Title: Living is Easy
Author: alyse
Fandom: Blade: Trinity
Pairing: Abigail Whistler/Hannibal King
Word Count: 50,000
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: none

Summary: Summer rolls in, hot and humid, and the trail of the vampires they hunt turns cold. When King suggests that they follow the rich to their playgrounds, where vampires like to play at being rich, Abby realises that a summer on the road doesn't just bring sunny days; it brings a stripped down King and nothing to distract her. One way or another, she's going to get burned.

Masterlist: AO3 :: dreamwidth :: livejournal :: insanejournal

-o-

Previous Part: dreamwidth :: livejournal :: insanejournal

-o-

Their days start to fall into a pattern, one that's both different from and familiar to the routine she's used to. Each night, they hunt, and that's the same as it's always been, her and King against the world or at least against the part of it that comes out at night. They move together as they always have, perfectly in synch, and if there's a new tension there, a new awareness of King that sets her heart racing and quickens her breathing, she ignores it as much as she can.

It's the days that are the different part, odd and somehow surreal. She still drags King for a run when she can, when she wakes early enough and the mornings are cool enough, when the sun hasn't fully risen and before it's baked the world to a crisp. But once the sun is high in the sky, all bets are off. She's not used to this level of inactivity when she's awake, to not having a million and one errands to do, whether it's putting the squeeze on their few and scattered informants or making sure that the Honeycomb Hideout runs as smoothly as clockwork.

Now the days stretch out in front of her, golden and empty, nothing to fill them but King, and she likes that a little too much to be comfortable with it.

Their time in Twin Pines comes to the end, and King's already found them somewhere else to stay, a couple of hours drive south. The room this time comes with a/c, but it also comes with twin beds, and she misses him - the warmth of his body, his steady breathing as he sleeps next to her - so damned much, as though she needed that ache of his absence to tell her just how much fucking trouble she's in.

Most nights she lies awake for hours after a hunt - too wired too sleep, too tired to talk - and stares at the ceiling. It's only when she can't stand it anymore, when the need grows too great, that she rolls over onto her side, facing King's bed, and watches him sleep. It's sneaky and probably weird, but the sight of him, the knowledge that he's just there, that if she stretched out her fingers she could touch him - if she dared - settles her. She lets the sound of his deep, even breathing finally ease her down into unconsciousness, only waking when the sun's already up and King's in the shower.

It works, in an odd, guilty kind of a way, like scratching at an itch just long enough to ease it for a moment but not long enough to hurt; at least until the night when she rolls over and finds that he's still awake, watching her.

The breath catches in her throat, her heart skipping a beat as the moment stretches out, sweet and tempting like taffy. If she reached out now, if she took the first step across the two or three feet separating their beds...

Her courage fails her. She closes her eyes instead, her fingers tensed into claws beneath her head.

King's bed shifts and creaks and then, silence.

When she opens her eyes again, he's facing away from her, sprawled across his bed on top of the covers. The moonlight has made a shadow of the dip of his spine, the angle of his hip bone, and the sight dries out her mouth until there's nothing left but the bitter taste of regret on her tongue.

She doesn't sleep that night at all.

-o-

They drift, town to town, hotel to motel and back again, and after a while all of these places start to look the same. The same main streets, with their quaint little coffee shops and bric-a-brac art studios, the same strips with their expensive restaurants and bijou little artisan ice cream parlours.

The same faces even if they aren't the same people - confident and well-fed and fucking clueless.

King fits, better than she does. There's something about him, something sleek and confident, that lets him slide through the crowds as though they can't see past his glossy surface to the hunter underneath.

Abby doesn't feel like she fits. She doesn't feel glossy or well turned out next to the leggy tennis playing blondes and brunettes with their trim but not muscular figures and their habit of throwing their heads back when they laugh. She's self-contained, not flirtatious, and she sees the looks they give King as he walks past, speculative and considering, at least until they see her.

She doesn't give them the satisfaction, even if she picks up her pace, a quick one-two to her steps until she's caught up with King when she's lagged behind.

He always smiles at her when she catches up, cracks a joke about her propensity to window shop, something funny but not mean-spirited even though he can be as mean as she is sometimes. Every now and then he throws his arm around her shoulders, giving her a quick, affectionate squeeze before he moves away again, and she fucking lives for those moments, pathetic as that feels.

In the afternoons they usually swim in the hotel pool, if it has one, when everyone is out or has retreated from the midday heat. She lives for those moments, too, the sight of King cutting a smooth, clean line through the water. She watches from the side as the water gleams on his skin in the sunlight, as he pushes his hair back from his face and climbs out of the pool, seal-sleek and mouth-watering.

She's already sliding into the water as he leaves it, powering her way through her own lengths to explain her flushed face, her rapid breathing. The water's cool enough to explain the way her nipples have peaked, wet enough to disguise everything else, but it doesn't do much to ease the ache in her belly, the emptiness between her thighs. It doesn't quench her want for him, but at least it dampens it down to something bearable, and she'll take what she can get.

