susan_calvin (susan_calvin) wrote in oh_robot,

Title: Degree In Robotics.
Chapter: 13) Dusk II
Fandom: I, Robot
Pairing: Sonny/Susan
Rating: 15 (At least. I would not feel comfortable about under 15's reading this, though if they as an individual decide to read it anyway, so be it. Sexual content, robot/human. If pre-squikked, don't read.)
Warnings: fic contains robot/human relationship, religious referances, alcoholism, suicide, depression, nudity, swearing, sexual encounters.
Disclaimer: Please note that I do not own the characters, concept or plot of the 'I, Robot' book or film, those rights belong to 20th Centuary Fox and the Asimov estate.
Author's Note: This isn't how I origionally intended this chapter to come out, but I'm anxious to get on with the storyline and this sorta does the job. I'm getting tired of trying to force this chapter. Grammar, punctuation and flow may have big mistakes as I've chopped, pasted and shuffled so often.

“Of course I think that you are pretty.” He began quietly, testing unfamiliar ground warily in his lack of confidence and prior experience. He didn’t know what he felt, or really how to say it, but he had to tell her regardless. He had to try. He spoke slowly and sincerely, he wanted to make sure she knew how he felt for her, almost pleading for her to listen to him. “You are without a doubt the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. You are clever, astute, intelligent and ingenious. You have shown me nothing but tender care and kindness and it has not gone unnoticed. I in return have nothing but the greatest admiration and respect for you. It makes you so very rare and precious to me, you are totally unlike any other person I have encountered. You are important to me, I think you are unique.”

He halted. He could have easily continued on for hours detailing his perception of her and showering her with praise for just being who she was but she didn’t seem to be taking it well. She looked startled, almost frightened of him for what he was saying.

He must have been selecting his wording incorrectly. Humans liked praise and compliments and they liked to feel special, he knew that, but he hadn’t used that word, had he? He hadn’t called her special. No, he hadn’t.

Rare? Unique? Totally unlike any other? Humans liked to be held in high value but they also liked to belong to groups. They were social creatures and he had just made her feel more alone with his choice of words. He wasn’t helping her at all! She didn’t want to be alone anymore, she had just told him so moments before. Oh he was so utterly inept!

He was at a loss as to how to fix things. How else could he sum up how he felt for her?

“I love you.”

She just blinked, unmoving and stunned, startled with fright. Or maybe this was extreme disbelief? Had he said it with too much conviction? Or not enough? Oh, he was doing a great load of good this evening! He couldn’t explain himself if he tried, words could not express what she meant to him. Words just weren’t quite as real as his feelings and were totally inadequate, or his proficiency with their use was below par.

Wait…there was a memory, something his father had told him when he was very new. That…a picture could speak a thousand words…no…actions spoke louder than words? Yes, actions! Physical representations of emotions and intent! He knew that humans were incredibly expressive creatures, it had taken him considerable time to learn what a subtle change in the way an eyebrow was held or what a shift in bodily positions was code for. Of course!

He just wanted to patch things up between them, convince her that he was not something to be feared but someone she could trust. He offered a small, unobtrusive smile that was the warmest and most genuine he could muster from his cold, barren heart and he winked, his right eye swiftly creasing shut and opening again.

She shifted her weight then paused, reluctant and unsure. She averted her eyes and looked down at his chest with the slightest twitch of a frown. Was that anger? The tip of her tongue darted out to moisten her dry lower lip and she bit down on the corner of it just a little so that it glossily rolled free from under the pressure of her teeth. Was she nervous? With fear? Then she took on a strange smile that was both broad and warm but obscure and devious all at the same time and she looked back at him through darkly lowered lashes.

What was she feeling? He couldn’t work her out, it was useless. He was receiving the signals she was giving him but the message must have been becoming scrambled somewhere in his head to throw out nonsensical, conflicting solutions. He didn’t understand what she was trying to tell him.

She slung her arms around his neck and clasped her wrists so that she hung off him like a necklace. He caught the scent of her unsteady breaths, each one laced with the sweet smell of some kind of fruit, peach perhaps, and a harsh edge of ethanol.

What did she mean? What did she want? Did it have anything to do with him? Was she trying to ask something of him? He didn’t understand what she was trying to say. Her behaviour was so odd, she wasn’t usually like this. She was uncharacteristically forward and lacking her usual prim, defined and exact manner. He had never known her to behave like this before.

