they haven’t seen the best of us yet ; sharon + maria


Any attempt Sharon might’ve made to literally call off the dogs seems like too much effort, aborted admonitions rattling around her aching jaw as her eyes snap toward the doorway – the only person with any business getting in is Maria, and that assurance is the only thing that keeps Sharon’s sidearm on the coffee table.  Still, her gaze settles heavily on the other woman the minute she comes into view, the cut of a half-smile tugging at the bruises already blooming beneath her eyes – making it more of a grimace.

“Oh, you know, I’m fantastic,” clearly her sarcasm’s working, at least, so all isn’t quite lost.  Sharon clocks the bag as it trips through the air, reaching out one-handed to catch it and examining the contents – 

“You’re too kind.”

It’s a good enough reason to heave herself off the suite’s obnoxiously-plush couch, at least.  Unzipping the bag and upturning it, Sharon shakes three of the oblong yellow tablets into her palm – Percocet?  Maybe?  God, it’s been a long damn time since she’s needed anything that strong, even longer since she admitted that.

(The weeks after Afghanistan spring to mind, immediately, not for the first time today.)

She starts to shake her head, hoping to dislodge the smoky wreckage of the memory before it can take root again – her stomach’s already empty, throat scoured raw, anyway – but stops short when the movement rattles, sends the whole damn room tumbling around.  

Maria’s halfway between Sharon and the minibar, but that’s not the only reason Sharon pauses beside her, hand held out in offering – mirroring the way the other woman had entered – not even bothering to come up with a reason to gauge the expression on her face.

“We’re supposed to take these with water, right?”

She’s not about to outright ask– they’re not really the sort- instead using the half-question to measure Sharon’s outward appearance as an indication of her mental state. The drape of her posture, the way she’s holding herself ( keen eyes trace the fluttered gesture, perfunctory and straightforward ). Motor reflexes are functional, as is the obvious dry sense of humor.

Hands are held free of the cold press of wandering noses, wet jowls, even though one of them has left a slime trail across the leg of her pants and Maria catches herself locking her knee to stop the shake that’s erupted there. The edges of her mind are raw, crackling like the point of a live wire each time she lights on a thought, clings to it, before it’s abruptly jerked away.

     “Whatever you want.”

Her gaze has already flitted toward the minibar having come clear of the corner, navigating her way through the pair of dogs, still panting heavily and hovering around her hip. Brows are raised, offering a sarcastic lend to the answer, despite her fingertips press against the nearest surface- anything– going white around the nails in an attempt to ground herself in the space. The pill clacks against her teeth before she swallows, warding off the fresh wave of bile that threatens to ebb at the back of her throat, causing her head to crane toward the bathroom door she’d seen on her way in.

“Mind if I shower?” The acrid smell of it has been teasing at her senses, seemingly seared into her clothes as a constant reminder of what happened, the thing that she’d rather not revisit just yet, letting it settle into the base of her jaw where her molars jar together. Humor, or something akin to it ( normalcy, at this point, is humorous ) has her tipping her chin downwards, addressing the canine audience for a secondary opinion in that same, scraped-out tone. “Mind if I shower?”


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