|viv (solitairey) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-04-17 22:12:00
|Entry tags:||irene adler, mycroft holmes|
Who: Cimmerian & the Ruler. (Viv & Noah)
What: Night swimming.
When: A recent night.
Warnings: A bit of groping.
Viv had said she'd think about it, but that was her last word on the subject of blackout swimming. Over the next couple of days, Viv made a hardened effort to ignore the forums entirely. She left that golden phone in a dresser drawer, half hoping that a brave motel cleaning lady would just steal it when Viv was out. But nobody ever did, and Viv was forced to ignore it still. When she made herself busy enough, it was easy. She drove down to San Quentin on visitor's day to see her brother. The uniform still didn't suit him, and they laughed about that for awhile. It was a watery laugh, the kind that never completely rinsed away the bitterness. He wasn't looking good, too young to be so lost and haggard. Viv gave him a kiss on her way up from the table. No touching!, the guard snapped. She drank a lukewarm six pack on her way back through the desert, and the tears didn't hit her until somewhere near Barstow. So unexpected that she didn't even know what they were at first, maybe just the sun and the heat making her eyes water. She pulled over and cried until she felt sane again, and then it was back to Vegas and business as usual.
Sunday crept up on her. She could feel its weight on her back, and even if she was ignoring that phone, she kept looking at the drawer. Sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night, frantic for no reason, and her eyes would find the drawer first. She couldn't help it, and such things made her determined all the more to stay away. Trademark Viv; fuck it, don't need it, don't want it. Irene was suspiciously quiet since her vacay, which was good, but Viv also suspected it was somehow bad. Whatever, she couldn't think about it. She wouldn't think about it.. and that's how she ended up at The Bathhouse. Just another one of her leisurely late night drives, windows down, Jim Morrison blasting. Eating up asphalt with cigarette filter after cigarette filter marking the tail of her midnight comet. She hadn't looked at her phone since his message, there was no way she even should have remembered the address.. but here she was. Rusty Datsun finding a home in the sleek parking lot. She sat there for a moment, knees drawn up, shins against the steering wheel. Engine idling, music on low. Then it stopped, abrupt silence somehow the only marker that life existed here. She'd made up her mind, and it was still fifteen until midnight when she moved into room with her private pool. The lights were on, but she was early and the only one here. Not that she wasn't prepared for a quick escape if something different was the case. Her bright red hoodie was drawn up and tight against sunflower hair, and her face was completely downcast until she realized she was alone. She cut the lights immediately. She hadn't told him to come, but she hadn't yet decided if she didn't want him to or not. Just something else she wouldn't think about. Something it seemed she didn't have to think about as she approached the water. Stepping out of her flipflops and then sliding out of her jeans. Letting the denim work it's way down with every careful step. The spa was dark, but there was some light offered from the closed door's seam, and it bounced off of the water.
Of course he was there, but he’d meant it when he said the water for her, that the gesture was for her. He’d arrived precisely at 11:30, taking a bus to the hotel’s curb and walking the remainder of the way, hands in the pocket of his jeans and a simple, gray t-shirt covering his chest. He took his time with the walk, because he’d no intention of walking inside until five after. Five after, he’d convinced himself, was the perfect amount of time to allow her to slip into the darkened room, should she wish it. He wandered the casino, ignored the complimentary drinks, and generally paced like a caged animal in inconspicuous gray and denim.
At three minutes after, he turned toward the Bathhouse, and he showed his identification, and then he made the walk to the door that he hoped she was behind. It was dark beneath the door, which was the first thing he noticed, and it gave him hope that she was, indeed, inside. Surely the light should have been on, if the room was uninhabited. He held onto that hope, and he doused the light outside the room for a moment. He knew they’d come turn it on the moment they noticed, the attendants, but he only needed enough time to venture inside without the light illuminating him. And if she wasn’t there, he would wait the entire allotted time, in case she turned up. There was little point in lying to himself about that - he’d wait until morning, if need be.
The slight line of illumination beneath the door disappeared, and then the door was creaking open. He was only a shadow, no light behind him, and he closed the door and leaned back against it without looking to see if he saw her, if he saw anything. It was pitch black without the light beneath the door, and he listened for sound, for water, for movement. “Are you here?” he finally asked, British, refined, voice surprisingly low without the door between them, the room making him echo when he spoke. “I rather hoped the darkness meant you were,” he admitted, stepping away from the door and toward the pool, now that his eyes were beginning to settle, to acclimate.
