she blows outta nowhere, roman candle of the wild
laughing her way through my feeble disguise
no other version of me I would rather be tonight.
and, Lord, she found me just in time
Jackie and Wilson—Hozier
The first time he takes her out, it's to a little blue and white painted Greek restaurant.
He doesn't say a word about it but she remembers the first time they ate together and it's quietly symbolic; a detail she wouldn't have thought Quinn would put value in, but here they are.
“So, tell me about yourself,” he quips over the rim of his glass.
He's lit soft and smudged by the low lights, contradictory amongst the chintz and candles and wearing a sardonic little curl across his mouth that says he knows it.
“Well, I was born in a little village called Oymyakon in Russia.”
Quinn nods thoughtfully. “Oh, I think I've heard of that. Coldest town on Earth, right?”
“Minus forty-five on a good day. My sister lost two fingers one winter.” She grins at him. “But the horses are fluffy.”
He laughs and it's such a good sound, looks really amazing on him. She could make it a past-time, making him smile like that.
“How about you?”
“Raised by bears,” he shrugs.
“Damn, that's exciting.”
“Not as much as you'd think, they weren't very good conversationalists.”
Carrie bites her lip around a smile, feels herself curving towards him over the table, the pull so inviting, and she's almost rattled by the appeal of this, of him, of the mirror-image certainty that Quinn's feeling it too.
“Okay, but for real, what don't I know about you?”
“I dunno, I never made shit up with you.”
He looks past her, considering. “I guess at first the logic was that you're used to keeping secrets too.”
“Oh, then I just liked you,” he reasons, smirking. “What, you couldn't tell?”
She rolls her eyes. “Between implying I was crazy and asking invasive questions about my personal life, yeah, you were totally charming.”
Quinn shakes his head, scoffing, “You hated me,” and he doesn't look at all bothered by that.
“I didn't hate you, I thought you were full of it,” she points out. “Cocky. But hot. And a little weird.”
He echoes, “And then?”
“Then—“ She's gonna go with a joke, something sweet and easy, but it dies on her tongue, turns into a kind of blood-letting she wasn't entirely prepared for. “Then you were the person I always wanted around.” Carrie rubs the back of her neck, feeling a little exposed under Quinn's careful attention. “I don't even know when that happened.”
He admits with the same sort of baffled honesty, “Yeah, me neither,” and it's easier then, to meet him head on. The skittish wonder that they've somehow gotten to this point is equally shared out and it's a real balm to know she isn't alone in this.
She peers into her glass. “Hey. You still like olives?”
Quinn gives her a look under his eyelashes that's more like a gut-punch; slow and dark, pleased as anything. “Absolutely.”
He goes to grab the cocktail stick but she pulls the glass out of his reach. “Ah,” she chides, and he folds his hands patiently on the table. Carrie picks up the stick, sliding the olive off the point, and watches his Adam's apple dip with a swallow when he realizes what she's about to do.
She reaches across the table, his eyes dark on her the whole stretch, and Quinn parts his mouth obediently, ready for her; so fucking hot she flushes with it, throbbing like a pulse between her legs. She pushes the olive against his bottom lip and he ducks his head to catch a hold of it with his teeth, his lips closing over the pad of her thumb and sucking gently, pressing with the tip of his tongue.
Takes a fuck-load of willpower to pull back, but she manages it.
“Well, Peter Quinn.”
He looks at her, melting soft. “Yeah, Carrie?”
There's a dozen things she kinda wants to say, could say, that Quinn would appreciate but in the end she settles on, “Cheers.”
She holds up her drink, waiting for him to pick up his own, and then she clinks them together, pleased enough for now with the pretty bell-chime of glass.
The first time he fucks her, it's with his fingers.
Bar-moonlight through the vertical blinds, he presses her against the kitchen-dining room door in the dark. Thick quiet; just the sound of her breath and nothing else because Quinn's a silent killer, even in this.
He slips a hand into her hair, another under her dress, hot on the inside of her thigh and so slow she bites him, sinks her teeth into his bottom lip until he grunts. He walks his fingertips over the cotton and elastic of her underwear, damp, because she's so wet for him it's actually shocking, and then peels the material to the side.
