Into the Abyss
It only takes two hours after he's been released for her to show up at his house. He knows her so well, he doesn't even bother to answer the door when she knocks. He just waits patiently for her to work through a pointless, yet inevitable, internal debate over the various improprieties before letting herself in with her spare key.
Good, he thinks. He's been waiting far too long already.
"Sir?" she calls out into the gathering darkness of his house, as she rounds the corner of his entry to find him sitting alone and still on the couch in his living room. She glances around the gloomy space, and he wonders if she realizes her danger. "Why's it so dark in here?"
"I like the dark," is his only reply.
In Baal's palace, he couldn't escape the light. It was everywhere -- in his cell, in the corridors, and especially in the torture chamber where Baal meticulously took him apart, piece by piece, day after day, until he knew he would never be put back together completely. In the end, the light had exposed everything he had tried so hard to hide. He thinks if he stays in the dark, then maybe she won't see what he's become.
When he doesn't say anything else, she clears her throat and shifts uncomfortably. He's fairly certain she's figured out by now that something is very, very wrong.
He watches her discomfort and knows she feels guilty, that she blames herself for his capture. But she mistakenly believes it's because she begged him to take the symbiote. While it's true that he wouldn't have agreed to do such a horrific thing for anyone but her, that's not the real reason he landed in Baal's little torture chamber.
The silence is well past the point of being unbearable when she tries again. "Look, maybe--" she begins, but he cuts her off.
"He did it because of you." He knows it isn't fair, but he can't help himself. He wants her to understand that she's responsible for what happened, just not in the way she thinks.
"What?" she asks, confused.
"Kanan. He did it because of you." Now that he has her attention, the words tumble out unchecked, as he stares sightlessly at a point on the opposite wall. "He looked inside my head. I couldn't stop him. That goddamn snake looked inside of me and saw things he had no right to see, things that I'd kept hidden even from myself.
"When he found you, he was fascinated. He wouldn't let go. My memories, my thoughts -- he just kept on..." he pauses suddenly before spitting his next word out through clenched teeth, "digging, no matter how much I protested. Until finally, he found the truth, and he was stunned.
"He discovered that I loved you just like he loved Shallan, but he also saw that I would never give you up, that I would never leave you with a monster like Baal. That I would die before I let that happen. And he was ashamed.
"So he went back for her, dragging me to that hellhole with him." He has carefully avoided looking at her until that point, and when he glances at her now, he sees tears streaming down her face. Her pity is more than he can take, so he turns away.
"But in the end, he was still a coward. When we were caught, he ran. He left me, and he left her, too. Again."
It's a long time before she says anything. When she speaks, her voice is barely more than a whisper. "But you saved her."
He stands suddenly and starts to close the distance between them. "Did I?" he demands, as he continues to approach her. "I helped her escape from Baal, but the things he did to her...." To me, he thinks. He shakes his head. "The damage was already done."
She is crying freely now, and he suspects he doesn't have to say out loud what he's thinking. She already knows.
"Jack," she whispers. "I'm so sorry."
She turns to leave but his next statement stop her in her tracks. "You shouldn't have come here tonight."
He can tell she's startled by his words. He knows he sounds dangerous, and for the first time, he believes she might actually be a little afraid of him.
As she should be, he thinks.
He walks toward her and she backs up, trying to maintain an appropriate distance between them, until she's trapped against his door and he's well past invading her personal space. "I'm not the same man I was before, Carter," he says on a low breath that ruffles the strands of blond hair framing her face.
"You are." She says it with conviction, as if voicing the words will make them true. She refuses to retreat from him further, but there's a fierceness, a desperate need about him that he's sure she's never seen before, and he can sense her hesitation and all but hear the warning bells going off in her head. Before, that would have been enough to make him stand down. But not now.
So he just shakes his head and moves closer still. He raises a hand to stroke her cheek. "I'm not." He's so close that he can feel the pounding of her heart. "I'm done hiding what the snake exposed. I'm not playing by the rules anymore, Carter." His hand goes to the back of her neck and his lips hover over hers.
Some part of the officer he was before Baal must still exist though, because as much as he wants her, he needs to know that it's her choice. And so he gives her a chance. "You should leave now, get as far away from me as possible." When she doesn't move, he tries one more time. "Go. That's an order, Major."
It's the last out he's going to give her, his way of gauging whether she's as willing as he is to break the rules. But maybe she's different now, too. Maybe the loss of Daniel and nearly drowning and his capture have changed her almost as much as they've changed him, because she surprises him a little when she shakes her head, defying him and leaving no question as to her willingness to follow him into his own personal hell.
It's all the permission he needs.
His lips crash down on hers and he presses her to the door, one hand moving through her hair and the other under her shirt. He expects her to protest or try to back away, especially when he nudges her knees apart to press his growing erection against her heat. But she just meets him thrust for thrust.
He maneuvers them down the hallway, using his tongue and fingers to pry out her deepest secrets along the way. By the time she falls backwards onto his bed, naked and flushed from head to toe, he thinks he's just about discovered them all. That is, until she leans back, eyes closed, and opens herself to him in an act that is equal parts invitation and submission. It makes his cock impossibly harder. But it also gives him pause. This isn't who she is.
Before Baal and his knives and little vials of acid he would have done the noble thing and made her go. He knows he still should. But he also knows that he won't, he can't. Not now. Because that bastard cut pieces out of him that the sarcophagus couldn't replace, and he's hoping that if she gives him something of herself he'll feel close to whole again.
Besides, she knows what she's offering. For once, he intends to take it.
He's rough. Not so rough that he hurts her (god, he'd never hurt her), but he is a damned man hoping to find salvation between her legs, and he's anxious to get there. She lets out a little gasp when he enters her in a single forceful thrust, but he knows it's pleasure not pain by how wet she is and the way she begins to rock against him. He pounds into her until he feels her come, and it's good, so good. But he's not done, not even close, and so he thrusts even harder and she comes again.
He loses track of time as the tension coiling at the base of his spine ratchets ever higher. He knows her body's spent and it's time to end this, but despite the almost unbearable pressure in his groin, he can't seem to find release -- at least not until she desperately whispers his name, her voice somewhere between plea and prayer. And with that he finally lets go, shooting hard and deep inside her, crying out for her as he comes.
Just like he cried out for her every time Baal let fly the final blade that took his life.
After, he just barely has the presence of mind to collapse to one side. He's mindless and numb, the high everything he hoped for, but the relief fleeting. Like a drug, he realizes, he's going to need more.
He glances at her, still breathing heavily and staring at the ceiling, a single tear making its way down the perfect curve of her cheekbone.
God, what has he done?
"Sam?" His voice catches. He has no idea what it is he's asking her.
She rolls onto her side to face him, swiping determinedly at her face as she does so. "I'm here," she replies.
She gathers him in her arms and wraps her bare legs around his, as he buries his face in her neck. He can't help the deep sob that escapes from his chest when he breathes in her scent.
"I'm here," she says again, her voice barely above a whisper.
As he clings to her, it occurs to him that all this time he's been hoping she could pull him from the depths, but instead he's simply dragged her down with him. That should bother him a lot more than it does, but he just can't seem to make himself care.
Because all that matters is that she's there with him, willingly following him into the abyss.