Chapter 7: Running to Stand Still

Opening this door shouldn't be difficult, but it is. I want him; that much is true. I would also enjoy not looking like a hot mess, but I guess that's out of my hands now.

I walk up the six small steps leading to my door, flick the lock open and slowly reveal his large frame. Neither of us says a word, locked in a staring contest. His breath is visible in the frosty air, so I move to the side quickly, letting him in to the small vestibule. I'm overwhelmed in the small space by the smell of him; clean and inviting. The fact that he hasn't thrown me against a wall and had his way with me in these quiet minutes means that he's more than a little pissed off. I would be too.

He prowls down into my living room, noting every little detail in his expressive brown eyes. I follow, arms crossed, holding myself together. Side bonus, it serves to hide that fact that I'm not wearing a bra. He's not taking off his coat, not settling down. He's just standing there beside my couch, so large in my space, glaring at the TV and the screaming future-brides within. I blush and quickly walk over and manually turn it off, the remote being just too close to him. I brush a lock of hair out of my face, fidgeting to distract myself from his presence.

"Dave and Alice send their regards," he says coldly, eyes piercing and full of anger. I wince at the unfamiliar tone, used to his warmth.

"I figured…" I mumble, not sure what else to day. What can I say? My cowardice apparently knows no bounds. A lion heart, I have not. Where did I leave that wine glass? Drat, it's on his side of the room.

"You knew. This whole time, you knew who I was." He states perfunctorily. I nod, despite it not being a question, not trusting my voice to say the right things. I never manage to do the right thing when Will's involved. "And I kept searching for you, like some chump."

"It was one night. You didn't even recognize me without my costume." I say softly, foot being firmly stuck in my mouth. "You took one look at the real me and just dismissed me without a second thought."

"Yeah, well, I'll never call Lois Lane an idiot again for not realizing Clark Kent is Superman. Glasses, hair and baggy-clothes compared to a superhero in skin-tight latex, apparently a good disguise."

"I can't help the way I look." I mumble to the floor, slightly miffed at the comparison.

He groans loudly, and I resist taking a small step backwards. "I like the way you look. I think if you remember, I more than enjoy what you've got going on, costume on or off." I feel my cheeks flush with embarrassment. My arms grow tighter around me, feet shuffling backwards. He grins wickedly at my obvious discomfort, eyes like daggers, before continuing on. "You could've tried not running away, telling me the truth from the get-go."

"I'm not good at this, Will."

"Obviously." He scoffs, and I can't help but glare in return. His arms are crossed, mirroring my defensive position. "I just stood there like some dumb-ass, spouting off all these things about finally finding you and wanting more." The venom just drips off of his words, guilt building within me with each syllable.

"I wasn't lying at the party. I'm messed up. I have douche-bag ex-boyfriend and emotional baggage the size of Texas."

"We all have baggage, Iris! Everyone has something in the past they'd like to forget. What I'm having a problem with is the fact that you knew! You knew this entire time exactly who I am, and who I was looking for."

"I know exactly what you were looking for." I reply angrily. My thoughts are just spewing out. I have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, just the words I've been holding in for months. "You were looking for the magical blonde-haired fairy that got drunk, went home with a guy in a Spock costume and had that one amazing night. I'm not that fairy. I'm a messed up girl, who before you had sex with exactly one guy. One." I put a harsh emphasis on my diatribe, my index finger extended at every syllable. I see him soften slightly at my admission before resuming his irate expression. "One guy, who after five years summarily dismissed me on my birthday with the girl who nicknamed me 'the fat cow' in elementary school, the same night he apparently was going to propose. Four days later I'm at a bar, in a dress I can barely breathe in, and you were there."

"So I was just some rebound that wouldn't stay in the past. A joke for you to laugh about with your friends. Someone you spent considerable effort hiding from at every opportunity." He sneers. "One fuck to forget your troubles."

"No." I murmur, shaking my head wildly.

"No?" He questions, a mocking lilt to his query.

"No." I repeat, stronger this time.

"Then what was it?"

"You made me feel wanted….worthy." I pause, trying to form a coherent sentence. I wrap my mind around the memories of that warm October night, letting the words loose. "You made me remember what it felt like to be looked at like the jackpot and not just some consolation prize. You made me learn how to feel again, feel anything other than numb. But I wasn't ready for more, so I left. It wouldn't have been fair to you to expect you to fix me."

"What about the party?"


"Were you fixed by the time I ran into you at the party?" He expands on his question through grinding teeth.

"Moderately mended."

"Then why keep running, Iris? Our best-friends have been dating for almost a month, and you still didn't come for me. Do you have any idea how it felt when Dave and Alice finally told me who you are? It took me ten minutes to get here. Ten minutes! Why do I keep chasing after you when obviously you want nothing to do with me?"

"I'm a coward okay! I run from everything, even things I want, especially things I want. Actually wanting something, truly needing someone, is scary as hell. I mean, you're great, I'm terrible. Everything about us and that night just feels so…so ineffable."

"You want me?"

"Of course I want you!" I bite back, arms moving in a wide, exasperated gesture. "You don't shove your tongue down the throat of someone that thoroughly if all you feel is indifference! Every goddamn time I'm around you it feels like all my nerves have been set on fire! One touch and my brain goes blank!"

