lynette3_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif

Scene Title Cobwebs
Synopsis They still lurk in the dark.
Date March 02, 2018

The Benchmark Center

The night has been… eventful. When things calmed, she got Mateo to their room, then she got Des into a room and clothes and such things. After all the caretaking has been accomplished, Lynette's attention turns to herself. Bloody clothes, bloody hands, it's a mess.

In their bathroom, Lynette started to clean up. At some point. Water sits in the sink, but it's cold now. Her clothes are in an unceremonious heap on the floor. She's sitting on the side of the tub, down to underwear and a tanktop, her arms hanging off her knees like she might drop them. If such a thing were possible.

She didn't get to the blood. There's some in her hair, against her cheek, but the bulk of it is on her hands. Seeped into nail beds, into lines in her skin, and long since dried. Her attention seems to be taken by a certain spot on the wall. Because she's staring at it.

To be honest, Mateo could probably use a shower. Between a full day at work, a rousing piano duet and then the nose bleed from hell, he's looking rough. Dirty, sweaty and that blood has dried on his hands, neck and face, even if most of it had been washed away. He steps into the bathroom, also looking at himself in the mirror, stripped down to a long pair of boxer shorts. The undershirt is likely to be thrown away.

No point even trying to get the blood out of that. Bleach probably won't be good enough anymore.

"We're both a mess," he admits, looking over at her perched on the tub. For a long moment he just looks at her, noticing that something is wrong pretty quickly. "'Nette? You okay?"

The fact that she doesn't seem to notice him come in is probably enough to give it away. That she doesn't reply certainly does. She's not. Okay.

Her nickname gets her to look over at him, although she looks confused to see him there. There's a beat, then two, then she presses her lips together for a moment. "You should be resting," she says, but blandly. It doesn't sound quite like herself. Lynette looks away from him, then down to her hands. "It was a bad night." She did say she needed a drink, which might cause some worry. But there's really no alcohol smell around, and lord knows it would be difficult to find any around here.

"I've been resting. Now I want to wash up," Mateo responds, raising his hands to show that— well, he's as bad as her in the blood department. It'd been his blood, after all. Who knew a nose could bleed so much. He'd not even bled that much from the bullet graze on his shoulder that she sewed up.

A bad night.

Hands dropping, he can't help but feel a little guilty for that. "Do you need to talk about it?" He wants to reach out and touch her, but that's how she got blood in her hair in the first place.

"Fair enough," Lynette says as she looks up at him, his hands. They are bad. Her head tilts, her eyes flutter a moment, then she picks up a piece of her hair and looks at it out of the corner of her eye. "I feel like it's never coming out," she says quietly, although this particular part of her hair is fine.

When he talks again, she refocuses on him. Something changes in her expression, like she's surprised to see him standing there. "Mateo," she says, the surprise echoing there, too. Like she hadn't just been talking to him. She looks at her hands, at her pile of clothes, then back over at him with a warmer expression. "I'm hogging the bathroom," she says, suddenly teasing. The contrast is a little too sharp, really. "But, in my defense, you should be resting."

Instead of saying that she'd just said that very same thing, or repeat his reasoning, Mateo ignores the possibility of getting more blood on her (it's dried now anyway) and steps closer to kneel at her side, pressing a hand against her cheek while the other rests on her leg. "I've rested," he does assure, even if he still looks tired. That won't go away immediately.

"Let's clean up together." And when he says this, for once, he's not talking innuendo. He's talking grab washcloths and soap and some water in the bath basin and wash all the blood away. Cause to him, she's never hogging. "I think you've been alone long enough." Alone. With whatever is eating away at her.

He knows how that feels. He can still feel something eating away at him.

Her skin is cold when he touches her, but Lynette leans into his hand on her cheek. Goosebumps might appear on her leg, but she doesn't seem to notice. Or care. "How are you feeling?" she asks. Because maybe he's rested, but the physical exhaustion was only part of it.