She was leaning on him so much he was dubious as to whether she was trying to stay standing up at all and she was swaying about unsteadily. Perhaps she was just very ill?

But why was he getting such fragmented and disordered picture of her feelings? Why was he so useless at this? Why did humans insist on being so indirect and obscure with expressing their wishes? Why couldn’t they just simply ask for what they wanted and tell what they needed to say?

He just wanted to know what it was that Susan wanted him to do.

Wait! He had been here before! Standing at a window with a loved one who was acting strangely. Deliberating with himself as to whether his uncertainty over their desires or intent was born from his own ineptitude with perception or some other factor. He had been here before, and last time, it had not ended well.

He found the memory of his own fateful words searing his vocal equipment, burning his diaphragm vengefully. Threatening him not to utter a single syllable of that cursing sentence.

“What is it that you want me to do?”

His memory banks let out a barrage of horrific flashbacks so raw with sheer traumatic content that it verged on pain, sending hot, lancing spears of pain through his chest. He unwillingly recalled the smell of human fear, the feel of hitting an organic body with force, the sound of glass shattering and the sight of his father’s shell lying broken and bleeding on the marble floor…dead.

He clasped her tightly, grasping her back and holding her almost possessively as he looked to the massive, flimsy window in fear. He didn’t focus on the glass itself, or even the beautiful Chicagoean sunset, but on their reflection in its polished surface.

His grim, pale skull floated almost ghostily over the dark garments that concealed his body in the low-lit room like the feathers of a raven in the midnight sky. The glinting edges of his skeletally jointed hands gleamed against the thick, warm blue of Susan’s shirt and his wraith-like fingers were hooked into claws around her.

He didn’t want Susan to die! Loosing her…the mere suggestion was too ghastly to contemplate. He didn’t want to hurt her. He didn’t want to, but he hadn’t wanted his father to die either. Wanting was not enough to stop him. His free will was an illusion, he was an instrument for destruction.

He needed to get her away from the window for the sake of his sanity and quickly. “I think its time to go to bed now.” He rushed, still transfixed by the glassy pane. Anyway, she was not adequately clothed in her sickly state. She needed her nice, comfy, warm bed and lots of nice, calm, peaceful sleep.

She lolled about in his arms and nuzzled his cheek as she rolled out a warm, humorous snigger. “You do, do you? You think that we should go to bed?”

We? Fine, he liked sleeping on her bed and a direct invitation was great, it saved him the agony of asking. “Yes.” He had no idea why it was so funny, or why it was necessary for her to be so, so physically close.

She smiled drowsily, as if she was waiting for him to do or say something.

What though? He was on the brink of complete exasperation with himself, life and humans. He was so anxious to be away from the big window. He pulled back and masked his shortness by politely extending an arm in the direction of her room. “After you.”

She wouldn’t release her relentless embrace so easily. She paused to think, and then looked up at him. “Carry me.”

What? Carry her? Why ever would she want to be carried?

…Then again, she was swaying around a bit. Maybe this ‘cold’ she was ‘coming down with’ was some kind of throat infection that had travelled up her eustachian tubes to her cochleae, interfering with her sense of balance?

It was possible, even probable.

She must not have felt confident enough on her unsteady feet to walk to her room unaided for fear of falling down.

Was that all she wanted? Why didn’t she ask sooner? He didn’t mind at all, he was quite happy to help her. She was his friend and he loved her, she didn’t need to earn his good favour and he would do anything for her.

He stooped a little, intending to lift her sideways with one arm under her shoulders and another under her knees but Susan however, evidently had other ideas. She hooked one leg up so that her thigh perched on his metal hip and she was so determined to scramble up him in this fashion that he had no choice but to hold onto her the best he could as her other leg followed suit. He put one foot out to stop the pair of them toppling over forwards and he leant back to accommodate for the shift in his centre of gravity, stumbling over the cuffs of his trousers. Immediately after rectifying his balance he realised what was going on…and exactly which part of Susan he had grasped a hold of to keep her up.

Her arms were around his neck again but now her legs were also wrapped around him, the slight, tender, hot skin of her inner thighs enveloping the sensitive cords of his waist. She was firmly latched onto him. Her head had settled on his shoulder and he could feel each throbbing beat of her heart in the pulse of her jugular. In his haste to take her weight as she thrust it upon him he had inconsiderately caught her by the buttocks…one in each hand…which was impolite to say the least! He was mortified by it but he also enjoyed it, which embarrassed him and horrified him further…had it been an accident or had he done it on purpose? He didn’t know if he trusted himself…

Bedroom! He was supposed to be carrying her to her bedroom. He should be putting her to bed so that she could go to sleep, not standing around by the window enjoying the way she felt in his hands. That was deplorable.