There was nothing after he spoke, the dead silence of being stood up.. but suddenly, a splash. The hoodie weighed her down, but she had been too surprised to take it off. She'd been sitting poolside forever, legs dangling in filtered water, thinking. Then, an intrusion, then a leap. The water weighed down her hood, and pulled it loose from her hair to settle down more around her neck. She treaded water, listening to him. Then, before she could even speak, there was her laugh. Something murky and amused, in the dark it managed to be harmless.
"Ian," she said. Not quite an invitation, but he was here, and she didn't mind.
It took him a minute to realize she was saying his name. He’d pretended to be Noah Bailey for so long that, in many ways, he was Noah Bailey. Ian was something he’d been once, a secret that only she knew, and after long moment he chuckled, his own laughter meeting the echo of hers in the dark room. “Yes. I should have something to call you, you realize, even if it’s something not entirely true.”
He took a step forward, another, and behind him the sliver of light filtered beneath the door once more. It didn’t do anything to illuminate him, but it cast a fairly gray shadow over the room, made the blue of the water dance against the nothing and shadows of the walls. “I’m glad you came,” he said, the truth of it in the tone of his words. He was glad, and he couldn’t stop grinning, not that she could see.
“May I join you?” he asked, his feet near the edge of the pool furthest from her. He wouldn’t join her if she didn’t agree to it. He would be perfectly happy to sit there and listen to her, should that be what she desired.
She didn't say anything for a long time. There was only the sound of water breaking gentle against the slice of her arms as she floated on her back and watched the blackened ceiling. Her hoodie was heavy with water, but she didn't mind. It was like swimming in a cloud. Always, there was the feeling that she shouldn't be doing this. This wasn't her, but in the dark she could pretend it was. Of course, why she wanted to pretend in the first place was a whole separate problem. Like everything lately, she tried not to think about it too much. "You may." Even as she said it, there was the sound of disturbed water again, rougher this time. She shrank back against one corner of the pool to admire the shadow outline of him.
He listened to the lapping water, and he half expected her to tell him no. It wouldn’t have been quite so terrible, either. He would have sat himself down, and he would have talked to her from across the dark room, and it would have been better than nearly anything else in the universe. As it was, he stepped forward in the dark and undid his jeans, the sounds of denim sliding down his legs glaringly obvious to him with the echo around the water. His boxers were dark blue, impossible to see in the nothing light, but he kept them on, and he pulled his shirt over his head as he toed off his shoes. A few moments later, no more, and he was slipping into the pool. He was as far from her as it was possible to be, and he said nothing until the water had settled around him. “I thought about you,” was what he finally said, breaking the silence.
The water was cool, but not anything uncomfortable. It couldn't even justify the shiver that was trick or treating its way up her spine right now. The water was just biting enough to instigate the nervous system, which probably explained why her heartbeat resembled the fluttering twirl of suicidal butterfly's nosedive. Yeah, probably. She could hear him, even if she couldn't see him. It was impossible to see anything in the pool, which slept just below the door's level. The water was awake now, but just beginning to calm after the rough fright she'd given it with her initial leap. "What about me?" Her voice drifted from the up ahead, gentler in tone than the light had ever known. She didn't notice the dreamy sweetness, or maybe such things felt natural as a captive of the dark.
He barely noticed the water against his skin. He was young enough still that the entirety of the world could be found in the dreamy voice of a girl at the end of a pool. “I thought,” he said, settling back against the pool’s edge with enough sound that it was clear he wasn’t moving forward, not toward her, “about whether or not you’d come. And I wondered what witty things I could say if you did. But I’ve no wit around you. Around anyone, maybe, but especially not around you.” There was a smile in that confession, a truth, and it came with a shy duck of his head that she could not see. “There was a fire in my apartment complex, and my first thought was to wonder if you lived there. Before anything else, really. Just that, if you lived there.”
She didn't imagine men to be especially witty, everything they said was some poorly constructed lie fit to unravel at the first sign of chastity. But something about him, and maybe it was because of the nonthreatening distance so far, or maybe because it was always words and admissions with them.. but it seemed possible that wit wasn't beyond him in the same way it was for basically everybody else. Another thing to be crammed into the column of That Which Shall Not Be Thought About. "I don't live there," she confessed. She had to smirk at the idea, though. Her renter's history was abysmal, and her cooking was worse. The motel was lucky she hadn't burned it down yet out of accident or adventure, if not out of vengeful disgust. Peeling her way out of that soggy sweatshirt, it slapped the poolside tile, heavy and wet. It might never dry, but she wasn't too concerned. "Did you have to move?" She'd saw on the forums that some people did.
