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-

The days are getting shorter and the nights a little longer when King finds her somewhere to shoot.

She didn't ask him to, but he's ferretted out another country club, one that on the surface is indistinguishable from any other with its white painted stone buildings and its neatly manicured lawns.

But this one has a range out back that isn't for guns.

She leaves it to King to talk or pay or what the hell ever their way in, and they don't seem to attract any attention as they make their way outside. King lets her lead the way, her steps quickening the closer she gets to the range. When she sees it, it's not perfect - kind of amateur hour, actually - but it will do.

Oh, it will more than do.

The sun is high in the sky, beating down onto the top of her head, when she's finally ready, taking a deep breath and holding it for a moment as she pulls back and then releases. Something in her eases as her arrow flies towards its target, some tension that she hadn't realised was there, like the sudden loosening of a muscle or the first breath after a long, deep dive. Her arrow lands fractionally off-centre, but she doesn't care or let that deter her, drawing another as smoothly as she draws a breath.

She clears her mind of everything: the soft sound of the leaves rustling behind her; the sweat droplets running down her back; King watching her silently from just a few short metres away.

Her arrow flies free, and the soft whisper of it as it sings away lightens Abby's mood further. It still lands a little off-centre, but she steadies herself, refusing to grow frustrated. She's just a little out of practice, just needs to compensate for what breeze there is.

The third arrow hits home right where she intended, but she doesn't hesitate or take the time to bask in it. Instead she's already drawing again, sending the fourth and fifth on their way.

She stops after that, and takes the time to collect her arrows from the target so that she's got a clear shot for the next volley. She's the only one on the range today, and she takes a moment on the walk down to wonder how much use the buttresses get. They're well maintained, but that could mean anything from rarely used to frequently replaced.

She's heading back to the shooting line, marked in white chalk on the lawn, when she realises that King isn't alone. He's deep in conversation with an older guy, someone who has 'official' stamped all over him. She hesitates for a moment, instinctively searching for any sign of trouble, but when King catches her watching he simply smiles and gives her a half wave.

She pretends it's the sun in her eyes that has her turning back to the targets, not the easy affection on King's face, at least to herself, although not even she's falling for it. But it does give her a little more practice at blocking everything else out; she focuses until the target is all she can see, until her bow feels part of her, a familiar extension of her arm, her whole body.

The next arrow flies true, landing in the target with a satisfying thud. She eyes it critically for a moment before pulling her next arrow free from her quiver and sending it after the first.

She falls into the rhythm of it easily, drawing and releasing smoothly until the target bristles with bulls-eyes and she needs to collect them again or risk missing the next shot. Again and again she shoots, losing herself in the flow of it until it's as automatic to her as breathing.

King is still talking to his companion but this time he breaks off when she collects her final flurry of arrows and heads towards them.

"Ray here was telling me he's been admiring your form," he says as she approaches, widening his eyes at her from behind Ray as the man steps forward to shake her hand, an old-fashioned gesture that catches her slightly off-guard. She smiles politely and then sends a look in King's direction that should hopefully leave him in no doubt that she caught his double entendre.

He doesn't look at all abashed. Instead he grins at her but there's something else in his expression, something it takes her a moment to puzzle out.

Pride.

Normally she'd bristle at that, the idea that he's using her to get some kind of reflected glory. It's too reminiscent of her mom trying to get her to behave, to be a perfect little lady in front of the neighbours, or her dad using her in the early days of the Nightstalkers to show up the other recruits. But King doesn't look like he's showing her off, not exactly. More like he's actually proud of her, not just of how she makes him look.

He takes a backseat while Ray talks to her, asking her smart questions that she doesn't want to answer, like how long has she been shooting and which archery club she's affiliated to (and the answers are 'my whole life' and 'none'). His eyes light up at the last one, and it's not until he starts on his patter about how new their facilities are and how proud they are of the club's tradition, a spiel that she listens to in silence all the while hoping that her silence will discourage him, that King finally steps in.

