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Fire in the Blood

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There were benefits to living so far out of town. Not so many nosy neighbors, no prying law to stick their nose where it didn't belong. Still, as her side ached from where it had slammed against the counter, collarbone a line of fire from where his palm had shoved her backwards, she wished that the station wasn't so isolated. She was sure that nothing was actually broken, just bruised, scraped, and bone tired, but if nothing else she wanted to get out before one of the other Bondurant Boys came home.

"You alright?"

Looking up to find Jack staring down at her had her choking on the sobs that had started to rise in her throat. The hand that had half lifted towards the counter's edge shook as her clavicle set loose a burst of fire through her that left her swallowing a scream.

"Fine, Jack." Smiling she let the arm fall slowly, lifting the other to brush the tears from her cheeks. "I'm alright, just tripped and fell, so clumsy it's ridiculous."

"You're hurt bad? That why you're sittin' on the floor cryin'? I could help."

"No, no, I just need a minute." The smile that curved her lips was genuine despite the pain, leaning back against the wall she felt a shot of trepidation shoot through her at his concerned look. "How's Cricket?"

That was all it took to start him rambling. About the still his best friend had built in his basement, the ambitions that he had to shoulder his way into the business, and despite the circles he talked she couldn't begrudge him his enthusiasm. It was that enthusiasm that made it easy to distract him, to turn his head and stop him from prying about what he'd seen while the stars he chased blinded him.

Listening with a half ear, she sank into her own thoughts trying to sort them out. Heavy hands, low rumble of a voice, an absolute sweetheart. Until he started drinking on a bad day, when his temper was already piqued and his blood was pulsing hot and quick beneath the skin. The war had done a number on him, twisted and tied him up inside so badly she wondered sometimes how he ever put the jar down. On the rare occasion she stayed overnight at the station, there were times he woke her with choked whimpers and hoarse screams. Or his hands would grip her tightly as he screamed at her, terrible things he didn't mean because he saw someone else.

A heavy tread made her jump, the movement going unnoticed by Jack as she finally levered herself to her feet, trying to hide the wince the move had cost her. One quick glance towards the door was enough to flood her with relief, a soft sigh escaping her that caught Jack's attention. His chatting came to a slow halt as he frowned.

"You sure you're alright?"

"Where's Howard?"

The flinch around her eyes at his name had Jack's eyes narrowing, suspicions filling them before he turned to face his brother.

"Dunno, think he might be out back."

"Go get him." Forrest's eyes locked onto hers, a hint of dawning comprehension filling them. "We got a truck to load, he can sulk around later."

"But I was-"

"Get."

After the loud stomp of Jack's boots hit the porch, her arm was grabbed by Forrest who all but dragged her to a table and lowered her into a chair. The protests died on her lips at his sharp look, falling silent as he turned on the light.

"What happened?"

Thick fingers that seemed incapable of such delicate work slowly slid along the bruise that peeked over the top of her blouse, pressing lightly against her collarbone to see if it was broken. Hissing between her teeth, she dug her nails into her palm, staring at the ceiling over his shoulder. When she took too long responding he purposefully prodded the bruise to get her attention.

"Talk."

"It's none of your business."

The soft grunt that rumbled out of his throat left no doubt to the fact that he thought it was, turning to walk towards the ice box to toss in a damp towel. Staring at her over the counter while he waited patiently.

"Stare all you want Forrest, it's not your business."

"My brother, my business."

"No it's not." She snapped, standing suddenly from the chair and ignoring the wave of dizziness that washed over her. "Leave it alone."

"Sit down."

There was no misunderstanding to order in his tone, the soft moss coloured eyes hard as he stared at her. She almost wavered, her knees going slightly weaker before curling her lip at him and walking towards the door. What she hadn't expected was to run into Howard as she stepped out onto the porch, his blood shot eyes sullen as he glanced at her before going inside.

She knew she wouldn't be getting an apology, not in words. Later if she stuck around, against every instinct and ounce of pride she had screaming at her to leave, his kisses would be sweet and his hands would be soft as he lead her to bed. He'd slowly stoke a fire inside her and make her burn from the inside out before bringing her release and hold her tightly in his sleep.

If she decided to stay.

Her throat burned from moonshine, chasing away the chill that settled on her skin as she sat behind the shed, an empty jar and two full at her side. She was still debating on whether or not she was leaving, her head falling back to stare up at the stars that twinkled so happily in the night sky. If she was smart, she'd just lea-

"You're goin' to get sick."

Moonshine splashed on her chest as she sat up suddenly, rivulets of it rolling down her arms and stomach, her head snapping to the side to stare at the face illuminated by the glowing end of a cigar.

"Go away."

"If you ain't goin' to come inside, go home." There was no mistaking the concern in his eyes though, despite the cold words and the careful way he spoke them.

