Afraid To Love: Words Unspoken

By Black Rose

Pain was an old companion, mapped out in faded scars that blended easily into pale skin. The body forgets pain, the memory of nerve and cells too fleeting to recall it from one moment to the next, until all pains become one and those pains - easily gotten, easily given, easily past - have a familiarity to them that no longer surprises. Pain to pleasure, pain to numbing ice, pain to red hot battle rage; it was all the same, and pain, itself, was so easily forgotten.

But there are other types of pain. The mind remembers so much longer than the flesh does, so much more vividly, infinate replays of single scenes painted in rich, saturated color across the theater of his dreams, as fresh and biting as the moments that created them.

He dreams of her eyes.

Dark chocolate brown, with long lashes and a graceful narrowed curve at the corners. Pretty eyes - like her mother's, they said (they say it of him too). Wide set, clear and sparkling. Eyes that laughed, eyes that had a voice of their own.

In his dreams he sees them flecked through with gold, cold glittering reflections that give back nothing but the fear. It settles in his gut and dripps chill down his spine, as cold in memory as the minute he first felt it.

"My Knight."

As cold as the memory of the pistol grip that had pressed grooves into his palm, held too tight between numb fingers. As cold as the touch of her hand, so slender, soft white skin, wrapped bruising hard around his own.

"Go on, then, little Knight. Do it. Pull the trigger."

Soft whispered words, as soft as the flesh of her belly, where the muzzle of the gun had pressed a dark ringed bruise beneath the arch of her ribs.

The scars map out the years on his flesh but there are no scars in his dreams. Only raw, bloody wounds.

He remembers, in dreams, how hard the press of her fingers had been. How sharp her nails, carving bloody crescents across his wrist. He remembers looking into her familiar eyes and watching her slip from his grasp, drowned in depths that he couldn't reach.

"Knight," she had called him, and laughed, the sound brittle and cold in his ears. "My Knight," she had purred, mocking the lie for what it was even as he could feel the twitching aching itch of a limb he had forgotten, a hand he had severed, and she pulled and tugged at the ghost within him even as she sank farther than he could reach (if only he had had the hand to stretch out...)

"Do it," she had whispered, her breath warm and sweet against his cheek like the caress of a lover. "Do it," she had whispered, her lips moving so soft against his own unresponsive mouth as her eyes bored hard and cold into his. Her thumb, slipped across his trigger finger, had pushed with a strength greater than the slim bones of her body.

He hadn't. He knew he hadn't. Memory gave him the truth, gave him the strength he had used to push her away, the resolve that had kept him solid even as the fear had gathered inside. But dreams... dreams were tricky things, and in the dreams the fear fed the pain and the pain had more weight than memory.

In the dream, sometimes, he pulled the trigger.

His hand knew the kick of the pistol too well, could supply the details in vivid sensation. The easy motion of the trigger beneath his finger, the shock that traveled through wrist and arm, the surge against the heel of his hand. The scent of powder discharge, clatter of the shell. And the heat, the wet heat, the explosive scratch of bone fragments, the burst of soft tissue, and the drenching heat of her blood sprayed in liquid crimson across his hand and face.

The horror of the dream is not the gold shot through her eyes, turning them distant and alien, or the hard, harsh tone of her voice that gives her the words of a stranger. The horror is the splash of blood, metallic scented, and her eyes - chocolate brown, long lashed, uncomprehending - as she falls. The horror is her voice, the one he remembers, the one that is truly hers, his name breathed almost in question.


He wakes from the dream in the dead of the night, soaked in fear cold sweat, her name stillborn on his lips, and no matter the hour the arms are always there. Strong arms, solid and real and warm, holding him tight as a soft, sleep rough whisper chases the tattered remnants of the dream away. "Shh, it's alright, it's just a dream..."

Hush, baby, hush, and in the confused moments between dreaming and waking he sometimes almost hears it, words unspoken, moments that never happened, like the ghost of all of the memories lost beyond his reach. He stills his tongue between his teeth, biting back the fear and words better left unsaid and things that never were.


He bites until he tastes blood on his lips, real and not phantom dreams, the little pains of the body scattering the too vivid pain of the mind. The arms hold him, safe and tight, and another mouth kisses the blood away (kiss it and make it better, da, make the pain go away...) "It's alright," the voice whispers. "It's alright, it's just a dream."

When he can breath again, when his heart has stopped racing and he can try, once more, to forget the pain that flutters somewhere within his chest - when the dry, dusty taste of fear leaves his voice a raspy whisper that barely dares to break the close embrace of the dark - only then will he touch a parched tongue to dry lips and find words that might be safe to speak even as they skirt the unspoken depths. "How do you know? How... do you make it better?" Why, he would ask if he could. Why with you, why only with you?

The lips brush his cheek, a warm hand sliding firm and reassuring down the trail of his spine. "Intuition," the voice whispers against his cheek, "and dumb luck. I'm right here, love. I'm right here." And maybe there's more there as well, things not given voice, but the arms of his lover are real and warm, kisses scattering the pains of the night to the winds, and the things left unspoken have the decency to stay that way.

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