by Melanie-Anne

He watches her sleep. The black satin nightgown against her skin makes it appear like ivory in the moonlight. Her hair, tousled on the pillow, calls for his fingers to smooth through its tangled length. He wants to touch her. He wants to feel the silky strands in his hands. He wants to know the warmth of her body, soft and pliant against his own.

She is his drug - addictive and intoxicating. His kryptonite, though he would never claim to be Superman. His enemies tried to use her against him and they failed. Because she is also his Beatrice, his savior.

He kneels at the side of the bed, bending so close that his nose is just millimeters from her face. Her breath is hot on his skin. He inhales the scent that is unique to her. She smells like sunshine and freedom.

Her pulse throbs in her throat. It is almost hypnotic in its regularity. (If he truly was the monster everyone thought, his mouth would be locked on that offering, drinking her blood like a modern Dracula.)

His self-control fails him. The ache has turned into desperate need. He reaches for her, then catches himself just in time.

No. Not without her permission.

He is about to stand when she opens her eyes. Shock registers on her face, quickly turning to confusion. He puts a finger to his lips.

She smiles uncertainly and he is pleased to note that she is unafraid. She sits up, keeping her gaze on him. He sits on the edge of the bed.

Nothing is said. Neither wish to bring words into this moment - words lie. Bodies don't.

She takes his hand, giving it a gentle tug to encourage him to move closer.

Her lips are as soft as he imagined. She is more willing than he could have hoped. Both know this is likely the only night they'll have together - the odds are stacked too high against their fairytale ending.

(In the morning, she'll pass it off as a moment of weakness and spend the rest of her life denying it ever happened. He'll remember it as the single most fulfilling and painful event in his life - leaving her will be the hardest thing he's ever had to do.)

Tonight, though, neither are thinking of the future. All that matters, right now, is the consummation of two souls who have managed to find their other halves - if only for a heartbeat in eternity.

She is asleep again when he leaves. The marks on her body will fade with time until only the indelible marks on her heart will remind her of him.

When he aches for her, he will visit this room in his mind; every detail as vivid as it is now.

He doesn't dare look back. If he did, he would never be able to leave.


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