hope is the only good god remaining

nc-17 | sexual content| reference to past rape & abuse



The garden was barely a garden. There were seeds for flowers and vegetables planted throughout the room, but they had yet to sprout. Small trees had been transplanted into the dirt; it was too early to tell if they would be able to adapt to the Moon's gravity.

Life will find a way, her mother used to say.

She shivered, in spite of her flannel robe.

Sigma had to be worried. Or maybe even angry. She had run off without a word. She should return to him and explain, apologize. Beg for forgi-

No. He wasn't like that. She didn't have to grovel at his feet. Diana clenched her fists, enraged that a relationship that lasted less than three years could have reprogrammed her like this. Sigma was a good, kind man. She had no reason to fear him. It was irrational to run from their bed, the one they had slept in for almost two months now, when he had been nothing but patient and kind. Some men would have grown frustrated with a woman who professed love but was reluctant to go beyond kissing and cuddling together at night.

She hadn't divulged her past to him. And he had never pushed. He had been surprised when she took his hand from her shoulder to her breast, keeping his touch light until she confirmed that was what she wanted. He would understand, when she explained it to him. She rationally knew this but couldn't drive the fear out of her heart.

"Diana? I'll leave you alone if you want. I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

Sigma had a t-shirt on, in addition to his pajama pants, and had put on his own robe as well. Three weeks ago, he had come to bed shirtless and asked her if she minded. She knew that he had gotten hard as she lay on his bare chest and let her fingers trail over his skin. When she became flustered, he told her simply to ignore it, that it would go away.

Maybe he thought she was a virgin.

Or maybe he had already pieced it together. It wasn't as bad as it was in the beginning, but she still got startled so easily. She was too fixated on making sure doors were secure. Her penchant for being covered from neck to toe wasn't so odd here, at least; it was always a bit chilly in the Rhizome.

She sat up on the bench and reached out for him. He crossed the distance between them quickly and joined her, but didn't touch her beyond taking her hand.

"I love you," she said, her voice shaky.

He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it, keeping his eyes fixed on hers. "I'll sleep somewhere else tonight."

"No. I-I-I don't want that."

"Are you sure?"

She nodded. "I'm sorry. I -"

"You don't have to apologize, and you don't have to explain anything if you don't want to."

Anger flashed across his face, but only for a second. He'd already figured it out, then.

"I was married before," she started, hesitantly. She didn't know how much information he wanted to hear, wasn't sure how much to divulge. When she had worked in an ER, she heard comments other staff had made about some of the frequent flyers - people who were constantly "falling down" or "bumping into things", who came in under the watchful eye of an overly-concerned partner. People thought it was a simple thing to walk away from an abuser, when sometimes it was difficult just to admit that you were in a relationship with one.

"He's a fucking bastard." Sigma practically spit the words out.

She struggled to figure out what to say next. She used to think that the drinking had changed him; it wasn't until much later that she realized that the drinking just brought his true personality to the surface. When she reflected back on their courtship, she could see little warning signs she had missed.

The way he had said, on their first date, "I've never felt such a deep connection with someone like this before." The way he would call her repeatedly if she was even just a minute or two late, demanding to know where she was, telling her it was just out of concern for her safety. His jealousy over other men who would speak to her. The way he would drop in at work unexpectedly to "check on" her. He never struck her until they had been married for a month, but the abuse had started long before.

Would Sigma think she was stupid, if he knew all this?

"Is this okay?" he asked as he slid closer to her, an arm hovering over her shoulders. She nodded and let him pull her into an embrace. Tears she didn't know she was holding back fell from her eyes.

"You don't have to tell me anything, Diana. I just ... can you let me know what triggered you? So I don't do it again?"

God, Diana, I'm going to fuck you until you scream.

Go ahead, Diana. Nobody gives a fuck if you scream.

She drew in a deep, shuddering breath, trying to force herself to relax, which was inherently impossible. "One night ... I was screaming for help. I know the neighbors next door heard, but they just turned their music up. After that, he used to tell me to scream all I wanted. He said nobody would care."

"Fuck. Shit, Diana, I ..." His arms tightened around her.

"You didn't know." In that moment, it hadn't mattered that it was clearly Sigma with his body over hers, whispering in her ear, his hand under her nightgown, sliding up her legs. It hadn't mattered that she was surrounded by his smell, that she could still taste his skin on her tongue. It hadn't mattered that the phrase had come at the end of a litany of praise for her. All she could think of was being held down and hurt.

And she had screamed.

"I would never hurt you. Do you know that? Do you believe that?"

"Of course." She lifted her head to press a chaste kiss to his lips. "It just brought up a bad memory."

"If we never ... if we never have sex, that's fine with me. So you know."

She couldn't help the disbelieving look she gave him. He blushed, but the look of resolve in his eyes didn't fade.

"Okay, yes, I want to fu... I want to have sex with you. But I have two perfectly functional hands."

"And I ... I want to feel those hands on me."

"How about tonight, we just go back to bed and try to sleep?" He caressed her cheek and she had to derail her destructive train of thought, the inner voices that told her he was rejecting her because he was disgusted by her and would never want to touch her again, because she was just so pathetic.

She nodded, but he made no move to stand.

"Is there anything else you can think of that might bring up bad memories? Anything else I need to be careful about?"

"Um ... I don't like being held down." Maybe that was an obvious one, but still. "Or the smell of Chanel men's cologne, but that's not a problem here. I ... there might be more, I can't -"

"It's okay. We can figure this out together. If ... is it best to leave you alone if something like this happens again?"

"Maybe, but ... not for too long? I'm sorry. I -"

He silenced her with a kiss to her forehead. "You don't have to apologize."

