TITLE: Insomnia

AUTHOR: Tasha

EMAIL: tasha@thetruth.de

POSTED: January 15, 2002

DISCLAIMER: I'm not worthy to sharpen Chris Carter's
pencil.

CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: S, A, DSR, some MSR,
Doggett POV

RATING: NC-17

SPOILERS: NIHT II

ARCHIVE: Have it, just let me know where it goes.

SUMMARY/TIMELINE: Mulder seems to be gone for
good. Scully has left the X-Files, Doggett has trouble
sleeping, and both of them have trouble dealing with what
is left.

Takes place some time after NIHT II.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

There have been some discussions lately about Doggett
being the "new Mulder" and the upsides and downsides of
this concept. Frankly, I don't think Doggett will be written
to act as another Mulder as S9 progresses  Mulder will be
Mulder and Doggett will be Doggett, and their quests are
totally different  but I was intrigued by the thought that
the two men have more in common than meets the eye.
Here's what I made out of that.

This story deals with sleeping disorder. I know insomnia is
a serious problem for those affected by it, and I did not
intend to play it down, or offend anyone.

Beta thanks to half the world: Cattie, Anne H., Feuerkopf.
Thanks for your support. You rock, ladies.

NC-17 DSR? Yes, I know there was Trust No One. Yes,
I've seen Doggett and Reyes in 4-D. But truth is relative.
And DSR makes me happy.


On with the show.




X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X





His sleepless nights were filled with faces from his past.


Sleep, he had to admit to himself, was the first thing he'd
lost since he'd started working on the X-Files. He had not
had a good night's sleep in months. Now the rumors he
had occasionally heard about Fox Mulder's notorious
insomnia were beginning to make sense, after all.

And while he lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling and
waiting for the sun to rise, he had to admit another fact.

His heart was the second thing he had lost.

With an almost angry twist of his body, he turned to face
the window. No lights outside, just the gentle rustling
sound of the leaves in front of his house. The day had not
yet begun.

In those hovering hours between midnight and daybreak,
which had become so familiar to him now, the concept of
time had an almost fragile touch to it, and more or less
everything seemed possible. If a spaceship were to appear
right now in his bedroom, he'd probably just shrug his
shoulders and wait for the second one to follow on behind.

Spaceships, though, never come when you wait for them.
Same thing with love, right?

Same thing.

He sighed and closed his eyes.

There was something strangely familiar about the whole
situation. It felt wrong and right at the same time. Had he
missed something? Where had things gone awry? Was it
supposed to be that way? He was the one who cared, and
who would do anything to keep her and her baby safe. He
was the one she'd call at night and when she was afraid,
the one who was always there for her and who would
never let her down. Or leave her. But he would also be
more, much more than that if he could. If she would only
let him. And that, right there, was the difficult part of the
deal.

At times, he felt guilty about his feelings. He felt like a
schoolboy who couldn't get over his first love. He felt like
he was intruding, barging in, disregarding her situation for
his own selfish ends.

But then again, John Doggett had been feeling guilty for a
long time. By now, he had almost grown used to it.

He had felt guilty for letting his buddies down when the
bullets had pierced his knee, in Lebanon all those years
ago. He had felt guilty as he finally left the Corps so that
his wife wouldn't have to worry so much. And then, he
had felt guilty for joining the NYPD.

"But why?", she had said to him that night, anger in her
voice and in her eyes, "why can't you just get a job that
won't have me praying every night for you to come
home?"

He hadn't said a word, knowing that she didn't want to
hear the only answer he could have given her.

Nowadays, he didn't even have any answers any more,
most of the time.

He knew perfectly well that he would always feel guilty
for having been too late, too slow, too vulnerable on that
warm and sunny August afternoon. He even recalled the
way the sky had looked, how the watery blue had spread
over the scene that was about to change his life forever.
"Like the blue bed sheet of a giant!" Luke would have
laughed.

Time may be a healer, but it doesn't wash away guilt.

