When Fire And Water Kiss


melissa2_icon.gif perry_icon.gif

Scene Title When Fire and Water Kiss
Synopsis Amazing things happens when polar opposites meet.
Date January 13, 2011


It's educational, you know, and the national park brochures try and emphasize that fact. Describing the aeons of pressure, the flow of tectonic plates, the creation of the very islands that so many vacationers come to visit. But a visit to the volcano park in Hawaii hardly draws just geologists and rock nerds. You don't need to be a naturalist to be fascinated by the living furnaces of nature. You can be a business man, a homemaker, a little kid.

Or a terrorist.

They didn't take a guided tour. Moving at their own pace, getting used to being together just them, Perry and Melissa have strolled past vast, steaming fields of lava, across rough swaths of obsidian, down, down into old lava tubes, the guts of the volcano now safely closed off, incineration free. It's still hot, though, the winter rain that poured very early this morning evaporating and making the interior not unlike a sauna at some points. Perry is all the more lucky not to be donning glasses, which would certainly fog in these conditions, though Melissa might still be able to guide him. Arm in arm or hand in hand, he's kept close to her, attentive, even more than usual.

Last night… was difficult. And he's been thinking about it ever since. But he's determined to wait. The cruise is set for night-time, the boat ready to ring the coast to see where fire meets water. There, at the convergence of elements, Perry will speak his mind. For now…

"Wow…" Perry says, looking up at the strange, rippling ceiling, "T- uh- Tartarian…" he shoots Mel a silly grin.

There are some sights that you wait your entire life to see. And though Melissa's life has only spanned twenty-six years so far, she's still wanted to do this, to be here, for most of those years. And despite the lingering hangover from her previous night's drunken revelry, she's still enjoying it. And the company that comes with it.

"Tartarian? As in of Tartarus or something?" she asks curiously, glancing to Perry before returning her gaze to the awesome view around them. "You know…I heard once that anyone who takes lava rocks off the island is doomed to be cursed for the rest of their life," she muses absently, reaching out a hand to stroke fingers along the wall.

"I- uh- I wonder how many try, just to find out?" Perry wonders, eyes slipping down and back over to Mel, catching her gaze for a moment, "do you think- uh- think it would be brave? To tempt fate, risk a curse? I guess- uh- I guess it would only be brave if you believed in the curse. Otherwise you're- uh- just being contentious."

The young man grins and nods. "Yeah. Of Tartarus. I- uh- I was raised on Greek myths. I was- uh- very pleased to hear the name of your club." Though he's almost always visited for business. Not much of a dancer, though that reminds him… "You- uh- still need to teach me to dance, you know."

"I know I'm not gonna be tempting fate. I've got enough bad luck as it is, I really don't need anymore," Melissa says, shrugging. "And I didn't name the club. Like I said, it's not mine. And all goth clubs have morbid, pretentious names. It's a rule or something. I don't know. There was one cool one I saw once, called Seven. Each night was a theme night, based on one of the seven deadly sins."

"Uh- Pride, Envy- uh- Gluttony, Greed, Wrath- uh- Sloth, and uh-" Perry cracks what might actually be a smirk, "I- uh- I'm guessing Lust night was popular." Easy, boy! Their footsteps echo through the chamber as they move past a few cracks of light, roots from trees overhead sneaking their way through the lava, even the most adamant of stone falling to life and time.

"Yeah. But so were the other nights. Especially wrath. Tended to draw out the S and M crowds," Melissa says, trailing her fingers along the wall, feeling the unique texture of stones created from molten rock, with all their little air bubbles. "Still, Tartarus is good. Date auctions usually go over pretty well."

S and M? Perry actually has to take a moment to remember what those initials even stand for, and, to his intense discredit, he blushes just a little. Still an innocent in some regards. He views Melissa admiringly, though. She talks about it with such ease. To have such comfort about things… "Date- uh- date auctions?" Perry inquires. Out of the loop, head in the sand, there are still a lot of things he doesn't know about.

