Sun, 3-Sep-2000
Flying Horses (Sam/Marrow, PG)

Standard Disclaimer: Story mine, universe/characters not mine.

Rating: PG for mild cursing.

Notes: This is a sort of filler story for Bones, because I'm completely blocked. This story is a present for Braddock, who makes me feel less like Sarah and more like happy. This and all my other stories are at

Feedback: Through OTL please.

Flying Horses



She stared at her crusty yellow nails, picking at them in her nervous way. 'I don't think I've ever felt like this before. Ever.'

She glanced into the distance, aware she was speaking to the young man near her, but only truly realizing one honest thought.

'This is totally new,' she further elaborated to her internal personal dialogue, and she lit a cigarette despite the grimace and disapproval she saw in her friend's eyes. She gave a self-satisfied smirk she had learned from Wolverine and took a satisfying draw on a cigarette from a pack she had swiped off Gambit.

It was on the grassy hill behind Sam's childhood home that she casually sucked her cigarette, a nasty new habit of hers, and different versions of that first thought went through her mind. It swum through other thoughts as their conversation weaved through a myriad of topics, but for weeks conversation between the two mutants had felt like stupid small-talk. At least, in her opinion, since that stressful dialogue in the Perch which had changed everything.

'I don't know what I'm doing,' she added to herself again, and she grimaced as she remembered she had told that to Sam once before, in the Perch, during That Dialogue. The realization provided her with just enough anger at her loss of immediate control that she abruptly stopped the reply she had formed in response to a funny story Sam was retelling about a poker game with Beast, Gambit, Storm, and the Thing. She had wondered why Sam had referred to someone he obviously admired as a thing, but she didn't feel like asking for clarification. She wanted something far more important clarified, and she was angry that he hadn't brought it up. Wasn't it him that wanted in her head so badly? Wasn't it him that had opened up everything and started this whole stupid mess?

She was just being petty, she knew, but she hated feeling confusion and opted for the nearest exit from her rising panic.

"What do you want from me?"

And the idle chatter ended. Days later, she couldn't recall any of the topics they had covered before she had spoken those words, in that order, in that tone of voice.

She hated skittering about the whole blatantly obvious subject, hated knowing that psychoanalysis would occur on both sides. She could deal with hate, though. That part was easy. It was the 'psycho' in 'psychoanalysis' that bothered her. She didn't realize she knew how to spell that word until unpleasant thoughts filled her mind.

"We've been over this, Sarah," he replied, and she noted how his entire demeanor had suddenly changed. It was full-analysis mode, and it bore far too much resemblance to another mode she had seen in him, in Danger Room simulations, and she couldn't stand it. She gave into her anger and situation flared.

"Dammit, stop treating me like I'm some sort of headcase!" Her voice broke for a moment and she cursed the cigarette in her hand. She just *knew* it was its fault, stupid piece of shit ---!

"I don't know what you're talking about," he replied calmly. His voice was far too calm, and she felt her heart cave around her. She changed tactics, and cursed every authority figure in the X-Men who had had any influence whatsoever upon Sam. He was playing her like a pro, the way she had seen the Professor do to every team member at some point or another.

"Why...," she started, but her voice trailed as she got scared. She became angry that she was scared of the sickening vulnerability she felt, and the anger sheltered her other emotions. 'Not that I have emotions,' she reminded herself, and the old mantra began in her mind. She could almost hear her people chanting with her, in response to the madman who had ruled them all.

"Emotions are weak! They destroy your strength and belong only to the ones destined to die!" They would stare up at him, from the filth caked in their eyes, and he would gaze down from his damned cliff, so unreachable. The biting winds which tortured Sarah at night looked like they were gentle only for this man, tossing his black hair which had always glistened under the glaring pink sun.