Ever since the chaos of a loved one's death had unfolded
around him and his life had tumbled down before his tired
eyes, John Doggett felt the guilt threatening to tear him
apart.

And ever since, he had felt guilty for having the strength
to survive the death of his son.

And the death of his wife.

Years later, he could still see himself holding her blood-
stained farewell letter, thinking, "It's my fuckin' fault."

So yes, falling in love with his partner, a woman who, he
knew, could not and would never return his love, made
perfect sense in its own sick, twisted way.

Ever since he had seen the soft expression that glimmered
in her eyes every time she looked at Mulder he knew he
could never ask her to love him. Heck, even *see* him. So
he felt guilty instead.

It was cold in his bedroom. As always. He liked it that
way. Whenever the memories came to him and weighed
heavily on his chest, the cold and the darkness were his
shelter. The cool air on his bare skin made him forget the
once familiar warmth of a body beside him, long Sunday
mornings spent in bed, the touch of soft hands on his
body, the laughter of his son downstairs.

But sometimes, it was just too warm to leave the past
behind.

With a deep sigh, he shrugged off the sheets and heaved
his naked body out of the bed. This had been just one
more of these long nights without much sleep, but sleep
was actually the last thing he missed these days. There
were other things to regret. And other things to run away
from.

He headed to his bathroom, and by the time the cold water
hit his skin he was already engulfed in thoughts
concerning the day at the office which lay ahead of him.


Thank God for distraction.




"Mornin', Monica," he said as he entered the room,
noticing once again that the basement office was just a bit
too gloomy for his taste. If the lights were to blame for
this or if it was something else, he couldn't tell. But if he
thought about it, he'd have to say it was probably
'something else'.

His partner, musing over some files scattered across her
desk, looked up as he stepped past her. The smile on her
lips froze as soon as their eyes locked.

"John? Have you been sleeping lately?" she asked, the
worried tone of her voice mingled with quiet irony and
also some reproach.

Continuing his morning routine with studied reserve, he
sat down at his desk and glanced casually over the file she
had placed there for him.

"Yeah, sure," he replied irritably. After all the years he had
known her now, he had still not gotten used to being an
open book to her.

"Why?"

"Because you sure don't look like you have," she said,
studying him closely.

"And you look great, too," he remarked and was strangely
relieved to see her smile at his joke.

"Seriously, it's just the case, I guess. No need for you to
worry, Mon. I'm fine."

As he watched her nod at his assertion, he knew that she
didn't believe him, but he pretended not to have noticed
her doubtful look.

"Anybody call?"

"Are you waiting for someone specific to call?" she
countered and grinned as he stopped short at her question.
She waited a beat before she casually pointed at the
notepad on his desk.

"Danny called for you. He said he had the contacts you
asked for. And you owe him money. Betting on the wrong
team again are you, John?"

He frowned, then raised his eyebrows at her in mock
disappointment. "Sure looks like it."

She smiled at him and for the first time that morning he
noticed that she was wearing her glasses. He liked her
glasses. They made her look even more adept and reliable
and thorough than he knew she was. For a moment, he
asked himself if that held true for all female agents
wearing glasses, and as his thoughts began to wander off
to his former partner, he picked up the phone and called
Danny.


Thank God for distraction.



X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X



He was grateful for rainy nights.

At first, when his sleeping problems had finally become
too stubborn to ignore, he had hoped the soft rhythm of
rain drops thudding against the window pane would lull
him to sleep, but since he had given up that hope as well
he simply listened to the soft sound of water on glass
during rainy nights. It was, at least, something to keep him
occupied while he waited for the sun to rise, and somehow
it convinced him that all was not yet lost. Yet sometimes
he would still drift off into a shallow sleep during the early
morning hours when it was raining outside, dreaming
vivid, colorful dreams just like the ones he had had when
he was a boy.

Not tonight, though.