"How do you think I feel? You're my fucking kryptonite!" He yells back, his cavalier attitude towards volume control making a startling reappearance. "The sound of your voice, even when I'm pissed as hell at you, gives me a raging hard-on!"

"I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, dreaming about you and your raging hard-on!"

"The thought of you, back in my bed, makes my brain revert to the fucking Stone Age!"

"Your smile makes my knees go weak! Do you have any idea how embarrassing that is!?" I scream walking towards him. My anger is taking command, the distance between us no longer needed to maintain control. There is no control anymore, no embarrassment, just loudly expressed emotions. "One little grin and my ass hits the fucking floor!"

"Good! If your ass is on the floor, you can't run!" He moves towards me, purposefully maintaining eye contact. He gives me one of those smiles, and I reach out for the couch to keep me standing. He continues, softer this time, "I think you're the kind of girl I could take home to meet my parents."

"What!?" I exclaim, confused by his sudden change in topic. We're only a few feet apart now, breaths heavy with anticipation. He grabs my hips, jerking me towards him. We're connected from our knees to our chests. Our hands respond to the closed distance, beginning to follow old patterns. He reaches out and tucks a stray lock of hair behind my ear with a tight-lipped smirk.

"You're smart, funny and sexy as hell. You laugh at my stupid jokes. According to Dave, you have a hell of a brain on you. And I want you, on no uncertain terms. I think you owe it, to me, to give us a real shot. No more running." He looms over me, daring me to resist. We both know I'm already caught in his net.

"No more running." I repeat quietly, more to myself than to Will. "What if we go up in flames?" I ask meekly, my hands spread across his jacket-clad chest.

"Iris, we're already on fire." He gives my heaving breasts a perfunctory glance and I blush accordingly. His soft lips are moving towards mine, but not closing those final few important inches. "May as well burn spectacularly."

We close the final gap between us, lips slamming together. And damn if he wasn't right. Together, we could make a supernova jealous.

I wake up in the dark, only a hint of moonlight peeking around my curtains. Exhausted and sated, I move to stretch my tired muscles but am curiously immobilized. I glance up at my wrists, finding them bound to my headboard with a couple of my scarves. I hear a soft chuckling from somewhere above me, and I turn to glare at the offending boy.

"What the hell, Will!?" I exclaim, trying to work my way free. He smirks at my nakedness, so exposed by his handiwork. I give a groan of frustration.

"I know you promised to stop with this silly running away thing. But I thought this might curb any latent impulses." He slides back into the bed, equally unclothed, and I can feel his excitement. Someone has evidently recovered from last night.

"We're in my apartment! How can I run away; if I'm already home!?" I struggle against the bindings around my wrists. His laughter, deep and unforced, only seems to anger me more. I glare at him, lying beside me.

"Iris, I have a strange feeling you can run away from anywhere. As long as you keep running back to me, I'm okay with it." He replies, his hands gently stroking my bare stomach. "But in the morning, I'm making waffles and I would prefer the company. Think of this as insurance." A series of light kisses down my neck, stop my struggles and I moan softly.

"Jerk," I say softly, my tone inferring exactly the opposite.

"Besides, I have some real questions for you. Like, why all the mini time machine replicas? Do you still have that blonde wig? Why do you keep a jar of peanut butter beside the bed, but no spoon?" His inane questions are punctuated with his lips meandering further downwards. His hands rove ever closer to my core.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" I respond, trying to ignore the heat building inside of me.

"Yes, I would. I really would. I want to know everything." His fingers have reached their destination and I tense in delicious anticipation. He looks back up at me, a smirk on his perfect lips. "Most of all, I want to know you."

I try to catch my breath, his words and actions affecting my every impulse. "That's frightening." I say breathily.

"And you?"

"Me what?"

"What do you want?" His actions have a slow and measured quality. For some stupid reason, I am drawn to this idiotic boy waging a war against all of my senses. He wants me to say it. He wants me to tell him to make me scream. He wants me to admit I need him in my life. Well if he wants to play it that way, I'll show him.

"I really want to set fire to those stupid Vulcan ears." I say huskily. I look at his dismayed expression through my eyelashes.

"What else?" He plants a light kiss on my belly-button and I moan appreciatively. I think back to a conversation from a few days prior before asking my next question.

"Did you really try to ride a shopping cart down the center of campus in first year?"

"Iris," he warns me with a growl. His fingers retreat, torturing me for my caginess. Oh god, what if he refuses to make me breakfast tomorrow, too? "What do you want?" He asks again, more insistently.

"You, Will. I want you." I answer. His toothy grin mirrors my own, and I know I'm in for an exciting new adventure.

"Good." He returns to his previous ministrations, adding his mouth to the mix. All that beautiful tension floods back and my mind goes somewhere new.

Screw waffles. Who needs them with a boy like him?

The End

A/N: So I know I said it'd be finished in March…but the HIMYM finale was on, and that sort of took precedent. BUT, as celebration for the fact that I've somehow successfully convinced the government to keep giving me money I don't have to pay back to stay in school, I finally finished the last chapter.

I hope you've enjoyed your brief sojourn in the weird and wacky world inside my head!

Stay classy folks!

-Sleepless but not in Seattle