impertinences: (words you spoke)
you're too young & eager to love ([personal profile] impertinences) wrote on April 18th, 2014 at 01:02 pm
Two unconnected Roman drabbles! Roman at the compound and Roman in the desert, fleeing from the bad guys, with Adira as they search for the insurgence base camp. Before she sacrifices herself. Or whatever it is that I hinted at in a much earlier piece.

--

Most nights, you wake automatically, like clockwork. The moment the sun dips past the horizon, your eyes open, the death-like sleep receding without any attempt to linger.

Some nights, when your loneliness burrows too deeply into your soul, Adira’s voice wakes you instead.

“Wake up, soldier.” Breathy and disarmingly sweet. It’s the French, the romantic language that always hides her brutality.

“Wach auf, mein Kommandant.” Teasingly, affectionately, the sole creature who could use that nickname of yours without you protesting internally.

You would prefer to wake without her. You think, in your heart of eternal hearts, that your refusal to grieve her, your inability to accept her demise, is what keeps her around. Causes her to arrive. The old human conditions that you are still affected by, the ones that even you can’t shake. But part of you believes that your reaction is bred from your solitude; for seven hundred years, you were never alone, and now all you have is your isolation, your alibies, and your will to survive.


--



“Remember when we were the hunters?”

Adira laughs. Her voice is dry like the desert surrounding them. “What are we now then?”

Roman stretches his long body in a shrug. The nighttime sand is very cold, but he doesn’t mind it. The many scarves layered and wrapped around his head, his neck, the bottom of his face – they’re more for appearances than necessity. Like the jacket and boots and their small campfire. Unlike the shifters and thropes, they are the least affected by their environment. The only thing that troubles them is the sun, and they still have plenty of hours until daybreak.

Petite to the point of scrawny, Adira looks misleading, crouched by the flames, prodding the coals with the end of a walking stick. Her hair is dirty and sand-drenched, caught in knots against her neck, and she gnaws at her cracked bottom lip with a desperation that exposes the hunger she feels. She lifts her vulture eyes every few minutes, scanning the empty horizon as though she’s expecting to see some figure appear on the distant dunes. Some final hope or ultimate damnation.

“When was the last time you ate?” He keeps his voice neutral.

“… Washington?”

“That was more than three months ago! My god. You need to take better care of yourself.”

She shrugs her bony shoulders. “You make it sound so easy. Did I miss the banquet when it passed?”

Roman can’t help but laugh. He rolls his eyes upward in a supplication to the powers that be, pitching onto his back to watch the skies and hide his concern. After a moment of silence, he asks, “Can we starve?”

“What do you think? You haven’t forgotten your precious Calev so quickly, have you?”

“That was different. He was mostly starved beforehand.”

Adira shrugs again – same sharp gesture – before stepping over to his prone body. She straddles his hips in one fluid movement, all sharp bones battling with her milky skin, and rests her palms on his broad chest. “It won’t kill us, if that’s what you’re thinking. We’ll just be … wraiths. Empty and skeletal. Nightmare things.”

“What are we now then?” He grumbles mockingly, catching her thumb in his mouth when she tangles her fingers into his beard.

He doesn’t look much better than she does, he knows. There’s no food. There hasn’t been for a while. This new wasteland grows more and more inhospitable nightly, and they haven’t found anyone else yet, although they heard rumors about a camp. A revolution. So deep into the desert that it is sure to be a mirage. But the risk of staying was worse than the risk of leaving; they chose the desert over being captured, except now everything looks the same. Each dilapidated, abandoned hut, every prickly pear, all the shifting grain of sands.

Roman wishes it was different – wishes they had found a nest, had made a family, had protected Calev. It should be too late for regrets, but it isn’t. They’re not as empty as he would like, not as easy to break or scatter onto the windows. Still, he hides his blame for Adira, rises to sit instead and catch her mouth with his. He buries his thick fingers into the snarled mess of her hair, cradles her skull in one of his palms. She kisses him greedily, and he’s reminded of how much like a husk she is.

He buries his teeth into her neck at the same time she slides hers into him.

There’s little comfort for them now besides each other.

--
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