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The Thunder Rolls
by Kea Snyder
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Three-thirty in the morning
Not a soul in sight
The city's lookin' like a ghost town
On a moonless summer night
Raindrops on the windshield
There's a storm movin' in
He's headin' back from somewhere
That he never should have been


Thick, heavy air, kissed with rain, flooded in the open window of the pickup
truck. The driver gasped at the freshness, desperate to draw some of its
cleansing inside. The hands, gripping the wheel in white-knuckled pain, shook
violently, familiarity the only thing navigating him towards home.

Home. He moaned helplessly at the power to wound in that single word, as it
ripped through his newborn soul, leaving it raw and bleeding. Home. A promise
he'd made. A promise he'd broken in his heart for months before shattering it
in truth tonight.

And the thunder rolls...

The slivered moonlight through the thick overhead cover glinted accusingly,
mockingly on the golden band encircling his finger. The first splatters of
rain began a gentle, steady pour onto the streets; unconsciously, he flicked
the wipers on.

And the thunder rolls...

The skies were crying the tears he couldn't shed for a trust betrayed, the
clouds rumbling their distress.

Every light is burnin'
In a house across town
She's pacin' by the telephone
In her faded flannel gown
Askin' for a miracle
Hopin' she's not right
Prayin' it's the weather
That's kept him out all night


She hugged her arms tightly around herself, a vain attempt to banish the
cold. The outside temperature had dropped rapidly as the gray-green
thunderheads swelled and moaned over the city. A few short, barefoot strides
put her in front of the open front window, the thin, wispy curtains swirling
around her like mist. The clock's reflection announced four o'clock in tandem
with the chimes, ringing a high harmony to the deep booms from the black
clouds. She shivered, prisoner to the formless doubts and worries mercilessly
assaulting her mind.

'Where are you? Are you safe?'

And the thunder rolls...

Lightning illuminated the landscape outside of their home, the space where
her husband's beloved truck resided empty. Wind whipped unforgiving droplets
of rain through the open sash, watering the front of her gown and plastering
the thin material against the rosy curves of her breasts. Another droplet
splashed on her chest, trickled down into the peignoir she wore. Hot. From
above.

The thunder rolls

'Heero....'

The thunder rolls
And the lightning strikes
Another love grows cold
On a sleepless night


Brightened by the neon signs and bursts of lightning, self-loathing stared
back from the rear-view mirror, a garish mask that contorted what had once
been a handsome face into utter pain.

Failure echoed on the wind, rustled through the cab. His mission, when he
married her, was to protect her. A bitter irony that the protection she
needed was from him.

Failure.

Any time a mission failed, there was always a price to pay.

As the storm blows on
Out of control


The wheel protested against his numb hands as he jerked it along the winding
roads, the whine of brakes and squeal of tires adding their voices of
resistance. The notes turned seductive...it would be so easy to let go, let
the violent winds cascade him down over the cliffs. Too much alcohol,
slippery roads, a frightened animal in his path...she would never know the
depths of his dishonor, never know how gravely he'd wronged her. Death would
welcome him for eternity, just as he had tonight. He winced, guilt tight in
his chest and groin.

But there was no penance in Death. There had only been a blissful, forbidden
release. The comfortable frame house nestled into the hillside came into
view, a slender, feminine silhouette in the front window.

Deep in her heart
The thunder rolls


'Always a price to pay.'

She's waiting by the window
When he pulls into the drive
She rushes out to hold him
Thankful he's alive


Front door and truck door banged in a one-two rhythm as a white-clad streak
launched its way across the lawn, the rain no hindrance to her flight. He
stood there, shirt untucked, hands deeply shoved into the pockets of his
jeans, letting the rain pour over him. It was cold, and he shivered slightly
against it, but he knew he'd never be warm again. Hell, after all, was not
just fire and brimstone.

"Heero..." Her body engulfed him, slim arms wrapping around his neck as she
pressed her face to that hollow in the middle of his throat. "I was so
worried when you didn't come home." Her hot, moist breath lapped against his
skin as she spoke in that quavering voice, sending daggers into him with each
innocent word. "Are you all right?" Her hands explored his back and shoulders
for wounds, and he bit down the bitter laugh rising like hot lava,
Mechanically, he forced his body to obey him, drawing his hands out of his
pockets and up around her body to return the embrace. It was no more
different than that other physical response he often demanded of his body.
Water slicked down her golden-brown hair, undone out of the tiny braids for
the night, yet impossibly waving and curling around the sides of her face.
Far too like another braid he had undone for the night, and whose softness
still stabbed at his wretched, adulterous soul.

"Relena..."

But on the wind and rain
A strange new perfume blows


He was soaked, his clothes clinging to him like a second skin, and despite
his infinite resistance even Heero Yuy occasionally caught cold. "Come on
inside," she whispered encouragingly, sliding down to one side of him and
looping an arm around her husband's waist. "We'll get you into a hot bath,
and you can tell me all about it."

He froze, unable to move or even breathe. Rain-soaked lashes clenched
together wetly, rivulets of water cascading out of his thick hair and down
his face. His lips moved convulsively, no sounds coming out.