"Mmm. Yeah, started the first night we were open. That night most of what we brought in went to charity," Melissa explains. "Basically, we just get volunteers, and we auction them off. They have to go on a date with the person who buys them. The last two auctions I've gone up. Got bought once by Raquelle, who just wanted to play with my hair, and once by Kincaid, who just wanted to talk business."

"I- uh- I'll admit being glad you had no lasting encounters then, if- uh- if only for now's sake," Perry says, their feet now beginning a shallow ascent, up and up, towards what may eventually become the open air. Beyond, if they followed the map correctly, should be a view of the central crater itself. The heart of the beast. "I- uh- I would be happy to visit more often. If- uh- you know…"

"Nah, no lasting encounters. Raquelle's gay anyway, so he just bought my date for the charity aspect," Melissa says, flashing a grin at him. "And Kincaid…He's alright, but neither of us were interested in the other like that. Though his ability is sorta like mine. It was kinda freaky. Never met anyone else with a similar ability."

"How- uh- how is it like yours?" Perry asks, always curious about abilities, vicariously appreciating a thing he half idolizes but doesn't seem to possess. "I- uh- I wonder what the reason for that is. For- uh- like abilities. What it says about those who- uh- who share them."

"He can basically negate his own pain," Melissa explains. "Though he called it adaptation or something. He just adapts to the sensation of pain or something. I don't really get the how, but it's basically a personal version of my own."

"I wish- I wish I understood the science better," Perry admits. Light swells up ahead, the air becoming fresher. Soon a crack of blue sky appears, growing larger as they pace towards it. "This Kincaid is- he seems a particular individual." Whatever that means. Truth is, Perry himself doesn't know.

"How so? Though he's one of the few I consider a friend. I don't trust him completely, but I've told you that. The present and urging me to go on vacation and all that. Just seems suspicious," Melissa says, proving just how far her faith in humanity has sunk.

"No, just- just that. What you've said. It's just- very fortuitous. I'd- uh- I'd like to meet him, in any case," Perry laces his fingers with Mel's as he says this, "I mean- it's thanks to him you- uh- went to Hawaii at all." And thus, all that came with it.

"Yeah, that's true," Melissa muses, her head tilting as she studies the scenery as they get nearer to the actual crater of the volcano. "I'm sure you guys'll meet sometime. I mean I keep running into him, though this last time I did track him down. And I do need to tell him I'm not gonna be going on the Advocate…"

The crater is no small thing. A vast, open, sweeping basin of dark stone, and inside the slow flow of searing hot lava. The source of what they will, tonight, see reaching out to the sea. A railing dissuades the foolhardy from venturing closer, and Perry slips an arm around Melissa as the move up to the rim. "My God…" Perry says, "it's… much more impressive in person."

When they reach the edge Melissa stops as well, her arm moving around Perry as well. "Most things are. At least most natural things," she murmurs, her gaze moving slowly around the crater, smiling slowly. "This is what I wanted to see. Why I wanted to see it," she whispers.

"I sometimes forget," Perry says, his own voice hushing, understanding better now why a force such as this was worshiped, once, "what things are like. In- in person. When they surround you. When they are real. I think- I think sometimes images are enough. On screens, on pages. But this- this reminds me they never are. That- that some things… you have to be there for."

"Remind me, when we get back to the room, to show you the pictures I took, while I was up…" Melissa glances upward towards the sky, clearly meaning space, just not wanting to speak of it in public. "That…was the most amazing and humbling sight, even in pain."

Perry blinks. "P- pictures?" constantly surprised, this one. "I'd- I'd love that. It- uh- it's likely the closet I'll get. Though- uh- next trip you- uh- you can ask me to tag along. If you can find some use for me."

"Hopefully I won't ever go there again." Melissa looks back to him and smiles a bit. "Lots of pain, remember? I wouldn't be able to go up without remembering it. And there's little else that I'd rather forget."

