Wed, 28 Oct 1998
"Sandi Bowser"
Place Your Hand: 3/5

[Warning: NC-17 Graphic Sexual Situations]

Place Your Hand



' are we going to talk about?' Doug asked cautiously as Rahne pulled him into one of the storage rooms Moira had set aside years before, filled with old furniture and several odds and ends that had been collected over the years since. He had a funny feeling it had to do with the talk Moira had cornered him for in the lab earlier that day.

'Well,' Rahne started, not quite sure what to say. She had started to rehearse out in her mind earlier in her room what she was going to say to him, but now that they were alone together, she couldn't remember a word of it. 'Och, A dinnae even ken where tae start,' she admitted, sitting down on a sheet-covered couch, bringing up a cloud of dust. She started sneezing uncontrollably and finally stopped, looking up at him sheepishly.

'Maybe we should talk about what happened earlier in the kitchen,' he told her decisively, sitting down next to her as gently as possible to avoid another sneezing fit. 'I guess I probably shouldn't have said what I did the way I did, but it just slipped out. I'm really sorry I made you cry, because that wasn't what I wanted to do.'

'Nae,' she told him with a shake of her head. 'Ye needed tae say et like tha', or A wouldnae have gotten et. A should have remembered from the kiss ye gave me before A left, but A thought tha' was jus' sometheng ye did tae make me feel better. A dinnae thenk tha' ye cared a' all.'

Doug blushed gold again. 'I sort of thought the same thing,' he admitted. 'I've come to understand that sometimes people do things spontaneously without considering any form of consequence...I guess I sort of figured...I mean, I meant it, but...'

'But ye dinnae ken if A did,' Rahne finished for him, looking down. 'A dinnae either, until A thought about et later, on the plane. A liked et; A liked et a lot an' at first, A wondered if A was supposed tae; ef there was sometheng wrong wi' likin' et sae much. A havenae felt like tha' for a verra long time about someone an' A guess et scared me, sae A dinnae thenk about et.'

Doug stopped and processed that information, trying to make sense of it. Before he could stop himself, once again, his mouth ran away with him. 'What about earlier in the kitchen, today? I'm pretty positive that you must have gotten some form of enjoyment out of it, but...' He trailed off, even more embarrassed than he'd been earlier and was strangely afraid of finishing the question; and of what her answer would be if he had finished it. But before he could say anything else, he realized that she was already answering him.

'Aye, Douggie, A meant et,' she whispered, looking down at her hands, which were suddenly wrestling with each other to convey her own nervousness. 'A' first, A jus' felt like doin' et, an' A dinnae ken why. But then et...changed an' A realized tha' et was sometheng A wanted verra badly. An' A realized tha' et was sometheng A had wanted tae do again for a verra long time; A jus' dinnae ken how tae do et.'

'Query?' he asked sheepishly, knowing it probably wasn't the best of times to ask, but he was thoroughly confused and wanted to get some sort of understanding. 'Why did you want to? You were so angry with me, you said you hated me...I don't quite understand how that computes.'

'Och, Douggie,' Rahne sighed, looking at him with sad eyes. 'A dinnae mean et when A said A hated ye. A was scared an' confused an' all A ken was tha' Mummy was goin' tae die. A dinnae mean tha' A really hated ye. Ye're my friend an' ye were always kind and sweet tae me. Ye helped Mummy sae much an' she trusts ye...a' first, A thenk A may have been a bit...jealous of ye for tha'. The fact tha' she spent sae much time with ye, but A ken tha's because ye're her assistant. An' A wanted tae kiss ye again, because A wasnae afraid tae do et; A ken tha' ye wouldnae do anytheng tha' A dinnae want ye tae do. Ye made me feel safe an' protected when ye held me like tha '...' She trailed off, blushing furiously. How was she supposed to explain the way she felt? *How am I supposed to tell him that I think I love him?* she questioned herself.

Douglock had to stop once again to consider what she'd just said to him. It was evident that she saw him as someone she trusted and cared for, but he wasn't sure if that meant that she felt the same way about him as he felt about her. He was pleasantly surprised to find that she felt his presence comforting and that she knew for a fact that he would never hurt her, which he had always hoped she would understand. 'I...really make you feel like that?' he asked softly, scrutinizing her for a reaction to his question.

She nodded and impulsively leaned against him, closing her eyes as her head rested itself on his shoulder. Douglock was someone she always knew would be there; consistent and protective. It made her so happy to know that he was there now, when her mind and heart were racing at a million miles a minute, but that he would be content to be patient with her, unlike so many other boys she'd known in her life. It was a wonderful feeling. 'Aye,' she told him, reaching over to tentatively lace her fingers through his. Much to her delight, he reciprocated the action with one hand, while carefully raising his other arm to place it around her shoulders. She smiled and couldn't stop her own free arm from snaking around his waist, pulling the both of them closer to each other. 'Ye make me feel like A'm the most beautiful person in the world.'

