Banner by Akathesia
Disclaimer: Roswell belongs to Metz/Katims/UPN -- but we can all dream, can't we?
Author's Note: From a saying a friend has on a notebook. And so I fell into the void, and the void encompass´d me. I became the void. It´s a variation on Neitzche's abyss, I guess.
This won Best Dupe Fic in the Summer 2001 Roswell Undercover Awards
I hurt. And I think I like it.
The metal feels funny, tastes funny, looks funny.
It´s unnatural, almost surreal.
But it feels cool. Smooth.
I sit in class and press my tongue against the roof of my mouth, and shiver at the sensation.
I don´t speak much anymore, or laugh. I smile mysteriously, mouth closed, face contorted slightly because my tongue is caressing and scraping the inside of one cheek.
It´s mine. Private. No one has to know if I don´t want them to, not my parents, not my friends.
It´s not like I´ve been kissed much since that day anyway. And Sean seems to get a kick out of it.
Besides, it feels good. I feel good. I feel alive.
It fills the void.
He kissed me against my will, without provocation, without warning. There was nothing I could do about it.
And I did what everyone who knows me would expect: I squealed, and jumped away, and shuddered as I ran to the washroom to hide in a stall until my heart stopped pounding.
I was upset; it was an invasion, and I didn´t know what had come over Michael. True, he´d been a lot nicer since that day he spent with Hal, but other than that he´s never shown any interest in me except as Max´s distraction, Maria´s friend and the boss´s daughter.
Well, obviously I´d missed something. Maria had sure as hell never told me about the piercings. The tongue stud, the nipple rings I could feel beneath worn cotton as he pulled me to him.
I didn´t talk to anyone about it. What was I going to say? I figured I´d wait and see what Michael had to say for himself.
And then I´d take him aside and ask where he got it done. Because while I wasn´t crazy about having a tongue shoved in my mouth, there was something about that round ball teasing my lip and clicking against my teeth with a slightly oily-feeling metallic tang
Of course, that night I met Rath and the others. And between Maria´s outrage and Max´s distance and the way everyone sort of split up I managed to pull him behind a display of alien explorers.
Hey, so you do wanna do sumthin´? he asked, sarcastic but jaunty, as though he wasn´t really expecting me to say yes, but wouldn´t hesitate to jump me right there if I did.
I dismissed that notion with a shake of my head. No. I want to know where you got your tongue pierced, and if you can recommend anywhere around here.
He looked at me for a moment, a puzzled. Apparently he hadn´t expected either my tone, or my question.
We do em ourselves, he said, and grinned at my obvious disappointment.
Maybe I can help you out, what with us bein´ so close an´ all, he offered.
He looked slightly dumbfounded when I agreed.
Will it hurt? I asked.
I wasn´t really scared, but it´s not like I´m a total masochist.
He just grinned and came at me. I let him kiss me, thinking that when we stopped for air I´d hand him the sterile stud I´d picked up this morning and get this over with.
He wasn´t a sloppy kisser, exactly, but I felt invaded when his tongue was in my mouth and vulnerable when he pulled mine into his.
Then he bit my tongue. Hard. I shrieked and pushed him away from me.
He grinned harder as realization washed over me, and I ran over to my mirror in excitement. He hadn´t bitten me after all, although that´s the best way I can describe how he did what he did, since I don´t actually know. The point is, when I stuck out my tongue, there it was. It looked like a small, round silver ball centred in a bed of pink flesh. It felt kind of numb, and the post penetrating my tongue and not-quite-touching the roof of my mouth felt alien.
But something wasn´t right. It didn´t feel secure.
Gotta put this on, Rath said, and held up the bottom. After a moment I stuck out my tongue and he screwed it on the end of the post that protruded from the underside.
His hand lingered for a moment, and I could feel my entire mouth tingle.
Healin´ it so you don´t swell or nothin´, he explained, and I nodded.
You like? I could hear the desire for praise in his tone.