He was glad she didn’t live there, and he began to say as much, but he was very young and very male, and he heard the sound of wet fabric being removed, cast aside, and he became frozen entirely. It took a moment to recenter himself, to remind himself that drooling would not be terribly impressive, and he shook his head before he managed to reply. “No. The fire was on the other side of the building. Quite intentionally set, and it only went so far. I’ve friends that were put out during the other fire though, the one at Willows. I’ve been thinking of moving, if the truth be told, and I might move with one of them, the one from the Willows.” And now he was babbling, but he was trying to figure out where she was in the water, all without moving himself.
She hadn't had much to say while he was rambling. The way his voice carried disguised the water, made the laps that offset her movement seem all the more natural. When she finally spoke, it might have been surprising how close she was. An arm's length away, maybe less if he was ambitious. "That sucks," she whispered. Her voice was something smoky and low key, something just to be shared in the dark. Strangely enough, she didn't crave a cigarette just now, which social situations usually dictated. She supposed it had something to do with the constant movement of her hands, which was necessary as she treaded water so near.
His voice had covered the sound of her movement, and he was surprised to find her so close when she spoke, the whisper right there. His fingers itched to reach out and grab her, but he made them remain still at his side, elbows on the edge of the pool and keeping him entirely stationary. “I want to reach out and touch you,” he admitted, voice gone lower and more accented for it. “I won’t, not unless you give me permission, but I thought you should know that I want to do it terribly. Only a kiss, a chaste one if you wish.” He didn’t keep asking, figuring once was enough, and he forced himself to remember how to speak, how to converse about something beyond his desire to take her in his arms as he’d done at the party. “Moving out doesn’t suck. My stepmother, she wouldn’t approve of me seeing anyone, you see.”
She didn't tell him to refrain from touching her, but silence from her was far too dangerous to take at face value. Not that he knew anything about that. This would usually be where she crushed him. Floating so near and almost attainable one moment, and raking him raw with the scald of her laugh the next. But she didn't make a sound. She wondered what the point of a chaste kiss was, and even more distressing was wondering why the idea cast loose a distress signal inside of her, more so than him just reaching out to touch her ever would have. Before she could say anything though, he spoke again. She stilled briefly, tangled in fronds of surprise and confusion. "Your stepmother?" Please don't tell her that she was midnight swimming with a teenager.
He took her silence to mean he shouldn’t move forward, shouldn’t touch, shouldn’t kiss, and he remained as he was, where he was. Her tone when she asked about his stepmother, though, that made him shake his head and move away from the side of the pool wall, inferring the surprise from her tone alone. “I’m no child. My father died years back, and she lives with me.” It wasn’t a lie precisely, but he sighed all the same, because this was the one person he didn’t need to lie to - he didn’t want to begin now. “We began sleeping together after my father’s death. I’m no child,” he added, the repetition stronger, and he waited for the sounds he expected to follow the confession. He waited for the sound of water, the slap of her feet at the pool’s edge, that damp fabric to return to wherever it had come from. But he made no additional defense for what, in many ways, amounted to incest.
The water had carried her closer by no intention of her own, or none that she recognized as her own anyway. When he moved off of the wall, she was closer than she ever intended, and the water that moved in a gentle wave forward, cast off from his sudden movement, was a surprise. So much so that she reached out a hand, and her fingers moved slick in their grip of his shoulder, perhaps just to keep him at bay. Her grip was strong and serious in the way it pushed against him, keeping him at arm's length.. but it softened as he spoke. Whatever she'd been expecting him to say, it wasn't that. "Oh.." What an insufficient thing to say, she frowned(not that he could see it), and tried again. "How long.. have you been with her?"
He took the hand on his shoulder as permission, thoughtless, unintentional permission. His hand slid to her waist, and he did not have the build or make of a child or teenager. Young, slim, fit, but not a child. He didn’t pull her closer, not when her own touch was so insistent in keeping them apart. “Years. Quite a long time.” He smiled at her uncertainty, because there was no good response to what he’d just told her, not truly, and he felt certain she was actually doing rather well. “Not exclusively. She sees other men, as she did when my father lived.” There it was, all wrapped up, missing only the numbers, and he couldn’t help but chuckle. “You’ve all my secrets now, and I don’t even know what I’m to call you.”
She frowned again, this time at his chuckle. She probably would have frowned at the hand on her waist too, if she noticed it before it was too late. But the conversation was too hypnotic, too alarming, to draw away. She didn't see anything light about the topic at hand, but she supposed that if it didn't bother him, it shouldn't bother her. She wasn't entirely sure that was the case, but rather than continue to analyze it, she was derailed by his closing statement. She didn't know what to say, and the silence spanned the water between them for a long moment before she spoke, "What would you like to call me? I only have my name." She wasn't armed for this occasion with a secret murder alias, like him.