“Fucking hell, Carrie,” he whispers, awed; one finger slick inside her like nothing, so satisfying she could sob.
She grips his wrist, the back of his hand, nails digging in his skin, and he fucks her up to two curled knuckles for her desperation, riding her out, testing her reactions. She arches, rolls her hips, and he builds up a steady rhythm, rubbing a gentle pressure over her clit with his thumb.
And Quinn's tenacious, Carrie's known that as long as she's known him and she's never been more thankful for it. He keeps on her, mouthing her jaw, down her throat, obliging the fist she makes in his hair to keep him pressed suffocating close.
She hazes out, everything not Quinn's hand and Quinn's mouth barely background noise, and she makes a mess of them both, untucking Quinn's shirt with her greedy, restless hands, pulling his hair up into crazy tufts, wearing her dress hiked up around her hips and slamming the sharp heel of her shoe against the door to give his clever fingers more room to work her.
He's hardly quiet anymore, and the punch of his helpless inhale-exhale might well be the hottest, most intimate sound she's ever heard.
It's what breaks her, in the end. Carrie buries her face in his shoulder, hands spasming, going weak in his clothes as she loses it, shaking apart.
She's stuttering his name, attempting to get Quinn up to date with the fact she's coming even though it's abundantly fucking obvious, but she can't catch a full breath, stomach seizing, a bone-deep throbbing pulse all through her. It's like he wrings her dry, feels like a good fucking explanation for why her legs feel entirely too wobbly.
He slips his fingers free; soaked, his whole palm wet in the moonlight, and Carrie half-chokes on a laugh because her first thought is well isn't that romantic and then she is, she's laughing, hooking an arm around Quinn's neck to keep her upright and telling him stupid shit like, “I knew you'd be good,” and, “You're such a fucking know-it-all,” in between aftershock shivers.
Quinn looks down at her, wicked amused grin like a knife-edge. “You're weird after you come.”
“Now you know.”
“I was meant to walk you to the door, we got a little off-track,” he murmurs, ducking against her mouth.
“We're at a door.”
“You know what I mean, I should go.”
She doesn't want him to, not even a little bit, but they're kinda new at this, both of them, and Quinn's probably right, being the only one of them not post-orgasm stupid and all.
Carrie walks himto the actual door, kicking off her heels because she's a little unsteady.
She tells him, “Don't look so smug,” because he's smirking, and on a whim she flicks the light switch and exposes them both, Quinn's fucking wreck of an appearance, her lipstick on his mouth, smeared across his throat. He's visually obscene and she could eat him alive, wants to know what he's like after he comes, and his pupils are blown to fuck, seeing point-blank what he's done to her.
“You were leaving.”
“Well, I better do it fast,” he says, a little shaky, tongue pressing into his bottom lip. “I'll call you tomorrow.”
“I'd kiss you again, but look what happened the last time.”
She puts a palm on his chest and shoves him and he staggers back a step, laughing. “Get the fuck outta my house.”
He stands in the door, half-in half-out, leaning his shoulder against the frame, and it hits her again how much she doesn't want him to leave and not just 'cause she wants him as bad as she does; Carrie straight-up doesn't wanna stop being with him right now.
It's one long slow-burn revelation after another; they got here, she can actually do this, no fighting with herself over it.
Quinn threads his fingers into her hair, cupping her cheek, his version of saying goodbye apparently, and then she watches him all the way down the path, realizing as she shuts the door that all she's doing is checking out his ass.
Smug bastard probably knows it, too.
The first time he stays over, she wakes up with her face pressed into the pillow. Half on her front with Quinn draped over her back like a blanket.
He's fucking heavy. Really fucking warm.
And once she's wriggled a little, he's actually pretty damn comfortable.
He mutters, “Stop moving,” into her hair, and then he blows on her.
“What're you doing?” she sleep-slurs.
“Ate your fuckin' hair.”
She feels his teeth against her shoulder, grazing into her skin, and he hums, little vibrations running out, creeping under. He seals them in with a spread of open-mouthed kisses across her shoulder blade.
Carrie sighs a laugh into the pillow. “Hey.”
He leans up on one elbow, running a palm down her back, and she shivers a little, feels really fucking good when he digs his fingers in, when he rubs his thumb in circles in the dip of her spine.