Yeah, I said, and listened to the way it rolled off my tongue. I don´t think the word itself sounded different, exactly, but the way my tongue felt when I said it
Yeah, I definitely like it, I told him, and he shrugged, pleased.
I held out the stud I´d bought that morning then, and he studied it. It was a little nicer than the one he´d given me.
Keep it, I told him, and watched with wide eyes as he inserted it into his tongue. Only then did it dawn on me: he´d given me his. This was the one that had invaded my mouth the day before, that had tantalized every thought since.
It seemed fitting. Dirty and wrong and slightly nauseating, but also symmetrical. Balanced.
I needed more of that in my life.
Balance, I mean.
Later I found him waiting for me on my balcony.
Can I help you with something? I asked, deliberately brisk. I had an idea that being polite wouldn´t give me the upper hand. Besides, it ticked me off that he´d come here without permission.
I rubbed the round metal ball against the inside of my cheek as I waited for him to speak.
Just wanted ta know if there was anythin´ else I could help ya´ with, he said breezily.
I don´t think so, I said. He pouted.
Aw, c´mon, he wheedled, and suddenly he was in front of me, so close I had to tilt my head up to look him in the eye.
How´s your stud? he asked, and I could feel his breath on my face and the way his eyes danced as he asked.
You mean Max? I said sweetly, and he threw back his head and laughed. I didn´t care that it wasn´t true. I thought it was funny in a twisted kind of way. Ironic, even. But why did he? I raised my eyebrows inquiringly.
Talked with your boy king earlier. Kinda pathetic, ain´t he?
Cautious, I corrected him coldly. He rolled his eyes and leaned down a little. He hadn´t backed up, and as he shifted on his feet I could feel the metal under his shirt.
I´m sure he could feel my nipples harden under mine, but I´m not sure he understood why. It was the metal. There was something about the way it prodded me, pushed at me, tantalized me
When he leaned down to kiss me again, I got a hand between us. Not going to happen, I told him, and he opened his mouth to speak.
But stopped in surprise, as my palm tightened over his chest.
I´d felt the ring at my fingertips, and I flushed with excitement. When he didn´t move right away, I traced its shape as he watched.
What does it feel like? I asked, and swallowed at the expression on his face.
>From the first moment I´d seen him, in the hall, at the museum, he´d been in constant motion. Twitching, fidgeting, bobbing his head, punctuating every word with flamboyant hand gestures. A joke, really; a parody.
And I´d seen him with Lonnie. You could tell they were together, it was in the way his head tilted when he talked to her, the way his body automatically turned to stand in front of her protectively when Brody came down those stairs, the way it turned towards her in invitation when they were talking privately. He didn´t know he was doing it, I don´t think. He just did it.
But now he stood in front of me, and his hands were still. That mouth, the one that invaded and ravaged, was clenched so tightly I could see muscles quiver along his jaw and neck.
Good. I didn´t want him to get in the way. I wanted I wanted to know more about what was under his shirt. I wanted the metal.
I felt the weirdest sense of déjà vu when I asked him if he could take his shirt off, and when it took him a moment to process the request before complying.
It was a very different chest, however. For one thing, I saw it in harsh and unforgiving natural light, not dim and golden candlelight. He was paler than Max, not nearly as toned, although not exactly soft. And the parts I was interested in were very hard indeed.
I don´t know what came over me then. I don´t know why I´d become so fixated on this, although I do know when.
Months ago, Maria had given me a fake nose ring, but first she had tried it out on herself.
The image of her uniform parting, of a ring pinching the skin around her navel, had stayed with me for a long time. Flashes of it, shiny metal merging with and into naked flesh came back to haunt me at odd moments, like when Max accused me of leaking information after Whitaker´s death. Like when he returned a stupid kiddie gift that meant so much, like when he asked if I´d slept with Kyle in Copper Summit. Like when I saw him kiss Tess only minutes after pledging himself to me.
Something in my chest would ache then, would tighten until I thought I couldn´t breath. And for a split second, a glint of silver would colour the world around me. A sour tang would flood my mouth, one I couldn´t identify until the day Michael´s genetic double had thrust his way into my life and my mouth.
