Author: Calic0cat
see chap. 1 for warnings, notes, disclaimer

Fragments + Chapter 9

Despite having spent a very restless night, my sleep frequently disturbed by more of those confusing dreams, I still woke alone. Max was already up again this morning.

I was still very confused about everything. About exactly who or what we were. About what was going on that made Max warn me not to talk about my dreams. My memories. About the hidden weapons I carried and which, I assumed, Max must as well. But after a great deal of thought and doing a lot of sorting through the fragmentary bits of memories and scattered impressions of scents and sounds and feelings, I had come to one major conclusion.

I still loved Max. And the corollary to that was that I still trusted him. He still felt - safe. Right. He was the only thing that *did* feel that way in the midst of all the confusion.

Despite the fact that I still knew nothing about his past and very little about my own. Maybe I was wrong to be so trusting, to have so much faith in him. But if that faith was misplaced - I wasn't sure that anything else mattered anyway. Wasn't sure that there was anything else in my life that could possibly make up for that.

I *had* to trust Max.

Sighing, I rolled to my side and prepared to get up. The bathroom door was open a tiny crack and I heard the shower turn on. Should I? We *were* married after all... And I was curious to see whether he was as attractive with his clothes off as with them on...

My cheeks flushed and my heart pounded with nervous anticipation as I slipped from the bed and headed for the bathroom. My memory might come back tomorrow or it might never completely come back; I wasn't about to waste my life waiting for its return. So I couldn't remember our first date or the first time we'd made love or our wedding. Big deal. I'd just make new memories to replace them. Now was as good a time as any to start.

I stripped and opened the door of the shower stall. Max jumped and yelped, "H - hey, Odin, what are you..."

Stepping in and pulling the door closed behind me, I said simply, "Showering." My cheeks were very warm and Max's were rapidly flushing too.

"Uh - the shower's a little small for two," he squeaked. I smirked slightly at the way he was struggling to look anywhere but at me. I certainly wasn't wasting my own opportunity to look at *him*. And he was even more attractive with his clothes off; not that I'd ever really doubted it.

Max was lean but well-muscled. And very definitely male. The long wet hair clinging to him did nothing to detract from his masculinity. Nor did the faint tracery of old scars that crossed his skin in a number of places detract from his attractiveness though they *did* make me curious as to their cause. There were - quite a few of them. But they didn't change the fact that he was absolutely gorgeous and he was *mine*.

"I don't mind being in tight quarters with you," I said, taking a small step closer to him.

Eyes wide and startled, he backed into the wall. I winced at the sharp crack as his head hit the tiles. He didn't even seem to notice. "Uh, look Odin, I really need to wash my hair and it kind of takes a lot of space to do that so I think..."

I leaned forward and kissed him. Max really was cute when he was trying to be noble. I knew that he didn't want to pressure me but he wasn't; I wanted this. Wanted it very badly.

Max resisted the kiss for a moment, then gave in and parted his lips with a low moan. I stepped closer and leaned against him, a moan of my own escaping as our naked bodies came in contact. Bracing one arm against the wall, I slid the other hand down Max's side, from shoulder to hip, and started to slide it around behind him. Suddenly, with something that almost sounded like a sob, Max was sliding down the wall and ducking under my arms. "Max? Did I do something wrong?" Damn, I didn't mean to sound that - pathetic... But I really didn't know what the hell was going on here! Didn't he want me the way I wanted him? We were *married*; he *must*... 'He *has* to...'

Max stopped in the middle of pushing the door of the shower stall open. His shoulders slumped. "No, not you Odin. You didn't do anything wrong. Look I just - feel odd about - well, getting intimate - while you still don't have your memory back, okay? It feels weird, like I'm taking advantage of you. I know that probably doesn't make much sense to you but I can't help feeling that way."

"But what if I *never* get my memory back entirely?" I whispered unhappily. "Is our marriage through if I don't remember?" The question was painful to ask but I needed to know. I was in love with Max; I couldn't change that. I didn't know what I'd do if he didn't feel the same way about me now that I'd lost my memory. The mere thought made me feel even more empty and lost than my amnesia did.

Max sighed heavily, then turned to face me. He dropped one of those tiny butterfly kisses on the end of my nose and I realized with a sinking heart that he'd never once initiated a kiss on the lips. Those were all started by me. Max kissed me on the cheek, the forehead, the chin, the nose, the ear - but never on the lips.

"If you don't remember on your own by the time we go back home, I'll tell you about your past. Then - well, then we'll take things one step at a time from there, okay? I'm sorry, really I am. God, you have no idea... But that's just the way it has to be..."

The way it has to be.

In other words, we were through. My worry yesterday that Max didn't love me the way that I loved him, that he didn't *want* me, was justified. He didn't love me, didn't want me. Max had just been kind enough to humour me while I was so - needy and vulnerable.

I ducked past him and out of the shower, not even bothering to grab a towel on my way. All I wanted was to get away. To be left alone while I tried to contain the pain and loss that were threatening to overwhelm me. While I tried to find a new anchor amidst the confusion of my amnesia. One that wouldn't fail me.

I didn't get very far; Max caught me before I got more than two steps back into the bedroom.

"Odin, wait!"

I jerked my arm to free my elbow from his grip but his fingers only tightened and he stepped closer to me. Started to turn me towards me. 'No! He can't see me like this. Can't see how much it hurts...' I had to get away but now that he had hold of me with both hands, I couldn't shake him off. I struggled ineffectively for a moment, then suddenly a wave of knowledge hit me.

In an instant, I went from not knowing how to break his hold to knowing ten different ways, all involving varying degrees of injury to Max. Several involving his death.

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