The evenings are for hunting, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, but the outcome is almost irrelevant. They have more luck now than they did in the city, and that alone would be worth the trip.

At night they sleep, or try to. Sometimes in two beds, sometimes in one. More often in one, now, and she's not entirely convinced that that's all King could find. Maybe that's just wishful thinking on her part, but she'll take that, too. It's better than the alternative - no hope at all.

This is the pattern of their days now - and she feels like it's a holding one, like she's treading water. She supposes that it's better than drowning.

Just.

-o-

The nights grow more humid, and the days are even worse. Sweat paints her body every time she steps outside of the hotel's air conditioned lobby, and if it's this bad up here, where the air should be cooler, she can't even begin to imagine how unbearable it must be in the city now.

She's not surprised when the clouds begin to gather, dark and heavy on the horizon, promising something that never arrives. The storm's been building for days now, painting the sky with deep purples and golds that linger long after the sun has set. The air has an even greater weight to it, one that makes each breath an effort, the air electric in her lungs, and it leaves her on edge, her skin tingling with anticipation.

She's not the only one affected - King has grown strangely silent as the barometer has fallen, as though the pressure of the air has pushed all of his words down deep inside him. There's a weight to all of his moves now, too; he's always been contained when he fights, one of the few places where his energy is focused instead of darting all over the place, like his looks and his words and his humour, but now there's a sense of purpose behind every blow, the violence in every punch he lands barely leashed and his eyes hooded and heavy.

These days when they walk the streets together, side by side as they've always been, she can feel the pull of him beside her, a gravity that draws her closer until all she'd have to do is fall. And it would be so easy to fall, to stagger and stumble and break something vital.

But she has a gravity of her own, something that holds her in place, unable to take that final step towards him. She's not sure why, what she's waiting for, what she's afraid of, but even now there's a solid weight in her stomach, a watchfulness in her heart. Of the two of them, she's always been the more cautious outside of a hunt, but that caution is eating at her now, the carefulness burning away, compacted into something impatient and hungry that lurks just beneath her surface.

The storm can't hold off forever. Eventually it has to break.

Eventually she has to break, too.

-o-

The thunder is the first they know of it.

King pauses, his hand on the car door as he stares up at the sky. His eyes search the horizon, but Abby's watching him the way that she's always watching him these days, stealing glances every time he's distracted. She misses the lightning; she only catches the after-effect of it when it illuminates the planes of his face, casting his eyes and his mouth into shadow.

Then she looks up, searching the sky the way that he had been searching, counting under her breath until the thunder rolls again, loud and encompassing, a bass that she feels in her belly.

Five seconds. A mile then, not yet close enough to worry about unless it heads in their direction, and they're already back at the latest hotel, not on the road. Safe and sound, in theory.

She turns to say as much to King, but the words die in her throat, unsaid, because King is looking straight at her, like he's been watching her the way that she's been watching him for days, weeks now.

Her lips part, her breath catching in her throat. The sky overhead lights up again, but she still can't look away.

One second, two seconds, three -

Thunder crashes and the first raindrops fall with a heavy splatter, ice cold and shocking where they land on her skin. They fall on King as well, turning his hair into a dark cap against his scalp as the water runs down his neck. He doesn't take his eyes off her and she can't look away.

One second, two seconds -

He reaches for her, his fingers wrapping around her wrist and that finally breaks the spell he has over her, that she has over him, the pair of them pelting for the hotel lobby, where it's safe and dry, while the storm rages over head and the rain turns into a deluge, soaking her to the skin in moments. She's shivering by the time they reach shelter but that's not down to the chill of the rain. It's the heat of King's touch, the way that his fingers are still possessively pressed against her skin.

It's late, and the only concierge on duty looks up as they burst through the glass doors. He opens his mouth, some rote greeting on his lips as they head past him, but King nods at him, a brief acknowledgement, and he falls silent again, his lips pursed in sympathy as they head towards their room. He probably thinks they want to get dry, get comfortable, and Abby shivers again, because there's nothing comfortable in this.

She doesn't want comfortable. If she wanted comfortable - if she wanted safe - she wouldn't want King.

King doesn't let go of her until their door is safely shut behind them, and she misses his touch as soon as his fingers leave her skin. She locks the door as he heads towards the large window looking out over the forest. She thinks he's going to close the heavy curtains, shut the storm outside and leave them cloistered in hot, humid darkness, but he surprises her, opening the window wide enough to let the rain come in, dampening the white net curtain so that it sticks to the sill.

Lightning flashes again, surging through the sky, and this time she can see the fork as it splits the sky open, leaving an afterimage on her retinas. She closes her eyes against it, opens them again when the warmth of King's body presses against hers.

