Welcome To The Harem

Each To Each by MeridyM
Summary: At the end of the world, there's no time for love. It's whoever you want it to be.

By MeridyM

Rating: PG-13.
Category: A very short story. Romance, a little angst.
Summary: At the end of the world, there's no time for love.

A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, through its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!
-- from"Meeting at Night," Robert Browning

The dogs were barking and wouldn't stop. They never did that.

She'd been staying at the cabin long enough now to know the routines, the
night sounds, what felt normal, what didn't. Her nearest neighbors drove in
and out twice a day, up the road, past her cottage and into the pines. The
mail truck bounced up the rutted lane once a week, and there was the
occasional delivery, but no one else came up this track from the sea. She
never heard the dogs unless. . .

They were still barking, harsh, insistent.

She felt the sudden sweat in the middle of her back and pressed a fist to
her mouth. It's all right. It's nothing. It's just animals in the woods.
Raccoons. The little bastards were always getting into things.

God, she was so tired of being afraid of every sound, suspicious of
everyone. But it had kept her alive so far. It had kept them all alive.

It had kept them all alone.

She threw off the comforter and went to the window, hugging her arms close
to her body against the chill of the summer night. There was no light, no
motion, no sound outside.

She was already turning when the hand covered her mouth, smothering the
scream before it could leave her throat.

The man pulled her tight to his body. "Not a word," he whispered into her
hair, and she felt her legs go out from under her.

His rough fingers slid slowly from her lips. "But how--" she murmured, and
he turned her around in his arms and kissed her, erasing any worries about
how he got there, who might know, why he'd come, replacing it all with his
scent, his hard muscles, the taut smoothness of his skin, the scrape of
day-old beard against her cheek. Lost in him, she barely felt him
undressing her, was almost shocked at his hands on her bare breasts, his
fingers sliding her panties from her hips.

She let him lead her over to the bed and slid under the comforter he lifted
for her, grateful for the warmth.

"I want to look at you," he said, his voice rich with amusement, "but I don'
t want to make love to an ice-woman, either." She smiled, watching through
her lashes as he stripped off his clothes and dropped them to the old oak

He found the matches and the stub of candle on her nightstand. He lit the
candle and slid into the bed next to her, pulled her close to his naked

"How long?" she whispered into his neck.

He was still for a moment, rubbing her back slowly, up and down. "Till
dawn, maybe a little sooner."

The tears stung her eyes, and she reached for his face, exploring it with
her fingers as if she could read him like Braille. They'd have a little
time to talk, to remember what it was like to be together.

There was usually just enough time to remember what they'd lost.

The worries faded again as he brought his mouth down on hers.

The dogs had gone quiet again, and the world was still except for the waves
lapping the shore, the soft kisses, the two heartbeats together, and the
slide of hands over skin gone too long untouched.