Author: Bennie
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I own nothing Roswell.
Character Focus: If you figure it out, tell me, okay?
Author's Note: Here’s the thing; I know this was inspired by Roswell. When I wrote this, I had desert images running through my mind, could practically feel the sagebrush and smell the mesquite (and since I have only the vaguest ideas what those are, you can imagine how surreal *that* was). And I was definitely channelling the whole “love separated by duty, obligation and a loyalty to something larger than one’s self” vibe. But whose love? Whose duty? Whose loyalty? I don’t know. Maybe a synthesis of them all…

“You came. I didn´t think you would.”

She spoke out of the darkness, stepping into the circle of dim candlelight only when she was certain he was alone.

“Yes you did. You knew I would come.”

She couldn´t help but chuckle at his confident tone. She knew, all right.

“How did you get away?” And now gentle hands led him to the side of the bed, where she kneeled behind him and began to massage tense back muscles into submission.

He laughed. If there was a touch of cynicism in his tone, they both ignored it.

“I told them I needed to think. To go out in the desert. To find myself.”

Her laughter rose like brittle wind chimes in the still night.

“Do you? Did you?” Her hands froze for a moment, and then she continued kneading his flesh, but in larger, gentler strokes.

Turning, he grabbed her hands in his strong grip and turned them upwards to kiss her palms.

“All I do is think. There´s nothing out in the desert but the past. I live in the present. And my future doesn´t bear thinking about.”

“Don´t say that!” she exclaimed fiercely, but her protests caught in her throat, betraying the tears that threatened to fall.

Immediately penitent, he cupped her cheeks in calloused palms, and kissed them away.

She deepened the kiss, becoming lost as always in its magic, his touch a soothing balm on her soul.

“I´m sorry,” he said between kisses. He kissed her forehead. “I´m sorry.” Each eye. “I´m sorry.” The tip of her nose. “I´m sorry.” And finally, her lips, which muffled his next apology.

“How long do you have?” she whispered, mentally calculating how much time they´d have to spare for their separate trips back to Roswell.

He paused, and when he spoke, it was with the profoundest of regret.

“Three hours.”

“Three? Why so little?” Now she couldn´t prevent the stream of moisture from escaping down her cheek.

He continued, gently. He had grown into a somewhat abrupt man, but also a kind man.

“She´ll expect me back tonight. It´s important to her. You know that. I have to be there for her.”

“You always have to be there for her,” she complained bitterly.

“Just like you have to be there for him,” he shot back, and immediately wished he could take back his words when he saw her stricken expression.

“That´s different, and you know it,” she whispered, hurt.

“I know,” he sighed, and tilted his head until it rested against hers. “I´m sorry.”

After a moment, he added, “I´m tired of saying that all the time.”

“Then don´t,” she replied swiftly. “You don´t have to, not here. Not about that.”

He smiled then, and in his face she could see the boy she had fallen in love with so long ago.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice low and gravely. “I needed to hear that.” He looked into her eyes, his gaze revealing the depths of his worship.

She flushed and looked away before returning with a forthright look of her own. Her eyes glinted in the candlelight.

“Always,” she promised, her voice thick.

“Always,” he vowed, and they held up their hands to watch the dull gold of plain, nondescript bands that adorned fingers other than the conventional, to signify – to them, if to no one else – their secret but enduring union. They were all but invisible next to bright and shiny wedding rings.

And then they fell back together onto the bed, chuckling a little at the crunch and squeak of ancient springs.

“It´s a good thing this place is so isolated,” he joked mildly. “As it is, you can probably hear these things going for miles on a clear night.”

“Maybe we should have bought a new one,” she murmured speculatively.

“Actually, I like it. If we can´t show the world how much I love you, then it can hear how long I love you,” he said, the corners of his mouth quirking.

“Oh, I get it,” she burst out laughing. “It´s a macho thing! I am man,” she growled in her best ‘caveman´ voice, “hear me … score!”

And he drew her into a tight embrace, burying his guffaws against her thick hair.

“Yup, that´s it,” he agreed good-naturedly, and the tension of the years dropped away from them, and they could have been two teenagers sneaking out after curfew. “Your womanly charms and feminine wiles have broken me. I can´t resist them. And if I have anything to say about it,” he rolled her onto her back so that his eyes were two dark pools of shadow peering down into hers, “you won´t be able to resist my clumsy attempts to woo you.”

She managed to subdue the giggles that threatened long enough to say innocently: “I have no idea what you could be talking about, sir.” But before he could respond, she continued in a sultry, seductive voice.

“Pretty words won´t win me,” she claimed. “I want you to show me.”

“Show you what?”

“How much you want me.”

“I want you,” he whispered, nuzzling the sensitive flesh behind one ear. “What else?”

“How much you need me.”

“I need you,” he sighed, caressing her face and smoothing the strands of hair that escaped her best efforts to tie it back. “What else?”

She drew out the ritual, but finally had to say it.

“How much you love me.”

He pulled her chin with one finger so that she was looking into his eyes, so she could read every emotion that flitted across his face, the tremor that ran through him, at her words.

“I love you,” he echoed, and then they both found refuge in the other, comfort in the other´s touch.

He reached for the buttons that held her shirt together, obscuring her beauty from him, but this time she interrupted the ritual, capturing his wrist and waiting until his puzzled expression turned to acceptance.

“I want you,” she said, and he was still.

“I need you,” she said, and he held his breath.

“I love you,” she said, and he released hot, bittersweet tears before kissing her, hard, and pulled her so that she lay across his chest, looking down at him with ancient eyes.

“Why now?” he asked, shaking with the primitive joy her words awoke in him, but knowing that she was saying something else too, and felt his heart break at her silence.

“This is our last meeting, isn´t it?” he asked, and had to close his eyes against the pain when she refused to answer, but instead turned to rest one ear against him, listening to the rhythm of his heart.

“Why?” he cried roughly, resisting with tremendous effort the desire to shake her until she told him.

“He knows,” she said, simply.

“How?” he gasped. They´d been so careful.

“I don´t know. But he suspects something. I can´t … risk … ” she sobbed, and his head fell back so he could study the cracks in the ceiling plaster. Anything to avoid looking her in the face.

“There´s too much at stake,” he acknowledged. His tone was empty. Bereft. They´d both sacrificed already, and neither was willing to lose everything for a few stolen moments of release.

And so he held her, and together they laughed, and cried, and made love. Once. Sweetly. Silently.


And as the sun dipped below the horizon, they pulled back heavy curtains to look out over the barren landscape for their final time together.

Finally it was time to part. They walked slowly outside to their respective vehicles, and sat behind the wheels silently.

He drove away first, unable to look back. If he did, and saw her, he might do something drastic. And they couldn´t afford that. No one could.

But he could cry as he felt the distance come between them.

She followed his route only minutes later, until she came to an intersection.

Her eyes were dry; she had wept enough. But her heart was heavy. She sat there for some time, listening to the wind come off the desert, imagining what his car had looked like as it drove straight through. She could almost see the taillights in the distance, the dust kicked up by his passage. If she drove hard, if he wasn´t driving too fast, she could catch up. He wouldn´t push her away.

“Good-bye,” she whispered as she turned left, and drove home.

(The End)

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