He's smooth, she's got to give him that. Now that she takes a step back, watches him action, she's reminded all over again of just how charming he can be, without even trying.

No wonder she can't resist him.

Ray, to give him due credit, knows better than to push. He has a charm all of his own, although Abby suspects that there's a certain ruthless streak underneath. She has a nose about such things. But King takes the card Ray proffers with a smile and tucks it away in his back pocket, and she's amused rather than put out at his presumption.

"What was all that about?" she asks when Ray heads back to the club with another smile and a wave.

"Oh, he was impressed."

"Really?" She gives King another look, this one amused and letting him know that she knows what he's doing. "Is he the one you talked into letting me use this range?"

"I may have mentioned the words 'Olympic Hopeful', yes."

"My form's not good enough for that, King." It's not - she's all about practicalities, about getting the arrow where it needs to go, not about positioning. Besides, most of her arrow heads aren't exactly traditional or tournament approved.

"Oh, I don't know about that." King gives her a slow once over, his mouth curling up in a wicked grin. "Your form looks plenty good enough from here, sweetheart."

She snorts good-naturedly, not buying his bullshit, but she lets him slide his arm around her shoulder as they start the trek back to the main building. "He was impressed," King repeats quietly as she tucks herself in against his side.

"And you?"

"Oh, I always think you're impressive, Whistler. Especially when you're shooting things."

"You are so full of crap."

He chuckles a little at that, but doesn't disagree, not at first. But then he says, "You really are that good, you know."

She knows, but it's nice to hear him say it. Nicer still when he slows his steps as they turn the corner, out of sight of most of the windows, and then leans down to kiss her.

There's nothing heated about this kiss; it's nice and slow, a little sweet around the edges. When he pulls back, his expression is warm, full of admiration of her, like as far as he's concerned she might hang the moon and the stars.

That's even nicer and, for a second, she can almost fool herself that it's real.

-o-

She's being really good about not dragging King into bed with her and staying there until the summer is over. They still have a job to do, and she can't let him distract her, no matter how tempting it is - how tempting he is - or how much she knows she's going to miss it.

Miss him.

But that doesn't mean she doesn't sometimes roll over in the middle of the night and slide her fingers down his belly, scratching her short nails lightly against his skin until he wakes with a start. Only then does she slip them under the waistband of his shorts, wrapping her fingers around his dick.

He blinks at her, sleepy and disorientated, until she comes into focus. She waits until he relaxes, until he realises where he is and who he's with, before she begins to move her hand, slowly stroking him to full hardness. She keeps going until he's biting at his lip, his back arching with each upwards stroke, fingers digging into the mattress beneath him.

Sometimes she rides him, pulling her panties off or even just pushing them to one side as she straddles him and sinks down onto his dick. She braces herself against his chest as she moves, sometimes fast and frantic, sometimes slow and sure, depending on what she needs, what she thinks he'll like. His hands are never still while she takes him - they roam up and down her back, cup her breasts, find her hips and match her rhythm, pulling her down harder onto his dick each time she rocks back down so that he slides more deeply into her.

Sometimes he pulls her down to kiss her, his arms around her back and holding her still while his hips move, slamming up into her until she's the one who's biting at her lip, her fingers digging into the mattress as the pleasure rises in her. Or she might lower herself so that his mouth can find her neck, her breasts, sucking and nipping at her skin with sharp little kisses that send shivering electric shocks to her core.

Sometimes he sits up, settling her into his lap so that they can rock together, slow and sweet, while they kiss and his fingers trace mindless patterns over her skin. She holds him tight while she comes, her fingernails digging into his shoulders and waist, pressing herself as close to him as she can get. He kisses her temple or her neck, his hands curling underneath her ass so that he can hold her still and thrust up into her, or keep her moving while the aftershocks of her orgasm are shivering through her, fucking her until he comes himself.

