Email Address: Please send feedback to: GreyGryphonOne@netscape.net . Be gentle with me. It’s my first time.
Category: Romance – Ian/Sara
Summary: The Witchblade gives Sara another dream…
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They are the property of Top Cow, TNT, and whomever else lays legal claim to them; I’m just taking them out to play for a while because we love them so. And because we Ian/Sara ‘shippers are absolutely dying to see this stuff happen on-screen…
Notes: Thanks to JJT for her Beta help and encouragement, and to Suzanne for her non-fan critique!
Detective Sara Pezzini had had a spectacularly bad day at work. Captain Dante had found a new reason to ream her. She had managed to tick off her easy-going partner, Jake. She’d forgotten a lunch date with Vicky, who was now not speaking to her.
Worst of all, her bike had broken down on the way home. Repairs were going to be simple but expensive.
Then Danny Woo had walked her home. Danny Woo, the partner she’d lost to Gallo, shot to death before her eyes. Somehow dying hadn’t been an issue for him so far. Because Sara wore the Witchblade, she could see him. No one else could. That tended to create problems when he visited her in public.
He fell into step with her just past the deli where she’d bought her supper. "Got a knish?" he said playfully. She should have been used to his sudden appearances by now but she still gasped every time he showed up. This time was no exception.
"I’m sorry, Sara," Danny said. "I scared you again, didn’t I? I know this is all hard on you. But you’re the strongest person I know. You’ll make it, just remember that. It’ll get easier, I swear."
"Sure about that, Danny? ‘Cause the way I see it, I’m not that far from snapping right now. In fact, maybe I’ve already snapped and I just haven’t noticed yet."
He rolled his eyes at her.
They were nearly at her apartment, and Sara decided to make another attempt at getting something useful out of the experience. She figured it would be futile, as usual, but what the heck.
"Okay, Danny, tell me this. I wouldn’t trust Kenneth Irons with an old pair of my socks. That much I know. But what about…what about Nottingham? Whose side is he really on?"
Danny stopped and looked at her. "That’s up to Nottingham. I can’t say what his future is, because he hasn’t made his choice yet. All I can tell you is… sometimes people find their way back home again.
"Besides, Sara…You don’t need me to tell you what you already know somewhere in your heart. Trust yourself." Then he was gone.
She got home, dropped her keys on the table and herself on the couch. Then she buried her face in her hands and tried to force it all out of her mind. Just relax for a minute. Just push it all away so I can breathe for a while… The Witchblade flared and tightened just a bit on her wrist, a warm comforting weight on her arm. She leaned her head back against the couch and closed her eyes.
Unbidden, Nottingham’s dark eyes and quiet voice were in her mind.
"Believe in the Witchblade, Sara. It believes in you."
Sara’s eyes flew open. Damn. Damn! He’s Irons’ pet. More than enough reason not to trust him. Maybe I can trust the Witchblade, but not him. And I don’t want to think about this now. Sara got up and went to the kitchen to put on a kettle full of water for tea. Then she went back to the living room to clean her gun.
There was no sound to betray him, but Sara instinctively felt it when Ian Nottingham entered her apartment through the kitchen window.
"Can’t you just use the door, like a normal person? By the way, I’m armed. In fact, I just cleaned my gun. So talk fast." They both knew Sara wouldn’t shoot him, but she just couldn’t help making comments like that to him. He drove her crazy with his obscure comments… and the trip was getting shorter every day. "And so help me, Nottingham, if you track dirt on my kitchen floor, you’re a dead man!"
He came to the edge of the couch and stared at the floor.
"Sara, you think that the Witchblade steeps you in mystery and confusion, in things that don’t really exist. You—"
"Okay, look – that’s enough!" Sara jumped up from the couch, unable to contain her irritation any longer. She closed the short distance between them and stood practically nose to nose with him.
"Don’t ‘Sara’ me! Why can’t you just tell me things like a normal person? Why is it you and Irons and Danny can only speak to me in freaking riddles? Do you know how irritating that is?" She reached out and lifted his chin until he reluctantly locked eyes with her. "And will you PLEASE look at me when we’re talking? What’s your problem?"
