Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tease Me Tuesday: Bound to You


Enjoy this scene from

Bound to You by AR DeClerck:


Lia watched the smoked glass close over Jacks' face, and imagined it as his funeral shroud. There would be no way he could climb out of that contraption whole, she felt it as certainly as she felt her love for him. She shook with uncontrolled tremors as the machine began to power up. The lights flickered inside the room, and she half expected a siren to wail. It was silent, though, and all she could do was lean against the glass with her eyes locked on Jacks.
She jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She was half afraid to turn around, but let out a relieved cry when she realized it was Layl. He was less clear here than on the ghostly plane, but she could see enough of him to throw herself into his arms. She cried on his shoulder as he patted her back soothingly, for how long she didn't know.
She sniffed, cried dry, and pulled back from him. "Is it weird to be hugged by a dead person and not be creeped out?" she asked, looking for something to smile about.
He grinned at her, but his soulful brown eyes were doggedly serious. "Not if you're J's girl it's not."
Her smile faltered as he called her 'J's girl'. It's what she was, no doubt about it, but Jacks was in real danger of dying, right this very minute. She turned back to the window, staring hard at the Illaran machine.
"God damn you, Verhagnis." She said it vehemently. Loudly. Layl was silent beside her, and he, too, was looking at the Illaran machine.
"They never expected it to take three thousand years." Layl spoke finally, leaning a shoulder against the glass and crossing his arms. "The few uninfected Illarans who had the know-how, they built this place and spent every moment here, trying to save their people. I don't think they even realized it was over, in the end."
Lia felt a tear slide down her cheek. It was for Jacks, and the Illarans, and her. "I'm selfish, aren't I?" She didn't look at him. "For wishing he'd choose me over everyone else in the universe."
Layl grinned. "No. Not selfish. A little naive, but never selfish." He leaned his head against the glass. "What makes you think Jacks didn't choose you?"
She waved at the room. "He is in there right now, trying to kill Verhagnis and save everyone and he might die."
"And if he dies then he didn't choose me, did he?" She shot him an exasperated frown. "I asked him to leave with me right now, walk away and leave Verhagnis to do as he would, and Jacks chose to go inside."
"Who told you Jacks would die?"
She faltered. They had only assumed that the machine would be lethal, exposing Jacks to monumental amounts of radiation.
Layl's mouth turned up as he shook his head. "Don't let an exorcist do a scientist's job." he said playfully. He waved at the room, and at the machine. "What do you think is swirling around inside Jacks, and has been, every day of his life? Passed down in the genetics until just the right time for it to pop up in him?"
"Energy. He said 1016   joules worth of energy."
Layl waved her on, as if teaching a student who was a very slow learner. "And if he has that kind of power in his body, what do you think it creates?"
"Radiation." She felt hope bloom in her chest, but pushed it down, wanting to be sure.
"So if Jacks has lived with the output of radiation from his own body for all these years, and he hasn't died, what does that tell us about this machine?"
Lia smiled. "It won't kill him."
"It won't kill him." Layl grinned at her. "It won't kill you either. It's in every molecule that connects you to him. Your bond."
She reached for him, her arms going around him and she was so grateful, so happy, that she made him growl as she squeezed him. She went to the door, but paused before she opened it.
"You won't be here when we get back, will you?"
He shook his head. "I'll be around until Jacks is finished, Lia. I've hung around this long, so a little longer shouldn't hurt."
She opened the door and stepped inside the room, closing it behind her. When she looked out the window, Layl was gone.
She went to the machine, and put her hand on the dome. It slid away, and Jack's face went white to see her there. She didn't let him speak, but climbed up inside the machine with him, fitting herself against him and throwing her knee over him. She snuggled against his shoulder as the dome slid closed over them.
"Lia." His voice was strangled, and she felt horror pulse through the bond. She leaned up on her elbow, and ran her fingers through his hair.
"It's all right." she told him gently, rubbing his scalp in the way she knew would relax him.
"It's not fucking all right." he argued, struggling to push her away. "Get back outside the room."
She ignored him, kissing him instead, running her lips over his chin and down his neck. "Calm down, Jacks."
"I won't calm down, princess. I specifically asked you to stay out and you climb inside the fucking machine?" His hands were tight on her arms as he tried to disengage the dome and push her out.
He froze at the command in her voice. He felt it through the bond, her supreme confidence, and it stopped him mid-shove.
"I said it's going to be all right. We can survive this. We're immune."
"What? Immune? To the radiation?"
She nodded, letting her lips trail over his. "Layl explained it to me. You're full of energy, and your body creates radiation. You've been surrounded by radiation since birth. Me too. It won't hurt us."
"Doesn't make sense." he muttered, relaxing to lay back again. "You're sure?"
She nodded, her fingers stroking his head. "I'm positive."
"What about everyone else? The crew? Everybody we've ever touched? How are they not sick?"
"We must absorb it." She grinned at him. "We haven't hurt anyone Jacks. But Layl is sure. The machine's radiation can't harm us. The Illarans knew it when they built it."
He looked at her, and she stopped in mid stroke, watching him watch her. He studied her so carefully, taking in every tiny line and pore of her skin. Every strand of hair. Everything he called perfect imperfection. He narrowed his eyes. "Promise me you aren't lying to me."
"What does the bond tell you?"
He didn't answer. She leaned over him, placing a kiss solidly on his mouth.
"Learn to trust it, Jacks."
His eyes drifted closed, and she felt him probing the bond, looking for her certainty. She poured it out to him, and his eyes were bright when they opened. He tugged her down to his chest, his arms wrapping around her and holding her to him.
"I'm never going to forgive you for lying to me." he said against her hair, but she heard relief and tenderness in his voice. Felt it in their connection.
"You will. I didn't lie anyway. I was telling the truth, at the time."
His laughter rumbled through his chest, and she felt it against her ear. "Promising to stay outside, and then coming in here was the same as lying, princess."
"Nah." She closed her eyes, and let her mind connect with his, and they were almost one single being, touching all parts of their bodies and minds together like that.  "I'll make it up to you later."
"Later? What's wrong with now?"
She sent him a mental shove, but she knew he was kidding. They didn't have time to fool around, it was time to destroy Verhagnis once and for all.
"Can you make it work?" she asked him quietly.
In answer the machine came to life, the power-up complete.
His arms clenched around her, and she felt the machine begin to draw power from him, and in turn from her through him. "Here we go." he said, and she clenched her hands in his shirt as they prepared to fire the weapon.





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