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Constellations on your skin

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The air was heavy, like it had a weight of it’s own that pressed against every inch of her skin, her chest rising and falling with shallow breaths. It wasn’t the dark so much as the lack of breeze. There was no movement of air, nothing to make it seem like more than a darkened pit, and she felt her fingers tapping lightly against the door, a quick four beat rhythm before going still. She’d known he was there, hell she had volunteered for it, but not being able to see was so frustrating.

A soft hushed sound reached her, seeming to echo in the dark, and she couldn’t help lifting her head and sniffing the air before wrinkling her nose. It was so rank, cold sweat all along the walls and seeped into the floor. She felt something brush against the back of her hand, a low sound trickling through the air that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end.

"This is new." The voice was rough, a harsh whisper that made her shiver. "I’m sorry about the light, I broke it last week. It was hurtin’ my eyes."

"New?" She jumped when his fingers tightened around her wrist, swallowing the squeak that almost came from her throat, going still.

"New. I don’t normally dream up someone else in here, let alone some bird."

She could smell the sweat and dirt that clung to his skin, pressing tighter against the door when his hand moved up her arm. She'd never felt like prey before, not really, but just how still he was, the steady breathing, how slowly he moved closer, had her tasting her pulse in her throat. Fingers skimming along the chest inches in front of her, she felt the muscles tense before shivering lightly.

"Those cunts at Home Office are pullin' all the stops, yeah?" He was gone, voice echoing in the small cell, the low rasp making her heart beat rapidly. "Solitary, rotten food, movin' me from prison to prison, and now this?"

"There's talk of you getting out," she swallowed thickly when the words came out breathy. "I work at the local clinic and half way house. Thought maybe you could use someone to talk to, help get your head right. Maybe if you got a... refresher, on how the world is now, you coul-"

Laughter bounced off the walls, her eyes widening before closing, feeling a flash of comfort when it was no different. The comfort vanished when the door shook, an oppressive heat crowding her, his breath washing over her face.

"Ain't no amount of talkin' goin' to help me. Don't think I'm ever gettin' out."

"You could, you shouldn't think like that, it's a defeatist's way of thinking."

"Meant you, whatever they told you, I'm not gettin' out again." She felt his breath pass over her cheek, and frowned before hearing him sniff. "You smell good, I dunno what it is, but it's good."

Her hands lifted, hesitating for a moment before gently landing on his shoulders and giving him a light push. Fingers tensing when she felt his nose brush against her neck, she felt shivers chase themselves along her skin before forcing herself to remain still.

"I probably smell like wet dog, it was starting to rain outside when I came in."

The joke fell flat, and she shifted uncomfortably when he pressed against her, burying his face in her throat, his fingers tangling in her hair to angle her neck.

"I ain't a fuckin' scratch n sniff." She shoved at him, reacting before thinking and then going as still as he was. "I'm sorry, but that didn't half tickle, okay?"

"You talk funny." Blinking slowly, her eyes searched where she thought his face would be and tried to read as much as she could out of the voice without the physical tells.

"I'm from the South." The reply was said immediately, and she wanted to slap her own forehead.

"I've been down at that end. You're American, ain't you?"

"Yes, American South. Let go of my hair please." She tried saying it politely, but her teeth were clenched as she lifted her hands away from his skin.

"Never day dreamed an American before." The words were muttered, his fingers tightening before trying to pull free from the tangle they'd made. "Do all of the southern ones talk like you do?"

"No, I moved a lot." Letting out a soft sigh of relief, she straightened her neck and rolled her shoulders. Lips twitching into a grin, her next words mirrored his accent perfectly. "Could talk like this if you like, I've a knack for it."

She felt his laughter before she heard it, her skin flushing when she realized that he still had her pressed against the door. Reaching out tentatively she tapped his shoulders with her fingertips before giving a light shove.

"Nah, you speak how you like. Just noticed it was different that's all."

She almost missed the 'when'd I hear a southen accent' under his breath and fought against the groan in her throat. It would be her luck to catch him on a bad day, where he'd rather stay in his own head than deal with reality. A passing fancy of pinching him, flew through her mind before being ruthlessly squashed. The last thing she needed was to set him off and deal with him raging about in the too small room.

"Would you just like to talk then? I heard you like to draw."

"What's it like outside today?"

Taken aback, she blinked slowly at where she assumed his face was. The weather was not what she'd had in mind, but an easy topic none the less.

"Rainy. The kind where it's muggy and miserable all day, you can feel it on your skin and taste it in your mouth before rain ever starts falling." She grinned, shrugging her shoulders. "It reminds me of where I grew up."

"Yeah? How?"

"I grew up with hurricanes hitting land for half the year, the other half it was hot and miserable."

"I know about miserable." He grumbled, and she flinched when he buried his nose in her hair. "Storms are a nuisance, always knockin' the power out."