And sometimes they don't get as far as fucking. Instead she takes him into her mouth, makes him come with her hands, her lips and her tongue, swallowing down the bitterness when he finally finds his release.

Afterwards she curls up next to him, luxuriating in the feel of his fingers stroking up and down her side. If she hasn't come, he'll kiss his way down her body, take her apart with his fingers, with his mouth, and he was right - he's really fucking good at going down on a woman.

But mostly she basks in the warmth of him lying next to her, sweaty and content, the scent of his body and the smell of sex hanging in the humid night air. His voice is drowsy as he murmurs sweet nothings into her hair, his arm curling around her and drawing her closer to him, and she goes, not caring about how hot it is, how uncomfortable the summer nights are. She goes because she needs this, needs to remember this - every sight, every sound, every inch of his body and every way he touches her.

She'll need those memories when this is over.

-o-

Their latest stop is Woodbury, a sleepy little town that seems to come alive in the summer when everywhere else is wilting, although 'alive' might be pushing it even then. Their regular trawls through local papers and the internet for potential vamp attacks picked up on a couple of hikers who'd gone missing, but now that they're here, Abby doesn't even know where to start with that. Woodbury's not exactly a bustling metropolis, although she wasn't expecting much. But she'd figured on there being a nightlife, since that's the kind of thing that vamps tend to zero in on.

But Woodbury is all about clean living, or clean dying in this case. There's a lake a couple of miles from the town, which is 'great for fishing!' according to the signs she sees in the general store, and there are trails leading into the woods that apparently teem with walkers in the summer, and not the kind of walker that she's used to.

There could be anything out there - werewolves, wendigos or wargs, according to King, although of those only the concept of 'werewolves' is familiar to her. But then, King is the master of bullshit and she wouldn't be at all surprised if he'd pulled some of those words out of his ass just to confuse her.

He thinks she's 'cute' when she's confused, at least in those few seconds before she kicks his ass. And she's not even touching what he thinks when she's in full on takedown mode because it turns out that even she has an inner censor.

"What do you reckon?" she asks after they've walked up and down main street a couple of times, looking for clubs or bars or even dark alleyways that might be useful prospects. Vampires tended to be traditional about the whole lurking thing except, apparently, in Woodbury.

King grunts, shielding his eyes from the setting sun as he stares up and down the street again. "I think this town is dead. Okay, yes, maybe it's the in place if you're the kind of person who thinks woodland walks and the inevitable raging case of poison ivy is fun, but I can't really see it being the kind of place our mutual friends are interested in, can you? At least, not if you're talking the kind of walking dead we're after."

He says it a little too loudly and the elderly woman riding the mobility scooter past them gives him a filthy look.

King gives Abby a comical look in response, widening his eyes to invite her into the joke, although she's a little too hot and frazzled to give a fuck.

Maybe he gets that because the next words out of his mouth are: "Do you want to strike this place off the list? It's not exactly the kind of place I can picture Danica and her various wannabes. Not unless they've died for real this time and gone to hell."

She shrugs, a little irritated at wasting an afternoon, especially in a plastic place like this. "My dad's place wasn't in a big town, but a vamp still turned up at his door. We can't rule it out entirely."

"No," he says thoughtfully. "But for once it could actually have been bears. I mean..." This time he keeps his voice low enough not to attract attention. "Even if it is vamps, which I accept is a remote possibility, they could be anywhere out there. We can't haunt every picnic spot or lakeside property in the hopes that they'll turn up and flash their fangs at us."

She has to concede that he has a point as she pushes her hair out of her face and scratches at her sweaty scalp. Christ, she hates this heat, and Woodbury is at a low enough altitude that it is still too damned hot.

"Want to head back?" King asks again, a little more sympathetically this time.

"Buy me an ice cream and I'll consider it."

"You're a cheap date, Whistler."

"You haven't seen the prices yet."

He grins at that, although for once he doesn't put his arm around her shoulders, which is just as well because the mood she's in, she'd probably bite it off.