One second, two -

Thunder rumbles as King presses his mouth against hers, teeth sharp beneath her tongue and the scent of fresh rain hanging in the air.

One second -

She kisses him back, hard and fast, fingers sinking into his scalp and her body melting into his.

Outside the storm rages, but it has nothing on the fury that's building between them, harsh and bright and fierce, and oh-so-fucking good.

Thunder rolls again as she finally breaks for a breath, her heart pounding, echoing in her ears. King lets her go, but not far; his fingers are curled possessively around the back of her neck as he stares down at her, eyes wide and dark. The look in them sends shivers down her spine, brings goose-pimples up on her arms. It's not just hunger, although that's there, too. There's something else in them, something warmer, something she can't quite name because naming makes it too real and the warmth of his body, the strength of his grip is all the real she can handle.

He lowers his face towards hers again and his kiss this time is slower, more studied, mapping her mouth and turning her knees to water. He slides his fingers up her arm and everywhere he touches tingles, like he's channelling the storm or - more likely - she's so fucking turned on that he could touch her anywhere and it would feel like fireworks.

She can touch him back. It takes her a second to get that, all of her brain cells fried by the simple fact that he's kissing her, kissing her like he means to turn her bones to jelly. He's doing a good job of it, too, but somehow she gets her body to cooperate, her hand sliding up his side and under his shirt, pushing it up as her fingers glide over smooth, warm, wet skin.

He feels as good as he looks, and he looks damned fine. She wants more, flattening her palm and letting her thumb trace along the sculptured lines of muscle, and the low rumble that rolls through her this time is the sound of King's contentment, not the thunder outside.

She pushes his shirt higher, impatient now for the feel of his skin against hers, no longer willing to wait, not when she's been waiting - willing - for weeks. He pulls back far enough to give her room to manoeuvre before leaning in to steal another kiss and then another as she yanks his shirt up, dragging it over his head.

It's awkward and he stumbles, laughing into her mouth, only letting go of her long enough for her to get his shirt the rest of the way off and then he's back, his hands bolder now, moving over her body the same way that hers are moving over his.

His belt is the next thing to go, her fingers wrestling with one of the ridiculous buckles he insists on wearing even as he's steering her towards the bed. She doesn't know which one it is this time; doesn't care except for the fact that it's delaying her getting what she wants. She finally gets it undone, pulling open the buttons on his pants even as his hands are busy sliding under her top, pushing it up so that he can get to skin.

She takes a step back, tugging her top off over her head and throwing it to the side where it lands in a sodden heap on the floor. She expects him to make a beeline for her bra but he surprises her, pulling her back into his arms so that he can kiss her again. Now she can feel his body right up against hers, warm and solid, and the feel of it sends another low pulse of arousal thrumming through her.

His hands slide down her back, cupping her ass, and then down further to grip her thighs. That's the only warning she gets before he's lifting her up, but she's so attuned to him now that it's the only warning she needs. He makes it seem so fucking effortless, and she isn't much help, not when all she can do is wrap her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, thankful that her skirt is short enough to do this. She can't do anything else when this show of his strength is driving everything but the need for him out of her mind.

That's probably what he intended, but she's not going quietly. She grinds down against him as he carries her those last few steps towards the bed, and he stumbles, his breath harsh in her ears. His dick is hard, pressing against her through his pants and her panties, and she wants him so fucking badly that she's shaking with it.

Somehow he manages to turn them so that he hits the bed first and she ends up in his lap, straddling him as his hands continue to skate over her body. He finally pushes her sports bra up and slides a thumb over one peaked nipple, leaving her gasping into his mouth, pressing closer, desperate for more of that firm pressure. He doesn't disappoint, tearing his mouth away from hers so that he can press kisses down over the curve of her neck, his fingers kneading at her breast, teasing and tormenting her, just the right side of rough.

She sinks her fingers into his hair and holds on, her other hand steadying herself on his shoulder as she arches into his touch. Her skin is singing, every inch of her alive, and when his mouth finally reaches her breast it's all she can do not to let out a cry, biting hard at her lip to keep it in.

He looks like he's going to take his sweet time about it, his mouth moving slowly over her skin, but she doesn't want slow. She wants now, as in right fucking now. She drags his face up towards hers again, taking in his flushed expression, the way his pupils are dilated, before she presses her mouth against his, her hands now reaching down to pull off her bra, not willing to wait any longer for King to get around to it. And then she's pushing at his chest, thankful when he takes the hint and lies back, propping himself up on his elbows so that he can still watch her.

It sends another surge of fierce heat through her, the way he's waiting, laid out like a banquet, and any other time she'd be happy to explore to her heart's content. But now she just wants him in her - foreplay can wait, especially when they've been working their way up to this for weeks.

She stands up and shimmies out of her skirt, kicking it away before trying to kick off her shoes. That's not quite as successful - she's too good at tying laces since the last thing she needs is to lose her shoes during a fight, and King chuckles as she finally gives up and sits down on the bed, impatient fingers loosening them enough to slip off easily.