"Heero? Heero, you're scaring me. What's happened to you?" Her wide
china-blue eyes reflected a silvery color with each spidery lattice that lit
up the skies. She stepped in front of him, holding him at arms' length, her
sodden, gauzy robe dripping off her frame as the cool tang of the rain
whispered past her, traitorously wafting a familiar scent of sandalwood,
wildflowers, and musk. The scent of Death....

And the lightning flashes in her eyes
And he knows that she knows


One hand went to her mouth, the other to a small, red welt below his
collarbone, visible only in the frequent lightning strikes. His wet clothes
no longer hid the kiss of Death, standing out in bold relief against his
tanned skin. No, no, this was impossible, she told herself. It had been
moments of desperation during the war, nothing else. He had told her this,
time and time again. They were his best friends, his only friends. And never
once had he stayed out later than midnight with them, just long enough to
have a few drinks and bask in that understanding of comrades in arms. Just
long enough, he always said, to forget....

And the thunder rolls....

"Why?" her mouth brokenly formed the word; he flinched as though she'd dealt
him a physical blow. His head bowed slightly in defeat, shoulders hunched,
waiting, she knew, not for her fists but for her words. They were the only
weapons she had against him; no sword could cut deeper. The rain dribbled
down the end of his proud nose as he waited for her judgment, for her
sentence and condemnation. He had wronged her, violated a sacred vow; the
blade of vengeance was hers to wield.

He squeezed his eyes more tightly shut against the hypnotic violet ones
dancing erotically behind his lids.

And the thunder rolls....

She was in shock, coherent thought a million miles away. Her husband...and
his best friend...Masaka! "You're soaked," she managed once she found her
voice again, pawing her own wet hair out of her face. "We can sort this out
in the morning." His arm, when she took it, trembled, but his body didn't
budge. "Heero, let's go inside," she said, pulling harder; he remained rooted
to the spot. His head slowly came up--time had turned nearly solid around
them, even the rain seeming to fall in slow motion--hitting her head-on with
a look of such naked pain that she raised a hand to her face to make certain
it hadn't been burned away.

'Oh, God, it's true...it's really true...'

The thunder rolls
And the lightning strikes


For a moment he thought the wind had spoken to him, the words drifting
through the torrential downpour couldn't be from her. His...his wife. He
expected, wanted...even needed her anger, her fury, her tears, her
condemnation to lance the festering guilt in him at his infidelity, his
lapse, his...weakness. Yes, yes, he admitted, he was weak, weak for wanting
to bury himself in a warm, willing body that wasn't hers, for failing to be
happy in an ideal situation with a woman who adored him. This was how the
fairy tales normally ended, the hero and heroine living happily ever after,
wasn't it? Not standing in the rain with a yawning chasm of deceit and lies
and illicit lust separating them.

Relena Darlian Peacecraft Yuy bit her lower lip and mumbled the words that
shattered his heart. "What did I do wrong?"

Another love grows cold
On a sleepless night


He moved quicker than a striking snake, grasping her by the arms and shaking
her once. Her pupils contracted in horrified surprise, diminishing to tiny
pinpricks in the flickering light, nature's electrical storm so intense the
entire yard became a sort of wild, primal, strobe-lit disco. "You didn't do
anything wrong," he ground out, before his mouth settled on hers in a fierce,
bruising kiss, a kiss that under the violent assault begged for redemption.
For penance. For absolution.

To make his weakness her fault, her responsibility...did she have any idea
what she was doing to him? While believing it acceptable to act on one's
feelings, he had nearly no experience with feelings of his own. They blew
around crazily, whipped in confusion through his mind like the sheeting
rains. She accepted the blame for his failure, and it broke down any and
every bridge between his understanding and his emotions.

'No! My failure, not hers! Must make up for my weakness.' Guilt threatened to
choke him, and the kiss grew more urgent, desperate as the filmy fabric of
her nightgown parted under his hands.

As the storm blows on
Out of control


Like a circuit, his desperation transferred to her; like an amplifier, it
swelled exponentially, before the circuit resumed and shunted it full-force
back to him. She was offering him her forgiveness, he thought, offering to
cleanse him of that reckless, desperate, lovely act by embracing his horrid,
tainted self in her body.

Clothes and inhibitions pooled on the ground. On a bed of muddied earth,
their frenzied, hurried coupling hurtled towards fruition. In. Out. Stroke.
Thrust. Squeeze. Pant. Gasp. Fuck. She tilted her head back, cries rising in
pitch and volume. He drove deeper, drawing her body up closer to his,
clutching her backside and tilting her hips to penetrate more. Never able to
forget the laughing amaryllis eyes and the flat chest that had danced under
him not an hour before. He bit his lip until bloody saliva dribbled down onto
the flushed, alert peaks of her breasts. *Forget, damn you! Forget! Forget!!*

Her hot, tight passage convulsed, clenching and unclenching around him, and
with the gentleness of a maelstrom, mercilessly flung him over the edge.

Above her, he jerked fitfully, crying out from the intense pleasure-pain of
his climax, and dropped on her chest like a puppet with cut strings, sobbing
hysterically.

'Mission...failed.'

Deep in her heart

Her body still embraced him as he wet her chest with hot misery. One hand
absently touched the top of his head as she stared up into the sky of the
breaking storm.

'He called out as he came, and it wasn't for me.'

The thunder rolls....

Owari


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