Oh, hell. Who does she think she's fooling? No, she wouldn't. She'd lean into him, let him hug her as much as he damned well pleased. And that knowledge certainly isn't doing anything to improve her temper.

"How about I buy you dinner, as well?" he asks. "You can have ice cream for dessert."

She gives him a long, searching look. "It had better not be MacDonald's if you want me to put out."

As soon as the words are out of her mouth, she stiffens, already regretting them, knowing that with King's off colour sense of humour he's likely to make a crack she can't cope with, not at the moment, not if he reduces whatever they have - however short a time it lasts - to that. But he doesn't and she's not sure why not, whether it's because he's read her reaction correctly, because of Danica, or because it simply doesn't occur to him.

Instead, he simply says, "You haven't seen their new menu. Man, I'd put out for that."

"Really?"

He shrugs. "Of course, I'd also put out for ice cream. Or a soda."

Now she can smile, play along. Tease him maybe, even though it doesn't feel like teasing. "Just for me or for anyone?"

He shrugs again, wrinkling his nose thoughtfully. "You wouldn't even have to buy me a soda," he says, grinning at her.

She rolls her eyes, absurdly touched when it's hardly the most romantic of things to hear, even if this isn't about romance, not for him. Not for either of them if she has any sense.

"I'll bear that in mind," she says dryly. "Now are we going to eat here or not?"

He hums softly to himself, looking at her in a way that makes her instantly curious. "Actually," he says slowly, "I think I've got a better idea. Want to meet me back at the car?"

"Why?"

He widens his eyes again, but in wounded innocence this time. "Don't you trust me, Whistler?"

She does, that's the kicker. "Fine," she says, holding her hand out for the car keys. "Don't mug any little old ladies."

His laughter follows her down the street.

At least the SUV has air conditioning, which is more than she can say about Woodbury's streets, and when King still hasn't shown up after fifteen minutes, she gives in and turns the engine on, letting it idle just so she doesn't melt into the leather seats. It still takes King another fifteen minutes before he deigns to show up, bag in hand.

He stows it in the trunk, ignoring her curious look. There's a self-satisfied smirk on his face as he climbs into the driver's seat and she bites back on any questions, knowing that he's just waiting for her to crack. Instead she simply raises an eyebrow at him then fastens her seatbelt, settling back into her seat comfortably.

He chuckles as he puts the car into reverse, pulling neatly out of the parking space and heading out of town. Now he's really piqued her curiosity but she's still not quite willing to give him the satisfaction of asking about it, even though he's stealing the odd glance at her every now and then, his eyes bright and a small smile playing around the corner of his mouth.

The road he takes isn't the one they arrived on, and she shoots him another look, well and truly intrigued.

"Trust me," he says again.

It's enough to keep her silent through the rest of the drive, taking in the scenery for as long as she can, at least until the twilight gloom closes in and King switches on the headlights. After that, there isn't much to see but the road stretching out ahead of them, and the ghostly imprint of trees, trees and more trees as they flash past in the periphery of the wide beams. It's weird, though, how the woods are less claustrophobic in the dark, maybe because the night's already closed in and a few thousand trees have nothing on that. Whatever it is, Abby can relax in this cocoon of a car, knowing that King's right there and the rest of the world is safely outside, hidden in the darkness.

They're on the road for longer than she thought they would be, an hour at least although she never thought to check the time when they left and doesn't want to check it now. However long it's been - and her internal clock is usually accurate enough - it's fully dark by the time that King slows down and starts to pay more attention to the road. She's not surprised when he hits the turn signal and takes a side road that's narrow and poorly marked.

They end up in a clearing, one that's been converted for use as a car park judging by the sound of gravel crunching underneath the wheels as they finally came to a stop. Now she's really eaten up with curiosity but she waits until he puts the car into park and turns off the headlights entirely.

"Okay, we're here," she says, unable to keep silent any longer. "Where's here and why are we here? Are we hunting? Did you get some intel I don't know about?"