When she turns to face him again, he's still watching her but his expression isn't amused. It's full of need for her, yes, but there's also that same warmth in it, the one that has her heart skipping a beat. She covers it by crawling towards him on her hands and knees, not missing the flash of desire that crosses his face. She files it away in the small part of her brain that wants to believe that this isn't a one-time thing, that maybe she'll be able to do this again, tease him like this and keep him wanting the way that she's wanting.

He wants to kiss again, and she settles over him, her breasts now pressed against his bare chest. There's a thrill to it, skin against skin, and his hand comes to rest in the small of her back, a heavy, steady weight that has her trembling, full of anticipation for what's to come.

It can't come soon enough, not for Abby.

He's hard when she slides her hand down his flat stomach and touches him through his pants. She can trace the outline of his dick underneath the fabric and when she does, he groans into her mouth, his hands pulling her closer to him until she can't tell where he ends and where she begins. His hands slide under the elastic of her panties, cupping her ass, and she moves to straddle him again, grinding down against him just to have him making that sound again, that half-pained groan that ends on a choked back laugh.

"Jesus," he murmurs, his voice low in her ear and sending another shudder through her. "You're going to kill me."

"Not yet," she breathes back and he laughs again, his hands squeezing her flesh, pulling her flush against him so that she can feel how much he wants her.

It's almost as much as she wants him.

This time when she moves her hand down to cup him, she slides her fingers into the opening of his pants, into his shorts, touching skin. King groans again, his eyes closing and his neck arching as she grips him lightly, sliding her palm along his length, then more tightly as she moves her fist back down again to the dark, coarse hair curling at the base of his dick.

Her mouth is dry again, her body thrumming with a need almost as fierce as the rain still lashing against the window, but he's not quite hard enough, not yet, not to fuck her the way she wants to be fucked.

She eases herself free from his embrace, missing his hands the second they leave her skin, and he props himself back up on his elbows, watching her as she unfastens his pants the rest of the way, pushing the fabric of his shorts down so that his cock juts up into the air.

And then she lowers her head, taking him into her mouth, loving the way that he gasps, the way that his cock twitches, hardening further under her fingers, her lips, her tongue. "Jesus," he says again, and there's a breathlessness to it, something raw and wrecked that hits Abby low in the belly. Her heartbeat is echoing in her ears, white noise that's drowning everything out but the scent of him, the taste of him on her tongue, bitter salt and sweat. It's a heady mixture and she feels light-headed, giddy with it, dizzy with desire as she slides more of him into her mouth, as much of him as she can take.

But even she needs to breathe and she pulls off him with a gasp of her own, her eyes watering. It's not just her heartbeat she can hear now - the rain is heavier, a hissing rattle as it hits the ground outside, and she catches his eyes for a moment, holding his gaze as she lowers her head again and slides his length back into her mouth.

The look in his eyes - that broken, desperate desire - and his low, rumbling groan send another surge of heat through her, tightening in her belly, clenching in her cunt. She holds it together, though, holding back on her own need until he's fully erect, her fingers digging into his thighs as much to steady her as to hold him in place.

When she finally slides her mouth free, his dick is slick with her saliva, curving up beautifully from the thick, curling hair at his groin. She wipes the spit from her lips with the back of her hand as she sits back on her heels, taking in the sight of him. He's panting, his chest rising and falling with effort, and his eyes are dark, almost feral. He sits up enough to reach for her, but she's already twisting away, tackling his laces now so that he can kick his shoes off and she can drag his pants and underwear the rest of the way.

He's even more beautiful naked, the way that the dim light gleams on his skin, turning the dusting of hairs on his chest, on his arms and legs a muted gold. She slides her fingers across his chest, sinking them into the hairs there, loving the way that they feel under her fingers, crisply rasping against her skin. It's easy to follow the trail down, over his stomach to where the hair thickens before it reaches the thicket around his dick, and he lets her play, distracted by his own fingers sliding over her skin, the press of his mouth against her neck and her breasts. She closes her eyes when he takes one nipple into his mouth, tugging at it lightly with his teeth, still staying on just the right side of too rough. It sends a pulse of electricity through her, like it's connected directly to her cunt, and she gasps, abandoning his dick in favour of tangling her fingers in the hair on his head, holding him in place as he plays her like a fucking maestro.

His fingers are on the move again, even as his tongue circles her nipple, teasing her as he finally catches hold of her panties, tugging them down. She lifts her hips, lets him slide them all the way down her legs, and then his fingers are back, stroking lightly over the curve of her belly, the jut of her hip.

When he finally slides them between her legs, she's already wet and ready for him, slippery enough to have him raising an eyebrow at her quizzically, something smug in the crinkles around his eyes. She can't take that look seriously, not when his dick is hard against her hip, but when his fingers come back, sliding easily through her slick folds, she parts her legs a little more widely and he takes the hint, slipping not one but two fingers into her.