She shifted away from Sam for a moment, lost in her thoughts as Sam started saying something to her. She wasn't really paying attention as she desperately searched for what she wanted to say to him. Her thoughts turned back to Rasputin again, and Sarah realized for the first time that Rasputin had always been clean. The Hill was a disgusting place, full of tar pits rivaling the Tunnels, but he had always sparkled. Dust had perpetually covered any person too unlucky to have proper nighttime shelter from the oft-times desert-like qualities of their environment. The environment changed depending on Mikhail Rasputin's mood of the evening, and for some reason he had favored desert nights.

His love of the desert had not apparently included a fetish for the sand itself, which had had a fiendish quality of stickiness when heat was applied. Sarah had nearly convinced herself she was really naturally brown, but occasional monsoon torrents reminded her of the truth. Pale pink and weak. Never strong, never stoic, never good enough.

She realized Sam had been quiet for a while, though, and her memories were quickly shunned to darker parts of her mind. Feeling odd, she abruptly stubbed out her cigarette into a clear spot of surprisingly sandy soil. She hadn't heard a word he had said, and the truth was, she didn't want to hear anything anymore. She moved to stand up as well, not liking how her hampstrings were tingly and nearly asleep to her attempts, and she ignored how Sam sighed, reached out to pick up the dead stub, and tuck it into a jean pocket.

"Ever the environmentalist, Sam," she sneered, and she realized she felt guilty that he cleaned up after her without a word, like a slave, or a puppet. He didn't say anything in reply, and the pain of her reality hit her like one of Storm's gale winds.

"Why don't you fight with me?" she suddenly snapped, and didn't understand why she felt the need to throw this particular question at him. Part of her celebrated her glory at his completely surprised face, but when Sam's jawline hardened, she felt herself steel for his response.

"Not everything is a fight, ya know," he replied stubbornly, and stuffed his hands in his pockets. She made no move to actually start walking, which had been her initial reason for standing up, and Sam simply looked at her with his dark blonde eyebrows raised in an obvious ploy for her to explain herself. She opted for another exit, because she couldn't give the honesty he was demanding, and she hated him for asking for it without even opening his mouth.

"I... I want you to take me flying again.... um, someday," she blurted, and hated her pale pink skin as it turned bright red with embarassment. She had never asked anything of him, and felt embarassed that she had felt mere seconds before that he was asking too much of her. She was sure he wanted her to be one of the upworldprettypretties, someone good and perfect and beautiful, someone who didn't carry dark pasts within every step she took. If he wanted her to be someone worthy of his friendship, she knew in her heart that she wasn't that person. People like her didn't deserve second chances, not after taking so much away from society. People like her weren't supposed to exist on this plane of reality; they belonged in a pocket universe created for the ego of a madman.

She abruptly turned to walk away, ashamed of her neediness and her desires. She didn't walk away fast enough, though, and she felt two lanky arms around her waist and the pressure of leaving the ground at her booted feet. It was just as she had remembered, only better. She was airborne again, and this time, because he was lifting her from behind, it was like she was flying on her own power. Her stomach lurched powerfully in a delicious sensation, and she knew she had wanted this for a while.

It was glorious, and she dared to look down as the pulpulsion of his exploding mutant power lifted her farther from the grassy hill behind Sam's childhood home. Trees blushed back at her, the autumn already setting in around them, and she watched as the large Guthrie farm became smaller until it was a square, just like the patterns on the old patchwork quilt Sam had given her in the guest bedroom. The ground was pieced together below her, dotted with trees and shrubs, and the long unused Guthrie farmland danced in wake of his blast. She sucked her breath and felt the cooling air rush through her, but in a way that only served to leave her breathless. Her still-blushing face contorted with childlike joy as he zipped around in unknown patterns, and she chose to hear the roar of his blastfield over her squeals as he sped through loops like her own personal rollercoaster.

