She'd been fighting it for some time but now her control broke. Tears welled up and overspilled, sliding shimmering trails down her cheeks. A lump formed in his throat as he watched but he willed himself not to go to her.
"It has to be," he forced out, his voice raw. "We've been ripping each other to shreds for months now. I loved you once, and I think I still do, but I have had enough, now and forever, amen."
Her head came up, her jaw tightening. A hint of the old imperiousness flashed in one of her glittering green eyes. "You've had enough?" she said dangerously. "You've had enough?"
She stalked angrily around him, a painter sizing up her subject, a panther sizing up its next meal. "What if I haven't had enough?"
He turned in place, facing her as she circled. "Goddamn it. This is just what I'm talking about -- you won't, or can't, see reality when it's right in front of your fucking face. I am so sick of battling with you over every little thing. So damned......tired."
A spark of humor flashed. "You ought to be, after a night like last night."
"Not what I meant and you know it. I'm not going to deny that it's been fun in bed..."
"And out of bed, and on the stairs, and over the couch, and on the kitchen counter," she singsonged, grinning despite the tears that still trickled down her cheeks.
"Shut UP!" His roar was a cannonblast in the small room. "For chrissake, do you think this is easy for me? Or fun?"
"........No," she finally said, her voice tiny drops of water emerging reluctantly from a faucet.
He nodded grimly. "Then you understand what I'm saying."
"And you know why this has to end before one of us ends up dead."
The silence stretched, became humid, thickening palpably. His gaze held her, like a pin in a wriggling butterfly. She squirmed in agony but he wouldn't, couldn't, release her.
"...........yes," she admitted at last. "But damn you for being so.....so intangible. I never really had you, did I? Even when my claws were sunk deep in your back, I was never really touching you. Never really touched you." The tears began flowing again.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. His eyes were raw and red as well. "Don't believe it for a minute," he said heavily. "Your hooks are still set deep. I don't know if I'll ever get them out."
She came to him, and this time he didn't pull away. He crushed her against him, meeting her mouth with a savage kiss. She drove him back against the wall, hard. Pictures crashed to the floor. He drank from her mouth, lips and tongue plundering her, being seared in the heat that had burned him so many times. Her eyes were squeezed tightly shut against the tears that still trickled free. He reached up with a thumb to capture one, and slipped it into his mouth to taste her pain, forcing himself, scourging himself, still kissing and kissing and kissing her.
Her hands went to his belt. Leather whipped free, was flung aside. The button popped off as she tore his fly open. She darted a hand inside, slid it beneath his boxers; he groaned as her fingers found his cock, pillow-soft at first but rapidly changing in her grasp. His own hands pulled her T-shirt up and over her head (she muttered angrily as it caught beneath her chin), then she was pressing against him again, the maddening weight of her breasts setting his blood afire.
He reached up and tweaked one nipple, hard. She shrieked and promptly bit his shoulder, just as hard. Blood trickled as she released him. Another battle scar, he thought hazily, and then he was very busy moaning as she pulled his boxers down to his ankles and began massaging his cock with deft, sure strokes. Squeezing him upward, pointing him skyward, getting him painfully hard in a matter of seconds, she smiled sadly at him, then shimmied out of her shorts and panties and swarmed up his body. He pulled one leg upward and felt her slide it round to rest on his ass; he hiked her up a bit more, his hands going to her ass, lifting then dropping her, spearing up and in.
They both bowed their heads, even as he began pistoning in and out. Their breath came fast but no words were spoken. There was only the dark, silent haze that rose and enveloped both of them time after time. She ripped strips from his back over and over; he left bitemarks from her breasts to her earlobes, each nip stabbing her all the way to the heart. Crying, she rode him harder. Weeping, he drove her harder, fingers digging into her shoulders, mouth rasping against hers, stubble tearing the soft skin of her lips. He could feel her heat scorching him. He could feel his savage thrusts bruising her.
The storm built and built. They savaged each other with words, with gestures, with everything they had. They fought this last battle right down to the bitter ending, her finishing cry a tearing howl, as if she'd been gutshot. Bare seconds later he screamed as well as he gushed inside her, feeling a part of himself leaching away with every spurt, powerless to prevent it, hopeless to describe it. She bounced and bucked and jerked against him as she came and came, hammering elbows on his shoulders, leaving fresh bruises. He retaliated, spearing her with the last of his fading strength, wishing it would be enough, knowing in his heart it never would be.
When he began softening and slipping from her she was forced to drop to the floor, stepping away from him. He watched as she pulled her clothes on, grimacing as overstretched muscles rebelled. He knew the feeling, he thought ruefully as he dressed in silence, feeling the ache that always swept through him after they'd been at each other. The ache that seared, the ache that destroyed.
The lingering ache that would always be with him. He watched as she clacked swiftly across the room to the door. The words rose unbidden to his lips, an entreaty, a surrender, a plea -- but his throat locked and the words died. And the door opened, and she flung one last tearful glance his way, and sketched a kind of salute. He raised a hand in response, feeling absurdly inadequate, feeling the hot bile rise in his throat, feeling the self-hatred surge, knowing this was all they could do, all they had left.
And then she was gone.