It's fucking perfect, stretching her body in a way that has her twisting in his grasp, letting out a sound that's halfway between a whimper and a cry, arching into his touch, the move pushing his fingers into her more deeply.

"Jesus," he says again, as though that's the only thing he's capable of saying at the moment, the awe - the desire - clear in the hoarse tone of his voice. "Fucking killing me here, Whistler."

"Condoms," she grinds out, reaching down to press against the back of his hand, her hips moving of their own volition, an unthinking little rock and jerk that slides his fingers fractionally in and out of her, even when he holds them still. His breath stutters out of him and she doesn't miss it, like the way she doesn't miss his lips parting, or the way that the tip of his tongue slides out to wet them, even in her current state.

He licks his lips again, his voice still hoarse as he asks, "Don't you want me to go down on you first?"

He'd be good at it. She knows that like she knows the colour of his eyes, the way he likes his coffee, the quirk to his mouth when there's just the two of them in on any of his jokes. With his oral fixation, the propensity to make his mouth work, how could he not be, and that's before she takes into account his off the cuff, semi-bitter remarks about there being reasons that Danica kept him around.

He'd be good at it. But...

"I want to come with your dick in me."

She couldn't have stated it any more baldly than that, and it has King's breath stuttering again, a little indrawn sound that's half shock and all arousal. He licks at his lips a third time and she can't take it any more, pulling his head down for another kiss, sliding her tongue along his as his fingers finally slip out of her. He rests them on her hip for a moment, bracing himself, and they're wet against her skin.

He has condoms in his wallet, which is tucked in the back pocket of his pants, and she pushes herself up the bed while he retrieves one, feeling hot and as if her skin is too tight as she lies back and waits for him. She doesn't want fancy, not tonight. Maybe later, maybe once she's come, she'll push him down onto the bed and ride him, make him catch his breath over and over again until he's doing nothing but making those sounds, the ones she's never heard from him before. Right now she wants his weight on her as well as his dick in her, wants to feel the press of his body pinning her to the mattress. She'd tell him that if she could find the words, lay it out there, line by line, just to see his reaction, how his lips would part again, his eyes widening, lust and something like a weird kind of respect in their depths. But now she simply watches, heavy lidded, as he rolls the condom down his length and then she slides her thighs apart again, wrapping her arms around his shoulders as he settles between her legs.

He pushes into her slowly, thick and fucking fantastic, and she can't hold back the noise she makes, something so fractured and needy it sounds almost wounded. He pauses for a moment, staring down at her, but she can't tell him to move, not when the feel of him has driven all of her words from her. Instead she lets her hands do the talking, moving restlessly over his body, pulling him closer, fingernails digging into his skin as she tries to get him as close to her - as deep in her - as possible.

He's a fucking tease, but he knows her better than she knows herself. She thought she wanted fast, wanted hard and deep and rough to satisfy that aching need, but this is fucking perfect, the way he's pushing into her steadily, not letting her rush things, every deep, even stroke leaving her shaking, ratcheting up the pleasure unbearably, letting it build and build until she thinks she'll come apart. She's so turned on, has wanted him so badly for so long, it only takes a dozen of them, maybe a handful more, before she comes. Even that takes its time, rolling through her like the thunder, not fast and hard like lightning, nothing like she'd expected.

He keeps fucking her through it, the same deep, steady pace, until the last of her shudders eases and she loosens the death grip she has on his shoulders. Only then does he pause, still buried within her, and stare down at her.

"Want me to go down on you now?"

She laughs a little breathlessly, her fingers now stroking over his skin gently, a mute apology for the scratches she knows she'll have left. "No. Just keep fucking me." She stretches, feeling the breadth of him in her, the slight burn that tells her she'll feel him tomorrow. "This... this is perfect."

"God, I love it when you talk dirty to me."

She laughs again, taking in the amused tilt to his eyebrows, the smile lurking around the corners of his mouth, and then strains her neck up to kiss him, relieved when he lowers himself, resting on his elbows now, not his hands, so that he can kiss her more easily.

It's good like this, his weight on her, his mouth on hers as his hips rock back and forth, sliding his dick into her. It's not as deep, at least not until she shifts under him, bringing her legs up to wrap around his waist, heels resting on his ass, and then it's back to perfect.

The build-up is slower this time. She trades kisses with him, mapping the contours of his back with her hands, sliding her palms over his sweat-slick skin as she shows him what she likes, the angles she prefers, the pressure she likes on her clit, the right depth of his thrusts to have her arching up into him. She learns what gives him pleasure, too, like how he hisses when she digs her blunt fingernails into him but his hips jerk into her harder anyway, the sounds he makes when she tightens her cunt around him, and the way he lets out a soft hum of pleasure when she slides her fingers over the nape of his neck.