“You should stay over more often,” she drawls.
Quinn hums again, long splayed fingers spanning her ribs, pressing into the dips and ridges and making a well-worn map of her.
“Does that mean I get my own closet space?” he asks, mutters into her skin; he never fucking stops with that mouth of his, always on her whenever he thinks he can get away with it.
“We can negotiate.”
“I'm leaving a toothbrush, that's non-negotiable.”
“I hate your orange juice.”
“Fuck you. Learn to like pulp.”
He slips a hand under her and flips her into a sprawl on her back and Carrie runs her fingers straight into his hair, mussing it up worse; hard to tell but she can now—she's kind of obsessed with the various mad incarnations of it.
“Least you'll be staying within ten feet of a hairbrush for once.”
He narrows his eyes, Goddamn pouting even though he'd never own up, and Carrie makes a fist and pulls, just the right side of too hard. His breath catches, throat dipping on a swallow, and he's unpredictable enough that Carrie's heart stutters a little in the wait, watching the consideration in his eyes.
Dark, dark look—
It thrills her a little, pins her place. The coiled risk in every limb, in the long stretch of his spine. He's too good with his hands to ever be wholly innocent, easy words and then sharp, sharp focus that makes Carrie's skin burn like a vulnerable thing under a magnifying glass.
She carries tension—vigilance, perception constantly working in overdrive—in her very marrow, threaded into the spiral of her DNA, impossible to turn off, and Quinn's adaptive by nature; he can make himself an overpowering force enough to wrestle the world off her back for as long as it takes to straighten herself out again.
She's never let anyone take it from her before.
Carrie asks him, “You gonna fuck me or just look at me all morning?”
“I'm thinkin' about it.”
And she always heats under that fucking look of his. Fascinated, like she's robbed a bank without tripping a single alarm or sprouted wings and flown backflips over the street or something.
It never stops being too much, the physical rake of it overwhelming.
She pulls him down to smother it, kissing him open and damp, easing him in between her legs and tragically aching for him already because it never takes much and the same's true in reverse; Carrie arches up into him, feeling the already hard length of his dick dragging against the inside of her thigh.
He meets the upwards roll of her hips, grinding her back into the bed, and she runs a hand against the ridiculously sweet curve of his spine, another thing she's obsessed with; all these bits of him making up a whole that's difficult to summarize, to know exactly how to feel about.
It's easier to focus on the practical, keep herself grounded in the moment, and she gropes for the nightstand drawer, pressing a condom into Quinn's hand.
“If my intentions weren't clear enough,” she drawls.
He rips the packet, makes a space to roll it on. “Actually, I'm not sure if I got it.”
“Oh, Peter, won't you please—“ and he laughs into her mouth and cuts off her spiel, positioning, slipping himself inside her in one smooth stroke and Carrie grits her teeth around a sigh.
He fucks her slow and hot, sweat slicking up his skin, her skin, making the too-little air damp, making Carrie dizzy off it. He's maddening, everything about him, the measured drive of his hips and the sense of his body becoming familiar. Carrie's vibrating under her flesh, suffering a moment of brutal, breathless want and she pushes up onto her elbows, Quinn moving back to accommodate.
He kneels up, hauling her up into his lap with both arms wrapped tight around her, and she grips his shoulders, huffing a laugh, “Jesus, Quinn.”
She keeps his cock deep inside her, rolling her hips tight and close. “You?”
Quinn's hands flex compulsively in her skin, restless over her back, her sides, gripping and stroking like he can't settle. He looks up at her, pupils blown to fuck, beat of his breath heavy and hard between his parted lips, cooling the sweat on her collarbone.
When he whispers, “Yeah,” it's insubstantial, shaky, and not the clever quip he'd deliver if he was half in his right mind; Carrie knows he's close, knows she is too.
Her thighs start to shake, that steady rolling rhythm stuttering, and her muscles seize around him when she comes. Quinn presses his mouth into her throat, groaning a broken, “Fuck, Carrie—“ and she rides him through it, half-blinded and the sound of rushing blood in her ears.
“Oh, God,” she tells his shoulder, and the another time for good measure, “Oh, God,” because she's still shaking, still coming at half-strength, stomach tight and pleasure streaking through her like bright splashes of paint.
