A Second Glance (The Falling Is Like This Remix)
by Kyra Cullinan

Remix of A Second Glance by Sara Goose.

Kira is used to the layering of sex and work. Years in the Resistance, living hand to mouth, day to day, and taking comfort when you could, in the bodies of your cell mates. Not love, never anything so futile or distracting, but the raw solace of sex, silent night fumblings, the quick heat and pull of someone else's skin. And it meant nothing the next morning, when you rose, dirty as always, for another endless day of fighting and hatred and fear. The easy, absent toss of a phaser rifle from the hand of last night's bedmate, like nothing had happened.

What she doesn't know how to handle is the sharp rush of intimacy she somehow stumbled upon with Miles, of all the people on this station. His strong, deft fingers on her ribs in warm bathwater. Long, meandering conversations on nights when the baby kicked too much to let her rest, while the station slumbered around them. The twin flashes of gentleness and humor in his eyes, and the silent current of understanding, about war and memories and hating Cardassians in a way too visceral for words.

It's three months that her body's been her own again, and she is grateful to slip back into regularities of balance and craving. What's worse is adjusting to the solitude which had never bothered her before, abandoned both within and without. Divest of the baby that was never hers and the steady companionship of not living alone.

She can’t sleep tonight, overworked, overtired and overwhelmed by the silences in her own quarters. She’s done her regular insomnia-driven circuit of the station, wandering the pylons and habitat rings she knows better than anywhere on Bajor, finding solace in the movement of her own muscles. She ends up at Quark’s; there’s an empty table in the back, half-hidden by a pillar, and she grabs it, letting the hum of the bar rise and fall around her. Her mind is going in insufferable circles tonight. Remembering the aborted, near-disastrous runabout trip Keiko had orchestrated, solicitous and ignorant. The look of terror on Miles’ face that matched the twist in her stomach; the certainty that if they were alone together for so long they would be undone.

Neither of them is stupid. They have both been carefully avoidant since then, resisting the pull, pretending it doesn’t exist while they cautiously work around its reality. She’s carried his baby but never kissed him, and while she’s far from sentimental, that hardly seems fair. If things had been different, he said, and her whole life is a serious of sentences that start that way, so she tries not to let this one bother her so much. Still, she is unaccustomed to unrequited anything, and it chafes. She misses him.

It takes long minutes before she realizes she’s been staring at the empty bottom of her glass for an indeterminate amount of time. Quark is leaving her alone for once, for which she's wordlessly grateful but she lacks the inclination to go get her drink refilled. She doesn't feel like talking to anyone. And then Miles rounds the corner, as perfectly and disconcertingly as if she’d summoned him, and she realizes maybe she does.

He looks tired, weary to a degree that only comes with chronic sleep depravation. He smiles tightly and blames the baby, when Sisko or Dax mentions it, and he says the same thing tonight. They are quiet, mostly, and he seems nervous, off-kilter. His face has the tightness she associates with Keiko’s raised voice hissing behind closed doors. When she offers to leave, he tells her not to, so she stays. His smile hurts to look at.

He pours two finger-widths of his drink into her glass, and she gulps it down in one swallow. It burns, earth whiskey, and she feels her tongue numb slightly.

The baby, she tells herself, so they talk about him, and Molly, and Keiko, friendly Keiko who had her over for lunch last week. Kira feels sick, unfoundedly guilty; he offers to walk her back to her quarters and she does not say no. The station always seems different during this shift, the late hours of what passes for night, but now reality feels especially strange, and she can’t tell if it’s her exhaustion or the alcohol or something else entirely. Everything is slow and sudden all at once. He keeps looking at her.

The kiss is almost accidental, as if the only real decision had been made when she asked him in for tea, and maybe it had. And then they’re far too close, as she reaches around him to put down the cup, and it’s far too easy to be kissing him, mouth to mouth, deepening, falling, every instant an eternity of yes and no tangled up all at once. Desire and guilt make her lightheaded with their twinned intensity.

They stop, and there is nothing to say, only the press of his body against hers and then the second kiss, hard and wet and desperate and earnest. Miles tastes like want and impossibility; his tongue flicks out to draw hers into his mouth with more focus than she can fathom.

If he leaves now, it will still be all right. If he leaves, they can pretend this didn’t happen. They can still escape.

She touches him.

He does not leave.


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