The storm has eased by the time she comes again, her body straining against his for a second time. The thunder's a distant memory and lightning no longer lights up the night sky, but the rain is still steady, a low, constant drumming that doesn't muffle her cries. She buries them in King's shoulder instead, her mouth pressed against his hot skin as the pleasure surges through her, stretching out as King keeps moving within her, driving her higher and higher until the world goes white for an instant. He holds on long enough for the pleasure to ebb, for that slow, satisfied tiredness to replace it before his thrusts grow more erratic, harder and deeper and thicker, and then he's tensing against her, his hips jerking as he empties himself into her with a low, heartfelt 'fuck' in her ear.

He slumps against her after he's come, and she likes it a little too much, the heavy weight on her, his harsh breaths against her neck as he comes down from that high. She paints mindless patterns on his back with her fingertips, presses a kiss against his shoulder, too tired - too content - to put the walls back up again, not straight away.

Outside the rain has finally died away to a low patter, soft and gentle like summer rain should be, before King eases away from her, disappearing into the bathroom to deal with the condom and do whatever the hell else he needs to do. Abby rolls over onto her side, facing the window, and lets the sound of the rain soothe her, her body singing with the kind of contentment she isn't used to. She could get a little too used to it, though, especially when King slides back into the bed behind her and makes sure that the thin cotton sheet covers both of them. He presses a kiss against her shoulder blade, his beard scratching lightly against her skin, and wraps an arm around her, his body spooned up behind hers.

She closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep, the sound of the rain and of King's steady, even breathing following her down into the darkness.

-o-

It rains all of the next day, sometimes a monotonous sheet that beats a steady tattoo against the window, and sometimes a slow patter that leaves fat droplets sliding down the pane and then plinking down to the ground below.

It's weirdly soothing, the noises that it makes, from white noise to something almost musical. Abby drowses through it all, her limbs heavy and her heart - for once - light. At some point during the night, King got up and closed the window, hung the 'do not disturb sign' on the outside of their door, and then crawled back into bed with her, big and warm and comforting, lulling her back down into sleep until the sun is high in the cloudy sky. He's still a steady warmth beside her, his fingers gentle on her skin.

She's not going anywhere, not today. Maybe not ever again, not when King is slowly kissing his way down her spine, taking his sweet time about it. And it is sweet. Sweet and unhurried, calm the way that King seldom is.

His mouth moves lower, his beard scratching lightly against her skin, and she shifts, a minute move that's slow and drowsy but has him pausing for a moment, his thumb stroking a path along one of her ribs.

"Hey," he says, his voice a low murmur as his fingers drift upwards, brushing the hair away from the side of her neck and tucking it behind her ear. "I thought you were awake."

She lets out a sleepy murmur of her own, stretching like a cat, and he laughs, soft and low, before pressing another kiss against her skin, just below her shoulder blade this time.

"Not very awake then." His hand skims down her body again, as close to a caress as she's ever felt. She lets out another sleepy sound, something close to a hum this time, her toes curling and her back arching into his touch.

That earns her another laugh from King and this time he leans in, angling his head to kiss her on the mouth. It's a little awkward until she shifts again, rolling onto her side and bringing her hand up to cup his face. King's fingers come to rest on her waist, curling against her skin as he eases closer to her, his mouth never leaving hers as they settle against one another.

This is slow and sweet, too, like they have all the time in the world and - for a moment - Abby believes it, believes that this can last until the summer's storms are over, maybe even longer than that. Today, she's the White fucking Queen of believing in impossible things.

When King finally pulls back, the look in his eyes is soft and so is the smile he gives her, warm rather than heated. Her body aches in all the right ways and all the right places, but warmth is curling again in her belly, a slow, gentle build up rather than yesterday's heat.

King leans in again, pressing his mouth against her neck this time, a low, satisfied hum escaping him as he moves his mouth lower. "You up for round two?"

She snorts, stretching again as his mouth moves lower still, her fingers automatically sliding into his hair, scratching lightly against his scalp in a way that has him groaning in contentment. "I thought it was round three? Or four?"

"Who's keeping count?"

Not her. Not about this. This is something she doesn't want to list, analyse, catalogue or enumerate, not the way that she does everything else that crosses the threshold of the Honeycomb Hideout. And they're not there - there's no need for her to do that here, with King. There will be time enough for that when they finally get home.

"I'm not," she murmurs when he looks up at her, his eyes dancing with amusement. "Why? Do you want me to make a list?"

She makes the question arch and he huffs another laugh against her skin. "God, the things I want to do to you. Maybe I should be the one making the list."

"Like what?"

The question makes him pause, like he never actually expected to be called on it. She should have realised that it's just hyperbole, and King's a master at that.

Way to ruin the mood, Whistler.

"I want to make you come so many times that you forget your own name."

