-overwhelming nightmare. Sometimes I’d be on top, my hips forced to move by Yon’s rough hands; sometimes I’d be on my hands and knees, my skin digging roughly into the mat; sometimes I’d be on my back, smothered everywhere on my body by his. I would never admit to him aloud that I liked it when I kept him below me or when he pushed me on my front and took me.
I would never admit anything to him regarding our arrangement. It wasn’t his right to know when all he was was a warm body to me.
There was never any seduction or romance in what we did. The first time, it was wordless. It began with an angry kiss he gave me after I told him I refused to control my powers. I kissed him back without knowing what I was doing and ground roughly against him. It was wholly animalistic. I think I was on top. I wouldn’t remember, anyways. All of our times together have blurred together in the recesses of my mind. All I do remember is that when I left him that night, he had a bloody lip (I bit him) and deep, root-like scratches all over his back that trickled blood like a stream. I was sore between my legs (he made fun of me for not being able to walk right the next day) and my hips bore evidence of his handprints. I didn’t bother staying in his room afterwards. All he was was a fuck.
“It’s me flowing through your veins,” Yon stuttered out to me once, his breath hitching and hips stuttering as he spilled into me. When he said that to me, I gasped because of how… how intimate it sounded. It was so unlike him to say anything remotely kind to me while we had sex, but I couldn’t shake the thought that he made me. He was me. He was every part of me. I was an extension of him.
But I was not the same for him. I didn’t infiltrate his body with my blood or my words or my sex; he never became me. And the worst part was that I let him do it, even though it felt dirty and wrong. There was only him, him, him. There was no me or me and him.
There was no us.
That was the only moment of tenderness I was extended when we were together. I never gave him a moment of tenderness in return. He didn’t deserve it and besides, I had nothing to offer him but fodder for contention and a warm body.
My mind wandered every damn time we were together. Sometimes, especially after a nightmare, I’d feel two sets of hands on my body when we were together. Two sets of touches skimming my arms, my legs, my stomach. I’d be pressed into a sweaty training mat at the same time I’d be kissed against a plane. I would remember, later, that the female touches I felt with Yon were Maria’s.
I only knew that it wasn’t him because all of Maria’s touches were gentle and caring. She showed me love and kindness in every kiss and touch, the memories confirmed that. She was more than a warm body I needed to stave off the frustration and pent-up emotions I always felt. She was, and still is, the love of my life. Even now, I cry nearly every time I get off to the memories of Maria and I together. The one time I got to be with her before leaving, I cried. She cried, too.
We were needy and desperate that night, but it came from a different place. It came from a more genuine place in both of our hearts. It was a reunion of our bodies after she accepted that I was dead and after I completely forgot her. We couldn’t stop saying I love you. When I ate her out, I did it fast; not out of habit, but out of need. I knew my time was limited and I needed her on me as fast as possible. She took her time with me, touching me slowly and being methodical. The way she touched me like she had every sensitive section of skin seared into her mind had me wanting and crying under her hand.
The way Maria handled me triggered every happy emotion I felt with her over the years. All of the times we were drunk and happy, singing karaoke and making out at the bar replaced the lonely memories of me on Hala, in a cold and tiny bed and trapped in the inner workings of my mind. The sweet nothings she whispered in my ear, her soft lips, her deft hands… they made me feel whole and loved. I felt like I was at home.
It was like our first time all over again. And it sort of was, anyways. The passion and intensity was there, the slight awkwardness and desire to be good and pleads was definitely there. All I wanted was to be closer, was to be one with her. As we kissed and touched, all of that felt real. I vowed that I’d never be with anyone else. I felt wrong for being with Yon for all those years in a way that never gave neither of us any fulfillment or real pleasure.
Maria was perfect. I never got bored being with her, never let my mind go other places; she kept me in that moment with her because she was so magnetic. It’s what initially drew me to her. When we moved, we were in tandem. We knew each other’s bodies on a subconscious and under the skin level. No matter the hour of night, we’d be down to be together. We were no strangers to sneaking around in the middle of the night for some stolen kisses and touches.
When I remembered those nights where we could be alone together, with just ourselves and our hearts, tears spilled out of my eyes and Maria held me as I cried. I told her I loved her, told her I was sorry. I told her that everyone else in the last six years was a warm body and that I felt her hands and lips on me even before I remembered. I told her that she never left my heart. Maria cried at that, too. We held each other tightly; to let go would be to slip away.
It didn’t matter that I was only with Maria for one night before I had to leave again, because she showed me all of the love in the whole damn galaxy, which is more than Yon or anyone else could give me in a lifetime.
I realized, later, that Maria and I had love because we were not amalgamations of each other. She and I loved each other not because we were the other transplanted into another body but because we were our own independent beings. I didn’t fall in love with someone I made with the various parts of me, literal or metaphorical; I fell in love with Maria. I would never demand Maria be someone else for me. When we made love, we were not two bodies made up of one person, like I was with Yon, no. We were two bodies moving independently, but together wholeheartedly every step of the way. Our love was not selfish or lustful. It did not require the sacrifice of one of ourselves in favor of the other. Our love was kind, gentle. All our love needed was two people who were wholly, originally, themselves.
It’s because there was no just her or just me; there was us.