Lynette nods to his words, and while she might be inclined to push her state under lighter tones, even she can't leap to the innuendo that would normally go there. "I started," she says with a gesture to the sink. "How— " her words hitch a little while she rewrites her question. "How long did you rest?" Because she might not be sure how long she's been sitting here.

Of course, his last words threaten to wreck the whole facade, as poorly constructed as it was in the first place. Her eyes close and her brow furrows to try to keep herself collected. Thoughts that worm into her mind may not be written on her face, but the nature of them is clear enough, especially to him. Dark. Self-loathing. That pit is pretty deep for the both of them. "It's okay," she says, which is a lie, "I'm okay. Just tired."

How long?

"It's after midnight already," Mateo responds, not even having to look at a clock to know for sure, cause he'd looked before he rolled out of bed and went to find her. And potentially finish washing up. That she doesn't know how long she's been sitting and staring off into space sombers his mood significantly. He would have made a joke about it no longer being his 'two days of not birthday', but…

Sometimes he knows better than to joke. "Lynette," he uses her full name instead of one of his many nicknames. "You can share this with me. Whatever is going on inside your head." Cause heads are strange things. The abyss is deep and dark and lonely. They'd agreed, not to long ago, to share who they were now—

And this is still eating away at her. "You don't have to tell me everything, but… let me help."

The time seems to distress Lynette some, and she runs her fingers through her hair. And then pulls them away to look at them because— yep— they're still not clean. But she doesn't comment on how long that means she's been sitting, staring into space.

When he uses her proper name, she looks back over to him with a frown. "My darling," she says to him, her words soft, "you had a rough night. I should be taking care of you." Her hand moves to his cheek, like she might start doing just that instead of what he asks of her. But his last words seem to eat away at that resolve.

"It's just old war wounds," she says. He's seen them before, of course. When she sometimes hears things, in how she can't seem to get a restful night's sleep, in the drills she ran at the Mexico facility. And now here, in a distant stare. "I— was in charge of a small team. My team. In the war. There's not… many of them left. Two of us. Actually."

"I'm fine," Mateo says immediately, ignoring the pressure in certain areas that has nothing to do with that constant sound in the back of his head— or everything to do with it. Either way, he can ignore what little pain he's in right now. His breath sounds steady, at the very least. He's not suffering.

"Nicole," he responds with a nod. The woman had been invited to their wedding, and the two had… bonded over a night drinking. His bachelor party, she had called it. Whatever they had talked about had never come up again. What happens in at the bachelor party, stays at the bachelor party. "I understand. It hurts. Losing that many people. People you should have been able to save." He's speaking from personal experience, perhaps.

Lynette nods to the name, but that nod is shortlived. As he tries to comfort her, she shakes her head instead. "I don't deserve that," she says flatly. "That's not how it happened."

She pushes up from the tub to cross to prop herself up on the sink instead. She doesn't look in the mirror, but down at the water that she was supposed to be washing up with. "I try to tell myself I made the right choice. Tactically. It was necessary for the war. To save our side." When she looks up, it's to look her reflection in the eye. Her expression turns stony. "It was them or the intel. Important intel. I could have saved some of them, or at least gone down with them. We were surrounded. Trapped. To get the intel out, I had to use Nicole and wipe out everyone." Nicole might tell the story differently, but this is how Lynette will always tell it. "My people included. Those that were still alive. And I try to tell myself it was for the intel. But I know that's bullshit. I killed them and saved myself."

Oh. Well that changes things a little.

Not between them, or anything, not in how he feels about the situation, but in him understanding the sheer blame that she's putting on herself. The guilt. It's far more than survivors guilt, at that point. Mateo watches her from where he still stands next to the tub.

I killed them and saved myself.

Without saying anything, he steps up behind her and wraps his arms around her, his chin on her shoulder, his eyes closed. No words he said would help with this. No excuses, no empty 'it's okay'. So instead he opts to show affection, love and just hold onto her, left hand coming around to press against her sternum, while the right arm just grasps down on her stomach, pulling her back against him.