"Just go away, Forrest."

Upending the jar, she forced what was left in the jar down her throat, covering her mouth with the back of her wrist as she coughed. She knew that scowl on his lips, knew it meant he was more angry than worried, well angry that he let himself be so worried. Smiling up at him, tried to twist the lid off a new jar, dropping her chin to frown at it when she found she couldn't.

"I suppose asking for help would be foolish." When he didn't say anything, she slowly lifted her eyes to look at him pleadingly. "Just this last one and I'm going home, I can't stay here."

"Does he know?"

"I'm sure he doesn't care one way or the other, it was just-" she chokes on the word sex, because for a while there she'd been deluding herself into thinking he might have actually cared for her. That was dashed now, he'd told her as much before shoving her away. "Nothing, a lot of time spent on nothing. ... You know, I had a crush on you when I was younger."

The soft grunt he let out, she almost choked on air, she hadn't meant to say that last bit, out loud, ever. Still now that it was out, she couldn't help feeling a bit of relieved, though she still felt ridiculous over how often she'd find her eyes locking on him whenever she saw him. Using the shed, she levered herself onto her feet and offered him the jar, wrist twisting as she sloshed the liquid inside it.

He didn't say anything, just shook his head slowly, his thumbs tucking into the shallow pockets of his vest. Persistent, she held it out to him until her arm was growing sore before taking a step closer.

"If you want me to leave, drink with me, that's all I'm asking."

At first she was sure he was going to say no again, but after a moment blunt fingers brushed hers as he took the jar from her. Swallowing against the victorious sound that had risen in her throat she settled for a small smile. She hadn't been completely honest, she still carried a torch for him, but if she was very lucky that wouldn't get brought up.

"When?"

"What?" Taking the jar back from him, she took a swallow, breathing slowly through her nose when it threatened to come back.

"Thought you two were-"

"Oh, no." She choked on a laugh as she handed it back, eyeing him as he swallowed. "Just, well when the moonshine's running you know how he can get. It's either a happy time or a bad time, and when we got together it's usually because he's assuming it will be a happy time."

Frowning she tried to puzzle out when that sentence got away from her, hands sliding along her arms trying to chafe some warmth into them until the moonshine got around to it. She wasn't ready for the scratchy fabric that suddenly draped across her shoulders, the sudden wave of cigar smoke and cologne that washed over her.

"I don't need this, I'll be leaving soon."

"What happened?"

"To what?" She knew playing dumb wasn't going to work, but she really didn't want to talk about it. Didn't want to talk about how she'd asked if they were ever going to actually be anything, and the way he'd laughed before staring at her and shoving her away.

"He hurt you again."

"Yeah."

"Keeps doin' that." The disapproval was thick in his voice and it made her grin even as she lifted the jar to her lips.

"Oh and you wouldn't?"

He didn't say anything to that, and she felt a stab of something she couldn't name in her chest. An hour and half later all she could name was the lightning that was shooting through her, Bondurant Moonshine. Dropping the empty jar next to the others, she moved away from the shed and spun with her head hanging back between her shoulders, eyes closed. There was a pile of glass jars near his feet, most of which she'd only been able to have a few drinks from before he finished them off.

A few had almost broken when he'd tried to take them away from her, before apparently deciding that it would be easier to just drink a majority of the jar before she had a chance to. It was a bit odd to see him even slightly unsteady on his feet, vaguely wondering just how many jars they'd gone through.

"You're gonna fall."

"No I won't."

"Will." his voice was close in her ear, his hands grabbing her waist and she almost fell as she jumped in shock, her fingers gripping his shirt as her eyes flew open.

"Won't."

Grinning, she tugged on his shirt, his feet stumbling to keep his balance as she walked backwards, humming softly. She kept doing that, turning occasionally, the grin leading to full throated laughter as he followed her improvised dance.

"I knew you wouldn't be light on your feet."

"What do you mean?" His fingers dug into into her waist, as she leaned to the side, the two of them spinning before her legs tangled and they both fell into the grass.

"Dancing. It's why I'd never asked you." Placing her hands on his chest, she tried to push herself off him, frowning when the hands still around her waist held her there. "Wh- Oh. You remember the barn raising forever ago, I think you were maybe ten, even then you were just massive, and I was too shy to ask you to dance."

"Eleven."

"Either way, you looked so serious standing there I was too afraid to ask."

"Oh."

The look on his face was hard for her to read, her head spinning from the "dancing" and the moonshine that was still bolting through her, but it almost looked like he was disappointed. Wrinkling her nose at him as she grinned, she shoved at his chest again.

"Don't worry, I was terrible too, neither of us would have been walking afterwa-" Her hand slipped and she fell, laughing as she laid there listening the beat of his heart. "I think I drank to much, I can't get up."