King just gives her another smile as he pulls the key from the ignition. "Like I wouldn't tell you if it was intel?" He shakes his head a little mock-sadly. "No, honey, or at least I hope not. I just thought it would be nice to eat outside again, the way we did that first night."

"That first night we were hunting vamps," she says dryly. "Hence the question about hunting. So, what? You're planning a midnight picnic?"

"It's not midnight," he corrects automatically. "At least not yet. And this is Lookout Point. The view is supposed to be spectacular."

"That's an original name. Are you sure it's not make-out point? Because otherwise I can't understand why you've brought me here in the dark."

"Picky, picky, picky," he says with a grin, climbing out of the car, which means she also has to get out if she wants to continue having this conversation. She's not sure she does. She has her own suspicions about why King might want to take her to somewhere like this, and as comfortable as their SUV is, and as young as she is, she's still too damned old to be having sex in the backseat. That shit is strictly for teenagers, especially when they have a more than adequate, king-sized bed back at the hotel.

She's about to say as much to King when he pulls out his mysterious bag from the trunk and produces a blanket from its depths.

Oh great. She's not opposed to al fresco sex in principle, but the ground is gravel, which is not going to be good for her knees or her back. She's a little surprised, then, when King spreads the blanket over the hood and then sits on it, leaving a space for her that he pats entreatingly.

She only hesitates for a moment before she clambers up and settles beside him. The hood is still warm but the blanket dulls the worst of it and the nights are starting to grow a little cooler, at least out of doors. She'll be pleased for that lingering warmth later on, assuming that they're still here then. And it seems to be a safe assumption - King has an air of settling in about him, something that suggests that they're here for the long haul.

The moon is high in the sky now, but it's only quarter-full, giving just enough light for her to make out King's expression as he smiles at her, catching on his cheekbones and in his eyes, but not enough to make out much more.

"Comfortable?" he asks and she nods, knowing it's not a lie. She's been more comfortable, sure, but as stakeouts go this one doesn't suck as much as stinking alleys when the rain is streaming from the sky, cascading down rusting fire escapes and soaking her to the skin. "Good." Satisfied, he reaches back into his bag and pulls out something wrapped in brown paper and hands it to her. It's soft and squishy and smells good; when she unwraps it, it's pastrami on rye, her favourite.

"I figured sandwiches were the easiest thing to eat in the dark," he explains, unwrapping his own. She'd lay odds that his is roast beef and horseradish, because that's King's favourite and something he can rarely get from the kind of joint that they usually frequent. "There are some cheeses as well, and a couple of bottles of beer. No ice cream, I'm afraid. I figured it would have melted long before we even got here."

"Where is here?" she asks again.

"I told you." He flashes her another grin, teeth white in the darkness. "Lookout Point."

She doesn't rise to the bait. "Why are we here if it's not a stakeout? Do you think there are vamps?"

"No, just look."

She looks out over the vista stretching out in front of them. Maybe in daylight it's impressive enough to earn the place its name, but at night she can see nothing but darkness with a few twinkling lights scattered below marking homesteads or the odd secluded hotel.

"No, sweetheart. Look up."

She does and the sky stretches endlessly above her, a river of stars stretching from horizon to horizon. For a second she feels a wrenching pang of homesickness for the small town she grew up in, where the lack of light pollution meant that if you drove far enough away from town you could see a little of this, just a little.

But here it's crystal clear, clear enough for her to tell, even with the naked eye, that the stars come in all sorts of hues, not just sparkling white.

"It's beautiful," she breathes.

"Yes, it is." King's voice is soft, but when she turns her head to thank him for this, for bringing her here, he's not looking at the sky. He's looking straight at her. "Absolutely beautiful."

She goes hot and cold both at once, goose bumps breaking out on her skin even as her face feels heated. He has that tilt to his head that tells her that he's smiling at her even if she can't make it out clearly in the moonlight, the angle of his head all wrong for her to be able to see his expression. But she's not surprised when he reaches up to brush a strand of her hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear. She's already closing her eyes before his fingers touch her skin, leaning into his touch, which stays soft and gentle.