Just for a split-second, he looked like a deer caught in the headlights of a speeding semi. Then he quickly regained his composure.
"I don’t think normal quite works for either of us any more, do you? The sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to work with the Witchblade. Stop fighting it, Sara. You are extraordinary. Accept that."
He glanced away, then, and the rest of what he had to say was spoken so softly she could barely hear him.
"There is no problem. I’m not worthy of you. It’s the way things are."
"Excuse me? You could kick my ass twelve ways to Tuesday, and you’re not worthy? What are you talking about? Worthy of me how?" Oh, good, Sara. Tell your him all your weaknesses. That’s just brilliant. She couldn’t help it. It was the last thing she’d ever have expected to come out of Nottingham’s mouth, and it perplexed the hell out of her.
"If you knew the things I’ve done…because of him…" he began bitterly. He looked her in the eye again, this time without coercion, and reached up as if to touch her face.
A shrill blast from the kitchen froze them both in their tracks before he could reach her. Sara turned toward the sound and realized that it was the teakettle, screaming its readiness.
She turned back to find her living room empty, the door closing quietly.
"Of course," she said sourly. "I hate it when he does that. Coward." At least he used the door for once, though…
The next day was her day off, and she still woke up at 5:00am. She stared blearily at the clock, shook her head in disgust, and went back to sleep.
The Witchblade glowed warmly on Sara’s wrist.
Sara woke later, wondering why it still looked like early morning. Something was definitely amiss. She had nothing on except the Witchblade, and whoever was curled up with an arm around her had equally nothing on. What the…?!? She tried to remember if she’d taken any decongestants before falling asleep… That’s it! I’m still asleep. This is a dream. She looked around and realized that her bed didn’t even seem to be in her apartment at all – rather, it seemed to be in some sort of forest clearing. There were huge green plants everywhere, cool ferns curving gracefully, trees reaching to the clear blue sky. That clinched it; it had to be a dream. In real life, Sara managed to kill every houseplant she dared to take home.
The next question was, did she really want to know who was in the bed with her? Or should she just hope that something woke her really, really soon? She sighed. Was there really any question who it was? She could feel the ring on his hand, cool against the warmth of her skin. A slight turn from her side to her back confirmed it.
Nottingham. Of course. It couldn’t have been Mel Gibson, or Harrison Ford, or even that handsome volleyball player she’d met at the beach last year…No. Her life, and dreams, just didn’t work like that. Damn. Not that Nottingham was exactly chopped liver. Actually, he was more like drop-dead gorgeous. The long, dark eyelashes… The lips… Stop that! Do NOT go there, Sara…
He was still asleep, his face unbelievably innocent. She was hard-pressed to reconcile it with the Nottingham she’d seen in action. How could he be innocent in any way when he worked for Irons? More stuff that didn’t make any sense. She sighed in frustration.
He opened his eyes, and Sara was gratified to find that he registered surprise – at least for a second – when he realized where he was. Nothing kept him off-balance for long, though, and he grinned at her.
"Hello, Sara. Isn’t life interesting?"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Life’ll be painful if you’re not careful where you put your hands, understand?"
She saw him bite his lip to keep from laughing, and found she’d missed his sense of humor lately. She hadn’t seen him smile since she’d first met him at the museum. "Of course, Sara. I’ll be a gentleman." She was pretty certain, though, that some parts of him hadn’t gotten the memo. She also noticed that neither one of them was moving away. His arms still curled protectively around her. Her cheek rested against his shoulder. Give it up, Sara. Just admit that you’re way too comfortable anytime he’s in your personal space. Ditch the denial. Besides, that would just make it worse if we moved around now. Right? It’d be more embarrassing. Sure. Rationalization is a handy thing.
"Okay, Mr. Mumbo-Jumbo, what’s all this mean? Why are we here? What’s the great stupid freaking lesson I’m supposed to take away from this? And by the way, I’m so glad you find this amusing."