She felt a bit disappointed when he let go of her hand, but was greeted to a small shock when she felt that hand brush against her cheek, just once, very gently. She felt his fingers trail down to her chin and she felt him tilt her head upward, so she was looking him right in the eyes. She didn't know what to think or feel when she saw so much love and patience there, but the bit of sadness that was unmistakable sent a pang straight to her heart. 'Rahne, you are beautiful,' he told her earnestly. 'I have to wonder why it is that you don't see that. You're far prettier than most women that men seem to deem attractive as far as your physical appearance is concerned and you have the most wonderful, caring and kind personality, which only makes you all the more beautiful to me.'

Rahne blushed furiously and looked away before shaking her head slightly. 'But tha's only when A look like a human girl, esn't et?' She hadn't wanted to ask the question, but she was still so ashamed of the way she looked when she was in wolf-form, or even in her half-form, which had originally been the cause of a witch hunt by the Reverend Craig, who had wanted her killed as a demon spawn. Moira had always said she was a pretty girl, but she had always thought that was out of obligation as a mother; what parent wouldn't tell their child that they were beautiful? But the subject of her lupine form had never arisen in all the conversations they'd had for that very reason. Of course Moira would tell her she was still pretty like that; her mother wouldn't dare hurt her feelings like that, no matter how honest she was.

'No,' her told her honestly. 'It's not just when you look like this. Have you ever really looked at how beautiful everything in nature really is? I bet Meggan would tell you the same thing and not just because she sees everything in nature as a beautiful thing, but because there's something that will never change, and that's who you really are, no matter what you look like. I think you look very breathtaking as a wolf. Especially when you go outside late at night and you stand at the cliffs, looking out over the ocean; that is something that I never get tired of looking at, although I suppose you'll be angry with me for looking in the first place.'

'A...' Rahne's voice trailed off. She hadn't even known that anyone had observed her like that. She mostly only did it when she couldn't sleep and she didn't think anyone was awake to see her. It was at those times when she felt so unencumbered and part of everything on the island and the whole world. It was something that she had learned from Meggan, just in the way the blonde woman talked, the way her eyes lit up when she spoke of how free she felt when there wasn't the need for relying on the wonders of modern technology (although Rahne had a sneaking suspicion that Meggan didn't include the television as something that could be done without). She smiled at that thought, but Douglock's voice broke her out of her thoughts when he continued his soliloquy to her.

'And I still think you look beautiful when you adopt your lupine form, as well. It's a perfect mix of the wild beauty of the wolf and the way you look right now,' he continued. 'No matter what form you're in, I think you' re perfect. Perfect and very beautiful.' With that, he raised her head again and bent down, kissing her very gently.

'And that's why I love you,' he added after the kiss had finished. There. He'd said it. He wasn't sure what she'd do about it, but he hoped that she wouldn't be mad at him for saying it. After all, it was an emotion he hadn' t really had a chance to study in depth, and he hadn't really experienced it before, but there was no other way t describe how he felt; the way that his circuitry tingled every time she walked into a room, the way he couldn't stop looking at her, especially when he thought she wasn't looking, how upset and utterly lonely he'd felt not only when she'd locked herself in the chamber with Moira, but even when she'd gone back to the states that time to visit her old team members in X-Force. How he felt so incomplete when she wasn't there, but the moment she walked in or her heard her voice, that feeling vanished instantly. He wanted to tell her all that, but the words just couldn't quite form into the phrases he wanted. A moment later, he realized that the description wasn't at all necessary.

'I love you, too, Douggie,' she whispered, her eyes shining with tears. Before she could start crying again, however, she wrapped her arms around his neck once more and kissed him hard. He made a slightly shocked (although muffled) exclamation as the force of her kiss knocked them both back on the couch, blowing up an enormous cloud of dust as he landed on his back, Rahne directly on top of him. She suddenly ended the kiss and sat up, sneezing all over again, only this time, he joined her in the fit.

After a good long while of sneezing and coughing, they looked at each other sheepishly. She could see the little grin start to creep across his face, which sent her into a bout of giggles. She helplessly collapsed against him, trying to catch her breath, hoping that she wouldn't start sneezing all over again and shortly after that, he wrapped his arms around her and joined her in the slightly embarrassed laughter. 'Och, Douggie, A'm sorrae,' she giggled into his chest as she felt his arms tighten around her.

'I'm not,' he told her with a chuckle, pulling her up to give her another kiss.

'Ye're horrible!' she scolded, giggling all over again.

'There you go again...' he teased lightly. After a long moment of just being content to cuddle with one another, he brought up the question they were both thinking. 'So...what happens now?'