When she opens them again, he's still looking at her, closer now, the shadows on his face growing more pronounced as he leans in to kiss her, his hand cupping her face.

When he finally pulls back and turns to look up at the sky, she slides closer to him, leaning her head against his shoulder when his arm wraps around her automatically.

The sky is beautiful, more than beautiful. It's alive, full of possibilities, and for a second she thinks that maybe this moment will last forever, stretch out like the stars, a never-ending summer of her and King.

But nothing can last forever. She should know better than that.

-o-

The first sign that summer is almost over is when the kids disappear from the streets during the day.

It takes a little while for Abby to notice, longer than it would have done if she wasn't wrapped up in King, sailing merrily down the river Nile and still pretending that the summer is as endless as the night sky. When she does notice, the knowledge settles in her stomach like lead, weighing down her steps and taking the bounce right out of them. It's still hot and there are still tourists as the month winds down towards autumn, but time marches on and not even she can deny the reality of that. Sooner or later, the tourists will head back to the city, which means that the vamps will follow on their trail.

And she and King will head back to the Honeycomb Hideout, where things will go back to the kind of normal she doesn't want but will have to deal with anyway.

For now, she sticks her head in the sand and wills the world away, just for a few more weeks and then a few more days.

King doesn't say anything at first, not until it's been almost a week since their last successful hunt and even then he broaches the topic with care, leaving her wondering what kind of unconscious signals she's been sending out.

He waits until she's finished her daily swim, the pool empty of everyone but her and King before he says, as she's climbing out of the pool, "I got a text from Dex a couple of days ago."

She pauses on the ladder, her fingers tightening on the rungs until the metal bites into her fingers. "Oh."

"Yeah." He's watching her carefully - too carefully - as she climbs the last few steps until she's standing on the paving. "He doesn't think we love him anymore. Wants to know when we're coming home."

She reaches for the towel and makes a show of squeezing the water out of her hair, buying her some time to think. Only, there's nothing to think about, is there? Not really, not when it's inevitability that's knocking at the door.

"There's nothing stopping us, is there?"

He shakes his head, seemingly satisfied by her answer. "I guess not. It's been fun - a lot of fun - but I'm kind of looking forward to getting home, you know?"

She dredges up a smile from somewhere, something that feels so false on her face that he's got to be able to see straight through it. "Be nice to sleep under our own roof, in our own beds."

"Yeah." He treats her to a little smile of his own, one that's rueful around the edges. "Although the downside is that we'll have to eat Hedges' cooking again. At least on the nights when it's his turn to cook."

Her smile seems frozen now, as ice-cold as she feels inside, but she keeps it on her face as she nods, trying to hold it together, clinging to her composure with her fingertips. "When were you thinking?"

"Room's booked 'til tomorrow. I don't really see the point in looking for somewhere else, do you?"

"No. No, I suppose not." Ice. She's ice inside, in spite of the heat, and she's never going to be warm again. "Are you going to let Dex know?"

"Sure." He gives her an easy smile, the kind of smile that would normally warm her through, but all she can do now is mimic him, hoping that it passes for real.

The summer's over and winter is coming, and all she can do is freeze.

-o-

They make love for the last time that night, and now that it's almost over she can call it that, at least to herself. She knows that's not the way that King sees it, the sex they have, but she's done lying to herself.

There's no point when the truth bites so deeply that not even she can wilfully block it out any longer.

So she lies back in the middle of the big bed that they won't share after tonight while King goes down on her for the last time. She stops him before he makes her come, though, pushing at his head until he gets the hint and raises his face towards her, his mouth slick and wet from her.

"I want to come with you inside me," she whispers and he nods, like he doesn't even remember she said that to him the very first time they did this. Maybe he doesn't, but Abby does and that's enough.

