Fandom & Pairing: Nowhere Man, Tom/Emily (one-sided)
Spoilers: No spoilers, but set during episode 11, "The Enemy Within." If you are like me and don't remember episode titles, that's the one where Tom's camping in the woods and gets shot by a stupid security guard. Emily (the beautiful Maria Bello) finds him unconscious the next day, takes him home, and patches him up. Hurt/comfort galore!
Warnings: Slight creepiness. References to bodily functions/secretions.
Word Count: around 800
Summary: She'd forgotten how moving it can be, to take care of somebody else.
Disclaimer: Any resemblance to anything whatsoever is purely coincidental.
A/N : This was written for Kink Bingo, for the square "washing/cleaning." Not beta'd. Hope it doesn't suck too hard. wemblee told me it didn't, but she could've just been being nice.
She cleans his wounds, and her touch is tender, careful. She tells herself that it's for his sake, and it is, but it's for her own too. It's been so long since she's touched anyone like this. She's used to being strong. She's used to being alone. She's used to protecting herself, taking care of herself. She'd forgotten how moving it can be, to take care of somebody else.
The sound of her voice is loud in the silence but she talks to him anyway, keeping up a soothing flow of words in case he can hear her, whatever world he's submerged in now. She says, "My name is Emily," and she says, "You're safe now," and she says, "I've got you."
She wonders who he is, while she dips the washcloth in warm water from the speckled metal bowl that once belonged to her mother. She imagines, sometimes, a story for his life as she cleans his body in long strokes. Maybe he's an angel, cast out of heaven by a jealous god. He's certainly beautiful enough to be an angel. His body is strong, lithe, perfect, and she's seen every inch of it so she knows exactly how perfect it is.
More than likely, she knows, he's a criminal, on the run from his past. She should care about that, maybe even be frightened, but she isn't. She runs the cloth over his skin, the water flowing down his chest, abdomen, and sides in rivulets. She cleans his arms and hands painstakingly, long callused fingers that were stained with blood the first time she did this. She's washing him free of his sins. It's probably presumptuous to think that she has the power to grant him absolution, but as far as she's concerned, he's a tabula rasa, as innocent as a newborn colt.
She gently spreads his legs apart to see if he's wet or soiled himself. He has, and she cleans that up too, with as much care as she gave to the rest of him, and with as much sensual pleasure. She washes his legs next, works her way down to his feet, the long, sensitive feet that twitch when she uses her fingers and thumbs to massage them, and to clean the space between each elegant toe.
When she's done washing him, she kisses him. It's become part of the ritual. It's wrong, she knows it is, but she can't stop herself. She plants gentle kisses on his legs, his stomach, his arms, the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet, sometimes just touching closed lips to the surface of his still-damp skin, and sometimes licking and sucking the water off as if the scant drops could quench her thirst. Maybe they can. Maybe he can.
She runs her hands through his hair -- she washed it yesterday, it's still clean, feels like cornsilk against her skin. With her fingers still buried in the dull gold of it, and her thumbs resting on his cheekbones, she commences the final portion of this ritual. She kisses his face -- forehead, eyebrows, eyelids, cheeks, moving her thumbs to stroke along the side of his face, then his chin and finally, finally, his lips.
It's chaste, a simple press of her lips to his unmoving mouth, but it undoes her, each time. And it's a foolish hope, but maybe one day he'll open his eyes -- she thinks they'll be the clear blue of the autumn sky -- and say, "Emily."
She knows, though, that it's all a fantasy. She's fallen in love with a man who doesn't exist.
And then, on the fourth day -- the day that divided light from darkness, day from night, she thinks in a distant corner of her mind -- he begins to surface from whatever dusky place he's been dwelling, murmuring words she can't quite make out.
She feels a swell of something too fragile to be hope. But maybe, against all odds, she's entered his dreams, pierced the twilight around him and coaxed him back. She leans close, waiting for the whisper of breath on her ear. His voice is rusty from disuse but it's deep, and it strikes a chord in her, stirs a heat and a longing that she'd thought long dead, and then he speaks a word. No, a name.