And now that I´d had a taste I wanted the real thing.
I wanted more than a memory or something fake that could be removed easily and without consequences. I wanted something to touch and study, that left a mark and was all mine.
The metal in my tongue clashed with that in his small nipple.
Somewhere far away, I heard him groan and start to breath heavily, but it seemed unimportant. I willed him not to move, and he must have gotten the message because he didn´t.
It was intoxicating, the hard and soft and sour and salty all coming together like that.
I barely noticed pushing him back against my bed, my mouth never leaving his chest as I shoved him down on it, so I couldn´t miss the way muscles jumped under skin, the rapid rise and fall of ribcage, the way his nipples stood at attention, one brandishing a small barbell, the other lifting up beneath a ring, allowing me lots of leverage to move around it with my lips and tongue, to tug at it with my teeth.
Soon I couldn´t ignore the hardness pushing against my belly, and I looked up to meet his shocked gaze.
Apparently our little meeting hadn´t quite gone as expected, because I could see uncertainty warring with the want, tempering the anticipation.
Don´t move, I ordered him, and I barely recognized my own voice.
I had just gotten an idea. And this might be the only chance I´d get to try it out.
He wasn´t as big as I´d feared, although for some reason the colour of his erection surprised me. It darkened to a kind of dull reddish-purple as it grew harder, and the thought of my silver against it did things in my stomach.
I wanted to know, you see. I wanted to know what it felt like to have something so blatantly unnatural against such sensitive skin.
I´d felt so unnatural, and so easily bruised, for so long, and I needed an image to go with the emotions, something concrete I could remember and think: that´s how I feel.
Tentatively I reached out with my hand to hold it still, and felt a little shock at its warmth. Something about the shape and size and design of it frightened me, and suddenly I thought about how a lot of the words used to describe sex were violent.
Penetration. Thrusting. Taking.
I thought about the pain that would accompany something like this working its way inside my body, and knew that today would not be the day I found out if it was worth it.
But it could still be a day for discovery.
Slowly, I lowered my head down, and explored. Felt how light scraping made him twitch, how gentle suckling made him pant and harder sucking made his hands clench at my floral sheets.
Then I guess he´d had enough, because suddenly he was pushing me up and then rolling so that I was on the bed and he was standing over me, breathing harshly, eyes almost black.
As he tried to bring himself under control, I spoke.
We stop when I say, I told him, and he just stared at me in disbelief. I could see the questions forming before he could ask. Did I mean I wouldn´t allow him to stop now, or that he wouldn´t be allowed to go too far?
I meant both. Are we clear on that? I asked, my voice hardening.
Finally he nodded, and I reached for the hem of my shirt, so I could know more.
But he pulled my hands away, and instead he ran his much larger hands under my shirt, spanning and exploring the flesh around my midriff before working upwards, his wrists pushing material before them.
I closed my eyes as I felt warm hands and cool air caress my breasts through my bra and then without it, but forced myself to open them when his hands pulled away.
I stopped breathing at the sight of his tongue snaking out to touch first one nipple and then the other, deftly moving back and forth with practised ease, silver winking as his head bobbed rhythmically.
The feeling of smooth metal dragging against my skin as he lapped at my breast and belly was indescribable. It was that far outside my realm of experience; it was that different from every fantasy I´d ever had.
Maybe it was time for some new fantasies.
At some point I noticed something furtive in his movements, and I pushed him up, trying to read his expression. Then I saw it: his nipple ring was missing, and his hand was clenched in a fist, hiding something.
I shook my head. Uh uh. Nothing that´ll show through my shirts, I told him, and fought a crazy urge to giggle at his obvious disappointment. Instead I reached down and deliberately drew lazy circles around my navel.
I couldn´t ask, couldn´t say it out loud. This seemed more personal than my tongue. This was an area where only one other boy had touched me, and I hadn´t changed that much yet; I didn´t know the words for this. I just had the image of Maria´s flat tummy to guide me.