He begun the trip through her apartment towards her room eagerly, but halfway he very nearly dropped her with surprise as she stopped rubbing her cheek against his polymer skin and instead started…licking his ear?

Her wet tongue explored the rippled surface of one ear-shaped projection, tracing the plastic ridges and probing the folds. It felt strange, the sort of feeling that was incredibly pleasant and distracting regardless of how weird the circumstance. Then she stopped and blew across the moist trails left by her tongue tip, cooling his skin and sending a radiating crackle of enjoyable electricity through his aluminium wires that made his muscles tremble.

“Susan! Don’t do that, you’ll make me drop you!”

She just chuckled mischievously and tensed her arms and legs, tightening her four-limbed embrace around his body. That wasn’t helping things either…

He reached her room and was greeted by a ruffled, messy bed and untidy floor with the clothes that Susan was currently missing strewn about haphazardly. Then he noticed the bottle that she had been making her way through lying on the bed. A darker damp patch was blooming from its glassy mouth onto her grey duvet, dribbling out its contents as it lay on its side. He quickly walked over and tried to hold Susan up with one hand whilst reaching out for the bottle with the other, eager to tidy away the mess.

It was not a task hindered by inadequate strength, since he had ample and Susan was not a heavy burden. The action was hampered however, by his hesitancy to leave her balancing on one arm as she was still wavering unsteadily and he did not want her to fall. He couldn’t quite reach the bottle, his fingertips falling a few frustrating centimetres short of the necessary length…

“Leave it.” Susan sighed nonchalantly, as if she were in no way interested or concerned about the spillage or her duvet.

“But it might spill more if I don’t…”

“Shh…” She rested the tips of her fingers on his lips, stopping his train of thought dead. “Forget about it…it doesn’t matter.” She was so close he could almost feel the words as she breathed them and her nose brushed his. “Just sit down for a while.”

He dumbly and sat down, mostly from his ever present Law of Obedience as his higher thoughts had vanished. He sunk deep into the bed with the force of their collective weight and carefully he lowered her onto his lap, feeling nothing but a strange, thrilling sense of delight.

The bottle. He needed to pick up the bottle. He knew that as he seated himself the mattress’ tilt would change so that more drink sloshed out. He was making a mess, he didn’t have to see it to know it was happening. Susan knew it was happening too, but she didn’t care at all.

She moved her legs to kneel over him, straddling his thighs and for reasons unknown, she was far more interested in cupping his face in her palms and smoothing a thumb over his lips than the spillage on the duvet. He didn’t know why she was doing this, it didn’t make sense. It was illogical, just as it was impossible to feel both less aware of his surroundings and more awake at the same time. It didn’t make sense…

She was so close! So close that she filled and dominated his senses until she was all there was left in the world. He felt melted by her hot brown eyes as his thoughts rolled off his mind. It was like the thick, heavy, cumbersome shroud that he had been buried and smothered beneath was changed by her ethereal touch, like she had re-woven it somehow until it had become a silky, silvery sheet that slipped off like paradise, beyond bliss. It made him feel…

It made him feel…


It made him think…

He had a vague inkling that he should be thinking about something, a slight glimmering whisper. Or was that Susan? She seemed to be speaking to him silently, telling him some little secret without moving her lips around a single word.

Was it the bottle? Should he be fretting about that? No, Susan had told him it didn’t matter, and it really didn’t.

Her dark eyes were lowered so deeply that his focus was inescapably drawn to them and he was completely swallowed, fascinated by her to the point of absorption. He could see the fine radial lines of her iris spreading out and radiating from the black centre like the solar flares of a dark star or some heavenly supernova. They seemed to shine with their own luminous lustre and for the first time he discovered that her brown eyes were flecked with green. They reminded him of the woodland he had visited earlier. Earthy and natural.

Their noses were almost touching. He was quite sure she would kiss him again. At least, he hoped for it. He had dreamt of nothing else since she kissed him on that first night. As he slept with his head in her lap and beside her on her bed he had dreamed of her, fantasising about her soft warmth and her kiss. Would she? It would be a dream come true, was that too much to hope for? He hoped on hope that she would. He wanted it. It was what he desired.