His fingers on her waist twitched, flute calloused fingertips pressing against wet, bare skin, then back once more, as if she was something to be played, like a melody. “Something you like, whether it’s your name or not,” he suggested. He wanted to pull her closer, and it was in the way he held his arms, muscles tense with the effort not to give in. The water lapped around them and between them, and he tried to make out her face, her shape in the darkened room, but it was all to no avail. He paused, considered, and opted to take a risk. “Allow me to kiss you, and I’ll leave you to the night, to the rest of the time here, unencumbered. Only a kiss. That’s all I ask.”
So many names came to mind. Her daughter's, which was too painful. Her mother's, which was far too ambitious to live up to. Even the simplicity of V wouldn't fit for as delicate a scenario as this. In the end, she settled on something that reminded her of her youth, when she was wild, not angry. Something before it all went to hell. "Cheyenne, then. It's my middle name."
She slipped eagerly into the quiet that came. Not even the sound of their breathing, just the soft waves of water meeting the tiled edge of the pool. It gave her time to investigate the slope of his shoulder, the slim cords of tension in muscle, the slick skin. It'd been such a long time since she'd touched somebody. Even in casual conversation she was brick wall body language, but in the dark she didn't have to be. The exploration of her fingers was hesitant, but not afraid. It was like feeling braille for the first time, trying to learn, to imagine. She paused with the suddenness of his request, and was quiet a moment longer before pushing his hand from her waist. Her words found him only as she began to drift away, the cool water growing deeper between them. "Only if you can find me..."
He was tasting the name on his tongue, turning it over to see if it fit, and the push at his hand came as something unexpected. He’d just decided that, yes, the name fit. In evoked images of wild, uncontrolled things, like the girl that twirled and twirled in his arms at the masquerade. Yes, it fit, and then came the push, and he was left catching up. A beat, then two, then her words found their way into his mind. Only if you can find me...
It was the only encouragement he needed; he pursued.
His hands cut through the water, and he moved faster than she did, fingers touching a shoulder, a hip, and then he pulled. It wasn’t enough to draw her to him if she didn’t want it, but it was certainly enough to find her in his arms if she wanted to be caught.
She was pleasantly surprised. She took her time because she wasn't expecting him to come flying out of the gate like she was the only life raft in a hundred years. By the time she tried to quicken her backstroke, it was too late. His hands were already sliding against bare skin, fingers sinking for purchase on a hip, then an ankle as he pulled her back into his direction. It tore loose a sound from her, a shocked half-shriek of laughter that was far too young for the woman that the light of day knew. She conceded to his win without a fight or any desire to swim away again. Sliding easily into his arms, "I'm impressed."
“Are you quite?” he asked, a low rumble in his chest and a smile in the words. “Do I get my kiss then?” he asked, arms winding around her waist. He loved that shriek of laughter, loved it when she sounded happy and wild, like the girl at the dance. He didn’t wait for an answer to his question, because he’d caught her, and she’d said he could have a kiss if he did. And so he took it. It was a bit of a challenge, finding her mouth in the dark, but he did. His lips slanted over hers, and while he kept the kiss chaste (as promised) there was no lack of heat in it. And, in this at least, he was no inexperienced boy. He tasted of mint, and he smelled of polishing oil and dusty books and some musky cologne lightly applied.
She wound her arms around him in order to stay afloat, and she nodded even though he couldn't see it. She wondered if he could see anything about her, the white glint of her bra or the silvery blond of her hair. Or maybe she preferred if he couldn't.. and she was musing on just that when he kissed her. Her lips parted in momentary surprise, and it let her taste the kiss in full. Mint, interesting. She smelled like pool chlorine, but under that whispered the memory of strawberry shampoo suds and smoke. She tasted like smoke too, just a bit, and surprisingly enough, green apple jolly ranchers. The kiss made her hazy, thoughtless and unafraid. She clung to him even as the seconds ticked by, longer than any traditional kiss would last, and she eventually licked her way across his lower lip in the same kind of curiosity that dropped young blondes down chasms after white rabbits.
