Summary: Memory plays tricks, and the past does not loose its grip on those who pretend to forget.
Laura Cadman: m/f, f/f
Title from Adam Cast Forth by Jorge Luis Borges. The particular verse goes:
Nevertheless, it means much to have loved, To have been happy, to have laid my hand on The living Garden, even for one day.
With many thanks to Alyse, who does the bestest beta jobs ::smooches::
Written for the Merry Month of Masturbation
This is the kicker. When she's safely back in her own body, there are two kisses to assimilate. The remembered touch of them is muted, not quite as distant as a photograph of a kiss, but not as visceral as it should be, as though the details -- the taste of the wine, the smell of disinfectant -- are more something she tells herself than something she knows.
She takes the kisses out, late at night, a hand between her thighs, moving slow, eyes closed, humming with ease and familiarity. Her mind drifts, tight shoulders unwinding.
Rodney's asleep. Unlike her, he's not alone. She knows this, like the slow reality of the breath in her lungs, the soft roughness of flannel under her bare back and shoulders, the easy glide of her fingers. She knows he's lying flat on his back, an age-softened t-shirt and today's boxers serving as pajamas, Katie asleep on his shoulder, and she can almost taste the drowsy buzz of his dreams. It's just there, a little piece of knowledge that sits in her mind along with how she is moving, restless and eager, lying in her distant room, far, far away from his in the high halls of Atlantis, trying not to know. Pretending she doesn't care.
The two kisses don't fade.
Carson's taste slipped away even as she tried to hold onto it. They had dated, laying down new memories, living the proper order of things, letting other things ... go. The vivid sense of Katie Brown had been -- had to be -- from McKay's bright and eager interest. It would fade. But instead her interest in Carson dimmed, no electricity to fuel its bright flare. The kisses that they shared were always less than that first one, spiced with McKay's own lips. Maybe it took a moment near death to feel something so clearly that it bedded into two sets of memories. Maybe it wasn't the kiss, but the lips.
Carson no longer drifts into her mind even when she's alone like this, toying with the memories of old lovers and wished might-yet-bes.
The lingering glow of the other kiss is a dull ache, an unhealed burn. It's an ember that McKay is fanning for himself and she tells herself to let it go. The lingering ache -- the wish to run her fingers through long red curls, and kiss coral pink lips -- that's McKay, his thoughts seeping into hers.
Or hers seeping into his.
Two sets of memories, and both kisses were her. Gathering them up, holding them tight, kissing them hard. Both kisses were him.
Sometimes she resents that McKay is reaping the benefits of the one kiss she is not allowed to take again. Katie sleeps on his shoulder, and Laura aches. With his blundering affections and shy gestures, and puzzled efforts at a romance that he patently doesn't really understand... he has more than she does.
She doesn't know who she wants more.
And when her hips lift, the name she calls out is between her and the walls.