"Wait! Down! Want down!" she cried, and he flew straight up for a few seconds before laughing in her ear. "Hold on," he murmured into her bright red ear, and she tightened her grip on his arms like she was readying herself for a mission on the Blackbird. She screamed her delight as he plunged through the air and skimmed the ground, letting her feet dangle on the ground and leave a trail of uprooted grass in their wake. Immediately, he jerked them into the air, and his suddenness left her gasping for a moment. He laughed and their uneven laughter shook around them. It was better than being a child, she thought, but then he helped her do something amazing.

His arms had been locked around her waist, but she felt him loosen his left arm and keep her steady under his right forearm. He grasped her left arm, pulled it straight out for a moment to place his left hand under her armpit. She understood what he was doing then, and nodded once, excited. He tossed her slightly apart from him and into the air, and she found herself being held under both armpits. Then he threw her, for real, away from the comfort of his blastfield, into a small mist she realized in some distant part of her mind to be a cloud.

She was scared at first, being so high in the sky, but she knew when she was being tested. Her arms flung out into the sky the way she had seen Storm do so many times, her feet glued themselves at her ankles as she swan-dived, and as she fell faster towards the earth, she watched Sam blast far below her, spin around and speed towards her. It was exhilirating, knowing he was going to collide into her, and it was beautiful, the contrast of his searing light from his mutantcy against the autumn-dressed maple trees far below. She was so distracted by the flaming colors that when he collided into her, her breath was lost again.

Her arms had ended up around his neck, and he laughed. She realized he was having just as much fun as she was, and the thought pleased her so much she did something she had never done before, not even dared to imagine. He was holding her tightly, and speeding around again like before, but she closed her eyes tightly to concentrate on the rush around her body. Then she let her arms drop and slide under his armpits and upwards over his shoulder blades. He looked down at her then, but she was already set in her course.

His arms had loosened and she had irrationally thought he was going to drop her again, but she couldn't stop now. Even if she did, he would know what she had tried to do, so she pressed on without much thought beyond that justification. She pulled her face down and nuzzled the soft spot between his jawline and jugular. His entire body stiffened for a moment, and she was afraid he was offended, but she had to take this chance. She didn't care about anything else but the sweet smell of wheat she found so near to the ratted edge of his collar. She didn't have the guts to kiss his lips, or anywhere too near his face, for she didn't know it in so many words, but she didn't want to see the rejection she knew she would find if she looked up.

So she took a deep breath, and for a moment, and pressed her lips against his neck once, feeling the same way she had always felt when she had taken from part of humanity parts which she felt had stolen so much from her. She wanted more, so much more, but she took her moment and breathed the clean scent of a shirt he had said earlier belonged to his late father. She realized belatedly that she was holding him up now, and they were simply hanging in the air by his blastfield. Her overly muscled arms easily held his upper body close to her, and it occurred to her that she was doing all of this without his consent. He wasn't holding her in return, and she felt two emotions grasp her. Disappointment was a familiar friend, but the other feeling was rejection, and that was life. Her life, to be precise.

She became completely still for a moment, then abruptly wriggled to be released from him. She was ashamed of herself, but as she struggled, she found her forearms were trapped under his arms, which had suddenly come to life.

"No, please!.... I mean..., don't just push me away like that," he said earnestly, and he ducked down to try to look into her eyes, just to let her know he was being as honest as possible, but she couldn't dare look up for the moment. She berated herself for her cowardice, and she struggled harder in the sheltering emotion of anger.

"Sam, let me go!" she said fiercely as she kept her eyes glued on the fourth button of Grady Guthrie's old white cotton dress shirt, and she never saw the disappointment on Sam's face. She could have never known how common that emotion was becoming for Sam in regards to her, and he gently aquicsed to her as he dipped down to set them upon the grassy hill again.

She didn't have a doubt in her mind as she walked away quickly, her fists swinging in her stride. She was used to this part, walking away and cutting the emotion. Killing it dead. And this time, it was Sam who didn't know what to do. He was thoroughly confused, and he didn't realize his neck was wet from Sarah's lips until a breeze flew by and chilled his skin.