The pain, when it hit, was immediate, piercing, blinding in its intensity, as if some unknown force was driving red hot ice picks through her skull and deep into her brain. One pierced the top of her skull vertically above her right eye, the other hammered in just above her right brow horizontally, deeper and deeper until the points met at that unreachable, indefinable part of her mind and then radiated back out through her body. She couldn't see. She couldn't hear. Yet light and sound threatened to overwhelm her. Darkness and silence were her only hope, her only remedy.

The migraine wasn't a common occurrence, but one that he had seen before. The enemy struck without warning, in an instant turning a competent stunning young woman into a mass of tremoring flesh begging to curl back into the fetal position. He knew from previous experience that she would refuse the powerful narcotic the doctor had prescribed, hoping to work through the agony without the mind altering side effects. Only when she was almost incoherent would she beg for release, be it medication or a concussive punch to knock her out completely.

Today he hoped it wouldn't come to that. He had caught the slurring of her words almost immediately; saw the pencil fall from fingers that suddenly refused to accommodate the commands flowing from the control center. He immediately jumped up and killed the lights in the room while moving swiftly to the terrace window to pull the blinds, sparing her a measure of agony when the ice picks stabbed moments later, as he knew they would.

Before she could formulate a comment and force the words from her uncooperative mouth he had left the room and moments later returned with her purse and an ice pack in his hands. The words she knew he whispered reverberated through her ears as if he were shouting through a megaphone.

Realizing even the low murmur of his voice was quickly becoming too much for her, he used his hands, his arms, and his body to guide and support her. She knew they reached the hallway when the light reappeared, forcing her eyelids down tightly. When they stopped she buried her face in his chest, trying to muffle the everyday sounds of a busy working building. Then came the silence. Oh, not complete silence but the voices and the chatter were gone and they were alone. Blissfully the only sound was a soft of mechanical humming that seemed to be coming through a long tunnel. The pain was growing in intensity, wrapping its tendrils even deeper into her body.

The humming stopped. As he gently directed her to step forward she stumbled, her body unable to overcome the effects of the miasma occurring in her brain. The world tilted as her feet lost contact with the earth, her arms instinctively wrapping around his neck.

Car horns blared and motors roared causing her stomach to roll precariously. Her fingers gripped his neck and his pace amplified. In seconds she was being lowered onto a cushioned surface, another available beside her to bury her face in. Cold pressure touched her neck and settled, causing a muffled sigh. She felt his fingers at the ear not buried in the seat, knew that something was being placed there to block as much noise as possible and she gave herself up to the pain.

~PD~

She felt the lurch of the automobile as it stopped and welcomed the ceasing of the swaying movement as her bubbling stomach calmed slightly. The car shook as his door closed and the one nearest her head opened. She raised her arms up without opening her eyes, knowing that he would pull her free and once again cradle her.

Her disorientation was growing and she clung to him tightly as he lifted her again, hugging her against him as he moved. The humming started again; a different frequency which included rattling and that hurt her more than the previous trip. She whimpered and felt his muscles contract as he pulled her even closer into him, trying to use his body to shield her from any more external stimuli.

Then came the sound of padded footfalls on carpet, the shifting of his arms and the click of a lock. Her body relaxed slightly, her subconscious knowing that they were almost at their destination. His hands soothed her as he sat her down, fingers gliding over the buttons of her dress to open and strip it away. Slip, bra and shoes followed before he gently laid her back against cool crisp sheets to take care of garters and stockings. The top sheet came up over her, cocooning her in quiet relaxation. The blinds slid shut and darkness engulfed her.

~PD~

He moved into the living room, wanting to climb into the bed and hold her but knowing that wasn't what she needed at the moment. Settling into the chair nearest his bedroom door he opened his brief case and pulled out a file, waiting… Several times he heard her moan, her sleep fitful, but when he gently stroked her calf through the sheet she seemed to calm down.

An hour passed before he heard her cry, her groan as she fought with the sheet in an effort to escape from the bed. Instantly he was on his feet and moving, guiding her, holding her waist as she fell to her knees. He held her hair back and supported her as she lost what was left of her lunch and the several cups of coffee she'd consumed in the last few hours. He stayed until the heaving stopped and she slumped back against him. The damp washcloth that he'd laid out earlier, anticipating what was to come, bathed her face; she sighed, the tiniest hint of a smile touching her lips at the refreshing coolness. A glass of mouthwash rinsed the sour taste from her mouth and then he carried her back to bed.

He hoped that the worst was over She nodded when he whisperingly asked if she felt better. Being sick always seemed to be the trigger to the beginning of her recovery. The sounds of him moving around the bedroom didn't bother her so much now. While her head still throbbed with intense pain, perhaps it had lessened just a bit. Relaxation… sleep… that is what she craved.

Eyes still closed, she sensed him moving about the room, into the bathroom; knew when he was standing by the bed. She heard the rustle of fabric, the slight click of metal on metal and sighed contentedly. She always slept better when he held her… if the pain allowed her to tolerate his touch.

The mattress dipped with his weight as he knelt and she made to turn to her side in preparation for his spooning her but to her surprise he pushed her further, his hands tenderly positioning her on her stomach. She made a questioning sound in her throat and he answered with a low grunt.

The sound of liquid rubbing between palms told her what she needed to know, leading her to hope that she would now be able to stand his ministrations without pain. But he'd spoken with her doctor and with professionals. He'd learned how to care for her this way, how to help her relax, because her comfort and relief were always paramount to him. The friction of his moving hands warmed the unscented oil before his fingers ever so lightly touched the nape of her neck. The probing was gentle, tips seeking contracted muscles and every so softly stroking them.

Her moan was one of approval as he saw her body relax deeper into the mattress, his touch so much more than welcome.

He worked slowly, methodically, using fingers, palms, even elbows to massage her neck and back muscles, continuing until they were once again soft and pliable. Then he moved lower, tackling the back of her thighs, her calves, and her feet. Thumbs firmly kneading the bottom of her left foot brought a distinctly feminine moan of pure bliss.

Those same deft fingers trailed up her frame as he shifted his large body around, his head joining hers on the pillow. Strong arms slid beneath her and lifted her, finally pulling her into the spoon of his body. Nodding in response to his whispered inquiry, she told him how much the massage had helped. And she did feel improvement… the pain, while still there, was actually somewhat bearable now. She pushed back into him, her hand seeking his.

He captured her fingers with his right hand and squeezed reassuringly then lowered it down and transferred the hand into his left hand which emerged from beneath her body. His lips brushed her hair, the words he was whispering crossing into her brain as jumbled nonsense, but the timbre of the voice soothing her all the same.

Continuing his gentle stroking, he followed his own interpretation of the suggestions their doctor had made, coaxing her up and over and into relaxation once… and then again… driving her pain away. When he was done, content to let her rest and recover at the expense of his own pleasure, she protested. Rolling to her back and pulling him on top of her, she welcomed him, welcomed their combined pleasure and the complete banishment of the ache, welcomed the expression of their love.

Exhausted, yet sated and relaxed… pain gone… she drifted into a deep sleep, locked safe in her lover's arms.