Quinn spreads a palm up her back, easing back into the mattress where she feels like dead weight. She's vaguely aware of him tying off the condom and tossing it in the direction of the waste bin.
“That better not have gone on my floor.”
He sprawls out at her side, clearly giving precisely no fucks about where it went.
Carrie finds herself dozing, hazy-unaware of time passing. Just warmth and odd sounds, a crackle of something, a tiny whimper, the creak of bed-springs. She curls on her side and finds an empty space and it already feels off, like something's missing.
There's just silence and then there isn't; a quiet little gurgle that she thinks might be her kid.
“Think we can get your lazy mom outta bed?”
Carrie pries her head from the pillow, heavy as lead. Quinn's stood in the doorway, t-shirt and sweats and Carrie's baby in his arms and she's got no idea when all that happened.
“You got up,” she says stupidly.
“She's not so bright when she wakes up, huh?” Quinn quips and Frannie chokes up a little laugh which he echoes. “This kid, I swear, she always laughs at the perfect moments.”
“Yeah, for you.”
“Maybe we just don't find mommy very funny, huh?”
Carrie can't be assed to do more than give him the finger. “She's probably gonna need changing, bring her here?”
Quinn shrugs, “I'll do it,” and then he's gone before she can even shuffle herself upright.
“You don't have to—“ She trails off and it's a little lame considering she hasn't moved a single inch to catch up with him.
Instead she listens to the sound of Quinn moving around Frannie's room, the murmur of his voice. It makes her curious and there's really nothing quite as inevitably destined to get her moving as curiosity. She shakes off the sleep fog and slips on a robe, stepping lightly down the hall in a poor attempt at sneaking.
Carrie stands in the doorway, arms folded and watching Quinn fasten her baby into a diaper. He pauses for just a second, not turning around but Carrie knows she's been made.
He asks, “What?”
“I did have one, y'know.”
“I know. S'just different actually seeing you do it.”
She's content enough to keep staring, watching him gently wriggle Frannie into a clean onesie, pick her up and bounce her a couple times, and he does turn, then, a little flustered looking. “Would you stop?”
Carrie grins at him and can't seem to quit. “Sorry.”
“I think she's hungry.”
“You wanna feed her?”
“Are you gonna keep staring at me if I do?”
She shrugs. “Probably. But I'll make you coffee.”
He rolls his eyes, ever so put upon. “Fine.”
She follows him down the stairs, Frannie with a smile fixed on her face, watching Carrie over Quinn's shoulder, and thinks: yeah, he definitely should stay over more often.
The first time he has a nightmare in her bed, it's clearly not the first time.
One second she's swimming up through the thick ooze of unconsciousness and then her heart's pounding staccato against her ribs; she's squinting in the dark, listening too hard to dare breathe for noises, footsteps, the door creaking, anything—
Quinn's behind her, restless against the mattress, and then the sleep-haze clears and sense rushes to catch up. Carrie turns over to face him and he's moaning, cracked and spattered with words—no, not words, just one word; no, just over and over.
Everything she knows screams not to wake him; he's so much bigger than her, fucking trained to kill, and if he flips the hell out she might get seriously hurt. So she watches and waits, a full, unbearable half-hour of him softly suffering before he jerks awake on his own, a gasp ripped out of him, and by then Carrie's tense as a strung bow, aching right down to her bones. A strange clench of helplessness that she isn't used to.
“Hey,” she whispers, curling towards him but very blatantly not touching. “S'just a dream, that's all.”
He blinks wide and then shuts his eyes, turning his face into the pillow and making a fist in his hair. “Fuck. ” Then he rolls right off the bed, throwing himself to his feet on the carpet and fucking shaking; she can see it through the dark.
He moves like a ghost out of the room, sound of him on the stairs, a lamp clicking on in the lounge, and she gives him a few minutes before following, scrubbing both hands over her face and trying to push out that awful helpless lethargy for the sake of something useful.
