Special note January 16, 2012: I have finally gotten around to replacing the section breaks that FF removed a long time ago. I know some folks found this non-linear fic impossible to read without them; hopefully this makes it easier! I'm still writing BA fics, keep your eyes open! BTW I've created a playlist on my YouTube account with all the songs used as chapter titles.
Title: The Sensual World
Spoilers: Definitely, see individual chapter A/Ns.
Archive: Anywhere – no need to ask – just attribute, and let me know if possible
Disclaimer: Not mine
Summary:A series of snapshots on the awkward, rambling path towards true love. After all the considerations, eventually you have to make a choice. B/A. Not a songfic, but a song title fic.
A/N 1: Chapter spoilers for: Albatross, Season 6 & Betrayed, Season 7.
CHAPTER ONE: NEVER BE MINE
"Bobby." The forest was unbelievably quiet. The only sounds were the faintest whisper of breeze through the trees around the clearing where they'd laid their sleeping bags and the crinkling of the tarp when one of them moved. They were close enough to reach out and touch hands, but the late summer night was too chilly. On her back, staring up at the almost overwhelming display of stars, Eames saw the gentle rise and fall of Goren's chest out of the corner of her eye. She sensed his attention similarly directed. This – the surroundings, the intimacy, the quiet – was why they were here. At least she hoped so.
"Yeah, I'm listening."
Goren's voice came out with a croak, as though he'd been silent a long time. Eames wondered if he'd been drifting off. "Sorry, were you going to sleep?"
"No." Eames saw his lips quirk as he turned slightly towards her. This would be tougher with him looking at her, but she couldn't help turning to look back at him and give an answering smile. Here in the wilderness she felt so drawn to him – physically, emotionally, psychically – that it almost made her dizzy. It was impossible to ignore or resist, so – unlike so many times in their shared history – she didn't try.
"I have something to tell you." Her words left Goren's impossibly warm brown eyes more alert and expectant, but his face was still relaxed and happy. At almost any time before the summer, those words would have made him jittery and fretful at best, but since she'd accepted his invitation he'd seemed so together, so secure in himself and their partnership, that it filled her with quiet, almost painful joy. "It's hard," she sighed, and forced her gaze back up towards the stars.
"It's not like I think it's any of your business, and I'm absolutely not telling you to make you feel bad, but… I guess I want you to know. I want to tell you because I've been afraid to tell you." Goren's sleeping bag and the tarp beneath them rustled as he turned his diminished – but still considerable – bulk fully towards her, and the weight of his complete, torturous but captivating attention pressed down on her chest. "I've been afraid of what you'd think of me," she whispered.
"Why am I here?" Goren asked. They were lounging under a tree on a patch of scrubby grass in a sandy part of the riverbank. The sand looked like it had been trucked in, but that was OK, it made it more fun for the campers – safer for swimming. She had her back against the tree with his head in her lap, a short jeans halter-dress thrown on over her swimsuit; he wore shorts and a loose t-shirt that covered most of his tan. With one hand she brushed a finger absently along his hairline, and the other rested on his chest with a gentle weight that made his heart swell and soar.
"Why are you here? You invited me, remember?" She glanced down at him with a smirk as her eyebrows disappeared into her long bangs. I have very simple instructions for my eyebrow waxer, she'd said to a suspect once, just don't make me look surprised. I'm perfectly capable of doing that on my own. By the way, this is me not surprised.
"Yes, and you accepted," he replied with an answering smirk.
"Yes, I was there," she said with a peal of laughter that made him shiver with pleasure. The joy he felt just lying here with her was almost unbearable, and he swore he could feel the softness of her skin where her bare thigh pressed against the back of his neck. She looked so relaxed and happy – happy here with him – and he almost vibrated with resisting the urge to turn his head and tickle the tops of her legs with his day-old beard.
"Yes, I was there too," he replied, and taking her hand to anchor him, he tried to school his face to reflect the seriousness of what he was about to say. "I know perfectly well why I asked you, Eames, but I got the impression you were entertaining other offers. I want to know why you accepted mine." She pursed her lips and stared off into the distance. "And don't think giggling and wriggling will make me forget I asked." At that, she tried to pry him off her lap with a nudge and a scowl, but he would have none of it. It was, to his recollection, only the second time he'd ever refused to do what she'd wanted.
A/N 2: OK, so now I actually understand the (possible) motivation behind non-linear storytelling. I LIKE it, but I'd never given any thought to actually writing it. BUT, I've also never successfully completed (or even mostly completed) any linear story of significant length. The problem is, I think in scenes, and I can only discipline myself to write the scene that most interests me, not the next one in line chronologically. Attempts I've made in the past to write non-chronologically and then piece the scenes together, has been unsuccessful due to my chronic laziness.
So, have you guessed that this is a non-linear fic? Well, don't get your hopes up. I'm not sure if it's actually a non-linear fic or just a bunch of random scenes with no connecting narrative or evidence of any planning or forethought. Is it just that easy to write a non-linear fic? I guess we'll see. If it's an absolute tits-up when it's finished, I'll re-edit it in chronological order.
BTW some of the chapters will be longer, some shorter. ALL the A/Ns will be shorter. The timeline of this fic is the summer after Season 8, and could be viewed as a companion fic to my other ficlet, "Remember when?".
A/N 3: The title is from the Kate Bush album of the same name. I'd originally planned to name the fic after the song from the album called "Never Be Mine", but I think it's been used a bunch of times. As with my uber-racy SS/HG (Harry Potter fandom) fic "Just You Wait" (archived on RestrictedSection), each chapter will be entitled with a song from the album. This is not, however, a songfic.