She shivered when she felt more than heard the grumble in his chest, closing her eyes when he rolled them and started to push himself to his feet. He at least made it halfway before losing his balance and falling on her.

"Drinkin' and spinnin's always a bad idea." He muttered, making a second attempt that wasn't any better than the first, letting out a groan when his chin landed on her shoulder. "Why'd you need to drink so much?"

"I don't remember and I'm pretty sure that was the point." Shifting, trying to get out from beneath him, she froze when she felt his nose brush against the hinge of her jaw.

"Howard shouldn't hit you."

"Well he does and it's fine. He's not thinking."

"He's old enough he should know better." The husky words had her shifting, her head turning as she found moving his weight was almost impossible. "Don't."

"You're just a kid, he should know better." Even with the bit of slur to his words, his tone was sincere.

"And you're just two years older than me, drop it."

"I know better than to hit a girl."

"You don't know what to do with a girl so just let it alone."

Her breath caught in her throat when his fingers gripped her chin, propping himself on his elbow as he stared down at her. Blinking, she tried to tug loose only to go completely still when his lips pressed against hers. It wasn't a particularly skillful kiss, but beneath the moonshine was the husky taste of his cigar, and under that was a taste she couldn't name but it pulled a soft sound from her all the same. Arching beneath the hand that moved down her throat to cup her breast she drew a sharp breath, fingers gripping his shirt.

All sorts of denials and rebukes hovered on the tip of her tongue, the self same muscle that Forrest was flicking with his own as he slid his hand down her side to grip her hip. Her thighs gripped his hips when he settled between them, dragging the skirt of her dress upwards, the scarred knuckles catching on the slip beneath and pulling it with. It took her longer than she was proud of to remember she was supposed to be pushing him away, her hands unsteady as she slid them over his shoulders when he deepened the kiss.

"Forrest-" the sentence got lost on a sharp breath when he kissed down her neck, sucking on the crook of her neck as his hand slid between them to slide a finger inside her.

He was so heavy, crushing her into the ground, but she didn't really mind when she could feel every low sound he made vibrating through his chest and onto her skin. The rough feeling of the pads of his fingers rubbing inside her had her hips rolling, nails digging into the muscle of his shoulders as her legs fell farther apart with a low whine. She wasn't sure when he undid his pants, her memory hazy as her body burned, but she was sure she saw stars when he thrust inside her with enough strength it knocked the air out of her.

"Sorry," he muttered, brushing his lips against hers as he started a slow stroke that had her toes curling in the grass.

The denial hovered on her tongue, washed away with a kiss when he slanted his lips across hers, the taste of him bringing a low sound from her throat as she arched up against him. Fingers gripping the shirt at his shoulders, she matched each thrust with a lift of her hips, staring up at him when he pulled back. A silly grin on her lips when the vapor of their breaths mingled before her body was shot through with lightning, her nails digging in as he went still for a moment before pulling out.

"Forrest?"

When he didn't answer, she reached down to grip him, watching as he shuddered, his eyes falling shut. She wasn't sure why he'd stopped before he'd got his own, but she stroked him slowly before letting go and shoving him backwards. The look of confusion on his face as he fell backwards turned to one of shock as she slid her mouth down the length of him.

His fingers tangled in her hair, even as he tried to pull her away his hips lifted to follow the suction, a low groan escaping him that cut off sharply when he came. Staring up at him, she slowly slid back, swallowing a few times to cleanse her tongue before pushing herself to her feet. Her head spun, and she shook it slowly, almost falling when he grabbed a handful of skirt to stop her unsteady steps.

"Let go."

She didn't have to look back at him to know that his face was blank, his eyes asking questions, she didn't want to. Tugging her skirt from his grip, she walked unsteadily towards the shed. She couldn't go inside the station, and home was so far away. Her stomach knotted as she grabbed a jar of moonshine and started walking. It probably would have been a better idea to cut through the trees but she wasn't thinking straight, almost falling when a hand gripped her arm to stop her.

"I'm sorry."

Meeting Howard's reddened eyes, her body went cold, going still as she felt her face fall into guilty lines as she stared at him. She was still throbbing from Forrest's thrusts, her collarbone twinging beneath the liquor from Howard's heavy hand.

"Are you," He hesitated, his eyes pleading even as he let go. "Are you goin' home?"

"Yeah, I'm going home."

" 'Cause of me?"

"No." She shook her head, stopping a moment later when it made her feel like she was going to fall over. "No, not you."

"I could give you a-"

"I'll walk. It's a good night for it."

Turning away from him, she felt like a fist hit her in the stomach when she caught sight of Forrest leaning against the shed, his face illuminated by the embers of his cigar. Her mouth opening and closing as she tried to think of something to say, she shook her head again as she started walking home, ignoring the sound of Howard calling her name and the smell of cigar that was in the air.