"Nah, hurricanes are the best. Winds that move faster than cars on a highway. When I was small I'd snatch one of my uncle's shirts and just let it drag me about while I was on rollerblades." There was something nagging her but she couldn't place her finger on it. "Once I got tossed right over a fence when I tried to jump over a branch in the road, wound up rolling in the grass and mud until I could get my fingers in."

When he didn't say anything, she nibbled absently on her lower lip, giving another push to test the waters but he still didn't move.He hadn't done anything really, nothing that would make her skin crawl, but she still felt herself hoping he'd move soon. The hand on her hip was absently stroking back and forth in short movements, that was fine, his other hand was on the door she was assuming. It was the curves and planes of his body so close to her own that was starting to make her shift as she fought the urge to shove him hard in the chest for a bit of room.

Her body didn't give a tinker's damn that this wasn't supposed to be some kind of lewd conjugal visit, there was a warm body against it and it wanted to take advantage of that, or be taken advantage of. Cursing mentally, she shifted trying to garner some kind of distance only to fail, though her squirming finally showed her what her mind had been slow to catch up on. He was hard and pressed against her hip just above her thigh. She blinked slowly as she tried to simultaneously ignore it, and try to figure out how best to get that part of his anatomy far away from her corresponding anatomy.

"Your uncle get mad about his shirt?"

"No, not that I can remember. He was mad I came hobbling home with cuts and bruises though." The grin was forced as she fought against the natural inclination to turn her hips to feel him pressed against her. "If they hadn't wanted a rough and tumble girl, they shouldn't have raised me with rough and tumble boys."

His silence upset her, not because she was worried he was going to try something, but because talking had distracted her from the steady beat of his heart against her chest, and the apparently impossible to ignore erection that was nestled against her je-

"Mr. Bronson, are you- Are you naked? WHY are you naked?"

"In the middle of a protest." She felt his shoulders shrug, she felt the shift of muscles along his chest as well and fought the urge to screech. "One of the screws upset me, so I'm protesting."

"And naked was the only way to do that..."

"I could have bashed his head in, but I promised to try and be on my best behaviour."

"Ah, I see." She was suddenly very glad the light was out, shoving her hands into her pockets, her forearm resting on his as his hand continued stroking. She was beginning to feel like a mixture between some kind of stuffed animal and a cat. If she started purring she was going to swallow her own tongue. "Could you, uh, maybe wrap your blanket around you?"

He didn't seem to hear her, her head jerking slightly in surprise before realizing he was rubbing a lock of her hair between his fingers. Clearing her throat did nothing, and she was tempted to tug off her sweater if it meant he had some kind of covering.

"Mr. Bronson-"

"Charlie."

She felt her face fall into what her younger sister had once called a rate one bitch face, and fought against cursing him soundly to feel better. It didn't matter what she called him, but knowing he was naked, she was not using his given name even if it came to violence.

"I think pressing me against the door to your cell for about fifteen minutes is long enough, don't you?" That was damned polite for what she wanted to say, her fingers curling into fists in her pockets. "If you could just-"

Her head hit the door with a solid thunk when his fingers brushed against her stomach, the rough scarred knuckles catching her shirt as she stared into the dark open mouthed.

"What are you doing?!"

"So it was rainin' when you came in..."

"Yeah, it was, what are you doing?" Grabbing his wrists, she felt her pulse jump at the scarred skin beneath her fingertips, the ragged skin from years of struggling to break free of cold steel.

"Tell me no."

"Wh-"

"I can smell you, it's been a while but I remember the smell. So," His fingers went still, and she felt his gaze directed at her as her skin flushed. Bad idea, terrible idea, she should have been pounding on the door an hour ago worth of no good idea. "Are you goin' to tell me no?"

Shaking her head, her thumbs played along the scars before realizing that he couldn't see her. Apparently he took her silence as an agreement of some sort, because his fingers were working on the fastening to her jeans again, the light tugs building a low burn in her stomach.

"So it was rainin'..."

"Sprinkling really," her voice was a low murmur, trying to hide the confusion in her tone as she kept her hands in her pockets. The majority of her was still trying to puzzle out how they'd even gotten to the point of sex, when it was agreed that intercourse was the obvious next choice. "The kind of misting that coats your skin, you know what I mean, it didn't really start until I was halfway from the parking lot."

She gasped when he yanked her pants over her hips, blunt nails scraping her skin as he pushed them down her thighs, his palms skimming along her skin. Hands hovering uncertainly in the air, they slapped against the door with a muted thud when she felt his unshaven cheek scrap along her thigh and up to her hip.

"Was it the sun shinin' kind of rain?"

Her feet almost went out from beneath her when he leaned down to tug her jeans over one of her shoes, his free hand skimming along her leg and she found herself amused that she'd decided to shave that morning. Bit of luck that. Back scraping along the door, her hands settled on his shoulders as she fought back a noise of surprise at how easily he lifted her.

"Yeah?"

"Tell me 'bout it."