"It’s different this time," he said. "A gift. Lucid dreaming…And…I don’t think we’re supposed to take this literally."
"Not take it literally? What…Oh. So you’re saying…we need to be open with each other. Tell the truth. Be emotionally naked. That?"
"Yes. That’s my thought."
"Isn’t that…too obvious? Besides -- sounds more like it’s your lesson, Nottingham."
His grin slipped a little, and he looked at her thoughtfully. "Maybe," he said. His eyes grew intense, and he seemed lost in thought for a second. Sara realized he was absently drawing patterns across her belly with his fingers. It tickled pleasantly…among other things. Sara gently caught his wrist when she couldn’t take it any more, and he snapped his attention back to her.
"I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to—"
"S’okay. Forget it." She hoped she wasn’t blushing. What he’d done had been completely innocent. Truth was, she wasn’t sure she could behave herself much longer. His skin was warm against hers, and it was a dream, after all… "So. Where exactly are we? Is that significant?"
He looked around, then looked back at her intently.
"We’re home," he said, smiling.
Danny’s words came back to her. "All I can tell you is…sometimes people find their way back home again."
"Ian, what do you mean, ‘We’re home’?"
"I’m with you," he said simply. She was struck by the contentment in his voice. She reached up to smooth a stray lock of hair away from his face, and he closed his eyes at the feel of her fingers on his face and her body pressed against his.
"Sara—" he said warningly, after a second. "It’s a very…uh…detailed dream…" She snickered and kept on doing what she was doing. He finally caught her hands and drew away a little.
"Sara, I know I promised to be a gentleman, but…seems I’m only human. I…I’d better move…" But before he could move away across the bed, Sara shifted so that they were pressed together once again, leaving little to the imagination. His reaction was immediate and gratifying. She caught the hitch in his breathing, felt his heart start to thump wildly.
"Hmm. Seems I’m only human, too," she said, and drew him, unresisting, into a kiss.
It was awkward at first, and Sara was shocked to realize that he’d never kissed anyone before. But to their mutual delight, he was one heck of a quick study.
When they finally came up for air, he stroked her cheek and leaned in close to her ear.
"I love you, Sara," he whispered. "If you trust nothing else about me, trust my love for you. It’s the one thing he can’t control."
Sara closed her eyes and held him tighter. They kissed again, and delight deepened into passion. He trailed kisses from her mouth down to her throat and on to her collarbone, her ecstatic cries urging him on. They needed each other desperately now, and they began to move together sweetly—
Somewhere, out among the ferns, a telephone rang loudly.
Sara gasped and sat up. Her heart was pounding and she could barely breathe. Not real. None of it was real, Nottingham’s not like that, and that wasn’t the real me. I would never…Oh, damn, I would. It felt…it felt right. Very right. As though it was the way things should be… Beside her, on the table, the telephone stopped ringing and the answering machine picked up. She heard her own voice asking the caller to leave a message; then Jake’s voice came through tinnily:
"Sara? I wouldn’t call you on your day off, but there’s a new lead…Call me."
Damn it, Jake, you have incredibly bad timing…
Sara drew her knees up and hugged them, wishing it was Ian she was holding. She remembered what he’d whispered in her ear, how fiercely they’d kissed after that, how eager he’d been to please her. Trust my love for you. Tears welled in her eyes at the memory.
She wondered if she’d ever be able to put all the pieces together in their rightful places.
Sara sighed, and got up to take a very long, very cold shower.
In his own bed, Ian refused to open his eyes. He struggled to hang on to Sara and the dream, clutching his pillow and remembering the feel of her skin on his. If only, he thought. He could still feel her stroking his face and running her fingers through his hair. If only it could be like that. He finally gave up and opened his eyes, glaring at the ring sitting on the nightstand. But it’s impossible. I’d just end up getting both of us killed. He remembered her lips on his, letting the delight wash over him one more time. I love you, Sara. Forever. Always.
Then he hid the memory deep inside of him, made sure the spark faded from his eyes, so that Irons would never see it.
He sighed, and headed for the shower, hoping the water was warm for once.