Perry leans over to set a light kiss on Melissa's lips. "Then forget it," he suggests, "remember this instead." He squeezes her about the middle, then gestures at the great vista before them, offering it up as a substitute for memories best left to fade.

Melissa smiles and nods, looking back over the volcano and tilting her head to rest against his shoulder. "This is a pretty awesome sight. Just like the waterfall was. And the cave. And I'm sure the lava later will be just as impressive. It's a wonder people ever leave Hawaii."

"It's- uh- it's a place away from care," Perry says, free hand coming to rest on the railing, "but- uh- but that can't last. It never can. If you stayed it- well it might lose it's magic, right? You need… you need a real world to compare it to."

Melissa sighs and nods. "Yeah, you're right. which I guess is another reason why we gotta go back in a couple of days. I can't believe it's already Thursday. The week's half gone. But it's done me a world of good already, so I can't complain too much."

Does Perry say what's on his mind? Or, rather, what of the many things on his mind does Perry say? There is a brief, very brief, pause before he decides not to over think things. For once. "And it- uh- not all of it has to end. When we leave. If- uh- if you don't want it to."

Tilting her head back slightly, Melissa looks up at him, studying his face. "I know," she murmurs, before pressing just a little closer. "Though there is one thing bothering me…" Just one? When so many things were bothering her when they took off from JFK? It must be a miracle! "I don't remember much of last night. Kinda fuzzy, and the headache doesn't help, but…you said something about…you won't love me unless I love you? Didn't make much sense to me then, doesn't make much sense to me now."

Oh, so she does remember! Perry pinks just a little. Talk of love can do that. He tries to rally himself, though, tries his best to explain an idea he's thought about, conjectured upon, but never - obviously - practiced. "It's- uh- I guess a matter of definition?" he says, lips quirking, "one- uh- one can feel deeply for someone else, right? Adoration. Affection. Infatuation. But- uh- but love, I always thought, is about… togetherness? Being together. A- a sort of union. But that- uh- that takes two, doesn't it? For love to be real, for it to be properly called love… it should be mutual, right?"

"Mmm. I don't know that I agree there," is Melissa's reply. "I've loved, and deeply, but it hasn't been returned before. And I don't think I could ever tell a guy again that I love him without him saying it first. Once burned, twice shy and all that."

"Well- uh-," Perry begins, frowning, trying his best not to be jealous of loves past, being none of his business and, he hopes, no present issue, "like I said it's just- uh- definition. If I felt the same way- I mean, I'd say it was love but- but if you- er- if whoever I was asking said they- they didn't feel the same way I'd- well I'd think I had made a mistake. Because- because I'd say 'love' if I thought it was returned. You see?"

"So you'd tell someone you loved them, even if you don't consider it love until they say it back?" Melissa asks curiously, speaking of love while looking at a volcano. Somehow the two just don't seem so different to her at the moment. Maybe it's those past loves, or maybe it's the current romance.

"Uh-" Perry says, having to think about this, translating it from sensible English into impossible jargon, "yes," is the answer, and he nods, repeating, "yes I- I think so. Though- uh- of course, this is all theory," he smiles, crookedly, "I- uh- have yet to attempt praxis."

"See, now you're using big words again," Melissa says with a faint smile. "But good to know in any case. Now c'mon. We need to go find someplace to eat before we get on the boat for the lava thingy you want to see."

It's a small place where they eat. And they talk, and Perry's stammer seems to be getting better, little by little. And while it's hard for him not to use big words because they are all he knows, his vocabulary limited in its own way, he's so much more at ease. He jokes. It's miraculous in it's way.

But the lava thing he wanted to see… that's more miraculous. The sun set once more, a moment that Perry kept in mind and made sure to kiss Melissa for, giving no explanation as to why, even if asked, remaining cryptic and smiling. Out their boat went onto the darkness of the waters, around the black contours of the island, to where the lava flows in a steady path, creating a great field of glowing stone, one that reaches out to the water, giving off great plumes of steam. Under the pale light of moon and stars, the lava's glow is intense, its color near saturated.