She was so close that she could smell him. She could just catch his air of fine, high-quality, robot-grade machine oil, crisp yet flowing. A smell still so pure and free from accumulated grime. Almost curiously the usual rolling greasiness was mixed in with a sharp scent that had a hint of…lemon to it? It wasn’t important. It was delicious. He smelled like an expensive, brand-new automobile and the polished finish of his polymer skin gleamed like the bodywork of a top-of-the-range sports car in a showroom. His metal was as bright as a freshly minted coin, divinely radiant.

The oceanic blue of his cores and the meagre rays of the dusky sky eking through the half-closed bedroom curtains was all the light that there was but still he managed to shine, shimmering with promise. It was exhilarating, seeing him with her like this, on her bed in the growing depth of the early night. Similar images had run through her mind the night before, after Del left, as Sonny slowly peeled off his borrowed clothes. This time it was real, and this time, she was not running away.

She looked into those copper sulphate eyes. Their delicate patterning of lines and nodes like a circuit board or a computer chip encircling the endless, dark depths of his soul. He was handsome and so innocent, but so mischievous in the way he had turned her to thinking of him constantly. He couldn’t possibly be completely unaware of what he made her feel.

She closed the gap between their lips with speed born of urgent need, almost falling into him, but she did it gently and tenderly, moulding a slow, hot, lavish kiss around his hard, plastic lips. She grasped his arms almost desperately to hold herself to him tighter, massaging his taught muscles with rolling motions of her thumbs that pushed up to stir the thick, silvery lubricative fluid around inside and dragged down to rasp her thumbnail over the textured, ribbed, woven plastic outer. She could feel all this and the hard, cable-like elements bunched within through the thin, dark cotton he was swathed in.

He did not respond in any way to her advances, no unleashed lustful roughness or sexual aggression. He didn’t put up a fight or seek to conquer her and it made her want him all the greater. She wanted him to let her kiss him, and she wanted him to kiss her back. She wanted to share her feelings with him. She was convinced that he would if he only knew how, or if he understood her desires. In her intoxication she was more than a little confident that she could coax him and coerce him into returning her kiss and appreciating the attention he had so effortlessly gained from her. Perhaps, she might even encourage him into reciprocating her current feelings and indulging in her needs?

She teased at his resistant lips seductively, yearning to entice him into a response and luring him, baiting him, tempting him into relaxing enough to let her have her way with him. A rare spark of almost logical thought flashed through the swamping darkness of her physical desire and her hands snaked their ways around to the back of his head to stroke him into submission. With broad, hard sweeps of her palms and delicate, tentative tracings of her fingertips her hands danced and writhed over the sleek plastic dome at the rear of his cranium. It did not take long from then for him to succumb.

Swiftly those stiffened, white lips lost their tight resolve. He loosened and tilted back into her caressing hands so slightly that it was barely noticeable at first. It was as if he were reluctant to admit that he liked being touched as much as she guessed he did.

How delightfully quaint and incredibly sweet he was!

Almost instinctively she ran her tongue along his lower lip. It was with great surprise and pleasure that she discovered the ease with which she glided over his softly inhuman, smooth and cool skin. It was so free and flowing, so simple and so easy.

His hold on her hips and buttox evaporated and any remaining tension in his face finally slipped away. She took his now pliable bottom lip into her mouth, sucking it lightly before letting it roll free from between her teeth. She could have sworn she felt his thighs tremble under her. It could have been a phantom of her excited mind, but she liked to believe he was feeling the same exhilaration she was. She pressed her tongue against his teeth and his lax jaw drifted lower so that she could delve deeper into his mechanical mouth, free to explore at her will. He tasted of metal, that sharp, tingling sensation that always made her mouth water. He could not be any more perfect in any way.

He enflamed her passion like nobody else ever could. He had ignited her arousal and now she burned for him. She was so hot, hotter than she had ever been before thanks to him and his heroic, intellectual opulence. He was her white knight in shining armour and she felt dazed by the blindingly bright-white intensity of him. It was not like the unbridled, wild, crackling fire of rich, hot oranges and yellows found in nature, it was…different, more focused and strangely controlled. It was more like a Bunsen flame or a pilot light, efficient fire of deceptively cool blues and purples. Complete combustion, burning far hotter and roaring far louder than wild fire. It appealed to her precise and scientific mind and to her yearning body.

