It was so far to fall {!m!}


And I will keep your warm, if you keep me grounded

He’s hit a nerve and later he would be ashamed of the small flutter of satisfaction he gleans from watching her slowly begin to unravel. If only she wasn’t always so damned put together, so regally refined and practiced in every movement and turn of speech, he might not have been so cruel. He may have offered words of comfort to soothe her inner beast raging to get free and turn on him. He may have sang down her fears and redoubled his efforts to bridge the gaps in their communication. He might even have been stopped short by the way she slips ‘love’ so casually into the space between them, a second hand diamond discarded carelessly from rubied lips. If only he wasn’t victim to his own frustrations for their situation and the chronic tiptoping they’ve wasted withholding truths of all kinds from each other. If only he wasn’t secretly pleased by the hint of violence he can see in the way she just barely refrains from striking out physically at him, recognizing the warrior mirrored in his own soul and thinking it only makes her all the more glorious to him. If only she wasn’t kerosene to the very embers of his emotional control. If only she didn’t know exactly what to say to spike his fury, drilling bullet holes into the last of his collected composure.

But she champions it instead, hurling her accusations like he owes her personal gratitude for a good death and all the superior perks it offers.

”Wiped clean? How can you be so naive?” he asks incredulously. He finds he is outraged at her callousness. Even more so, he is shocked it spurs him into raising his voice. “When I died, I was hollowed!” he corrects, voice thunderous and savage.

It is so uncharacteristic, he barely recognizes himself. It is not Jack that answers now. It’s the tender, lonely piece of him that’s been buried alone for too long and doesn’t know how to act except to lash out in it’s resentment and utter frailty. She has seen a glimpse of it, that first day on the river’s edge. But she was merciful and soft then, she did not tempt it, did not poke at it through the bars of its grey cage. It is growling now, furious at having been confronted so haphazardly, so immorally. How dare she speak so carelessly of his demise and the sad subpar eternity it’s left him in? ”You of all people should know better, you saw what happened, the state death left me in. You think me not jealous of your past? You have one to regret! You think I would not rather have my own transgressions, my own secrets to mull over rather than the blank slate you so wrongly covet? Do not envy me,” he snaps with a curled lip, wishing he could shake her now more than ever. He’s left with only cresent moons of nails carved into his palms from where he’s clenched his fists so tight.

She speaks as if his demand for honesty is a demand for some twisted lover’s pact, ending in her death where he spirits her very soul off to some terrible underworld. Like he’s some colorless Hades in a greek tragedy with clawed fingers itching for her lifeblood in his grasp. He would not have that. He would keep her immortal and far from this endless grey if he could. He would rather love her and hate her from this impossible distance than ever dream of dragging her an inch toward lifelessness, to any land where the high color in her angry face turns ashen and she forgets his name. How can she not see that what he asks for is so very little in comparison? ”If I have asked too much of you, it is only because trust is all I have left with which to barter!”

But she delivers a blow then that cuts to the core of him before he can say another word.

She bares her breasts and instead of invoking an immediate reaction of desire, Jack recoils with a exhaled breath as if she’s sheathed a dagger in his own chest. As he's retreating a few steps back into the shadows, the candle explodes in a volcanic eruption, spewing light up from the wick’s core in an uncontrollable magical reflection of his shock. It casts her in a blazing spotlight, light pouring forth to cling adoringly to every curve and valley of her body and highlighting the harried, stupefied expression on his own face. He recognizes her disrobement for what it is - a powerplay, a last desperate attempt to steal back some of her authority by the only force she can exude in their present conditions.

And he looks. Oh he looks. How can he not? By Aura, she is luminous in a way that hurts his heart. His offset of power is only helping to magnify her beauty, turning her skin into melted bronze master sculptures would weep to mold. There is no piece of her that does not define perfection, beyond anything he could craft in his imagination. And he’s had long and hard to imagine, giving in to basest desire sometimes late at night, taking himself in hand and letting his longing for her build a fantasy form that couldn’t possibly be real. She overshadows it by a mile.