She has to wait until he's rolled a condom on before he can finally settle between her thighs, and she closes her eyes as he pushes into her, moving slowly until he's in her as deep as he can get. He buries his face in her hair, his breath warm against her scalp, and she winds her arms around his shoulders, holding him there as his hips start to rock, sliding his dick smoothly in and out of her.

The angle's all wrong but that's not why she shifts her legs until she's managed to wrap them around his waist, crossing her ankles in the small of his back; it's so that she can be as close to him as possible, for as long as possible, so that she can have every inch of him pressed against her, as if that will mean that the scent of him will permeate her skin, become part of her so that she won't lose him entirely.

They'll still be friends, she thinks, and the thought doesn't hurt, not straight away. It's too distant, too cold, leaving her numb. Maybe even friends with the odd, added benefit, but she won't have this: sleeping with him every night; waking up with him every morning; being able to touch him whenever she likes and for however long she likes.

She opens her eyes and stares at the ceiling, and it blurs above her. When she blinks, she can feel the tears roll down her face, and she sinks her fingers into King's hair, holding his face against her neck as he fucks her so he won't see that, so he'll never have to see that, see her losing control. She has some fucking dignity left, although even that's a cold comfort when she's losing this.

She closes her eyes again, focusing instead on the feel of King's body moving against hers, the gasps he's letting out against her skin, soft and lost as she clenches her body tightly around him. She kisses his shoulder, rubbing her tears off against his skin and by the time he moves from her neck to kissing her face, to her mouth, he'll think any lingering taste of salt on her skin is her sweat.

He's good, he's so good at this and she arches her neck, baring her throat to his mouth, her fingernails digging into his skin as the first pleasurable waves course through her. He doesn't disappoint, nipping and lapping at the delicate skin where her neck joins her shoulders, leaving marks that will be hidden underneath her shirt but will take a couple of days to fade. The thought - the idea that even after this is over, she'll have something of him to trace with her fingertips once she's home - sends her over the edge, the ripples of pleasure tightening her cunt around King, dragging him down after her.

She bears his weight for as long as she can stand it, stroking her fingers over his skin, but when he finally moves away to strip off the condom, she escapes to the bathroom with a quick and muttered explanation about needing the toilet that she's not even sure he catches. The tears are falling before the door even closes behind her and she slams her hand over her mouth, muffling any sounds before they can escape, before King can hear her and start asking questions she can't answer without falling completely apart.

The sobs that wrack her body don't last long. She can't - won't - allow herself the indulgence of wallowing in it, not when King is just outside the door and she doesn't want their last night together to end like this, in tears and recriminations about things that just aren't his fucking fault. She knew what she was getting into. It's not King's fault that, when it comes down to it, she can't handle the fallout.

But she can handle anything. She has to. No one else is going to handle it for her.

She gets herself back under control, washing her face in cold water to reduce the puffiness around her eyes, the redness. She still looks wrecked when she looks in the mirror over the sink, but hopefully it's the kind of wrecked that will pass for well-fucked in the dark, not fucked up and fucked over. When she's at least semi-presentable, she flushes the toilet so that it sounds like she had a reason to be in there and heads back out to the bedroom.

King is already asleep when she gets back to the bed, and she doesn't know whether to be relieved or pissed about it. She settles on neither, or both, or something in between, too tired, too heartsick to work it out. Instead, she crawls in beside him, trying not to wake him.

He wakes anyway, his voice a sleepy murmur as he asks, "Hey. You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Go back to sleep." Her voice doesn't quiver, and she's proud of that.

King makes another sleepy sound, tugging the covers back over her. He leaves his arm draped over her, pressing closer until she can feel the warm of his skin against hers. "You're cold. Com' 'ere."

She goes, sliding into his embrace and resting her head on his chest, listening to the sound of his heart beating as he drifts back off to sleep.

She doesn't think she'll sleep, not tonight, but she's wrong. Her body betrays her and she's soon sliding into slumber, wasting those last few hours with him to sleep.

-o-

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