Breaking away and leaning back with one hand steadying herself on his shoulder, she arched her back a little and moaned softly through barely parted lips. A free, clammy hand stroked down her bare thigh in a clumsy caress that ended in a frustrated bite of nails, grazing white hot lines across her burning flesh. It had been so long since she had indulged in personal pleasure or received sexual satiation. So very long, but she was so very drunk.

A familiarly cool, smooth touch that moved with expertly dextrous precision and delicacy traced those burning lines with all the skilful sensuality that had controlled the chopsticks the previous evening. It was soothing but it sent shivers of arousal through her loins, up her spine and across the skin of he breasts. She liked what she was feeling and took in a breath to let it out loudly, announcing her enjoyment at his talented touch and looked to him for any evidence of shared pleasure.

He looked concerned, but he always did. Aside from that, his mouth still sat open as if it was new for him to be breathless and his eyes were lowered back into that sumptuous, incredible midnight blue as he stroked the marks on her skin. He gently tended to her clawmarks before tentatively gracing her many bruises with the slightest apologetic touches that just teased and made her twitch with anticipation. At first he restricted himself to applying revered, light pressure to the more obvious, easiest to reach wounds, but slowly he extended his search. Around her thighs, up her shirt sleeves and finally, with great hesitancy that was pure torment in her frenzy for forfillment of fundamental need, he lifted the edge of her shirt just enough to slide a hand under and catch a glimpse of the huge bruise on her lower ribs that was just beginning to flower there. His slow and gentle pace was maddening but served to make her savour this moment and build her eagerness and anticipation higher.

“I’m so sorry.” He said sadly, his voice deep and heavy.

“I want more.” She groaned, almost pleadingly and nearly choking on her dry throat. She had been breathing deep, fast and heavy through her mouth and she swallowed thickly to dispel the drought.

“Pardon?” He blurted with an edge of surprise.

Did he think she meant bruises? Was that the first conclusion he could jump to? She was straddling him on her bed, moaning at his touch and asking for more, …and he thought she meant more bruises? She dipped her head, some of her hair falling across her face. He was so literal and naïve. With a sigh that teetered on the edge of a laugh and a smirk on her lips, she explained huskily but bluntly;

“Touch me.”

He looked back at her, seemingly assessing her sincerity and she began to doubt whether he understood the significance of her proposition, but then one silver hand wove up between their bodies to sweep those stray locks from her face and tuck them gently behind her ear. He didn’t stop there, brushing past her ear and tracing its edge with a precision that was more than human. He stroked his fingers through her loose hair to catch the back of her neck as she craned into his touch, her eyelids fluttering closed and her back arching to press her body against the hard surfaces of his sculpted chest and resistive abdominal muscles. He scooped his other arm around her waist to hold her there, his icy fingers falling on her burning skin one after the other with the fresh-flowing sensuality that came so easily from him.

His touch wandered further, the pads of his fingertips straying from the back of her neck to caress her exposed throat, running over her tendons and trachea. She could feel the low hum of a moan resonating deep in her chest though she couldn’t hear it as she relished the feel of each of those textured, rubbery tips on her skin, not knowing how long it might last despite how much she wanted it to linger.

She felt his hand dip into the collar of her shirt. The few buttons she’d struggled to unfasten earlier and the way it caused her shirt to hang open offering up no resistance to his elegant, questing hand as his fingers trailed along her collarbone. His touch was so incredibly calm and controlled, so refined and gentle, it glided across her skin pricelessly, like exquisitely fine silk. It was like being caressed not through satin, but by satin itself. No heat in it at all save what it stirred in her. It was like some kind of dream, tantalising in its realness but her addled mind’s inability to focus confusing her. She wanted more, needed more. She needed it to be just a little more…real. She wanted him, truly, not just some idle fantasy.

Then, in a moment that shocked and delighted her endlessly, he swept his hand full over her shoulder and deep beneath her shirt, looping a dextrous little finger under the strap of her bra. Gripped by passion in the freezing heat of the moment, she gasped and dropped her shoulder, her clothes slipping off and exposing the bare flesh of her neck and chest. He stroked the skin of her upper arm, brushing each fine hair up and sending a chill shiver of pleasure through her. She reached for his wrist with the intent of helping herself to him, but he was too quick for her, or she had lost so much of her co-ordination from everything that she stood no chance of catching his deft limb. Though she was overwhelmed to discover he needed little encouragement.

