it’s all over (all of the time) | Maria & Bruce


    “Mmm,” he hums – exhaustion breaks through like a snapped tight-rope, whipping back against the soft, exposed vulnerability, and leaving him suddenly boneless.   Maria’s lips are real along his skin, 

          the drip  drip   drip of the facet isn’t    

          –  affection and tenderness, trust and security; the barely spoken directive overrides the other white ( purple, blue and green ) noises in his head, and he keeps a tight grip on her hand, shuffling through the door and following behind her.  Her hair is mussed from the bed, disorderly and breaking the otherwise elegant silhouette.  Bruce squeezes her hand before releasing it, eyes closed against the light as his shoulders draw inward, elbows on the table and forearms crossed.  His head hangs low, too heavy to bother with right now. 

     “Sure,” he answers, voice suddenly cracking –   the noises Maria makes are a distraction, and he opens his eyes despite the stark brightness, angles his face so he can see her; the strands that had been branching out from her head are gone, but Maria’s still pale, the faintest of colour tinting her cheeks.  It’s calming, in its own way, and he wants to get up and wrap around behind her but the will has gone out of his muscles and his body feels loose. 

    “Tea would be, good.” 

          (  He’s so tired. )

                 (  there’s a scar, on her left shoulder blade;  a oblong oval ridge across the scapula and into the surrounding muscles   – – they’d missed that one, on the ship; then again, they missed most of them  )

   Her movements are quick, easy- hardly practiced because she’s not at all accustomed to making tea, especially not at this hour. She’s focusing on the steps; container, water, microwave. Mug, she needs to find a mug. And tea. Where does he keep it? Where would she keep it if she kept tea? The bite of his voice cuts through her inner monologue, that rift in his tone not normal and it gives her pause, figure stilling to look over at him. 

                             Tired, drained, he’s practically pooling over her kitchen table and becoming liquid. The microwave is humming and she passes back through the space, sinking into a chair at his side, a knee pressing into his thigh. One hand comes to rest on his forearm, fingers dragging across skin. 

         “Hey,” concern ebbing at the edges of her voice. Her chin dipped, just enough to try and catch his eye. Connection secured, Maria offers a tired smile, hand traveling up the line of his arm where her fingers dip into his hair, a thumb along the plane of his neck. “You’re okay.” Because he is. Whatever it was that haunted him- it isn’t here, not in the fluorescent white wash of her kitchen, bare bleached bones of a place half lived in ( the warm wooden bowl, though, speaks of a possible lifeform, some semblance of civilization ). It’s just the two of them and Maria can feel the heat rolling off of him in waves. 

                                 Behind her the microwave chimes but she doesn’t make a move toward it, intent on getting an affirmation from him before doing so. “You’re okay.”


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