They were a stream. When the weather was pleasant and calm, they were a sight to behold. Ripples that kissed the edge of the banks, a bountiful habitat in which only beautiful things could spring from. A life source in which others could source from. They were a stream. Annika was the water, Sydney was the ground. Together they were one flowing entity. Easy as a sigh. As floating. But when the weather was rough they were something entirely different. No longer did the water mould itself. The ground - previously malleable and accommodating - became cold and unyielding. Now that was just as easy as sinking. Balance was a difficult thing with such unpredictable elements. A near impossible thing with such devious outside factors. Destruction only followed when one of them was pushed too far.
Who has the right to make anyone feel like this? Sydney thought bitterly, ever the lover of being in control. It was her body, her emotions, her life. How dare Annika ruin this for her? She had tried damn it, she had done everything right. She was patient and caring and loving. What - what on Earth had stupid Beak Nose Valleres done wrong this time?! Sydney sent a vicious glare at the other girl, hoping - no - wishing that she received a flinch in return. Because at least then she would know that Annika was feeling even a little remorse or guilt. Her anger left her with a shudder, as she gazed at the aching gap between them. The distance always had an effect on her, she couldn’t help it. To breathe, Sydney had to feel. So many times she despised the girl before her, because she could hardly breathe any of the time they were together. Then again, that was for an entirely different reason, wasn’t it?
Her hands itched to reach across the empty, dark, hard space between them. It was incredible how old she felt. Was this how relationships were - well, almost relationships - did they age you? Leave you feeling frail and brittle. There was no denying that when Sydney imagine growing old, she had a senile Annika snapping at her heels with her toothless gums and ever quick wit. But they had already grown old. They were already bitter and resentful. They had lost the youth, the energy, the boundless hope that shrouded them in a mist of baneful, beautiful naivety. Seeing the crystal in all it’s clarity wasn’t nearly as rewarding as one might think. Why - or more appropriately - how did this happen?
Fear. It’s the most deadly of diseases. It’s fast acting and devastating. Leaves the victim paralyzed and useless. It clouds good judgement. Makes a strong-willed person as brave as a sack of used socks. Yes, it made you run faster. But more often than not, straight into the jaws of the rabid dog you were trying to escape from in the first place. “Don’t speak.” Her voice was horse, from repressed tears or wrath, who knew? “For once your words are not going to get you out of this, Annika.” She was trying, God, was she trying. How far could one bend before one broke? How hard could a rock be hit by a wave before it cracked? “No more running, I’m tired of it. Running half way across a country, to the other side of campus, to the God damn bathroom.” Pulling her legs in tighter to her chest, Syd rested her cheek against her knee, sliding her fingers through her hair for a moment. A trick her mother used to calm her. “I’m tired. Of this, of us fighting and flighting. I - I can’t… I’m tired.”
With a sharp pain Sydney realised that Annika’s presence now, once she had returned, was something much more oppressive and dominating. Instead of bathing her gently in her cool embrace, she was slowly being pulled under a torrent of waves and struggled to find the surface. They were a stream. Most of the time.
The air was bitter, permeated by the statement that Sydney had just made, and it was all Annie could do to keep her mouth shut against it. The architect had worked hard to bring herself out here, and even harder to grind out the words that, at least to her own mind, were an admission of how much she felt for the girl. Of why she was afraid. Didn’t Sydney know that she was essential to her existence now? Annie, who had forcibly forged herself into a machine that ran with no outside source of power? Ever the self sufficient one, thanks to Sydney, there was now….there were parts,alright? There was assembly required. She no longer worked without the girl before her. But once Sydney was on a roll, she was on a roll, and Annie should not have even for a moment expected acknowledgement for her small triumphs. Too much wrong had been done, clearly.
Annika was all set and prepared to run into guilt mode, to backtrack over her words and apologize for anything she might have said wrong, to engage Sydney in whatever her worries might have been. Because that was the way they’d always done it. It only took a moment, though, of Sydney saying that /she/ was tired, and that /she/ had grown weary of the running that Annie realized the gravity of her own words, of what she’d just told Sydney. She’d told her, in so many words, that she could not live without her now, and it scared her, and /that/ was the response she received? Her apprehension redoubled, Annie exhaled roughly and shook her head, hunching over in her seat to put her face in her hands. She was going to lose her before she’d ever had her, what was the point in trying? And without being able to speak, Annie didn’t know what to do to respond to her. She felt helpless, emotions battering against her insides for some sort of release that she would not allow to come. “What do you want me-” Nope, that was speaking. That wasn’t allowed. Especially not now, when Sydney had selfishly thrown out statements that just begged to be corrected. She was making blanket accusations that she knew, if Annie were allowed to speak, would be instantly negated. Annika’s muscles tensed uncomfortably just re-running it through her mind. Because she’d run /first/. Further than just across the country. And it wasn’t fair that Sydney got to turn this around on her after that. For once, she wanted to be the less mature of the two of them, to stomp her feet and say ‘damn it, you started it’. But for some reason, she felt bound by Sydney’s not so gentle commands.
She was this girl’s bitch, that was obvious. And perhaps Zeke had been right, maybe it was time to make herself Sydney’s something else on top of that.
There was no indication, at least not to herself, that Annie was in control of this situation. No connect to see who really held the higher status.So when she finally did look up and stand, movements slow and sure and solid and completely fucking terrified- when she sat next to her love and pulled gently at the brunette’s legs, she did so fearfully. She pulled her around so that they faced each other, and Sydney was untangled from the knot she’d wound herself and her feelings up in. It seemed confident, sure. But Annie didn’t do so with anything other than a righteous sense of fear for what might happen if she moved the wrong way. Reasons, not the least of which included that she had no idea what she was about to say.
With her left hand still down at her side, thumb tracing lazy patterns on Sydney’s thigh, Annie brought up her right to cup the smaller girl’s cheek. Her brow furrowed, just enough, and she was all but trying to read her mind - the way she searched her eyes for what to say. “You’ don’t des-” no, that wasn’t right. She wasn’t supposed to talk, was she? Annie took heed of the earlier request and leaned forward to capture her lips briefly, pulling away almost as soon as they’d connected to take in her eyes again. Really, she was at a loss. She couldn’t apologize, she was equal parts confused and not sorry at all. But Annie agreed that she didn’t want to fight anymore.
The words that finally made their way out were…at best, off subject. At worst, they were an implication of something she wasn’t ready for, but it was all she had. It was all Annie could think of to want or request. “…Stay with me?” she pleaded softly, completely resolute and utterly confused.