My breath hitched slightly when he got the message, and it was all I could do to remain still when he looked at me like he could eat me up. And not in a euphemistic, flirty sense, either. He looked hungry and dangerous and I forced myself to meet his gaze steadily, without betraying my fear and the anxiety that even now made my insides jump.
Quickly then, he swooped down, and I couldn´t see his face because his long hair got in the way. Somehow, each swipe of his tongue made the skin tingle, ache with sensitivity.
I looked away when he drew back, when I felt him shift his weight to bring in one hand. But I felt the pinch, and this time, it hurt.
Maybe it´s because I knew it was coming, but it was like he´d lit a fire on my belly, and it burned.
My back arched, and I couldn´t help but cry out.
He dove down, pressing his mouth over mine, muffling my whimpers and using my hair to pull my head to his.
He got off on my pain, I could tell.
And for a moment, just a moment, so did I.
He used one hand to sooth my poor, abused skin, and he healed me.
But I still didn´t want him lying along me, pressing against me, against the silver ring that created this shield between us.
I didn´t want intimacy; I wanted the shield.
He got the message then, but he also got creative. Clearly, Lonnie had taught him well.
Tucking himself back inside his pants, which proved just baggy enough, he grabbed the top button of my jeans and opened it, kneeling down and then looking me in the eye to make sure. I´m not going to pretend he was so worried that this was something I wanted. I think he was just checking to see if we were on the same page, if I was going to cooperate.
I nodded my understanding. Okay, he was undoing my pants but wearing his, so he knew we weren´t going to have sex.
Well, penetrative, anyways.
I mentioned my fascination with hard metal against sensitive skin, right?
It was justified.
Damn, but he knew what he was doing with that tongue of his. If I didn´t think she might hurt me with a smile on her shifty face and a song in her alien heart, I´d thank Lonnie.
But that was out of the question. So I removed his pants and returned the favour instead.
Hard metal on sensitive skin. With more confidence, this time.
It was worth it, to feel the power.
The next day they were gone. Max, Tess, Lonnie, and Rath were gone, and I was relieved and worried.
Relieved because I had some crazy idea that Max would be able to look at me and just *know* what had happened, even though he´d never figured out the whole Kyle scam, not really. And in spite of everything, I knew it would hurt if he looked at me with any more disappointment and condemnation in his eyes.
Worried, because of something that happened before Rath left earlier. I had held the curtain aside as he crawled out of my window, and then followed him outside onto the balcony to make sure he did leave. And he did, but first he kissed me again, deliberately making the hard and soft of our tongues collide.
I didn´t see flashes, but something else did happen. I don´t know what, exactly, but I think we connected emotionally.
Because he looked at me before climbing down the ladder, and told me not to punish myself he´d come back and punish me himself later, if I wanted it so bad.
I looked at him and shook my head. No you won´t, I´d told him, and don´t lie to me. Don´t lie to yourself, either. And I wasn´t just talking about his never coming back to Roswell then. There was something he was trying not to think about, trying to put out of his mind.
He just looked at me, and I could see it all in his face: fear, confusion, helplessness, anger, regret.
It was the last that haunted me as I watched Max leave my room later that night. More than ever, I couldn´t tell him why he shouldn´t go, why I knew what I knew, why he shouldn´t trust them but he should trust me.
All I could do was hope he´d been a king for a reason, that he´d be able to handle himself if things got rough. That everything would be okay.
That night I found myself comparing the softly buffed silver of a pocket knife with the sharp gleam of metal in my flesh, and inexplicably felt disturbed.
There´s something so blatant about metal. It doesn´t hide its power, no matter how much we try to shape it in useful and non-threatening ways. It´s unnatural; it´s not meant to be tested against, teased along, pushed through human flesh. And yet it can be controlled. This ring? This stud? I can control them.
The metal that pierces my body doesn´t feel like part of me, not yet, but some day it will.
The metal I hold in my hands represents everything I never had any control over.
I put the knife away and lay on my bed, drawing circles on my belly and rubbing the inside of my cheek with my tongue.