His pupils blow out, leaving only a thin ring of silver as he watches the dusky peaks of her nipples tighten in the brisk night air. Two or three shades darker than her lips, they leave his cheeks cramping in a rush of saliva and his throat clicks audibly as he swallows. Awestruck, his stare traces the shiver that textures down her arms, raising the fine hairs there till they catch and hold the light in a freckling of gold.

Does that please you?

His glare darkens further, the ire returning to war with the initial astonishment of seeing her nude. He frowns, shoulders drawing back as he straightens. Because the tightening of the front of his trousers cannot lie. And her words hit too close to home. He wants her. He wants to to possess her, body, heart and mind. Every part of her, over and over. Every second of every hour since he looked up into her face and begged the color of her gown. It’s all-consuming, his need of her. He is more a slave to it then the servants who served her immaculate body before. Yet he cannot tell her any of this, not tangled in this web of devious games as they are now.

He looks away as she leers at his arousal. He lets her, makes no prudish move to cover himself.

“So this is all you think of me?” he whispers, hoarse with disenchantment. It’s spoken almost too low to be heard, a rhetorical question born of defeat. She thinks him nothing more than a lecher, bound by uncontrollable male lust and able only to be reasoned with by quenching his thirst with a sacrifice of her flesh. ”You are not as well-versed in games of seduction as you appear if you believe trust and sex are one in the same.”

How has he made such a gross miscalculation? He has never given the impression that he values only what her body can give (limited as that may be to a dead man.) She has always been a beautiful source of light first, an equally beautiful figure attached to the mind inside as a secondary bonus. Has he been too forceful in his command for truth, somehow his words getting skewed in her interpretation that she believes this is the best way to placate his frustrations?

He resents her. This was not the way it was supposed to happen. He’s long dreamed of the first time they dare to dabble into new territory, picking their way together across the line from friends to lovers with shy smiles and romance. It was never supposed to be a rushed, anger-fueled collison, where the sweat on their bodies is tainted with revenge instead of rapture. He had wanted to take his time, to worship her the way she’s designed to be, without ulterior motives and with no intention to use the passion between them as a weapon. She has stolen this first glance from him, and he feels thusly robbed as she presses back into his space, eating up the last of the boundaries between them both.

The green emerald (the source of her power over him) winks innocently just above the swell of her bosom. Salt in the wound. Jack’s hand outstretches of its own accord to hover reverently over the jewel. Close enough that if he had a pulse, he might feel the heat radiating off Electra’s copper chest. Then his eyes suddenly go shuttered and his stance frigid and reserved.

It’s detached, almost methodical, the way he starts to undo the laces at the neck of his linen shirt. The adrenaline-born trembling has vanished. His fingers are sure and unhurried as he bares his throat and his collarbone and a promise of hardened muscle to her gaze. But his eyes are coal-black and hard and hot, the only part of him that betrays any emotion. ”Very well,” he says impassively, dropping the unwoven laces as he finishes in order to start rolling up his sleeves. Calculated and routine. Alarmingly professional yet accentuated - like a doctor about to perform a major surgery. ”I accept.”

He does not remove the shirt, choosing instead to keep the layer between them like armor.

“But mean what you say, Electra. This is a heavy gift and one I do not take lightly. Because your body is now mine until I choose to give it back. No touch and no relief will come if not by my direct order. You will do nothing, you will feel nothing, unless it is of my command. Do you understand?”

He waits for confirmation, tucking the last roll of his sleeve as he studies her in silence. When she finally relents and some of the mutiny dies in her glare, Jack nods once and draws two fingers across the air to dim the wild candle flame.

He gestures with an elegant turn of the hand toward the elaborate mound of pillows. ”On the bed. Lay down.” Again he pauses to grant her time to wrestle with the instinct to defy orders.

”Open to me,” he instructs quietly with outward sweeping of his hands, motioning towards her clenched thighs but never removing the carnal stare he’s got glued to her face.

”Now,” he says, dropping his tone to a liquid-smoke murmur and slinking around to loom right at the edge of her bed, ” with your fingers, show me where my lips land first when I start to ravage you.”

We will never burn the light out
Luke Stackpoole


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