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Disclaimer: Well, here we go again. I don't own them. TPTB do. I never will own them. TPTB will. I am not making any money off of this universe. TPTB are. And I think that covers it all.

Authors Note: I know I said this would be out sooner than this, but I was still at home with Scarlet Fever when I wrote the first two parts, and now I'm back at school, so my time is much more limited now. Sorry about that.

A Little Peace
part 3
by BlackDiamond

I recognize you instantly as awareness decends on my mind. I had been dreaming about you. Am I still dreaming? Are you just some amalgam of my lost life and deepest hopes? For some reasons that I can't quite place, I want more than anything at this moment for you to be real.

"What are you doing here?" Only after do I realize that I spoke aloud, and there is surprise more than anything else in my voice. Then, in a rush, all your words and all my thoughts come back to me, and for some reason that alludes me now, I don't think I really wanted to know.

I should have known that you would have come, after what was said on the phone. But mostly for what wasn't said. The long silences that have been falling more and more often between us.

I answer your questions with monosylabic replys and let my voice slur. I'm tired of hiding my vulnerability behind the mask. I'm tired of pretending with you. I'm just plain tired.

Do what you're guilty conscience makes you feel you need to do, just don't leave me. Not tonight. I didn't ask for you to come to me, but don't leave. I didn't ask for you, or maybe I did. I remember your soft, dark velvet voice as just the very sound of it soothed me. But either way you're here with me now, and I'm not letting you go.

Are you worried that my back is bleeding? It always bleeds. "Let it be."

"I have to change the bandages, Parker. Does it bleed like this often?" So you are worried. Should I be worried too? Is it weird that I'm not? Unnusual that I don't really care about my personal health?

I don't even have the energy to roll my eyes. "It always bleeds. What do you expect? I was shot." Exhaustion and regret. Those are the only things I can hear in the remark that was supposed to come out scathing. I wonder what you heard in my voice.

"You were shot weeks ago. It should have heeled alot more than it has. Weren't you in the hospital?" You actually sound concerned for me, and suddenly I remember the tone of your voice as it called my name. The desperation and longing.

Oh, my.

As I process your question I laugh. It is harsh and grating against my throat, and it must be awful to listen to. "Lyle put me in the psycho ward under suicide watch and kept me in a coma for three weeks. So yes, I was in a hospital." Bitter. Now I'm bitter. Since when have I become unaware of my emotions until I hear my own words echoeing around in the amphitheater of my skull?

"He did what!?!" You sound shocked. Nothing Lyle does shocks me, so why should it shock you? Not used to SIMing killers? I am a killer. I have no problem thinking like one. I guess your not used to living in the darkest part of the human psyche.

I know you live in dark places, but you have many shafts of light in your life. I'm sufocating from the oppresive darkness of my being. I'm struggling to breathe while the deeds from my past catch up to me one after the other and stand in a row on my chest, pressing against my ribs and stopping my breath.

I feel the mattress shift under your weight as you sit down beside me on the bed. I raise my head to roll it and look away from you, knowing that you were just folowing my train of thought. I can't stand your gentleness right now. You touch my back carefully, yet I can feel the fiercness flowing through your hands as you lift away the dressing over my wounds. Is it very bad? I would know if I could just bring myself to look into your eyes.

I wonder if we've always been able to read each other the way we do now. Was this what it was like when we were children? Is this strange ability to know each others thoughts the reasons why everyone tried to keep us apart as we grew older?

You leave and I assume you're going to get fresh bandages. I just let my eyes drift shut and pray that you won't touch me when you get back, though I have a feeling that that is impossible.

After a few minutes that seem like hours the bed dips again and I know that your back. And then your fingers softly brush against my back and goosebumbs rise despite my iron will trying to hold them back. A slight shudder runs through me at your compassionate contact.

I can feel you hesitate at that, and I'm relieved that you thought it was pain. I'm not going to be the one to tell you otherwise.

Now my own body is betraying me.

You touch me again, just the pads of your fingers on my skin, and there is nothing slight about the shudder this time. Ignoring it, you go to the dressing and peel it off. I can feel your confusion as I don't flich at the movement which should have caused me pain. Well, I can pretend as good as the next labrat if I have a good enough reason, and not revealing my feelings to you is as good as any I'm ever going to have.

Your hands leave and I berate myself for missing their warmth. Then your entire palm is resting gently on my flesh and a cotton swab burns its way across my ozzing wound. I was not expecting it hurt so much, and despite my best efforts, I call out.

I muffle it as much as I can by biting my lip, but you still hear and your motions become even kinder. Don't you understand that I don't want that?

I would much rather deal with physical pain than emotional dependancy.

After a moment that stretches into a lifetime, you pull the pain filled cottton away and cover the bullet hole with a new bandage. Then your hands are resting on my shoulders gently and I want nothing more than you.

"Get out of here, Jarod. Leave." I hate the sound of my voice. I sound weak and childlike and vulnerable, but I am the one who quit trying to be anything else around you.

Your hands begin moving in small cirlcles. You know. How could you know?

A shudder races through me and my eyes fill with tears. I give up trying to hide myself from you. It isn't working anyway. Turning my head is a hassle but I know I have to see your eyes.

Well, thank you to everyone who gave me feedback (Andrea!) . . . . And Gables . . . . And Schuyler . . . And other people who I owe big time and I know I'm forgetting. *G*

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