Vulnerable

Chapter 1 of The Suicide Mission

The sensation of control returned to him in a flash of confusion. He could hear himself breathing with labor. Weakness in his muscles, dizziness in head. Memory of flying, no, of falling, falling through a wormhole, losing sense of weight, losing sense of self, going deeper, ever deeper into her. He could feel his heartbeat, shallow, rapid. How long has he been like this, suspended between worlds? A couple of seconds or a couple of minutes? Her face was flushed and so warm he could feel her heat shining on him. Sweat all over her forehead. Her eyes were wet as well. He struggled to remember the word, it had no equivalent in his tongue. Tears.

Distress, despair? That didn’t make sense.

Unless it did.

He tried to speak, throat dry. He swallowed. “You ok?”

“Mhmmmm.”

She smiled, she kissed him on the mouth, the touch of her lips soothed all his fears, the movement of her body sent his into another blissful spasm, an aftershock, flying again, no, falling, giving himself up, giving everything, everything! His hand was already entangled in her hair, he held her close, pressing his forehead against hers, his mouth against those soft, juicy lips. Her body surrendered and they trembled together once again.

He’d lost all sense of time. A couple of minutes or a couple of hours since they’d begun? He didn’t want to move, but perhaps he was too heavy for her? As he made the motion to lift himself up, her grip on him tightened so he stayed. He wanted to know how she felt. Was it wise to ask? Chances were, she didn’t feel the way he did. Nobody could. Not even he will ever feel like this again. He was falling apart. In a good way, but still. What had he expected? He couldn’t remember. But it wasn’t this.

Snuggling his nose into her neck, he took in her scent. If only they could stay like this forever, one being, complete. Perfect. Her hand moved up from where it had been resting on his waist, seeking out unplated skin, tickling, up against his side and shoulder, finally pressing the back of his neck, drawing him closer, ever closer.

Maybe she did feel the same way after all.

He propped himself up so he could look at her. There were still tears trickling from the angles of her eyes. Resting on his right arm, he touched her face with his left, smearing the tears, asking the question with his eyes.

She smiled, weakly, shook her head just a bit, he could see what a chore it was to move, a very familiar feeling. She started to speak but had to clear her throat first. He smiled.

“It’s nothing,” she whispered. “Don’t worry.”

By way of an answer, he dived into her neck again. If only he could consume her, breathe her in, or, even better, be consumed by her, become vapor and enter her every pore, so that they could never be divided again. His rational mind was rising in critique of the childish fantasy but he was still high on euphoria, and could shut it up, just this once, let me not think, let me just wallow in feeling.


A rude mechanical voice broke the silence, pulling him back to unwelcoming reality.

“Shepard. ETA to Omega Four Relay: fifteen minutes.”

There was his answer: they were in communion for an hour. It was difficult to believe. He’d been as good as unconscious at least half that time, flying in ecstasy. He’d never thought it could happen with a human, not even with Shepard. Not like this.

And now it was over. He could feel her heartbeat speeding up, her chest heaving, but she didn’t make a move to get up. A minute passed, two.

“It’s time, Shepard,” he said, choosing the gentlest notes.

Her lips found his left ear, and the words came on the tiniest of whispers: “I don’t want to go.”

He held her even closer. Could she feel his heartbeat through the plating on his chest? It was all for her.

“I don’t want you to go,” she whispered, a hint of despair on her breath.

It was a rare thing, to witness Shepard lacking in determination, and he was honored to borrow some to her. This once, he was the stronger one.

“We must,” he said, pushing himself up, forcing the painful separation. This time, he didn’t let her stop him. Leaving her exposed and trembling and radiating all the heat that they’d accumulated together, leaving her so vulnerable, seemed like the hardest thing he’d ever had to do. He couldn’t bear to look at her, and strode away as quickly as he could. The bathroom door was too slow to open and he hit it with the back of his hand.

When he got out, he was himself again, and he was relieved to see she was as well. Wrapped in a sheet, she was typing into her terminal.

“Five minutes,” she said. “Think I’ll make it?”

“If you hurry.”

She slipped by him, letting the sheet drop, and disappeared in the bathroom. They didn’t make eye contact. Whatever it was, whatever had happened, it would have to wait. Perhaps an eternity.


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