Just Another Wall — Smother

Well, he got what he wanted. A fate sealed by your hand, one where neither of you saw the end coming until it was too late. Blame was easy, it was your fault for ignoring his fragile mortality. You almost couldn’t think of him like that, he was just so much larger than life. There wasn’t anything he wasn’t built to face.

Well, there hadn’t been, until the charge from a line rifle tore through the air at exactly the wrong moment. No doubt the blast was aimed for you, but while the inaccuracy of those robotic snipers was usually a blessing, today it was the greatest curse. Micrograms of matter, siphoned at the speed of light from the accretion disk of a long-dead star. You found yourself truly realizing how terrible this weapon that you had never before even regarded as a threat could be.

But there, at your feet, rested the irrevocable, terminal proof. With an endless universe of threats and the nonchalance of immortality, there were few things that genuinely terrified you, and fewer things yet that you were willing to empower through fear. Until this very moment, what had just occurred registered on neither list. But it should have. Because there was nothing more terrifying, nothing that stirred greater fear in you at this very moment than the realization that while your body was immortal, your raison d’etre was not.

“FUCK that hurt! I’m going back to the ship.”

You froze in that moment, realizing that your mind’s eye had superimposed a much more dire reality than what had actually gone down.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” he said as he brushed a still-smoldering ember from the nearly unscathed scales where the bolt from the rifle had struck, “Well, not a… you know what I mean. What’s got you spooked?”

“You almost DIED!”

He all but fell on his back laughing.

“Really, you hunted us for fun and profit before I seduced you. You know there are only two ways to get through these scales to the soft parts. You need either a shipload of ammo, or a pair of hands like yours.”

“Now is not the time for your jokes. You’re not taking this seriously, neither of us have been.”

“Oh come on, you’re worried over nothing. You hit harder than that when you shoved me into your ship on the fateful day we met. I promise I can take it.”

“That’s not…” you tried to explain, “There’s more at stake than just a single bullet. You’re… one of these days there’s going to be something I can’t protect you from.”

“I never asked you to protect me from anything. You took that on all by yourself.”

“Because I care about you. I don’t want to lose you.”

“Neither do I want to lose you, but that’s the risk. I’m out here, with you, having the time of my life. And so are you.”

“It’s not the risk,” you tried to explain, “It’s the inevitability. Someday, no matter what we do about it, this is going to come to an end. I’m just not used to having to confront things being temporary. Certainly not things I care about as much as you.”

“Well, until then let’s stop worrying about it. Life’s no fun if you refuse to indulge.”

“I suppose you’re right. But that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s going to take me a while to get over this.”

“Then I think I know where to start,” he offered as he turned back to head towards your ship, “I was serious about going back to the ship. It may not have done any damage, but being space punched by a pinprick of star guts is going to leave me really sore.”

“I suppose that can’t hurt. We exceeded our patrol quota a while back anyway.”

“Great, then when we get back, you can play nurse and show me your healing touch.”

“Really, on average, what percent of the time would you say you’re thinking about having your way with me?”

“I dunno… About fifty percent of the time probably,” he guessed, scratching his chin with a clawed hand in mock thought, “The other fifty percent I’m thinking about you having your way with me instead, ever since you’ve started taking charge more often. Right now just so happens to be one of the latter, if you must know.”

“You are so lucky your charm works on me.”

“I count my lucky stars every night, for much more than just the fact that you indulge me.”

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