Carrie finds him perched right at the edge of the sofa like he's ready to bolt. Elbows on his knees, back bowed forward, his head in his hands. The neckline of his t-shirt is damp with sweat and she has a halting second of panic—you shouldn't be here, you can't deal with this, this is so far above your pay-grade—
Pay-grade; because this is essentially what she does for a day job and it's tainted by spilled blood and inadequacy and neither of them have figured out how to put that shit to bed yet.
There's so many ways she could fuck him up right now.
Except this is Quinn and he's not a job, he's her Goddamn life, and nobody's ever been as understanding of her inadequacies as he is—a fact that works both ways.
It's supposed to be a lifeline, that they have a foundation like that.
“I'm not here to interrogate you,” Carrie eventually tells him, easing herself back into the sofa cushions at his side.
“Can I—am I alright to touch you?”
She watches his profile, eyelashes fluttering, mouth tightening, but in the end he nods and Carrie spreads a palm at the base of his spine.
They sit like that a while, Quinn steadily breathing himself back to okay and Carrie's hand rubbing gentle arcs across his back, all by the orange burn of the lamplight surreally casting 3AM shadows off the walls. She can't decide if it's calming or Hellish.
“I haven't had one in a while,” he tells her eventually. “I woulda warned you.”
Finally he comes to her, falling back against the cushions, his arm brushing against Carrie's. His head tips back towards the ceiling, he looks exhausted.
“Thought I was okay.”
Carrie presses her face into his shoulder. “You haven't beaten anyone up recently.”
“Not entirely true.”
She doesn't ask about Syria but he tells her in other ways.
“That was months ago, Quinn.”
He's quiet so long she thinks that's it, end of discussion, pried just enough out of him in one session that he's run out of words, except his voice goes pinched, squeezed down so tight it sounds painful, and he tells her, “After Sandy—I kept seeing you die the same way.”
She whispers, “Fuck,” under her breath. “You never told me that.”
“Don't even know why I'm telling you now.”
“Probably 'cause you're tired and shaken-up and I'm totally taking advantage of your vulnerability,” she deadpans.
He actually huffs a laugh into her hair. “I'm alright.”
Sounds like he might even mean it, for now anyway, and Carrie nods, “Good,” before grabbing a blanket from the sofa corner and hauling it over them both. She pulls up her knees, curling into his side. “Turn out the light?”
He does and then he wraps a warm arm around her. She's tired and hadn't noticed how bad, navigating these kinds of emotional minefields particularly draining. And there's something about Quinn; he makes her want to rest, makes her attentive to the things she needs. He makes her want to be okay.
Before she goes under, she feels Quinn press a kiss to the top of her head.
Thinks she mutters something though, right at the drop. Might be his name in the dark.
The first time he tells her he loves her, it's a Saturday.
She's got her elbows against the kitchen counter, glare from the afternoon sun off the laptop screen directly into her eyes.
“I wanna get them right, last time they stuck to the tray.”
“That's because you keep using half-fat margarine instead of real butter,” Quinn says, propped on a stool with his coffee and The Old Man And The Sea open on the countertop.
He's been reading that book for weeks now, it's always tucked somewhere around the house. She keeps tripping over it or feeling it jamming into her back when she sits on the sofa. Wherever Carrie goes, it finds her.
“I don't buy real butter. I work with what I've got, it's called improvising.”
He doesn't even look up this time, just raises a hand in something that might be surrender or a flippant please yourself.
She glares a little, realizes it's pointless, and goes back to the recipe. It's one of her dad's and typically Maggie's the charmed one, manages to get it right every damn time, but Carrie's had two slightly off goes with it now and the worst thing in the world would be Quinn being right about the butter.
She'll stick to her guns. Maybe just add a little extra margarine and not tell him.
Quinn starts getting twitchy, glancing between Carrie and Hemingway. She cracks an egg into the bowl and watches him carefully out the corner of her eye.
She drawls, “Lemme guess, you're itching to read it out to me?” and he pulls a face, dry as the paper under his fingers.
“I'm just thinking.”
He smirks; that sly, irritating one that gets to her in all the good ways. “I'm still thinking.”
“Must be some thought.”
“Well, now I'm thinking you forgot the vanilla extract.”
He's right, there's no vanilla extract out on the counter, and trust Quinn to have this recipe memorized even though he's never so much as glanced at the fucking thing. She finds it, adds a spoonful of it, and slams the tiny plastic bottle down way too hard like she's making a point.