With a sigh, he pushed the sheets aside and stood up. As
he padded to the window to close it, he noticed that the air
smelled of rain and damp leaves, and something else he
couldn't quite put his finger on. All of a sudden he became
painfully aware of how quiet his bedroom was, and he felt
a rising urge to cough loudly or turn on the TV or say
something, anything, but he certainly wasn't yet ready to
cross that boundary and start talking to himself. That
thought was a tremendous relief.

So he pushed the window shut with a bang, shook off
these thoughts and flicked the light switch. A lit room, he
had learned in these last few years, was less quiet than a
dark room, no matter how empty it might be. While
thinking of a good way to begin this Saturday, and
carefully avoiding looking at his watch as he did so, he put
on sweat pants and a blue t-shirt. Only moments later, he
had already decided to spend himself on a long bike ride.
Maybe this would blur out the thoughts that were
beginning to take over his mind
again.

Scully.

In those sleepless hours, far away from every distraction
he had so carefully positioned in his daily schedule, he
saw her everywhere. Her voice was in his ears, her soft
touch was on his arm. He wished she'd look at him one
day, look him straight in the eyes and let him show her
what she really meant to him. Yes, she had let him take
care of her, she had even let him save her life more than
once, she had graced him with a thank you and a hug, an
occasional smile and a warm hand on his arm.

But she was too far away for him to show her how much
he ached for her.

Maybe, he thought, maybe he just wanted her so badly
because he knew perfectly well that she would never be
his?

Absently, he raised his hand at the thought as if trying to
block it off. He refused to think any more.

Descending the stairs in the semi-darkness that filled his
house, he tried to remember where he'd put his keys the
night before. He spotted them on the small entry table,
right next to the flashlight he always kept there. Grabbing
them swiftly, he opened the front door.

And froze instantly.


What was she doing here?

What was she doing in front of his house on a Saturday
morning? Why was she slowly walking up to his door? To
him?

Why was she here?


"Agent Scully? Are you alright?"

He almost instantly bit his lip. Yeah, sure, that's why she's
spending some time in your front yard on a Saturday
morning, because she's totally alright, you moron.

With a sad smile, she acknowledged his question, but
refused to answer it. Slowly she came closer. He could see
she had been crying, and she looked so tired and miserable
that his heart sank. Months, he thought. For months he had
tried to forget her, and every single day he had failed
miserably.

She looked at him in that quiet, pleading way of hers, and
stepping aside, he let her in without another word. He
couldn't remember when or why she'd been in his house
before, but he knew very well that she had. The familiarity
with which she entered his house, never even looking back
at him, made him hold his breath.

Quietly he closed the door. Her soft scent already hung in
the air surrounding him. When she turned around to face
him, he suddenly wondered if he was dreaming. But he
hadn't been able to sleep lately, right? Can you dream
without sleeping?

"Thank you, John," she said, her voice wavering slightly.

You probably can.

He nodded, not quite sure what to say. "For what?"

She had to smile at his puzzled expression.

"Dana, there's no need..." The look in her eyes silenced
him.

"You've always made it hard for me to thank you. Please,
let me. Just this one time."

He swallowed. "It - it just doesn't make any sense."

"What doesn't?"

"You standing in my hallway. Talking to me on a Saturday
morning."

She shifted uncomfortably and lowered her head. Doggett
felt the strong urge to go to her, to gather her in his arms
and tell her that he was sorry. Sorry for everything he
might have done to her. Sorry for everything anybody
might ever have done to her.

But he stayed where he was, too afraid of how she might
react.

"Have you ever wanted something so bad and looked for it
so desperately that you didn't see it when it was right there
before your eyes?" she asked, her voice a husky murmur.
Looking down at her clasped hands, he noticed that her
fingers were twitching nervously.

What was she saying?

"I've been looking a long time now. I've been running
away from myself more times than I can count, and all it
has brought me - "

"No," he said. "Don't."

