Welcome To The Harem

Caro de carne mea by Deslea R. Judd
Summary: Eight years after the change, Shannon finds her counterpart. "It occurs to you that it was an act of war, an assault waged on loneliness and need." Pre-XF, Knowle/Shannon, NC17. See also follow-up Like Glowing Embers.

Caro de carne mea
Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 2003

DISCLAIMER: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
ARCHIVE: Yes, just keep my name on it.
RATING: NC17 for sex.
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: Angst, kind-of PWP, Knowle/Shannon.
SUMMARY: It occurs to you that it was an act of war, an assault waged on loneliness and need.
BETA THANKS: Special thanks to Spica, who saved this one.
FEEDBACK: Cherished at deslea@deslea.com. I'm behind in my feedback at the moment - forgive me, please.
MORE FICTION: http://fiction.deslea.com
AWARDS/ELIGIBILITY: Spooky Awards 2003 eligible.

They called us Adam and Eve.

The thought hammers in your mind when you hug him goodbye, chance meeting in a bar eight years after it happened. You told yourself when you reached for him that it was just a friendly hug, but it isn't true, not really. The truth is you touch whenever you can - men, women, it doesn't matter - you take it wherever you can get it, craving the touch denied you first by fear of harm and then by fear itself. He was taken aback when you did it, stood there stiff and unmoving in your arms before he held you too.

That's how you knew it was him. His neck under your hands. The other you knew they made, but never knew by name. And then the thought, over and over. He's the other, the one you've dreamed of but never dared to hope you'd find. You've built so many fantasies around him, and now your body springs to life, instantly aware, instantly aroused. You want him, God yes, but why? Because he's as formidable and indestructible as you are? Because he was named for you and made for you? Because you want it bad no matter who it is because it's been so fucking long?

His hand stills in your hair.

He knows.

You pull back and stare at each other. Breaths fast and shallow. Just a moment, the merest instant, but you recognise a host of things in his eyes and in his touch. The same loneliness. The same abnegation and denial. The same feral hunger.

"Let's go," he says. You're already tugging him by the hand, leading him out of there in a rush. His hand is firm and unwavering in your own, nothing like the hesitancy when he thought you were just another face from the life you left behind.

"How long?" you gasp when he slams you against a wall in the alley.

"I never dared," he manages before he kisses you, hard. "Thought I'd - hurt her - or - pregnant - couldn't risk - passing it on-" and that's all he says, but he transmits the rest of it in his touch, a cascade of years and half- formed fears that have driven both of you half out of your minds.

"Seven years," you burst out between ferocious kisses. "I did - at first - but then I fractured a guy's pelvis - Jesus *Christ*, Knowle, there, touch me there -" and then you cover his hands with yours and press him harder to your breasts. Your head bangs hard against the wall, and you blink when plaster shards fall onto you both. He squeezes, too hard, but need overtakes your sound of protest before it reaches your lips. His precision is familiar - memories wash over you, the way he tied his shoes or held his gun, fragments of a different life - but his grasp on your flesh is new, urgent and demanding, something you've never had from him before but you recognise it in yourself just the same.

You break apart, breathing hard. Just a heartbeat, long enough for you to see the gleam of hunger in his eyes. You pull him back, and he seizes on your throat, sucking and biting, too hard, but the pain is a release, and you buck against him, whimpering out his name. He bows his head and sucks you hard through your clothes, and need courses through you, exquisitely sharp, from your breast to the pulsing ache between your thighs. You push him off you long enough to tear open your shirt with shaking hands, baring your breasts to the cold night air, and you're so sensitive there that they sting in the breeze. He's on his knees before you, tugging open your jeans and pulling them down off your hips, trembling violently with arrested need. You can feel his erection, pressing through his jeans against your leg, and you want it (take me fuck me hard do it God now now now) but he holds you, arms around you, kneading your ass with his hands. Holding you while he takes the flesh over your pubic bone into his mouth, and you can feel it in your clit and you grind down against him, moaning and pinching your nipples with your hands.

"I can't - down -" you force out, knees buckling, waving weakly to the car behind him. Rising, he pulls back, just a little, enough to let you stumble past him and you fall together onto the hood. You feel the cold metal against your back, feel it give way, denting in the shape of your bodies. You spread wide for him, pushing up towards him as he leans down to devour you with his mouth. The first time his tongue touches the tip of your clit, you cry out, arching your back, flailing for something to hold, smashing the windshield with your hand. He looks up, concerned, but you reach for him, squeezing his hand to reassure him, bucking upwards to urge him on. Pain is different now, still present, but no longer the priority it was, and you need him so bad. His tongue probing deep inside you pushes you over the edge, and you come hard, shivering and pleading, begging for more before the first has even passed.