With that, he finally got up, gently pulling her to her feet. They made their way to their bedroom, and she slept without nightmares.

-

Therapists still existed, and he got a list of good ones who possessed the capacity to teleconference with her on the Moon. Barter was easier than money, but the sessions were still expensive, in their own way. Perhaps knowing the cost, instead of just handing over a $10 copay, was what made her more willing to share her feelings with a relative stranger.

Or maybe it was because she, like Sigma, knew he couldn't help heal her with love alone.

-

She worked up the nerve again while they sat on a couch in the lounge. Akane had sent a variety of movies up with the last shipment of rations, and they were diverting as long as Diana didn't think about the fact that everyone in them was probably dead.

As the film ended, he asked her if she wanted to watch another or if she was too tired. It had been a long day, but she moved to straddle him instead of getting up. His eyes widened in surprise but he didn't try to stop her.

It might be easier this way, her therapist had suggested. Like this, she was in control. He didn't tower over her. She took his hands and brought them to her hips, right at the hem of her shirt, hoping he would take the hint. He slowly lifted it off, his gaze not dropping to her breasts until she slid off her bra and moved his hands from where they had come to rest on her thighs.

"I hope you're not going to make me do everything myself." She pouted at him and he laughed. He leaned into her, capturing her mouth as his fingers moved against her flesh, causing her nipples to tighten. He was testing her, she realized, starting with gentle touches before becoming a bit rougher. When he pinched them, hard, she cried out, but he must have figured out it was with pleasure, not pain, because he didn't relent.

"What do you want? Tell me what you want. I'll do anything you want, Diana."

There was such desperation in his voice. She touched him through his sweatpants, inhaling sharply as she did so. She had felt his erection pressed up against her as they lay in bed, or curled up on the sofa, but the hand had more sensory neurons. Feeling it through the cloth wasn't good enough, so she let her fingers dip under the waistband of his pants, just enough to get his attention.

"I want to touch you," she whispered.

"Fuck, yes."

His hands fell to his sides as she wasted no time in wrapping her fingers around his length. It felt amazing but suddenly wasn't enough. She needed to see him.

"Can we move this to the bedroom?"

"We can go anywhere you want," he said breathlessly. Diana stood up hastily and this time it was his turn to pout at the loss of her touch. She grabbed her shirt off the floor and held it over her breasts as they walked down the corridor; it was only them there and Sigma promised the inside security cameras were turned off, but still. He pulled his own shirt off, tossing it in the hallway and prompting her to pick it up as well.

She loved him, but he could be a bit of a slob.

Both shirts fell to the floor of their room as he leaned in to kiss her. He started to remove his pants as well before pausing and making eye contact with her. The message was clear - nothing would happen unless she asked. She nodded and then he was naked in front of her; she quickly got rid of her remaining clothing so they were equal.

For not the first time, she felt like there was something so familiar about being with him. The gaps in her memories from Dcom weren't large enough to obscure an entire relationship, but something must have happened there. A moment, or two, just enough for them to have a connection.

"What do you want?" he asked, again. "Do you want me on the bed, on my back, so you can ride me? Do you want me kneeling in front of you, so I can taste your cunt? I could curl up behind you on the bed, take you from behind. Or do you just want to watch me? Do you want me to jerk myself off until I come all over the floor?"

All of that, she wanted all of that, at some point. She was almost dizzy with desire, but she knew definitely, this first time -

"I want to see your face."

He stepped closer, keeping his hands to himself as he kissed her temple, the spot below her ear. "That narrows the possibilities. Would you prefer being on top?"

Rather than answer, she pushed him against the bed. He sat down and scooted back, laying down and looking at her with hopeful eyes. She crawled on top of him, grateful that birth control was already taken care of and she wouldn't have to fumble with a condom. His erection jerked when she touched it again, running her thumb over the tip, where fluid was already gathering. She brought her fingers to her mouth, tasting him, and he pounded the mattress with a fist.

As she positioned herself over him, he put his hand between her legs, probing her gently. Not trying to arouse; just making sure she was ready for him. She was so slick and swollen that he needn't have worried. She lowered herself onto his erection and his fingers slipped to her clit.

"Fucking hell, Diana, do you know how gorgeous you look right now?"

"Tell me," she gasped, as she started to get into a rhythm.

"You're so flushed. Your chest, your face. Your nipples are so damn hard I know they must hurt."

She planted her hands on his chest so she could move faster. Having him inside her felt perfect, like he'd always been meant to be there. He kept talking - telling her how he loved watching her breasts bounce, how tight she was around him, how he could catch glimpses of their bodies being joined together - and she could feel her orgasm building.

"You're gonna come, aren't you? Let me see you. Please? I want to watch you -"

Her body jerked in what she thought had to be the most unattractive fashion, spasms rippling through her until it was done. Sweaty and trembling, she felt him weakly thrust up into her.

"Can I -?"

"Yes, please!" Before she had finished crying out, he had grabbed onto her hips, driving himself into her, until he also came with a loud growl. When he had stopped moving, she carefully rose onto her knees and they both moaned when he slipped out of her.

"I can't wait to go down on you," he mumbled.

"Now probably wouldn't be the best time." She curled up next to Sigma, settling comfortably into his arms. She was panting against his neck but he didn't seem to mind.

"We could hop into the shower."

"You're going to fall asleep any moment."

"Am not." But even as he said it, she could him struggling to keep his eyes open.

"Tomorrow," she promised. "We have all the time in the world; we don't have to do everything right now."

"Tomorrow," he agreed.

Diana watched him sleep for about an hour before she succumbed as well.

(fin.)