Perry keeps his arms around Melissa as they look out from the upper viewing deck of the boat. Out there, fire and water kiss.

When the boat gets close enough to let them see that sight, it's a look of wonder that comes to Melissa's face. "You know…when you first mentioned this, I was skeptical. I thought that it would be sorta…" Her hand lifts, see-sawing a bit. Clearly she wasn't expecting too much from this. "But it's as amazing as the waterfall was, just in a different way." There's a long pause, then in a softer, more thoughtful voice, "Amazing how opposites meet and work together to make something."

Perry smiles, a little unsteadily. She had doubts? But… now no more apparently. Her further words, thoughtful words, draw a lifted brow from Perry. "Are- uh- are you suggesting a metaphor, Melissa?" he asks, quite low and close.

"Suggesting? No. I'm flat out stating one," Melissa says, shaking her head. "We are opposites. But they always say that opposites attract. Looking at this…it's easy to believe that."

"Maybe here," Perry says, with a soft laugh, "back- back home it wasn't so easy," he cracks a smile, "you might not have even called it as much as…" now he does the seesaw hand, "so we- uh- we are the bigger surprise by far. And I- I think the contact is just as spectacular." That can be taken two ways, one of them just sweet, the other - considering the steam rising from the view - a little racier.

"Back home there were a lot of distractions though. My jobs, our work, Junie, my own issues, all the stress, everyday life…" Melissa shrugs and half turns, so she can wrap both arms around him, resting her cheek against his shoulder as she continues to watch the show. "Here…I don't have to worry about most of that. I've been able to relax for the first time in…god, I don't even know how long. And you've gotten bolder since we got here, so it was easier to see. But no, back home, I might not have never seen it."

"But here we are," Perry says, leaning down to kiss Melissa's head, "where you don't have to think about any of that. And- and when we get back, if you want to… we can save some of that. Something- uh- something a whole lot better than a piece of cursed lava. Quite the opposite kind of- uh- island magic."

"You offering to be my boyfriend when we get home, Perry?" Melissa murmurs without looking up, which effectively hides her expression from him.

"Yes," Perry says, gulping down his stammer as long as he can, wanting to get this out clear an unhesitant sounding, "I'd like nothing more."

The silence that follows his response probably isn't the most reassuring thing in the world. But Melissa isn't pulling away, she's not laughing in his face. Then he gets an answer. One word, whispered, so soft it can barely be heard over the hiss of water turning into steam suddenly. "Okay."

He knows what she said, but he wants her to repeat it. Because Perry feels like he can't be sure, that he may have just heard what he wants to hear. But he heard it. She's still there, in his arms, and that means he must have heard it. "I'd- I'd like to kiss you now," he says, into her hair, "if you'd give me your lips."

"You don't have to ask to kiss me, Perry," Melissa says with a faint smile. "Especially now. And for the record, I like it that you've gotten bolder since we got here."

"That will be the last time I ask, then," Perry says, smiling back, but not faintly - boldly, in fact, as he lifts Melissa's chin with a touch and takes the kiss he wants. As much as it's a last, it's also a first. A kiss that has confidence, one that isn't uncertain about it being, perhaps, one of a limited edition, bound to cease when the plane carries them home.

"Good," Melissa murmurs, even as he's lifting her chin and she's returning the kiss, letting him take the lead, but participating fully. Eagerly, even. It is a first, in several ways, since Mel has never had someone she could call her boyfriend before. But that just makes it so much sweeter. Her arms remain around him even after the kiss has ended, and she presses closer. "You sure you know what you're getting yourself into with me, Perry?"

Oh no, Perry's not letting her go, his own arms fast around her, taking what closeness she'll give, even gently coaxing for more, to erase any distance between them. He nuzzles her hair gently before answering with a touch of laugh in his voice. "No," he admits, "but I- I want very much to find out. I can't- can't wait, in fact."

