... and then finally finished it last night because peanutbutterer and havocthecat threatened legal action.
SEASON ONE 4eva!!
Summary: He almost lost her.
Important Note: This is not a post-ep to the aired episode "The Storm." So, no confusion. :)
John pushes her into the shower with their clothes still on. The Ancient shower turns on automatically, already temperature adjusted to something that Elizabeth must find normal on an ordinary day, but which feels scalding to John after two hours batting down the hatches in the driving storm outside. He hasn't been able to feel his fingers for at least half an hour, and now they're burning in the water like all the rest of his skin.
Elizabeth starts under the hot shower and he maneuvers her mostly out of the stream. She rests against the wall and he sags against her, chin on her shoulder, her frozen cheek against his and her teeth chattering in his ear. Icy water drips onto his skin from her hair as he leans a little closer against her, and he sends out a silent grateful prayer to the universe. His grandmother always said he'd find religion somewhere.
His hands are stiff as he fumbles with the collar of her jacket. Her skin is so cold that he has to force himself to breathe normally when he thinks about what almost happened.
She was almost gone. Just like that. He couldn't even hear the sound of her feet slipping with the churning water and wind. The ocean swells looked like things alive with his vision obscured by rain and the effort of not letting go.
Her hand comes up to grab his, keeping him from pushing the outer layer of soaked fabric from her shoulders. She should stop him. He shouldn't be here, in her quarters, in her bathroom, not when they're on duty or in the middle of the worst ocean storm they've seen here yet. It's reasonable after being outside in the driving rain and with the situation mostly under control that they abandon their posts to take hot showers. It's not reasonable that they take them together.
Her voice is hoarse from screaming in the wind. "John..."
He doesn't plan to kiss her, but finds his mouth at her collarbone as he pulls the jacket down her arms. He tries to toss the jacket out of the shower entirely but the weight of it pulls it down short of that with a slap of wet cloth. The feeling is slowly coming back into his hands and the heat of the shower on his bare arms and face feels more like a relief than a shock as his skin warms. Her lips are still a little blue over chattering teeth and all he wants to do is kiss her -- it scares him a little how badly he wants that. He peels her shirt from her waist and he doesn't know if it's exhaustion or sense that makes her hesitate before lifting her arms to let him take it off her.
Even her bra is soaked through, practical black fabric with an edge of lace clinging to her pale skin. It strikes him like a kick to the stomach how beautiful she is.
He can see the beginnings of dark lines across her ribs where she hit the edge of the balcony on her way down and angry marks on her arms from his fingers where he grabbed her and held on for dear life against the storm. God, she bruises easily, and that physical frailty in her makes his throat clench. He almost lost her. One second later on his instinctive grab for her and the wind would have ripped her away forever, just like that.
She's still shivering, even in the hot shower, and that gives him a real reason to get her out of her rainsoaked clothes.
He reaches for her bra.
Elizabeth stops him with a hand on his chest. Her fingers curl just a little into the wet cloth of his t-shirt. She frowns and looks torn for a moment, the great negotiator at a loss for the words to tell him off. He should give her a break and leave of his own accord. He blames the ice still left in his blood for his inability to move away.
"We're not drunk," she finally says.
They don't do this, not sober, not without an excuse. Every time they have sex it's because they've been drinking. They insist to themselves and each other that's the only reason why, even if they seek out each other unfailingly after the third drink, or the second, or the first. Even if, sometimes, he thinks they drink more than they want to on purpose. Even if they've never used the same excuse to go home with anyone else.
They're not drunk. The adrenaline and other emotions (he isn't going to say fear, but that's what he means) coursing through him has him feeling unbalanced like a drug, but they're not drunk.
She nods, slightly, and gives him a look of sympathy and understanding and leftover fear of her own. She's the one who almost died, was almost tossed out into the churning seas by gale-force winds and a slipped handhold -- he can't be the only one here needing someone to cling to.
He takes off her bra, peels it from her arms, and realizes this is the first time he's undressed her in proper light. He can't think about it too much or he'll lose his nerve, and he needs this right now. It's a weakness, but for a few minutes he needs to pretend this is okay. If he can't touch her right now he feels like he will lose something, some measure of sanity, some part of himself that relies to a dangerous degree on having Elizabeth here waiting for him.
He doesn't have to touch her.
She touches him.
Her fingers, still cold, brush across his stomach and then tug at the hem of his soaked t-shirt.
John kisses her. Even though he's done it before, it feels like he has just let slip his handhold on that hurricane-swept balcony and he's waiting to see if she'll catch him.
Because they don't do this. They're needed in the control tower but that's pushed out of his head by the overwhelming need to be right here.
Elizabeth's arms wrap around his shoulders, and he feels a little weak with relief that she isn't pushing him away.
"I want you," she whispers. Her fingers dig into his shoulder blades with the frightening tenacity he felt on their clasped hands when he thought she was losing her grip. "John, please."
She never says please.
This isn't all that he wants, but this is what they have -- one minute and they've stripped down and kicked the piles of wet clothing away from the drains, and then she's braced against the ledge on the shower wall and holding him to her. Neither of them are really ready and she's cool and tight and shaking, and he groans into her neck on each thrust, growing harder inside her and wishing they were in her bed, that this were comforting and reconnecting and slow and sweet, but he can't stop moving, trying to get closer.
Elizabeth gasps for air between kisses. Her chest jerks against his with her sharp, silent sobs that John can't stop. He's at a loss for comforting words -- for words at all -- and can only try to keep her warm and alive, on solid ground.
When it's over, everything is still except hot water, beating down on them.
He finds words. "You're okay," he promises in her ear, to both of them.
She presses her cheek to his -- warmer now, thank God -- and then kisses him so gently it's almost like she didn't touch him at all.
The stillness, unfortunately, can't last. As his own body calms down, John can feel the vaguely sick sensation of the city sliding in and out of equilibirium on the roiling waves. Elizabeth pushes on his shoulder to separate them.
"We have to get back," she says. With her back to him, John can see even more signs of bruising from their fight against the hurricane. They'll both be sore in the morning.
That doesn't explain the strange hollow in his chest that started on the balcony and hasn't gone away.
"You can rest, Elizabeth," he tries. "It's just damage control now. I can page you if the situation changes."
She goes back to work anyway, of course. He would never expect anything different, not from her. As she gets dressed in dry clothes and hands him pants and a shirt that he must have left here once upon a time, he notices that she already seems to be back on top of everything, like she's already getting over it. Still, John feels strangely disappointed when they leave her quarters together, like he hasn't done enough.
He resolves that, until the current crisis is over, he's not going to let her out of his sight.
- end -
p.s. It's also 1013, and I dreamed about X-Files! YAY.