The water ripples and churns. A series of ficlets. 58 - They had rules.
15 March 2007
X/A – Far too cliché, but I couldn't help it...
They had rules. He didn't know how they had rules because they never talked about it, but on him they settled, suffocating and sour like the sweat that prickled under his knees and on his back.
The first rule was silence.
She had her back to him, bending slightly to wipe her thighs.
The second was no contact. Not afterwards.
She lifted hair that clung damp and limp to her neck. She was so close that he could see the fine hairs at her nape lift and bristle in the cooling air, but he couldn't touch. She was a medusa, turning his limbs to stone with fear.
The third was that she always left.
Sometimes it was during the day, a sparring session that ended abruptly in a flurry of lips and rough hands, and sometimes early evening, when she tells the blonde that she's gone hunting, but this was the first time it had been night.
He'd sought her out. To talk. To end this farce. He hadn't expected her to smile at him and lean into him, as if they were lovers.
But now, with the thin sheets twisted tightly around his legs, the taste of bile in his mouth, and her indifferent glances, he cursed his weakness.
"Stay," he blurted out, reaching a hand out to grab her wrist.
Her glare was cold and rasped directly over his nerves.
"No," Xena said, and pulled away.
Somehow, he hadn't thought it would sting so much.
He'd avoided her successfully for half a year before a dip in the bed and the heat of another body woke him.
He hated being weak. He loathed his hands for reaching out for her soundlessly, as if determined not to break the rules this time.
Her hands shook when they intercepted his and held them in place.
"Ares…" she said, her voice remarkably steady.
She pushed his hands down and tugged the heavy winter blanket until she settled under it.
"Sleep," Xena muttered.
Her eyes closed. A long moment later, as if sensing his mistrustful stare, she burrowed deeper into the cave of warmth his body had already created.
Her voice was muffled and resentful. "I'm not leaving."