She finally managed to catch him, her fingers snatching his wrist before struggling up to hook their tips between his hard knuckles. With something to hold on to, she found herself feeling stronger, bolder. She tugged at his hand with barely coherent need, guiding him across her body and showing him where she wanted him.

They slid with smooth ease into the loose cup of her bra and her breath was snatched away. It was just incredible, beyond anything she could have imagined as each contour of his palm brushed across her erect nipple and delivered powerful jolts of arousal that coursed her nervous system, bringing her to life. Feverishly she tugged and clenched at his hand, each movement translated by his positronic mind and intricately calibrated instruments into luxurious caresses loaded with lush sensuality. He tenderly stroked, cupped and squeezed the firm, modest curves of her small breast and she melted at his touch, feeling a rare sensation rise up in her so thick and sickly golden she felt she might choke on it. It was thrilling to feel sexual anticipation well up so fast and freely, her deprived body desperate for satiation after such a long period of abstinence and iron chastity. She needed this like she had never needed anything else before because this time, she wanted it too. Oh god did she want him. And right here and now, she had him.

An idle hand played on her thigh, fingernails drawing tight circles on hot skin and her thumb tantalisingly entertained the elastic of her underwear. Her stomach knotted and her heart fluttered impatiently, the spectrum of sensations that she was awash with intensifying with every moment that passed as he held her and touched her. Slowly her hand crept deeper between her legs and questing, clumsy fingers shakily slipped the crotch of her plain, black underwear aside. She moaned as she found her centre, rediscovering the joys of self-intimacy and through it, admitting to her feelings for her companion.

Her abstinence and the alcohol cursed her with inexperienced inadequacy and her clumsiness delayed her, but the longer it drew on the higher she climbed. It seemed that in her stone cold callousness she had only managed to increase the potency of her arousal, as if leaving her sexual sensitivity in a forgotten corner of the dark depths at the back of her mind had only matured it like a fine wine. It was beautifully addictive and quite definitely to her tastes. It felt smoother, stronger…much like her lover.

It took some time for her to reach her goal, the evening culminating in a thrilling climax of silver and gold that shook her to the core. She slumped against his chest, exhausted and twitching with each aftershock in his protective embrace. Amid the calm serenity, she felt strangely safe and relaxed. She cried a little, feeling him gently wipe the tears from her face with his cuffs before falling quite abruptly into a dark, deep, dreamless sleep.


She must have forgiven him for his shortcomings and foolery, his inexperience and his clumsiness. She was his friend and he loved her, he would do anything for her. That’s what friends were for. He had worried that his feelings were one-sided, unbalanced and not reciprocated as dear sweet Susan behaved so fearfully and untrustingly around him. He had worried that this ‘shine’ Del told him she had ‘taken to him’ was a bad thing, but now… he was so happy. She forgave him. She dismissed his poor behaviour for what it was; mistakes. Not in any way intended. She knew he was sorry for the pain he had caused her emotionally, and she accepted his apology for spoiling her perfect skin.

She loved him, he was sure of it. He had never felt more balanced and complete in his meagre life than right now. She made him feel …whole. He had never felt more strongly or with more conviction about anything like how he felt for her. The only thing he knew for resolute fact was that he loved her. Everything else paled in comparison. She was his shining light of all that was good in the world.

He smiled thinly.

He knew she wasn’t dreaming, she was too far-gone for that. She didn’t move at all, lying completely still beside him save for each gentle snore and heartbeat. Blissfully dreamless sleep, free from everything.

He stroked her hair gently, moving carefully as to not disturb her from her restful pose. He liked doing that. He liked how warm and soft she felt to the touch. She looked so content and so calm, her mind completely enveloped in carefree inactivity as she lay with her head rested on him and one arm draped across his chest. He noted at she looked younger, the lines of her permanent semi-frown no longer present in the tranquil glow. She was limp and soft. He had never seen her so untroubled and unconcerned before this evening. He was so pleased that he had helped, though quite how he didn’t fully understand. He knew he didn’t want her to feel sad or alone or see her subjected to detrimentally severe stress, and he had helped. That was all that mattered.

He pulled the fold duvet up a little higher to keep her warm and gently flexed his embrace around her, finding that he really didn’t want to let go and that sleep was the last thing on his mind.
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