And Company Loves More [Digital Devil Saga, Roland/Argilla, PG-13] Title: And Company Loves More Author:harukami Rating: PG-13 Warnings: N/A Word count: 496 Summary: They both have too much death in their past to reach their calm moments peacefully. A/N: For the prompt Digital Devil Saga, Roland/Argilla: misery loves company - it's not an ideal sort of afterglow, but it's enough. Crossposted to springkink and harukami on LiveJournal.
After, the first thing he feels is guilt.
He feels terrible for that; guilty for the guilt, but there's no shaking it. The downtime after orgasm is always a hazardous place at the best of times, fraught with too-late second thoughts and a sneaking and dangerous I don't deserve, and that has been with people whose opinions... well, it's not that their opinions don't matter to him, because they do. He has always been a man to bear others' opinions heavily. But generally, he has not slept with people whose opinions of him, good or bad, could be the life or death of him.
These days he feels as though his momentum is his lifeline; he has spent so long stopped, unable to move forward as he is unable to move backwards, that his momentum feels like the first breath after too long underwater: a relief, yes, but a panic-filled one where he anticipates another lungful of water instead. The decision to do something isn't something he wants to go back on; he's got an entire team of men who rely on him to keep going, and he's got a tribe of AI cannibals -- somehow -- who have accepted that movement as a part of him, and if it stops, it all falls apart and him with it. There's always something to do: some base to invade, some information to follow up on, always a way to push the point, and while he wonders if the Lokapala feel that he's gone too far the other way (too aggressive now, too defensive before; either could get them killed...) he also doesn't dare stop. He hasn't removed the bottles from his drawers. Not because he wants a fallback but because he hasn't quite dared look at them; he's a brave man, perhaps, but a clever one more, and knows that his weaknesses are still there and still weak.
Argilla rolls over in his arms. "Roland," she says, and he sees she's crying.
Guilt -- yes, guilt; she's a beautiful and strong adult woman whose opinion means the world to him, but she's also only got five years of life experience, and that spent ignorant of things like this, of the sweaty bump and grind of human bodies, sexual tension and hormones and release, of everything it entails and everything it means and all the messes it can make. He says, "Argilla, are you okay? I'm sorry--"
And she presses closer in his arms and sobs and says, "It's so hard sometimes, Roland, I don't even know what I'm living for."
For a moment he flounders, looking for words, and then he says, "I know the feeling." He rubs her shoulders, rough circles with his palms as she presses closer, her forehead hot where it digs into his collarbone. "I'm... sorry."
She shakes her head against him. "The hardest part," she manages, "is when I think that life's worth living."
He holds her closer. "You're alive now," he points out, quiet. "That's not worthless."