With four big steps he was beside her, and he hesitated
only for a moment before placing his hand on her shoulder
and squeezing it gently. She needs some kleenex, go get
her some, he thought. And then he winced. Yeah, right,
kleenex. In his house.

Stubbornly holding back the tears that threatened to
overcome her, she reached out for him, spread her arms,
and a moment later he felt her body leaning against his.

"I'm sorry," she sobbed.

"Shhh." He soothingly ran a hand up and down her back.
She pressed her cheek against his chest and he felt her
body relax under his touch as the sobs slowly subsided.

This is not happening.

Her hands moved up to the nape of his neck and before he
could resist  not that he would have   she was gently
pulling him closer, pulling his mouth to her lips. A few
seconds passed before he realized that he wasn't dreaming.
Then he returned the kiss with the ferocity of a man who
had waited for this moment so long it had cost him his
sleep. As her lips parted and he felt her tongue searching
for his, he moaned against her mouth and whispered her
name. For a second, he wanted to stop. This could not be
right. It's borrowed time, his rational mind kept on telling
him, but he didn't even care. She's not in love with you,
she's just lonely now, his pride tried to tell him, but he
didn't want to listen.

She was there. That was all that mattered.

- End of Part One -

Closing his eyes, he pulled her into his embrace, placing a
trail of kisses from her cheek down to her neck, running
his hands over her body as if he feared she would
disappear into thin air at any moment. When he swept her
into his arms and carried her upstairs to his bedroom, she
smiled in sweet surrender.

As they reached the top of the stairs, she struggled with
him to set her down, and as he did so, reluctantly, his arms
wrapped around her shoulders, she stood on the tip of her
toes to kiss him on the lips again. She pushed up the hem
of his shirt and slipped her hand under it, knowing how
cold her fingers were from her wait outside not long ago.
He winced as she put her hand flat to his warm stomach,
but didn't pull away one inch. Mischief shining in her
eyes, she let her hand wander over his naked skin and
kissed him as she stepped backwards and led him to the
bedroom door. She had been in this part of his house
before, and she remembered well. Not once did she turn
back to find her way. She didn't have to.

Carefully, he maneuvered her to the bed and sank to his
knees in front of her, gently pulling her down with him so
that she sat on the edge of the bed. She took his face in her
hands and stroked his cheeks, touched his nose, traced his
eyebrows and let her hands wander through his hair. When
she realized that he was watching her silently, she smiled
and placed her left hand over his eyes.

"Don't look at me like this," she said, her voice both
playful and serious at the same time.

"Yes, ma'am," he answered and obediently turned his head
away from her. "Why not, though?"

Her soft laugh was a relieved, grateful gesture more than
anything else.

"Because you can see through me," she said.

He locked his eyes with hers in tense sincerity as he
untangled his hand from the bed sheets and brought it up
to her face. She pulled him to her and claimed his lips with
a longing he had never expected.

Not that he had ever expected anything like this at all.

A thought flashed through his mind and left a trail of guilt.
Could he claim something she wouldn't give him? Was
this right? Was he thinking of her, too? And of all the
others involved?

Hesitantly, he started to pull away from her embrace and
was about to stand up when she tensed and grabbed his
hands. She didn't let him go. He turned his head slightly so
that his lips were close to her ear. Her sweet smell woke a
comfortable warmth deep inside his stomach.

"Dana," he whispered, his voice thick with a desire he felt
obliged to conceal from her, but before he could go on to
tell her how sorry he was, she had already raised her head
to look at him. He realized that she was silently asking
him to help her, to stay with her, to make it all bearable,
and for a second, he was reminded of all those nights he
had spent lying awake and thinking of her. He leaned in to
kiss her.

A small sound, something between a soft, relieved laugh
and a sob escaped her throat as she clasped her hands
behind his back and devoured the sensations his kiss gave
her. At her reaction Doggett felt the heat spread within his
body and he concentrated on breathing slowly, regularly,
struggling for control and gladly losing. He let his hands
wander over her skin, regretting that he couldn't touch her
everywhere at the same time. His lips never left hers as he
stood up and gently laid her down on his bed. She didn't
let go of his shirt and pulled him with her, welcoming him
into her arms with a soft, deep moan that made him shiver
with both desire and despair.

