; It was her little smirk which greeted him first, followed by the usual drawl. "I thought you hated beaches."
"I do." Adler scoffed softly, watching the flicker of flames from his worn out zippo, before the familiar burnt taste and smell filled his senses, eyes hazed momentarily by the thick cloud of cigarette smoke which expelled from his lips.
The smirk persisted upon hearing his answer, though really it resembled more of a quirk, a smile than a smug curl of lips.
"Then? What has brought you here, soldat?"
"You know the answer."
He pried the thin roll from his chapped, scarred lips. Eyes warily surveying his companion for any change in expression but drawing a blank conclusion. Unreadable; amiable, yet there was just something he could not lay a finger on. She merely chuckled, piercing green eyes fixated on his. As if reading him back.
"Da. That I do."
"How's the arm?"
She smiled, he noticed through the peripherals of the dark filter of his shades; the sad type that always lingered whenever he saw it. The unmistakable, piercing stab of guilt whenever his eyes fleeted to her eyes during those smiles was nearly suffocating. Again, it was not a terrible emotion to feel in their relationship, neither was it ever her fault for the scars that she so tried to mask and conceal away. But the scars were crystal clear evidences of his handiwork; his name marked on every inch of the tainted soul she called her own. Like an intrusion, trespassing, violation of a soul to another's.
He felt that lump in his throat. Adam's apple quivering as he swallowed spit in attempt to coax the knotted lump down. The dryness of the smoke served to constrict his throat further.
There was the urge. The impending tide of self-disgust, mingled with the burning curiosity, to find out why on Earth she continued smiling at him. Why she chuckled at his words. Why she stood there without a flinch as he stood closer to her by a fraction of an inch each day, despite his unsubtle attempts (to speak, to chat), which all backfired by the last-minute hesitation that braked his whole being before a twelve car pile-up occurred.
He knew he didn't deserve where he stood now.
Yet it was the selfishness in man to yearn.
The greed of a man.
Her chuckle (gods, that light, giddying sound) blurred the lines between thoughts and reality. "I didn't think you'd sulk just because you're at a beach..."
And the more he stared back at those piercing icy green eyes, as much as he hated to admit it, it calmed. The rise of emotions falling like how an ocean would calm upon the end of a superficial storm. The roaring of blood in his ears akin raging winds nestling down and taming to a steady (yet still, rather fast paced) beat of his heart.
Tamed. A funny word to describe their queer little relationship. Was he not once considered her handler? The man who had held the reins, and her who came in like a wild animal, thrashing and resisting power. He who was called successful for the little science project he so, so inhumanely started without much thought, the project that chipped away at the rock bottom of his own conscientious.
And now here she was. Standing before him as he found himself permitting to fall, into the whirlwind that grounded his mind in that very moment, knowing fully well she was the cause of it all. His dearest ruiner, as he was hers. Yet insanity, mania, delusions of his maddening, stifling conscientious only fell silent, tamed under her soft yet resonant presence.
He had his suspicions. But it was only then when the realisation dawned upon his mind. Grimly, like a daunting truth. Daunting. The type of daunting that sprung from the depths of anxiety; from the uncertainty of not knowing what was to come in the future. The jittery type, where hands felt weak from each and every encounter, not quite knowing where to place them. Adler didn't quite like not knowing. He didn't like uncertainty. Uncertainty, to a man like him, meant the risks and dangers that were hiding right under his nose with only their sly, dirty presence thrumming alongside each undertone. Yet...
"...At least the wind's nice."
Her joking, teasing tone as her words came to a halt.
He watched her, and the little unwavering smirk of hers. Hand falling limp beside him, dropping the cigarette, stubbing it out. It felt intrusive, in this very situation. It wasn't quite right. Head tilted at an angle, watching the gentle roll of waves against the dull beige sand and greying skies. A slight pause, before his answer came:
"The wind's nice."
He had never realised how beautiful the sight was.