“I’m sure the others will be in Haven by now.” I complained, mentally cursing the rain for slowing our travel and forcing us to camp. The tent I had carried for the road was small for two people and wasn’t solid enough to keep either one of us dry through the night. Not that it mattered; we were both already soaked. I glanced at Allison for a few moments, wary of the heavy silence that had fallen upon us both while setting up the small tent and gathering firewood. She remained silent and so I occupied myself with building a small fire pit and trying to light it despite the persistent rain.
“Golden threads of light dancing in the water,” Ali whispered behind my back.
“Hm?” I mumbled, lifting my head from the kindling that still stubbornly refused to catch fire.
She was leaning leisurely against an oak, running her fingertips along the frazzled string of her bow. Her mind was completely disengaged from the mechanical act of removing the damaged string, eyes turned upwards, watching the raindrops running along the leaves above her head. “That was the image that always came to mind whenever I thought of death,” she explained, speaking barely above a whisper. “When I was seven years old, I fell into the River. I remember my brother trying to reach for me, my hand slipping past his grasp, the cold invading my body as it sank into the water… I knew how to swim, but the current was too strong for me. I panicked and I struggled at first, I held my breath until I couldn’t ignore the pain tightening in my chest and then… Then I let go. I let all the air out and I opened my eyes. All of the sudden everything felt warmer and those rays of sunlight dancing in the water… I thought to myself ‘huh, this isn’t so bad’…” She paused while restringing the bow, slowly setting the weapon aside once she was done and turning so that she was now facing me, her eyes glancing in my direction for only a moment. A smile traced her lips as she stared down at her hands, fingers slowly clenching into tight fists. “Sometimes I remember that moment, that fraction of a second before everything turned black, and I realize there’s a great chance nothing will ever be as beautiful as that ever again. The death awaiting us all in the end of this line… Will never be like that.”
The emotion in her voice sent chills down my spine. It was something more than simple remembrance. There was a longing in her words that made listening to them feel as though I was watching her drown right in front of me. And it was painful; much more so than I was willing to admit. I kept silent and resumed my futile task of trying to start a fire under the pouring rain. Even if the kindling had been dry, my hands were now stiff and all I really wanted was to tear the stupid fire pit down. Break it apart. Tear it into tiny little pieces. I finally gave up trying and stood up, turning away while I wiped the mud from my pants. The thoughts racing through my mind made everything feel so slow in that moment, almost still in time but not quite. She was silent again now and I wondered if she expected me to say something. What could I possibly say to any of that, really? I willed myself to turn around and look at her. Night had fallen fast and she was now a shadow underneath that oak; her face shrouded in darkness. The scene couldn’t be more fitting if hand painted by an artist.
I walked closer to her. My steps were more forceful than I expected them to be, tension building in my body; anger, pent up frustration, I wasn’t sure what it was, but it was there. I stood right in front of her, my palms pressed against the trunk of the tree behind her as if I meant to have her cornered. I had to lean close to her face to see it. So close I could almost make out the blue of her eyes, even in the pitch black darkness. “This isn’t you.” I whispered. “What happened to that girl who sneers at the thought of death? Who claims to be too stupid to fear anything?”
“Maybe she’s gained a little perspective. Life has a way of beating these things into you,” she answered. I could barely see the smirk playing on her lips. “I didn’t think you’d be this worried. I’m not jumping in the river with a pocket full of rocks anytime soon, if that’s what you’re think-…”
“Stop it.” I cut her off, cringing as my voice came out too strong and the sound carried amongst the forest trees. “Just stop, Allison. Don’t.”
Ali chuckled at my protest, her smile lasting no more than a few seconds and changing into a serious expression. Without warning she reached out with both hands and pulled my face closer, her fingers digging into my hair in a tight grip as she kissed me. It wasn’t just unexpected, but a rough kiss; angry almost, as though on some level she blamed her actions entirely on me. If that was the case, I really didn’t mind taking that blame. I kissed her back. My hands instinctively grabbing her by the waist as I stepped forward and pressed my body against hers, pushing her into the trunk of the tree. That couldn’t be all too comfortable in all honesty, but she didn’t complain and right then I couldn’t have stopped myself if I tried.
After a few moments she pulled her lips away from mine, just enough to breathe, her body relaxing into mine. Her fingers loosened from my hair and she let her hands trail down from the back of my head, her arms resting gently around my neck. I opened my eyes and she was staring right into them. It was still somewhat intimidating, even then, the way she seemed to stare right into the very core of me without any reservations whatsoever. Being under her gaze had always made me feel completely exposed, but in that particular moment so was she. I kissed her again, my hands trailing up, underneath her clothes, fingertips pressing into her lower back. She shuddered and groaned against my lips, her right hand gripping my forearm. I softened my touch, remembering the bruised area on her torso; still not healed in the couple of days we’d been walking. I flinched, pulling away. “I’m sorry, that must hurt like hell.”
Ali shook her head, clinging to a few strands of hair in the back of my head as if to hold me in place, her other hand releasing my arm and swiftly working to undo my pants. “I can take it,” she whispered, grinning at my expression.
She knew I hadn’t expected her to go so far, that I wouldn’t consider this the right time, even less the place, for what was about to happen. I knew she expected some form of protest from me, but for once, just once, I wasn’t going to be the one to argue.
Yeah, I just random wrote this one day. It’s one heck of a flashforward and I’m not sure whether it goes anywhere in the books, but I really, really like it. Not sure how it reads out of context, since I know when this happens in their timeline and the circumstances that lead to it, but… I LIKE it. And that’s rare for me, so I’m sharing. There you have it.
And it’s Eric’s POV, in case you’re wondering. Who else would it be? >.>