convictionofsteel started following you
Eyelids shuttered over olive eyes as scarred fingers twisted in the dark black of his undershirt; how he had missed this, that simple feeling of her skin touching his, of such proximity he’d come to long for. He felt a strange aching in his chest, and a painful thickness in his throat, as though he were attempting in vain to swallow rocks.
He’d thought her dead, and yet…
She lived and she breathed and…
Basque’s breath caught in his throat, a ragged, choking gasp of air that lasted all of a second before he coughed and straightened, a hand moving up to cover his mouth even as he turned his back to her.
He didn’t wish for her to see him like this.
“Jacob is… Fine. He… He asks about you frequently.”
She nodded her head slowly, only to look up in sharp protest when his back was suddenly facing her, her gaze meeting the bronze-fleshed back of his bald head. For a moment, her eyes traced the lines of his back, wondering if there had been any change to the maps of scars that lay there; she still knew every one, every story, every location…
“Well, if we ever make it home tonight, I’ll be sure to tell him exactly where I’ve been.”
Arline sighed sharply, and she gave a start; whether it was to grab for him or place her hand on him, she did not know, for the action was interrupted by her better thought, and she simply folded her hands behind her back, her body giving a good shudder at the lack of his touch.
He had coughed, and his voice grew low. He was hiding emotion from her; damn, if he had forgotten how much she utterly detested that…
“Basque, I didn’t mean to harm you by coming here. I would have waited for a better time, had I not already been ridden with guilt. It wasn’t my choice not to contact you; I couldn’t. You know better than anybody in this building that I would have made it clear I was not dead, if I could have.”
Her lips remained parted, though her voice cracked and faded away. What could she say? She had hurt him, hurt their child. She hadn’t done a single thing to try and contact them, or smuggle herself out… no matter if she would have died trying; what was that assumption to a solider like her? No, no she should have done something.
“Basque, I can understand, love, if this has confused you in any way… I have yet to make sense of any of it either. But I swear, if I had been able to tell you where I was, of my health… I would have.”
” I know.” He bit out, eyelids squeezing shut over pained green. A hand pressed to his forehead, thumb flat against the bridge of his nose in the hopes to stave off the headache building with every word spoken. His lungs felt tight, his throat raw, and he didn’t want to look at her.
” I know.” Repeated, his words were harsher, and as he twisted around, the shadows in his eyes had vanished, replaced by a hard clarity brought on by prolonged sorrow.
By God, he knew, and yet that doesn’t make it any less hard to bear. For two years he had lived a half life, outwardly moving on for his son’s sake, but forever emotionally stuck with her, his heart tied to hers, and while he’d thought her heartbeat silent forever…
He’d been hollow, empty.
She had been his light, his purpose, and without her…
It had been hard, but he had survived, because that was what he did. Basque Grand had always survived, and he wouldn’t let a death change that. He wouldn’t admit to the world that she had changed him.
And now she was back, and…
She wasn’t dead, and that was all that mattered.
” I’m not- I am not confused, Arline.” He murmured, eyes flickering over her; the fact that he hadn’t been around to protect her, that she’d been injured… He swallowed again and then sighed softly. ” After years of expecting- of hoping… that you would walk through those doors once more, watching you actually do so it… shocking.”