Their kisses grew fiercer, hungrier, and Scully buried her
fingers in his short hair already damp with sweat and heat.
He pinned her down with his weight, and her nipples
hardened under the thin cotton of her shirt. Instinctively,
she raised her chin to him and let her hands wander again
to his neck. He paused for a moment as her invitation
registered in his mind, then his fingers began to move
down and began to unbutton her shirt, painfully slow. She
closed her eyes with a sigh. He barely touched her naked
skin, lingering over her stomach, and all the while he
watched her face, a solemn look in his eyes and an awed
expression of surrender on his face. He knew she could
feel his warm breath on her body as he slowly bent down
to her, waiting for her reaction.

After what seemed like an eternity to him, Scully finally
opened her eyes. The sight of tears glistening in them
made him stop short. All color was gone from her cheeks.
As she realized that he was watching her with concern, she
went limp. Her eyes drifted shut, and her lips trembled.
With an absent shake of his head, Doggett tried to ignore
the scent of sex that already hung in his nostrils and
carefully lay down beside her. He placed his hand
protectively on her shoulder and waited for her to talk to
him. He didn't ask her what was wrong, and he didn't tell
her to stop crying. He knew better than to push her.

He had already been where she was now. All he could do
was wait.

The cool silence that suffused the air in his bedroom
slowly spilled into every corner. It dimmed the sunlight
falling through the window to a dull carpet of shades and
was his familiar companion as he quietly watched Scully.

Maybe, he thought, maybe that was why he lay awake at
night, listening to the silence, making sure it was still
there, because without it, things would be different.

And without her, things would be different, too.

Fox Mulder's notorious insomnia did make sense, after all.

After more time had passed than he was aware of, he
heard her soft voice. He turned his head to look at her and
tried to ignore the cold air on his skin.

She told him about her thoughts, about the pain, the fear
and the loss, and his eyes never left her face.

She told him how Mulder had held her, how Mulder used
to look at her in that special way that he had, how he
would watch her in complete silence and stillness. She told
him that she missed him. She told him that she was
beginning to see Mulder in every man. She told him that
there had been times when she had felt alone in Mulder's
presence as well as in his absence. She told him that she
hadn't felt alone for some time now. And then she cried.

"Your kiss reminded me of him. And the way you looked
at me "

Quietly, he took her hand in his, cradled her body in his
arms, wrapped the blanket around them both and closed
his eyes as he felt her body press against his side. He
softly whispered soothing words into her ear and watched
her drift off into a merciful sleep.

Later he would tell her that he still saw his wife in every
woman, his son in every boy. That some memories are
sadder than others, that they hurt more than anything else,
but that time not only heals, but also makes you
understand. He would tell her that. If she wanted him to.

She shifted and sighed in her sleep, and her right hand
landed on his chest as she turned over. Carefully, he
covered it with his.

Losing track of time, he lay by her side and watched her
sleeping, awed by the thought that she was in his house. In
his bed. And in his arms. Occasionally, she would sigh or
mumble softly in her dreams, and then he would touch her
hand or her arm or, very tenderly, her cheek to let her
know he was there.

He almost envied her as he watched her sleep, her body
curled into a ball and her copper hair framing her face.
Sorrow and tears make a good sleeping pill, he recalled
from personal experience.

But waking up alone makes it worse.

So he let her sleep off the pain and quietly waited by her
side.

At last, when the shadows grew longer, he realized that he
had spent a whole day watching over her as she slept, and
he wasn't even surprised. If she would let him, he'd watch
over her for the rest of his life.

She stirred. Taking a deep breath, she opened her eyes and
her gaze met his. The misty shade of slumber still lingered
in her eyes, yet she was smiling at him. He smiled back,
faintly, as if careful not to reveal too much. He failed.

