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My Sweet Marion

She's always warm at night and she wasn't mad at me anymore so I was half-asleep next to her for hours, just happy to be in bed and warm again. I wanted to tell her I was sorry for everything but I can't ever find the words. The feeling's there and so is the sound but there's just a dark unfathomable gap between me and the words.

But she eventually said it was okay. Her face had searched me then. Those beautiful and tranquil eyes were gray with specks of blue like thick storm clouds. They peered into all that I am and I realized sometimes she didn't need words to speak, either. Some of the most sweet and important things don't need them. 

She softened then and smiled so openly that it made me tear up and lie my head in her lap. It was a favorite spot of mine and I've spent countless moments there, her hands always running through my hair and I'd just melt and there was absolutely nothing in the world but me and her.

I think that's still my favorite place. We were pretty broken when we met and we got better and that was where I felt the most safe. She's the only one who gave me that feeling and even though I never said so, I promised to keep her safe no matter what.

And she's so warm now and I'm just watching moonlight through the apartment window, how it glows on her skin and dark hair. How in that glow, she's so peaceful, a tiny smile curving her lips every now and then. I wonder if she's dreaming. I never remember mine. She said she's watched me sleep and dream and it's cute, that my eyelids flutter like butterfly wings when it happens. 

I quietly scoot closer and cuddle harder, my eyes almost closed, gazing. I see old scars on her arms, lines on a map with no clear destination. She made those before me and I've kissed them when she's looked sad because it's my way of saying she's more beautiful than anything in the world to me. I almost kiss them now but don't want her to stir. So I close my eyes and, as it always does here, time begins to melt away. 

Something snaps me awake soon, though. I'm not sure what but feel it everywhere. I'm good at that, just knowing. Before her, someone I once loved hurt my leg bad during a fight and ever since then, the bone trembles before thunder booms and always gets cold and achy before storms. This was close to that feeling but stronger, something shaky in the blood that I don't have a name for. It makes me sit straight up and chills course through me. Heart slamming, fully aware and focused sharper than a blade. I can almost even feel the air vibrating around me. 

And my head whips right to the bedroom door before the sound comes from down the hallway. The front door being kicked in, a loud thudding crunch as the chain and deadbolt and lock snap off and wood splinters are flying everywhere, heavy boots already moving in this direction. 

The bed shakes as she's jolted from sleep by the noises, switching on a lamp and the light is harsh, too bright, but it doesn't break my focus. I'm ready and not thinking. You can't think too much in this kind of thing. That gives you time to be afraid and make mistakes. My hearing is better than hers and I catch the words that she can't as the man storms closer.

Fucking cunt.

I know the voice. He was here before me. She's never really talked about him but I've heard them fighting on the phone when I first moved in and have listened to her talking about him to friends and her sister. 

She's already sitting up grabbing her phone and looking around for something, maybe a weapon, but there's no guns or knives here. She doesn't trust herself with them, she once told me. 

I don't say anything to her but shift to make sure she's still behind me. His shadow looms closer and that combined with the sound of his voice confirmed that he's much bigger and taller than me. And it wasn't his words, but the rage in them, that told me exactly what kind he was. Predator. Manipulator. Abuser. 

I've been really hurt by those types before, too. I have my own scars and stories that I can never tell her about. I never needed to. She's always felt it, how even with such unique histories between us, we were so alike at our cores, full of light no matter what and people like that shadow do all they can to control that and snuff it out. 

He's so big that he has to slightly duck under the doorway to get in and just that one second gives me the chance I need. All of my tension snaps like a freed coil. And I don't care that he's huge with a mean face because I might be so much smaller but I'm faster and I have something he never will again.

Her love.

He's used that to hurt her and probably others. Love's been used to hurt me years ago. You can hurt with a heart in ways you can't with a body. Right now, though, it makes me faster and stronger.

Love makes me a weapon. 

His eyes widen when I lunge forward with all my force. He didn't know I'd be here in her bed, that she had long ago made the decision to move on. And I was right, his size means nothing. He's afraid and caught off guard when our eyes meet. Mine are purely feral. Territorial. My hands are good weapons, but only secondary, used to grab his beefy shoulders after launching.

Teeth bared. That's what scared him. He knew where I was going. She screams behind me but it sounds far away. I wonder if that's what dreams are like, close and far, loud yet a lovely whisper. But I can't answer her and I hope she'll understand. I was a fighter years ago before I met her and I know the spots without even thinking, the ones that can end fights fast.

My teeth sink right into his neck. Skin penetrated, blood already filling my mouth, he screams as I bite and sever a vein in one sharp jerk, a new burst of blood flooding in an unstoppable dark river. The scream turns into a high pitched gurgle and I'm even warmer now than I was in bed. 

I felt it, actually, before I heard it, a quick piercing.

Between his body and mine I saw a brief flash that was even faster than lightning. I don't remember us falling. I only remember my ears ringing and that she was screaming again, but sounded even farther away, like we're at different sides of the same tunnel. We're on the ground and my face is wet with his blood. I look back and she's still speaking but into her phone as our eyes meet. 

The man is also still beneath me, big body twitching as blood continues to pour from irreversibly torn flesh. And it's still in his hand, the gun, but his hand is weak and shaky, unable to lift its weight. His breathing gets faster and fainter as he tries to pull in more air. It stops soon enough and that's when I know it's safe to move and turn away from him.

She's on the floor, setting the phone down, watching me. I can't walk so I end up kind of crawling and dragging myself until I'm finally in her lap, head heavy but so comfy now, ready to sleep. I've never been so tired. Tears stream down her face and I try to reach there and wipe them away but my hand barely rises. She rests her hand over mine instead, softly squeezing and I hope she sees me smiling now.

She's safe and that's all that matters.

She once told me that before we met, she cried every single day, sometimes all day, but she did it so much less with me around because she could see in my eyes that I've been through so much, too, and that we're a perfect fit. It was also the first time she told me she loved me. 

And I want to say the words. 

Even though she's not mad anymore, I still want to say sorry for knocking her glass of water over at dinner, that I was just so happy to see her when I rushed in for a hug. 

We had good times together. We had our own little world here. Some are never so lucky to find the one that makes them happy, to make their heart crack with gratitude. I know she'll be okay. Her heart is so full of light and she has no idea how strong she is.

I also want to tell her to not cry. I want to tell her it doesn't hurt anymore, that I've never really been scared to die and that if I'm going into that long sleep for any cause, I'll be okay because it's for her. And even though she didn't know about my promise to keep her safe, it's still a promise I kept. 

Her hand squeezes mine again and I'm so warm, eyes closing. I still feel safe here and don't need to remember my dreams. This is better than they could ever be. 

My sweet Marion.

I hear her say it through her tears over and over like a soft prayer, my name. I never had one before her and it made me feel even more special. Made me love her even more. 

My sweet Marion. 

She keeps saying it. I drift into the dark and am warm and happy as I feel her other hand in my hair the way I love, slowly. Petting my bloody fur for the very last time.

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