"You realize that you…you'll be my first, right? My first boyfriend?" Melissa murmurs, her eyes closing, blocking out the sight of the lava, in favor of putting her attention solely on the man who holds her in his arms.

With her eyes closed, Mel can't easily see just how surprised this revelation makes him. Left to draw conclusions as to why, always producing reason where I can, Perry brushes a hand up and down Melissa's back, thumb just barely plucking at the string of the bikini beneath her shirt. "I'll be worth waiting for," he murmurs, "I promise."

"That's what I'm counting on," Melissa whispers, holding him a little more tightly than before. "That's why I'm taking the chance of getting hurt again."

"I'll do whatever I can," Perry pledges, and now where there were no promises before many have become to flower, "to protect you from that one kind of hurt. The pain you can't control."

Melissa smiles a bit. "I can't control any pain to myself, not just that sort of pain. But since I can handle physical pain…I'm going to hold you to that promise. Which is weird. I normally hate guys trying to protect me. From anything. I'm a big girl and all, and after all I've been through, I can take care of myself after all."

"No- no doubt of that," Perry says, nodding, hand splaying between her shoulder blades, "but this- the kind of hurt you mean, the only person to cause it- would be me. That's- that's what this is, a risk, a leap of faith on your part. You're trusting me to catch you. That- that has nothing to do with how well you can take care of yourself. Only in how well you've judged me, and my worth, and my- my loyalty."

"Which is why I'm holding you to that promise," Melissa murmurs, leaning back enough so she can look up at him, as the boat starts to move again, heading back to the dock they began at. "And maybe we'll work as well as the lava and water do. Creating something that'll last."

However enduring the new things formed that night, however steadfast, time and the ocean flow on and both bear the pair back to the shore. The dock isn't far from the hotel, and as the moon gleams in shattered reflection upon the surface of the Pacific, Perry takes Mel's hand and leads her along the water's edge. An impromptu walk. A desire to make the moment last. The hotel room has its draws, but even that feels a little too much like reality.

Though there's a bit of surprise as Perry takes the reins for now, Melissa isn't about to argue. The moment is too sweet, too close to perfect to spoil with arguments. And a walk along the water seems nice in any case. Fingers lace through his, and she slips her shoes off, holding them in her other hand so that she can more thoroughly enjoy the walk, feeling the sand and cool water on her feet, lapping about her ankles.

"It'll be interesting…seeing how it works when we're back home. Since I've got my jobs, and Junie," she murmurs, glancing over to him. "I've told you how she came to be mine, haven't I?"

Perry gives a single nod, indicating she has, in fact, told him. And that he recalls the story not being very happy. Still, if she brings it up, he won't try and evade. "You saved her," he says, choosing to recall in conversation the best parts, "no one else was there, no one else could, so you did what you felt right."

"Yeah…I couldn't let the soldiers take her," Melissa says, nodding. "Though sometimes I wonder if maybe I shouldn't have taken her to the Lighthouse or the Ferry. Her mother was hiding with the Ferry. And the Lighthouse knows more about kids than I do. I had to call a guy I know, who has a couple of kids, so I could learn how to do…stuff."

"You chose to take on the responsibility for a reason, right?" Perry says, glancing over at her, "you- you saved her. Yourself. That's- that's something. Something potent and real. And-" he smiles, "everyone has to learn, right? No one- no one just knows."

"Yeah," Melissa murmurs. "And she is alive and well. Healthy. I don't flinch every time I pick her up anymore, and I really am starting to get used to her crying. Figuring out what they mean. And really, there's no one better to look after her now. She's teething, and it's painful, and I can make that just go away."

Perry's head tilts a little, looking briefly thoughtful. "I- I wonder- will she be the first child to- to have a relief like that from teething?" Not a supremely profound thought, not at first glance, but Perry is occasional caught by odd notions. "Do you- does it fulfill you in some way? Taking care of her? A fragile life like that?"

