19 September 2011 @ 01:56 pm
[wide awake] - orison  

The ecstasy rolls through me in waves, disassembling me and pulling me apart, then piecing me back together until I feel whole again.

No; much better than simply ‘whole’. Even when I am happy, I feel there is a small part of me missing, lingering in the outside world and calling, beckoning me; yet when it is in my grasp, I fear crushing it so I do not clasp so tightly and it slips away.

This is the feeling when that piece of me is still here, corded muscle taut and tensing beneath my relaxing fingers. I feel him shudder and he moans in my ear, so I know when he is spent as well.

Tonight, I take time to appreciate him after he collapses on his back and stares at the ceiling, waiting a few moments to catch his breath. It may be shallow of me, but I love Aidan’s body. I love the pull of his muscles, the width of his frame and how he can engulf me in those arms of his, how I can feel him tense and then the sudden shiver of relaxation when he finishes. So many spend their life searching for their Adonis or their Helen of Troy, but I cannot picture myself ever seeking out either. What I have before me is a young Ares, war-torn and of ravaged heart, but susceptible to kindness. I would leave any mortal Adonis or Helen when presented the choice; Aidan is a god in the fragile shell of a mortal, and who would choose someone weak of heart over such a powerful protector? Not I.

Best of all, I think, Aidan is himself. He does not need the pressures of society or the labels.

His lovely hair is mussed and his chest heaves. I love watching the rise and fall of each breath he takes; if not for that, I would not be breathing, either. After we are intimate, he always looks so fiercely beautiful and yet somehow delicate, like I could touch him and he would melt. It is difficult to explain, but if I focus on it too extensively, I may curl into his side and kiss his cheek and murmur the words that I know will shatter everything I have worked so very hard to put together.

Instead, I think about how ridiculous I must look. Sweat has plastered my hair to my skin, and I can feel it sticking out at odd angles. If I sit up, my hair is going to be completely flattened where I have been resting my head on the pillow and the rest will look as if I have been shocked by lightning.

Aidan looks at me and I smile. I yearn to reach out and fold myself into his arms, kiss his cheek and fall asleep knowing that he will embrace me and rest his cheek on the top of my head, whisper sweet nothings into my ear. He will not. That is alright. The ever-active optimist in me will cling to the hope that perhaps, someday, he may want that.

Until then, I will continue to love him.

With that thought, I shift until I am comfortable and allow my eyes to close, the last image of him to linger on the inside of my eyelids—Aidan, rolled on his side facing me, leaning on his shoulder with an inscrutable expression on his face. I would never admit it, but I think that look indicated a certain level of fondness. I will clean myself after he leaves. I dislike when I go to bathe immediately afterward and then when I come back, he is gone and I never had a chance to say goodbye.

After the door clicks shut behind him, I gather my housecoat and toiletries and go to sponge off the heat and discomfort of the night. I fall asleep almost as soon as my head hits the pillow—I do not even remember to change into my regular nightclothes.

* * *

I do not dream of anything in particular, only unpleasantly cold, damp sensations, and of the dark. Hands seize my shoulders and shake me, and I awake. There is a young lady staring into my face, looking worried, and I am indeed cold and wet, but not so much that as extremely disoriented. She leads me into what looks like a teahouse and sits me down at a little table.

“Would you like something to drink, love?” She asks. I was distracted by my worries and barely heard her, so it takes me a minute to realize that her silence is out of expectation for a reply. I apologize and ask her to repeat the question, and she does, a little worriedly this time. I promise her that I am alright and initiate a small conversation with her, asking her what she was doing up at this time of the morning, explaining my curse of sleepwalking, cracking a few light-hearted jokes that light up her tired eyes. Finally, I figure that I should see about getting home.

“What tier are we in?”

“Lamwit.”

“Oh, good.” Relief washes through me. “If you will pardon me, I am going to go see about catching a cab. Thank you so very much for your hospitality.” The clock announces that I have an hour to get back to the dorms, or I will be late for Aidan’s lesson. Very rarely am I late, and I do not want to be… For more than one reason. I worry my bottom lip and go to stand shivering in the cold rain, waiting for a hansom to drive by. Unfortunately, at four in the morning, very few people need cabs, and those cabs that do come by either drive away without glancing at me, or they curse me out. After almost two hours, the store girl comes by and gives me some cocoa. I thank her exuberantly. The cocoa burns my tongue, so I leave it for a while as I furrow my brow, my thoughts troubled with thoughts of Aidan. If I am late and he sees that I am missing, he will be very upset. I know he does not like to admit to such feelings, but he worries about me. Every time something happens and later he sees that I am well and safe, I see this brief flicker of relief in his eyes and then he starts lecturing me. I listen. I know it is because he hates when I get hurt.