He takes your hand, bloodied glass and all, and you sit up. He's still fully dressed, and you drag his shirt open, buttons falling in all directions. You kiss him, hard, tasting yourself on him while you open his jeans. He gasps when you ease the zipper down over his cock, and his hand seizes on your shoulder, hard enough to break your collarbone in the life you left behind. You lean down to take him into your mouth, something you considered a chore in years gone by, but now, you want to devour. In every possible way.

"Oh, my God," he moans, plunging his hands in your hair. "Shannon - yes - please -" but then he tugs you to stand up again, before you've gotten more than a taste, and his cock is hard against your belly, hips thrusting hard, can't wait baby need to be inside you please it's been so long, and you make low sounds of need and beg him oh, God, yes, please, there, fuck me hard fuck me now please please please, and then he pushes you up the wall, and the wall scrapes hard on your back, and he shoves it hard up into you and you cry out, grabbing him by the hair and urging him on. You need it harder, faster, and blindly, you push off the wall, propelling you both against the car - another dent - and you fall in a heap to the ground. He takes the brunt of the blow - funny how old chivalries die hard - but he keeps hold of you, as though afraid to let you go (God don't stop don't stop I need it please) and he's grazed and dirty and he marks you with his hands.

"Don't stop," you whisper against his neck. You can taste him, salt and sweat in your mouth. He strokes your face, unexpectedly tender, his hand gripping yours as your cries grow high and fast, and he comes too, gasping out your name into your hair. He thrusts into you, once, twice, three times before he falls back and comes to rest with you at last.

Slowly, you become aware again. His arms. His warmth. His hand clasped with yours. Comforting and familiar, but you're not sure how much of that is the man you knew and how much is this thing you've both become.

Your perception widens beyond the nexus that is your tangled bodies. The ground. The fresh holes in the plaster on the wall. The dents in the car nearby. Street lights further away. The dirt and the blood on you both. It occurs to you, looking at the destruction you've wrought, that it was an act of war, an assault waged on loneliness and need.

He's looking at your hand.

You watch him in bewilderment as he extricates pieces of glass from your flesh, one shard after another. Infinite patience and precision. So different to your mutual plundering. Something about the way he does it - those hands, maybe - something shifts the balance in your mind. The fantasy figure that came before him recedes. With the passing of one need, you become aware of another, a need to know and be known as you have never been known since it happened.

"Thank you," you whisper.

He smiles a little at the corners of his mouth, but he says nothing. Just keeps on working.

You try again. "I needed that." It sounds trite. Selfish. More selfish than using him as the receptacle for your outpouring of pent-up need. Understandable, maybe. Mutual, undoubtedly. But selfish just the same.

"So did I," he admits, and there is a flicker of something in his face - something ravaged. Somehow you can judge him more kindly than you judge yourself. You don't see the selfishness. Just the loneliness and the longing to touch and hold.

You don't know what else to say. What openings to give. You don't want it to end, but you've spent so long shutting people out you don't remember how to let them in.

"We should get out of here," he says when he's done with your hand. Oblivious to your inner struggle. "Whoever owns the car could come back."

You shake your head, sparing him a smile. "It's mine."

He looks sheepish. "Sorry."

"It doesn't matter," you say, and no, it really doesn't.

You pull on your clothes in silence.

"Can I drive you somewhere?" he says when you're standing there together, awkward, looking bedraggled, but as decent as you're likely to get.

"How about your place?" you say, hugging yourself in the cold. Heart pounding. Please, you think. Please.

He looks taken aback, and you wonder if you've made a mistake, but then he nods. "Okay," he says. Impulsively, diffidently, he leans in to kiss you - not just kissing, kissing *you* - and then, more firmly, "Yes."

You take his hand, and you walk out of there, leaving the debris behind.


The title is derived from the creation story in Genesis 2:23: Hoc, inquit, os ex ossibus meis, et caro de carne mea. In English, it translates roughly to, "This is," [Adam] said, "the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh." Adam and Eve recognise themselves in one another and, in the next verse, we are told that they make love.

See also the follow-up story Like Glowing Embers.