His thought has Melissa glancing curiously at him. "She's the only baby I'm taking care of. And…I guess. I mean, taking in strays is sort of what I do," she says, shrugging. "It started with Kendall of course. He got brought to my safehouse when he got the 510. His parents had kicked him out for being evolved. While he was under my care, he basically asked me to be his new mom. He's a brother to me, but I took him in. He's why I got the house on Staten Island."

She looks pained for a moment. "I want that house back. Badly. But I don't own it, and with so much attention on Staten right now…" She shrugs. "Then there was Tony, who had no place to stay. And Ling, who needed a safe place. Then Edgar, who was one of us and had no place. Then Faron, for the same reason. Then Alex, who had been a friend since Moab."

There's a pause, then she continues, "He's actually crashing on my couch now. The only one of my strays who's still with me. Besides Junie, of course. He's helping a lot too, actually. He can cook, and I can't, and he helps with the baby."

One hopes Perry can be forgiven for a momentary flash of something like jealousy upon learning about Alex's arrangements. It's an unworthy feeling, and one he pushes down, but it's there and it's real, however unjustified. Keeping his features smooth, his demeanor calm and reassuring, he prevents irrational outburst or even slight flinch. He knows better than that.

"I'm glad he's there," Perry says, in fact, directly countering his feelings of immediate ungladness, "and you know, of course, I'll help to. I don't know if that goes without saying. But it's true, either way."

Melissa smiles and gives his hand a squeeze. "I know." And maybe she's just that good at reading people, or she's just a really good guesser, but her next words are all for that jealousy. "There's nothing between Alexander and me. You know that, right? He really is just a friend. And one of my strays, however bad that title may sound when given to an adult. But I can't think of a better word, and he…" She shrugs. "He needs me, just like all my others did. But he's just a friend, who's afraid to be alone, I think. As in not around another person, not how I was scared to be alone."

Ah, caught out! Perry will chalk it up to feminine intuition. He smiles ruefully, admitting tacitly to the very concern Melissa puts to rest. "Yes, I know," or he does now, and even trusted he was before, only feeling the most base and irrational of doubts, "and, you know, I think that- even if there were anything-" he releases her hand, only to slip an arm around her, clasping low on her waist, almost at her hip and dipping his head down to press a kiss to her neck, "I'd make you forget all about it." She said she liked his new boldness!

Melissa laughs and wraps her arms around his neck. "I'm sure you would. But there's no one else, I promise. I hadn't even kissed anyone else in months, so you don't have to worry about that. Though if you want to make sure I don't look at anyone else…I won't object," she teases.

Perry brings them to a stop, the water swelling up around their ankles, feet sinking into the wet sand, as if the very setting wanted them to stand in place. His hand clasps her hip, drawing her slowly towards him, other hand brushing back Melissa's blonde hair. "I'm sure you wouldn't," he says, kissing beneath her ear now, now again against her cheek, then at the corner of her lips, "I'll be greedy with your gaze. Take it all for myself."

Even as he's kissing the corner of her mouth Melissa is smiling and leaning into him. "I'm sure that you will. Just really do remember though…that I don't play stupid games. I won't cheat, and I won't intentionally make you jealous."

"Of course," Perry says, smiling back, and then kissing her full on the lips, not for long, but by not means lightly, "I know you're loyal. One of the first things I figured out about you. The first being, of course, how gorgeous you are. But that only took a glance."

"You sure you're wearing contacts? I think you might be a little blind," Melissa teases before she gives him a kiss in return. "But I think I like it if it gets compliments all the time."

"I'd never blur my vision of you," Perry answers, smile almost a little sly, getting the hang of this a bit better, enjoying her smiles and her responsiveness, "I need to see every little detail that makes you perfect."

"Oooh. I truly have corrupted you! First I wickedly stole your virginity, and now I've gotten you flirting! What will come next?" Melissa teases before she laughs and presses closer, giving him a warm, firm hug.

Perry lets his arms slip around Melissa, answering the hug in kind, kissing the top of hear head as she teases him, lips curling even as they press. "I don't know," he admits, "but I want very much for you to show me."

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