I am beginning to despair the idea of getting a cab to take me home when I catch a glimpse of a familiar bright head of hair across the street. I surge to my feet, feeling a bit dizzy—maybe the rain got to me more than I would like to admit. Aidan freezes for a moment. The emotions war against his features; relief, anger, confusion. I know which one he is going to choose. He scowls at me and storms right up. I hardly notice the faint burning in my fingers signifying that I spilled the hot chocolate on myself.

“Why the fuck are you sitting outside?” Technically, I am not sitting anymore. “Were you kicked out of the teahouse?” He sounds outraged, wondering what kind of person would give a hapless young man a cup of cocoa and then leave him to sit on the curb.

“No, no, nothing like that,” I assure. It will not do any good for the young girl inside to suddenly be confronted by such a hulking, intimidating figure as Aidan. Sometimes, he is all too protective of me. I am no damsel in distress—merely clumsy. I idly adjust the collar of his jacket. He seems too livid to notice. “See, their daughter was having trouble sleeping, the poor dear, she’s an insomniac, so she went downstairs to get a cup of chamomile and saw I was sleepwalking, so she helped me into the shop after waking me up, and offered to let me stay, but—”

Wellington,” his lovely voice adopts that snarl he uses when irritated with me. Or not so much me, perhaps, as the habits I cannot control that worry him. “Why are you sitting outside.” It is a demand now, but I can see the worried fatigue on his face. He must have looked all over Aslyn and part of Lamwit before finding me. I feel overwhelmed by my fondness for Aidan, but instead of twining my arms around him and kissing him properly, as I want to do, I smile and give an explanation.

I then promptly sneeze into my hot chocolate. Perhaps it is best that I do not kiss him, after all. “Sorry,” Although I am partially sorry for myself, as well. “I seem to be coming down with a cold.” Not about to let that deprive me of spending time with Aidan, I insist to him that I am well enough to continue my training. Perhaps it is selfish of me, to be so desperate to be with him. I fear holding too tight, but I also cannot bear the idea of him slipping away and leaving me. He is too far integrated in my life to leave me without gaping wounds.

Aidan gives me a look that clearly says, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, and we walk together back to the cathedral in a comfortable silence. At my nagging, we go to the training area, but I feel horribly dizzy and weak, and it feels like there is a pressure shoving at the insides of my skull.

“You obviously can’t function. Just go to bed. We’ll train another time.”

“Are you certain?”

“Yes, don’t question your teacher.”He follows me back to my dormitory to make sure I follow his instruction and go to sleep, so I appease him by putting on my nightclothes quickly, incredibly self aware as my skin prickles in the cold. He watches me, but it is with a certain level of wariness rather than the heated gaze I am used to. When I lie down, he holds his hands out and I wonder if I am supposed to hold his hand, but then I realize that I am being silly. All he wants are the books, which I give him, humbled a little because why would he want to hold my hand?

Still, I see him sitting at my chair, staring at me with gentle eyes, and I cannot help but smile, even if he does not want to see such tender emotions directed at him. He may not want it, but he needs kindness. He deserves it. As much as he denies the emotional implications, he has saved me, and he will continue to do the same. Maybe one day, he will love me as I love him.

“Thank you, Aidan,” the words slip out of my mouth, and I think of all the reasons I am thankful for him. On those thoughts, I drift off again, into a state of semi-consciousness. It is peaceful, and I can sense Aidan lingering. Then I fall into pleasant dreams, of a world where Aidan loves me, where he smiles when he sees me and pulls me into his arms, kisses me, says pretty words that sound so very hollow in the mouth of another, but swell with feeling when they cascade from his tongue. Then I can say those words back to him, and he does not flee. He does not freeze and balk, but he beams and clutches me closer.

“Sweet dreams, Ell.” The phantom of Aidan whispers in my ear, but I reach for him as he ghosts away. It is alright. This version of Aidan will always come back to me. I yearn for the day when the Aidan that I truly love, not some hollow hallucination, will do the same.

When I wake up, Aidan is gone, but there is a bag of sweet-tasting lozenges on my desk.

 

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