Her hand on his chest moved downward and came to rest
at his stomach. Looking up again, she sought approval in
his eyes.

And saw his walls of defense tumble down in front of her,
walls built up during a lifetime of hurt and loss.

As he slid his arm around her back, caressing her ribs,
gently stroking the soft skin of her back, he had already
given up thinking about any consequences this encounter
might have.

She let her hand slip under the sheets, under his shirt, and
over his bare body, evoking small shivers of pleasure from
him. Her eyes softening with passion, she snuggled closer
to him and let her soft hands explore regions that he'd
never thought she'd touch. Oh yes, he had dreamed of her
hands touching him there, but...

The thought of spaceships landing in his bedroom briefly
crossed his mind.

Only briefly, because reality was far more demanding now
than spaceships could ever be to John Doggett.
Possessively, her lips found his and her hungry kiss and
her body pressing against his side made him fall, fall
backwards into her embrace and her love and her tender
touch.

"Dana..."

She leaned over him and kissed his lips again as her hand
wandered down and slipped under the waistband of his
pants. Her touch shot through his body like a jolt of
electricity and made him arch his back, bringing his body
closer to her hands. A hissing sound escaped his throat and
he bit his lip as he felt the heat wash over him. God, he
could come from her touch alone.

Desperately holding on to what little control he had left,
he let his hands glide over her back, her shoulders, the
silky skin of her neck, tracing her collar bone and finally
finding her breasts. For a precious moment, his fingers
lingered over her heart, then he slid his left hand up her
arm and held her still. The question in her eyes faded into
a feverish desire as he returned her gaze and gently pulled
her up to him, guiding her small body up to lie on top of
his, until her face was mere inches away from his and he
could feel her sweet weight.

He let his lips part as his warm fingertips drifted down her
back, following the line of her backbone to her ass and
kneading softly, stroking and teasing her with his hands.
She groaned as he pressed her middle firmly to his heated
body, but the sound subsided to a soft hum as he caught
her mouth with his lips. She buried her hands in his hair
and returned his kiss with the same promise he had given
as he kissed her.

I mean it. I promise.

When she adjusted her hips to his movements and opened
her legs to let him feel the heat and the wetness he evoked
in her, Doggett's heart missed a beat. He gasped against
her mouth and earned an impish grin from her. A soft
tickle began to spread through his whole body. Deeply
inhaling her scent, he tugged at her remaining clothes and
placed trails of small kisses on the flesh he exposed.
Through clouds of lust, he felt her hands on his body,
demandingly pulling him down to her. He gave in. As she
shifted under him and eased his pants down, he propped
up on his elbows and raised his hips to assist her,
wriggling off the superfluous garment.

He searched her eyes before lowering his body down to
her again. The feeling of her bare skin made his senses
dance and his breathing fade to a deep sigh, coming right
from his soul. For a second, he dared not move,
worshipping the moment, too afraid to destroy its magic
before they had both thoroughly tasted it.

But all too soon, that moment had passed and he gave in to
the heat in his loins. His hand slid down her thigh and
came to rest under her knee while he settled between her
legs. Then he lifted up her leg and placed it over his
shoulder. She was trembling slightly. Her hands travelled
over his chest, her heavy breath was warm on his skin, her
eyes begged him to finish what he had started. Yet he
paused for a moment to look at her.

Scully was glowing from inside, softened by her feelings
for him. Her eyes had turned into endless seas of blue, the
harshness of life's sorrows had gone from her face, tiny
beads of sweat covered her forehead. She knew perfectly
well what they were doing here. He felt his heart swell.
She had never been more beautiful to him than she was
now.

Her gentle lips on his stopped him from voicing that
thought. Sighing, he let his hand slip between her legs and
felt her tense and shiver. He found her clit and teased her,
slowly, evoking small cries from her as he pinned her
body to the mattress. "Close your eyes," he whispered,
barely recognizing his own voice, and as she did so, he
placed kisses on her eyelids, then continued down to her
mouth. His body was aching for hers.