It comes out a little stilted, and King drops his gaze, almost as though he's a little embarrassed to be saying shit like that out loud. Abby knows that she's a little embarrassed to hear it. But then he lowers his head, his breath brushing over her skin. She thinks he's going to kiss her again, scatter them across her ribs, but he scatters words instead.

"Fingers first." Now he kisses her, a barely felt brush of his lips against one of the freckles just below her breast. "Slide them into you real good, press my thumb against your clit. Maybe just one or two at first, maybe work my way up to three or four, depending on how wet you are, how ready." He flashes a look at her, and now it's not soft or warm; it's edging into hot, almost fierce. "How needy. Then, when I've made you come, I'll go down on you and if there's one thing I know how to do well, it's eat a woman out."

She swallows, mesmerised, caught up as much by the look on his face as by the picture his words are weaving. He presses another kiss against her skin, open-mouthed this time, and she bites back on a groan.

"You'll love it. You'll make those sounds you made last night, all lost and needy, like you really need to just fucking come already, and I'll get you there. Eventually." He glances up her body again, meeting her gaze and holding it for a moment, letting his words sink in. "After I've made you beg for it. I can picture it now, the way your fingers will be twisted in my hair, the way you'll wrap your legs around my head. How fucking wet you'll be, what you'll taste like. Christ, I can't fucking wait."

He lowers his head again but this time he doesn't kiss her skin; he licks it, a firm swipe across her waist that has her gasping, her muscles twitching under his ministrations. "And when you've come again, I'll fuck you slow and deep, the way I did last night. Maybe with you on your back, or maybe I'll get you to ride me for a bit, let you take control. You like being in charge, right?"

His tone isn't quite teasing - it's too heated, too dark and desiring for that - but there's no malice in it. "And you'd like that," she says, the words sticking in her throat even though she knows they're true.

He smiles although it doesn't reach his eyes - the look in them is far too intense for that. "Maybe," he admits. "Probably, and by 'probably' I mean 'hell, yes'. But I think I'd like to hold you down while I fuck you as well, pin your hands to the bed so you couldn't touch me. That would drive you fucking crazy, wouldn't it? God, the sounds you'd make..."

Oh, Jesus. His voice is rough, like he's not even trying to hide how turned on he is at the thought. But he hasn't finished yet. He keeps moving lower, painting the filthiest pictures in her mind even as his mouth trails over her skin. "I want to fuck you in every position - on your hands and knees, in my lap, whatever the fuck anyone else has thought of and then some. I want to come in your pussy and your mouth. Maybe even your ass. I want to fuck you up against the wall, in the shower, bend you over that chair -" He glances over at the chair they have in the room, his expression considering like he's working out the logistics, and she can almost picture it, how it would feel. Her hips are rocking now, mindless little motions to ease the ache that's building below her belly, and he doesn't miss it, a smug little expression crossing his face as he looks up and meets her eyes. "I want to do things to you that are probably illegal in this state and that I'm damned sure are illegal in places like Texas. Jesus, Abby. The things you do to me should be fucking illegal, too."

She swallows again. His voice is still pure sex but that warmth is back in his eyes, and she's not sure which of them is driving her the most crazy.

"But first I want to go down on you."

She's already sliding her legs apart before he's finished speaking, and he gives her a triumphant little grin, so bright and sudden that it has her heart lurching, a breathless little gasp escaping her before he's even managed to get his mouth back on her.

"I take it you've got no objection to that?" he teases, leaning in to blow warm air gently over her tingling and all too ready to be licked pussy.

"You want to hear objections?" she breathes, her hips rising and her heels digging into the bed as he finally lowers his head to where she needs him. "You just damned well try and stop."

-o-

There's a new pattern to their days now, one that Abby slips into surprisingly easily. She wakes slowly, King's warmth beside her. It's still too hot for him to press himself up against her while they sleep, but sometimes she wakes to the weight of his palm resting against the small of her back or with her head on his outstretched arm.

She likes both a little too much, as though they mean something more than they can mean, holding a promise that she knows King can't keep.

Sometimes she lingers there, caught on the cusp between waking and sleeping, basking in the feel of his fingers against her skin, the slow rise and fall of his chest. There's no urge to run in those moments, no burning need to get up and get moving before the sun is higher in the sky. Besides, King has a point when he murmurs in her ear that these days they're getting all of the cardio they need between the sheets.

King wakes slowly, stretching sleepily until every abused joint cracks. When he finally opens his eyes and sees her, the smile he gives her is just as slow, open and sunny in a way he won't be when he's fully awake, not even around her. She memorises every one of them, touching his face with gentle fingers before either of them can get their guards up, filing them all away somewhere safe inside to keep her warm through winter.

They have sleepy morning sex even if they've fucked the night before. She likes it, the ease with which he reaches for her, kissing her between each stifled yawn. Likes the way his fingers slide into her hair, loosening the braid she wears at night, and the way he pulls her closer, wrapping his arms around her until they're pressed together, naked skin to naked skin.

