what we lost in the fire, we’ll find in the ashes ; bruce + maria


So many deserved apologies between them, and yet they seem inconsequential now, the heated actions and words of that morning lost in the oasis of her skin against his, her breath against his throat and the weight of her body as it slips deeper against him; the memory of their intimacy is refreshed in a staggering instant, the nefarious undercurrent of fear now subdued by her presence.  

      He has no idea what’s happened or where she’s been – but Maria’s alive and well, in one piece and breathing. The same longing that guides his arms around her, he can feel reflected in her touches as she presses against his chest, pushes through his hair, pulls the fit of his shirt tighter…

All the words that have passed between them without being said –

            “Are you okay?”

The extended absence has made their last encounter and the harsh words that accompanied it seem inconsequential, her peace of mind and body the first priority. ( what would’ve he done if she hadn’t – )

Bruce presses against the line of her body, stepping into her and trying to convey the novel of concern and worry that’s been percolating since the TV feed cut out, and the relief that’s flooding through him now; it’s a sentiment he doesn’t know how to express with words, the sheer force of the feeling consuming his core with a passion that rivals only that of the Other Guy smashing his way through.

        Before she has a chance to answer he kisses her, with the force of a lover’s last kiss, sinking the taste of her lips and the press of her tongue deep into his memory.

There’s a glaring edge to the guilt that’s seared across her subconscious- there’d been a point to her avoidance, a delicate subtext to the blank day between the crash and now. They’d served a double purpose, of course, a lucky coincidence that she was somehow able to excuse her hesitance in the name of duty. Because it had made sense- she and Sharon had needed to lie low for a bit, just enough time to clear their heads before taking on Pierce.

           It doesn’t help that the emotion welled up in his expression is so earnest, so sincere- Maria feels that twinge of regret worsen.

( It should’ve been easy. Coming home to this in the aftermath rather than slinking around, waiting in the shade to see what shakes out of the settling dust– )

           Fingers curl against the back of Bruce’s neck, holding him close, the hand at his shoulder blade sliding until she can push a finger through a belt loop to ensure that he stays there. A reiteration of the unspoken has her arcing into him and regretting the movement almost immediately when his arm tightens at her back, the pressure surprising a sharp inhale from her lungs at the sudden dull ache in her ribs.

     It’s nothing new, not an added sensation to an already days old injury, but rather a heightened sensation in a steady thrum that’s been kept at its baseline by a couple of pills here and there. Her hand shifts, pressure applied to the belt loop when she steps to the side in an effort to turn them, breaking briefly to take a breath and press a secondary kiss to his jaw. A slower, more controlled inhale scrapes the back of her throat, pushes against the worry ebbing there before she lets the breath back out again. 

                  “I’m–” Her hesitation will be noted, she knows, and there’s no real reason to keep information from him at this point. All it’ll do is make things worse. “I’ve been better.”


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