He inched forward and found himself holding his breath as
he slowly slipped inside her. The sensation almost
shattered his sanity. He heard her gasp in surprise and felt
her fingers rake over his back. Pulling him closer, she
crossed her legs behind his back and he groaned,
desperately catching his breath and trying to relax his
clenched muscles. He didn't want this to be over before it
began.

When he trusted himself enough he slowly opened his
eyes and met hers. Almost dreamily, she was looking up at
him. Overwhelmed by what he saw in her eyes,
glimmering like a tender flame and unfolding further as he
watched, he brought a hand up to her face, brushed her
cheek, her sweaty temple. He felt the need to make sure
that she was real.

Smiling, she leaned in to his hand, accepting the caress
and offering an answer to his silent question by beginning
to move. Her small hands still against his chest, she thrust
her hips up to him and quickly found her rhythm, slow and
confident. He kissed her throat and felt her pulse throb
under his lips. Her salty taste, her soft moans and her body
beneath him, alive, real, as close to his as nature would
permit, mingled into a sea of feeling and touch and
warmth and tenderness as he began to move, adjusting to
her. Slowly at first, lingering in the first quiet moments of
their union, but his thrusts soon became more and more
urgent. He closed his eyes, shutting out his sense of sight
in order to concentrate on that other feeling, that complete,
eternal, breathtaking sensation of being one with her. His
head grew lighter and the room began to turn. His lips
pressed against her forehead, he buried himself deep
inside her, the tide of lust and love washing over him and
becoming his past, present, and future at the same time.
He barely noticed the ripple of her orgasm begin, but as
she cried out his name and her muscles jammed shut
around his cock, he moaned and let himself fall, following
her into a dimension they could only enter together.

For a moment, he thought he was dying. She was
everywhere, around him, inside of him, in his mind, in his
soul, filling him, making him complete during these brief
seconds of heaven. His blood rushed in his ears, his heart
hammered. And then, finally, he realized that he had never
felt so alive before. The white light that had exploded in
his head slowly dimmed, leaving a numb vacuum of
satisfaction, and revealed her face, smiling at him, her lips
red like wine and swollen from his kisses. He swallowed
and noticed that his mouth was dry. The world still spun
around him. He felt dizzy. And warm.

Her voice, deep and hoarse, floated vaguely around him.

"...John?"

Absently, he noticed that the cool silence was gone from
his bedroom. He turned his head to the window, puzzled.
It was already dark outside.

The touch of her fingers on his chin let the meaning of her
words seep into his consciousness.

"John? What is it?"

He pulled himself away from his faint bewilderment and
looked at her.

"John?"

He nodded slowly, then smiled at her. "I'm here," he
murmured and placed a gentle kiss on her lips. "Wouldn't
want to be anywhere else."

She smiled back at him, her eyes shining and her fingers
straying over his body. She returned the kiss and let it
deepen before she pulled back and sought his eyes,
studying him with a tenderness that warmed his heart. The
shade of a smile also vibrated in her voice as she finally
whispered, "You look tired."

He blinked and realized that his eyelids indeed felt as if
someone had dipped them in cement.

"Like you haven't been sleeping in a long time."

"I am tired," he answered, the significance of this
realization little more than a strange feeling in his gut.
Reluctantly, he withdrew from her and lay down at her
side, his legs entwined with hers. She snuggled closer and
rested her head on his shoulder. The scent of her hair and
the warmth of her body made him sigh. Gently, her hand
found his.

"Go to sleep," she breathed, her words not more than a
hint of air against his ear. Under other circumstances, a
certain thought might have crossed his mind  that she had
done this before. That she knew how to lull an insomniac
to sleep. From experience. But his mind already subdued
by the first layers of slumber, he simply nodded and
closed his eyes.

And fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.




  - End -
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