"You're serious." His fingers digging into her thighs as he held her, her shoulders shifting against the door cold enough she could feel it through her shirt and sweater. "It was grey and blue an-"

Words trailing off as he pulled her down, seating himself in one stroke, her nails gripped his shoulders, teeth digging into her lower lip. When he didn't move, she fought to steady her breathing, the hard thrust sending wave after wave mixed pleasure and pain through her system. The soft sigh he let out against her skin made her squirm as he nosed the other side of her throat.

"And the air shimmered where the sun went through the mist, then it started raining harder," She let out a soft grunt as he pulled back to thrust, feeling her nails break the skin. "The sky was full of diamonds."

It was new, this painting a picture with words while someone else painted her skin with bruises and whiskered scrapes. She was a born story teller though, coming from a long lie of liars and schemers, painting a scene came as natural to her as breathing. Except she couldn't breathe, each thrust jarring, his hand between her breasts to hold her against the door the other on her hip to drag her into to each stroke.

She knew when it started to go badly, his fingers digging in hard enough his blunt nails drew blood. Her knees hit the floor, pain racing upwards and leaving her blinking slowly into the dark. The sound of flesh hitting cement had her head tilting as she stood to pull her jeans up onto her hips, leaving them unfastened. Her outstretched hand found his back, pulling back when she felt him jump, standing still before trailing her fingers over the scars that were scattered along the skin.

"Are you-"

"Fine. Just-" His whole body shook, and then there was the sound of flesh hitting the cement again and she felt her eyes searching the dark though there was nothing to see. "Keep talkin'."

"Alright," Slowly skimming her fingertips along his back, she tried to ignore the throbbing between her legs and concentrated instead of his scars. "You've got an awful lot of scars, Mr Br- Charlie."

"Fights, most of them."

Mind rapidly flipping through her imagination she smiled, her index finger slowly connecting scar to scar in gentle swirls and circles. She felt the muscles in his back shift, knew that he'd turned his head to look over his shoulder.

"You're a walking collection of constellations." Keeping her voice low she skimmed her palms along his back before tracing out the ursa minor and major, letting her drawl drag out her words as she named them.

He was silent as she traced out Sagittarius, telling him the summary of the story before moving on to Gemini using both index fingers. Taurus, Ares, Orion, Cassiopea, and Perseus. She lost track of who she was talking to, her fingers skimming, twisting, digging lightly to show each scar that matched the constellations she mentioned. It wasn't until he spoke she even remembered that she had an audience.

"I saw that one,"

"Perseus?" Confused she tried to think, tried to remember which constellations belonged where.

"The Cats one."

"Cassiopea?" She traced it out again. "Do you want to hear that one, then? I know them all."

"How can you know all the stars, eh? Too many."

"True, but the constellations? I know all the stories for those." Pausing she traced randomly, connecting scar to scar, "Well the Northern ones, and only a few of the Southern."

"What's the Cassi- Cassio- You know what I mean."

"She was a vain thing, swore up and down that both her and her daughter were far more beautiful than Poseidon's nereids. Well technically they belonged to some lesser god but still, King of the seas and all that." Her fingers idly traced over the scars before her hand flattened against his back, smoothing across it. "So Poseidon decided to send this monstrous thing to wipe their kingdom from the earth, the gods are very tempermental fuckers, and they ran to an oracle to tell them how to make up for it."

"There's only one God, you know that right?"

"It's a story, Charlie." Rolling her eyes, she slowly rubbed circles on his back. "So this monster is coming to kill everyone, all because a woman pissed off a god, and they learn that by sacrificing their daughter they could all be saved."

"Rubbish."

Shrugging her shoulders, she slowly traced out Andromeda, her other hand moving to trace out Perseus.

"Anyways, there's a demi god who decides that her being sacrificed, more likely than not sexually, to this sea monster is wrong. So he saves her, kills the beast, and later on they get married and all that nonsense."

"What do you mean sexually? How could a-"

"You just calmed down, darlin'. I am not describing tentacle sex to you, I doubt it would be your cup of tea..."

"That's disgusting..."

"Told you."

She let out a yelp when the room was flooded by a light that blinded her, blinking rapidly until her eyes adjusted. The man at the door apologized, apparently there was a shift change not long after she had arrived and no one thought to check the sign in. Tugging at her sweater as she listened, she waved the apology away, turning and holding out her hand for Charlie to shake.

"Leavin' then?"

As her eyes adjusted, she realized the light was actually very dim, though it had hurt like hell. Smiling at him she shrugged her shoulders.

"I can come back if you like? Have someone to talk to."

"Think you could tell me another story?"

"Sure." She eyed the guard and saw how white his knuckles had gotten while waiting for her to leave the cell. "Are you allowed phone calls or-"

"Ma'am?"

"Hold your horses." Her hands shoved her sweater lower when she realized that she'd never gotten around to refastening her pants. "Either call or I'll call ahead to let you know I was in the area, yeah?"

"Know a lot of stories, do you?"

"Loads." She assured him, noticing the crowd of uniforms that had gathered around the door. "Next time, yeah?"