Feeling him behind her, Lynette shakes her head like she might be trying to tell him not to come near her. But his arms go around her and he can feel her shaking while she grips onto the sink to steady herself.

Words probably would have been easier, since she's pretty good at dismissing words, but the show of affection is harder to ignore. She takes in a few unsteady breaths, trying to keep it together, but it doesn't last. Her hands move to cover her face as a sob escapes her. And then she can't hold back the tears, even though she's been burying them for years. And once it's clear she isn't getting this back under control, she turns in his arms to cry against his shoulder.

There's no telling him to not touch her. Mateo lets her turn, keeping his arms in place before tightening them again, pushing their bodies together almost as if they touched he could soothe away all her worries with his body heat. "I'm here, mi luz," he finally whispers against her hair, just letting her other sense know that he's there.

He'll always be there. Because she's the light in all his darkness. His silence in all the noise. His peace in the turmoil. And part of him hopes he's that much to her.

He'll hold her until she no longer needs it, a hand running up and down her back, trying to soothe even as he holds her close.

Lynette clings onto him like he's the only thing keeping her upright while she cries. It takes time, but somewhere in there, the tears go from fear and sorrow to catharsis. And even when she starts to wind down, she stays buried against him. Her grip eases so her arms can slide around him.

Once, she feared this sort of moment. When he'd find out about her own darkness and leave. But now, it's different. Now, when she pulls back to look at him, it's gratitude and love that fills her expression, not fear. Her hand comes up to his cheek and she leans her forehead against his. "Tengo tanta suerte de tenerte," she whispers to him, her eyes squeezing shut.

That's a fear he understands. One he's not ready to find out if it will ever be realized. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

When she pulls back, Mateo hands slide up to her face, suddenly reminded that they both still need to clean up properly. But all he can do is look at her right now, meet her eyes with a soft, understanding smile. Her tears had brought sorrow to him, but for once he felt like the anchor to her that she was to him. The tether that kept one from falling into the darkness. It kept the sorrow at bay, filling him with a far more steady, pleasant emotion, love.

"We're both lucky," he offers when their foreheads meet, pressing his nose against hers a moment before lips meet as well.

Sighing at his smile, at his words, Lynette closes her eyes again, but this time just to savor the feeling of him against her, to let herself enjoy being cared for. Of being in love.

She leans into the kiss, drawing it out as if she could tell him just how much of an anchor he is through it. But when she pulls back, her fingers move to brush his hair back from his face. "I love you," she says, because sometimes showing isn't enough. One hand falls away from him, reaching for the washcloth and getting it wet before she looks back to him. She's not ready to be out of his arms yet, so one arm stays around him while the other starts to wipe blood from his face. What's left of it there.

Even after how long he's known and been shown and told, even if often not in words, Mateo's still surprised when he does hear them. Surprised and touched. He doesn't think he will ever get tired of hearing it, in knowing it, in feeling it. And knowing how hard it is for het to say something like that? It means all the more. "I love you, too," he simply responds, hands running down her side as he leans into the washcloth.

There's a pause, before he glances toward the tub, "You know, there's one way to conserve water while we both clean up." Besides using what's in the sink already. The tease is soft, well intentioned. And there's that look in his eyes as he says it.

The response gets a warm smile, and if Lynette's eyes still look a little too wet, it's for a good reason this time. She lifts up on her toes to press a kiss to his forehead, then his temple before she settles back down onto her heels again.

Of course, when he speaks again, she can't help a laugh, if just a soft one. "Your concern for the environment is admirable," she says, sounding a little closer to herself, even if her voice is still a little raw. His hands on his side, the look in his eyes, it brings out a different sort of shiver. There's something to be said for reminding yourself you're alive in moments like this, after all. Her answer comes when she leans back in to kiss him again, with more heat this time. And urgency.

Water conservation is very important.

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