That seems like another lifetime.
Max and Tess came back okay, and Lonnie and Rath did not.
Ava got a kick out of my new toys, and showed me hers before she left. Offered to give me something to remember her by, but I just laughed. Told her to come back soon, and maybe I could think of a suitable tattoo she could give me. Asked her what a cornball looked like.
She laughed and promised she wouldn´t go too far.
Despite everything, I hung on to Max. Things got better around Christmas, and before joining everyone in the limo for Vegas I stopped and took my metal out.
My tongue and belly felt naked without them, but I couldn´t deny the hope.
*Viva, Las Vegas *
Tess looked so happy with Kyle, and I thought: maybe Maria was right, maybe she was over Max.
But then I saw her looking at him. And once or twice, I saw him looking at her.
They were two very different looks. Hers was patient. Indulgent, even, born of a confidence that he only needed time. His was searching. Wary. But also, I realized with a sinking heart, very curious. Like he wanted to ask her a question, and just needed to think about the words he should use.
And I rubbed my bare tongue against the roof of my mouth, and felt the void.
Sean doesn´t make me see flashes or lose control.
But he makes me smile and he makes me feel special.
He doesn´t think I need them, but he doesn´t make a fuss about my metal. He even jokes about his tough little girlfriend who won´t even try a sip of beer.
And he looks slightly wistful when he calls me that. His. His girlfriend.
Like he´s waiting for the day I´ll call him mine. My boyfriend. Mine.
Except that I refuse to think about things in those terms anymore. I learned the hard way that people don´t belong to you or with you. And you can´t make them.
Not if you´re human, anyway.
Alien royalty, on the other hand, seem to have the whole belonging thing down pat.
Belonging is another one of those things, like sex, that´s more violent than maybe we like to admit to ourselves.
It´s really just another form of possession, of taking, of claiming ownership or staking territory.
It can be beautiful, the way volcanoes are beautiful.
And like volcanoes, it can destroy.
I watched a show on volcanoes once, and it struck me that concrete and metal could divert lava, but in the end they often just added fuel to the heat. Water plain old water was far better at stopping it.
Water, the opposite of fire.
I took out my metal for a few days after Las Vegas, because I wanted to stop the fire, not just divert it.
But it takes a lot of water to do the job, and it doesn´t happen without steam and resistance and sacrificing ground. Even then, sometimes all it can do is keep the lava in check, and the volcano remains active underwater. Sometimes gases spill out from the fissures to poison the very water that holds the fire in check.
I could feel the poison building up in me. And I found I preferred the clean pain of the fire to the greasy taint of the void so I put the metal back in.
Soon I felt the fire again.
I couldn´t contain it, but I could divert it.
Maybe I couldn´t beat this, but I could survive this.
And I do. Survive, I mean.
I sit in class, and I look out the window, and I massage my belly.
Once Maria saw me doing it and asked, joking but not joking, if Sean had gotten me pregnant.
I remember looking at her, and realizing, really realizing, how distant we had become. She actually thought I would sleep with him and not tell her about it.
But then I watched her join Isabel and Tess, and I realized that maybe, just maybe, I would.
It´s times like these that I really miss Alex.
He would know how to draw me out of these moods. He would make fun of my latest adventure without mocking me. He might even understand; hell, he might even have been able to make me understand. He always did have a way with words.
But he´s not here. He´s part of that void I need to fill now.
Sometimes the gesture is enough. Sometimes you can fool yourself into thinking that the void you feel inside is the same as the void you felt when your baby tooth fell out and you couldn´t help seek out the crater left behind with your tongue. But then your adult tooth grows in, and you forget about the hole.
When I take the post out of my tongue, or the ring from my navel, I feel that void all over again. I worry at the holes left behind, I think about the people I´ve left behind
I tired a long time ago of living for someone else.
I live for me, now.
I live for what´s mine.
And I sleep with the sour tang of metal in my mouth.
It tastes like tears. But they´re my tears.
And no one can take what is mine away from me.
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