Category/Rated: Het, K+
Year/Length: 2005/ ~700 words
Pairing: Ana & Eko
Spoilers: Missing scene from The Other 48 Days.
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.
Summary: She does not cry prettily, and somehow that makes it so much more painful.
Author's Notes: Let me first say I'm sure this isn't gonna be all that popular, as I'm one of the few people who actually really like Ana-Lucia. Also, this was inspired by someone over in the TWoP forums that complained about that fact that MR does not look pretty when she cries. And the fact that I ship EkoAna. And the fact that I'm a dork.
He follows her to the stream, expecting her to wash her hands, or collect water for the group, or just keep walking, forever, away from the corpse she left behind. She does none of those things. He watches her sink down, watches her shoulders shake once, twice, and approaches without thinking about invading her privacy. She turns to look at him when he sits, barks out, "What're you lookin' at?"
He speaks and they are not the words he expected to say, but they are gone now, and she is looking at him, her expression torn between incredulity and amusement and a sadness so deep that he cannot see the bottom of it. She says, "You talking now?" and there is a bite in her voice. He has heard her be gentle, with the children once upon a time, and with Bernard because sometimes the older man gets confused, but that it is a rare occurrence. Under her skin she is razor sharp.
He smiles at her, just a small smile, and it feels alien on his lips, and says, "It has been forty days."
She turns away from him sharply, and he thinks that she probably did not want to reminder of those who first went missing, and of the dead bodies of his attempted captors. He can still remember the warmth of their blood on his arms when he tries, and so most of the time he does not try. There are some things a man would be better off forgetting. When she says, "You waited forty days to talk?" her voice is thick, and when he leans forward to see her face her mouth is open as she struggles to take slow deep breathes. It looks like she's screaming. But there is no sound.
He says, "You waited forty days to cry."
There is a long, timeless moment, as she stares at him, her mouth still open, her hands balled into fists at her sides. There is a tear, and then another, chasing each other down her cheek, and he feels the warmth of her arm beneath his hand without even realizing he has moved. She does not cry prettily, and somehow that makes it so much more painful. More real.
It is easy to hold her. Easy how small she is against his chest, how tiny she looks with his arms around her. Easy to absorb the shock of her body wracking with sobs that are still queerly silent. It is so easy. Dangerously easy. It is something that he could make a habit of without thought or intention, and he wonders about that as her tears trace hot lines down his arms and chest.
After a time she stops, and sags against him, though even now he can feel the tension in her shoulders. He turns her face up towards his, and there are still tears, thin, silent things that slip out of her eyes and slid around the curve of her cheek and into her mouth, which is still open as she struggles for breath or silently screams. She does not cry prettily, and he could not respect her more for that.
He puts a big hand on either side of her head, feels the curls of her hair beneath his palms and marvels in it, uses his thumbs to brush away the tears, and says, "Everything will be alright. You will see." And after a moment she nods, and sniffles, and closes her mouth, and the crying is done as quickly as that. She is Ana, and her sharp edges slide towards the surface. But his hands are still cradling her head, and he wonders why that is.
Finally she smiles, just a half-smile, one side of her mouth stretching upwards, but it meets her eyes and that's all that matters, really. She places a hand on his cheek, mirroring him, and the smile grows, just marginally. She says, "I'll hold you to that."
And then she is twisting away from him and standing, and offering him a hand up, that odd smile still on her lips.
She does not cry prettily, but when she smiles he has never seen anything as beautiful.
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