He bites the inside of his lip; fond, she thinks. Probably trying not to laugh.
And it's all so twee, really; sickeningly so. Because the only reason Carrie's making cookies in the first place is because Quinn loves them—even when he has to carve them off the bottom of the tray with a knife and isn't that a sight—and it's not a thing he's ever had to tell her, she just knows it like she knows how he takes his coffee and that he likes to scald himself in the shower and he's actually really messy when he feels comfortable enough in a space to decimate it with his mere presence.
She opens the fridge to put things away, smooth orange in the door tray.
Half her closet space is filled with his clothes. She's got Netflix now, money right out of Quinn's bank account. Yesterday he did the laundry. The laundry. Joint darks.
His fucking books literally impede her existence.
Quinn quite contentedly sits there in his boxers and a t-shirt, right in the middle of the chaos of her kitchen like he owns that spot, and it creeps up on her sometimes that she barely even noticed him slowly invading her life like the covert spook he is. And now he's everywhere, occupying her like the world's most pleasing army.
It felt effortless and that's just not something Carrie ever expected.
She spoons cookie mixture onto the tray and she's struggling to look at him, feeling a little overwhelmed. Tender, she thinks; if she had to put a name to it.
“Want the spoon?”
She holds it up and he zeroes in on it like a cat sensing prey. He cocks his head, lazy bastard that he is, and she rounds the counter to stand between his knees.
“You're gonna have to get up and maybe put some clothes on at some point today, y'know,” Carrie tells him, watching his mouth close around the spoon tip. He shrugs, clearly disagreeing. “Good?”
“S'good,” he says, sticky around the mixture, and it's kinda gross but she wants to kiss him.
“Wanna share your ever-so-difficult thought with me now? Even trade.”
He swallows thickly, tongue chasing the taste on his lips, and he's far too serious when he tells her, “I love your cookies.”
She abruptly pulls the spoon out of his reach, and then herself so fast she gets light-headed. She moves on autopilot, apparently tidying up and unsteady with a sense of real danger. Feels like the clear eye of a storm, the yawning moment before something hits home and changes everything.
“Hate to break it to you, but I already knew that.”
Did she? The cookie thing, sure, but did she know—
“You might wanna be a little clearer, Quinn, because this feels kinda momentous and I'm cleaning my Goddamn kitchen,” she half-laughs, a little hysterical and tying off a garbage bag—why the hell is she still cleaning up.
Quinn—he did get up, at some undetermined point of time, and he stands blocking the back door where Carrie's ready to make a quick exit with the trash.
She drops it, rapidly changing tactics and closing up the feet of space between them instead. “Just fucking say it, oh my fucking God—“
And he does, a little frantic, “Okay, okay, I love you—fuck,” and Carrie ducks her head against his collarbone, crowding into the warmth of him.
“God, I fucking love you,” she breathes, completely swept out of her like it's been sat there ready for a while now, and she hears him huff a strangled sort of laugh, feels his hands spread over her sides.
She can't look at him yet, like a naughty kid caught doing a bad thing, but she grips his hips a little desperately and he noses against her hairline like it might soothe her and it works; just for that small, dysfunctional moment it works for them.
“I think most declarations don't involve that much cursing,” he mutters against her.
“This is us we're talking about.”
Quinn, master of not letting Carrie avoid a damn thing, slides his hands up and up; wide against her shoulders and threading into her hair and he pulls back to look her in the eye, all of him lit-up like Christmas. She remembers thinking she could make it a past-time, hoarding his happiness like this.
“Well, I like it, it's got a nice ring to it,” Quinn says dryly and Carrie smiles, loose and shaky but it's there.
It isn't so hard to look at him after all because nothing's different; the world didn't end, Quinn didn't change, life didn't immediately set to self-destruct.
“We're good, right?” she asks, already knowing the answer but it still feels important to communicate it.
“Twenty minutes before I gotta take the cookies out.”
Quinn doesn't need any more prompting than that, pulling Carrie's thighs out from under her until she's in his arms, wrapped around him tight, head tipped back on a laugh and Quinn's mouth already bruising her throat with breath and words.
I love you.
Just like that.