He's already hard by that point, and it's been so long since she shared a bed with someone else that she'd almost forgotten that men did that, woke with their dicks at half-mast. She's not complaining, though. Not when it means that he can get to full-mast just that little bit quicker, sliding into her slow and sweet.

They take their time, and he makes sure she comes before he does, before he follows her over the edge, hips jerking and panting harshly into her ear. And afterwards they lie tangled together, uncaring of the heat for a few moments, sweat cooling on their skins. He'll makes her laugh at something stupid, his lips curling up in a wicked smile that - for once - reaches his eyes, and later she'll make him smile again, something softer, something just for her, as she lets her fingers trace gentle patterns along his ribs.

They still hunt - neither of them has forgotten the real reason for this trip, not so wrapped up in each other that they can't do what they need to. The afternoons are for recon, for asking seemingly innocent questions that are a hell of a long way from that, for scouting out bars and restaurants and the places where people were last seen, people who are sometimes never seen again.

The nights are when they come into their own. They take down two vamps in Lakeside, a sleepy little town that doubles in size during the summer, and another loner in a town further south of there called Sycamore Grove. Sometimes she wonders why the cutesy names of these places don't drive the local populace crazy, or whether it's the overdone quaintness of them that's the reason they can't see the crazy right in front of their eyes. Maybe it's just because these are rich people's playgrounds, but all of these places seem so artificial to Abby - all straight, gleaming streets and neatly manicured lawns when outside each town's boundaries there are real forests, untamed and stretching for miles.

She'd care more if there weren't other, more worthy, things to think about these days, like the way King drives, loose-limbed with his hands steady on the wheel, or the way he plays with his straw, absent and unfocused, when they stop to eat. Or the way he smiles when he catches her eye, his own gaze full of warmth and promise and things she shouldn't be thinking about, even now.

Their days fall into another pattern now, and it's one Abby doesn't want to change.

But change is inevitable. Abby's all too well aware that it won't - can't - stay the same once they start heading home.

She has this summer, and the summer will have to be enough.

-o-

The thunderstorms eventually pass and the weather warms again, a little more pleasant and a little less humid than it was before.

They change hotels again, moving to a town at a lower altitude, where the clientele runs more to nuclear family than wild young things. The pool's full of kids in the morning, surrounded by indulgent parents who spend half of the day lounging on chairs around the sides, intermittently yelling at their kids to be careful, don't duck your sister, listen to what I say.

Abby feels out of place again, like she and King don't fit, not yet. She smiles awkwardly when someone tries to make conversation and leaves it to King to field the questions, the ones that get way too personal for her tastes - how long have they been married, do they have any kids, are they planning to?

She's relieved when King decides that the place is a bust, at least as far as vampire hunting is concerned. She gets why - the night life is almost non-existent, everyone in bed by ten, kids tucked up safe and sound and their parents hitting the mini-bar when there's nothing else to do. The only plus to the place is that she and King get to call it quits earlier in the night than they would do if hunting was successful, which means that not only do they get back to the hotel earlier than they should but that they get to bed earlier, too.

They don't hit the mini-bar; they're already half drunk on each other and the early nights just let them get the rest of the way.

Still, she's pleased when they move on to somewhere that's more productive on the vampire front, where there are fewer kids and the twenty-somethings party half the night and sleep until noon. The pool's empty in the morning and she can swim in silence, stretching her muscles and feeling that welcoming burn, just pushing herself enough to keep the guilty little voice in her head quiet. Most mornings she can drag King out with her as well and while he's not a morning person, the cool water usually wakes him up pretty damned quick, especially if she drags him in after her.

She hits the mall one afternoon, stocking up the things they're running short of, and it's probably a sign of how content she is with the way things are between her and King that she doesn't drag him along with her. She leaves him drowsing in the afternoon heat, stretched out on their bed in his boxers with the air conditioning running, sleepy and rumpled in a way that makes her mouth water.

Hitting the mall is probably as much for her benefit as his. She needs to do something that involves her staying upright during the day.

If King was impressed with her organisational skills in Twin Pines, it has nothing on her near-military operation when she hits the mall now, weaving her way between the overtired kids and the overly stressed parents. This is pretty much her idea of hell, but she grits her teeth, telling herself that the sooner she gets everything on her list, the sooner she can get back to the hotel.

The sooner she can get back to King.

Even so, when she finds a bikini that's almost the same as the one King had picked out for her the first time they'd tried this - the same shade of aquamarine and just as skimpy if a hell of a lot more reasonably priced - she only hesitates for a moment before throwing it in her basket and heading towards the checkout.

King doesn't get to see it until the next morning, when she's already changed and is about to head out to the pool, and she swears he stops breathing for a second.

Needless to say, she doesn't get to wear it for long.

-o-

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