He parted his lips, kissed her, all open mouthed and with more insistence, but he didn’t chase her tongue, didn’t claim her mouth that way. He wanted to. He wanted nothing more than to tangle his tongue with hers and drag her against the side of the pool, wanted to see if she tasted like strawberries and smoke in other places. But he didn’t. He tensed, the desire obvious in a thousand ways he was too inexperienced to hide, and he groaned when he forced himself to pull back, because he knew he wouldn’t be able to resist if he didn’t. His breathing was fast, fast, shallow and gone as soon as it came, and it was audible in the darkness that revealed nothing at all. “Cheyenne,” he said once he moved back, testing the name and finding it perfect. He reached for her again, reached, but didn’t pull her. If she came, if she breached the distance, he wasn’t sure he would be able to let her go again.
She discovered that there were sounds when they kissed, the pause of breathing and some yearning murmur that she didn't recognize as her own. She felt the way he grew tense and still under her hands, and it made things low in her body go tight in a way that she barely remembered. But he was groaning then, and wait where was he going. She reached after him, thoughtlessly, but she couldn't see and she only caught air as a result. Her arm folded into the water, defeated and a little surprised if she would let herself think about it. She didn't want to think about it. So when he reached for her, it was an escape from the mind that threatened to haunt her. She didn't want to be hateful forever, or maybe she did -- no, no she wouldn't think about it. Gripping his hand as it brushed her arm, she pulled him back to her.
Noah was only human, only male. He was young, and self-control wasn’t high on his list of strengths. He wanted her, and that was entirely irrefutable as he pulled her close, his body giving it away beneath the thin fabric of the wet-cling boxers. His mouth found hers again, surer this time, and he tread water and moved them back toward the wall as his tongue found the inside of her mouth, tangled his tongue with hers on a moan. This he was good at, really good, and it might have added to the illusion of added age that he didn’t really possess. Strong arms pulled her close, and he freed her mouth and kissed along the column of her throat with a groan of want.
In this, he continued to surprise her. She forgot how to evade, how to sneer or twist away, how to even speak. The wall's cool tile was at her back and his kiss was relentless, she couldn't have gotten away, not that she wanted to. Her hands kept a tight grip of his shoulders, uncertain because she forgot that this even existed. He seemed to know what he was doing better than her, somehow. All things considered, she was no virgin, but when one spent more time pushing people away than being human, the little things got lost to the sandy banks of time and memory. When his lips found her neck, there was a gasp. Everything felt like a surprise in the dark. She arched into him, slightly away from the wall, and wrapped a leg around his hip because it seemed easier than continuing to tread water. Swimming was becoming one more thing that she couldn't think about.
This close to the wall, his feet were firmly on the floor of the pool, and even without the water he was sure he could hold her weight just then. He felt like Henry VIII, like the kings he so proudly traced his lineage back to. He could joust on any field, slay any dragon, defeat any challenger. His hand slid from her calf to the outside of her thigh, and his fingers tangled and wound around the wet fabric of the underwear at her hip. His other hand slid up from her waist, palm brushing with certainty against a wet nipple, back and forth, all roll and a hand calloused from a lifetime of music. His mouth chased back up the column of her throat, and he found her mouth again, and this time the kiss was more demand, more heat. “I won’t push for more than this if you don’t want it,” he said, and the words were little more than heat and rumble and promise against her lips.
The claiming brush of his hand brought about a series of instinctive jerks and shivers, something that she forgot she should suppress. This wasn't supposed to happen, or maybe it was.. she wasn't entirely sure of what she'd been thinking when she'd come to the pool here tonight. She folded under the return of his kiss, finding it stronger and insistent. She didn't mind, the kiss could have whatever it wanted, so long as it didn't stop. But then he was talking, forcing her to come back to herself in an effort to track down cognition. Her brow creased and she licked her lips, tasting his words, feeling the vibration of them and the warmth of his breath, which stirred the coals of a fire thought long dead in her blood. "I.." She did want it, and that was the whole problem, really. "Stop." Suddenly, just that word. The finality of a cell door clanging shut. She cast a palm into his chest and her bare heel against his hip, pushing him off of her and back into the water before he could politely retreat. Then there was the sound of her hauling herself out of the pool, water dripping.
To his credit, he stopped exactly when she said stop. The palm against his chest, heel against his hip, they were unnecessary. He was already backing up, all hard breathing and desire that wouldn’t quit. When he spoke, his voice was hoarse control, rough promises not met. “Will I see you again?” he asked, because that was all that mattered to him. Perhaps he should care about not having her, about having been pushed away; he cared about none of those things, not if he could see her again.
There was no answer, just the slap of bare feet against damp tile. She didn't collect her shoes, and she didn't collect her hoodie. Even with wet skin, the jeans were oversized enough to be slid on within moments. From the open door there was a glimpse of her, blinding pale in the surge of light before the door slammed shut and she vanished entirely.