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☬ ❡une ℂarter ℂash ([personal profile] inglouriously) wrote2016-06-28 12:32 pm

after the dust settles | for megan

Rebuilding a life in the aftermath of everything is difficult in thought, and even more so in practice. Porrim learns this the hard way when, after the downfall of the Capitol, the economy ceases to exist. All her Assi, millions of numbers stored away in a digital account in the ether of the Capitol’s networks, gone, or rather obsolete. For the first time in her life, Porrim Maryam is penniless, familyless. Her father was shot by rebel forces, her mother and sister killed in a bombing.

For the first time, she’s alone. Even among the other survivors, she doesn’t fit. She never struggled in her life before this war, and most of her fellow soldiers still mistrust her. Still stare, still whisper behind her back.

The only one who doesn’t, it seems like, is Nick.

She’d never really considered that maybe he was serious about sticking around, sticking together after the war. She figured maybe he would fuck off somewhere else. Not his home; that place is even more fucked than Panem, from what she understands. But that he’d go off and do his own thing.

Not this. She didn’t expect this.

Her apartment was spared in all the bombing and shooting, somehow; she stays there for now out of a lack of anything better to do, and Nick stays, she supposes out of the same reason. They love each other; it’s not a question of that. It’s a question of whether or not they’re good for each other.

She’s a smart woman; she’s never needed to rely on her looks or her body to get by. She’s the daughter of a scientist; she had plenty of education. She finds work, just for now, helping the new government build up its tech, and that pays her enough to get by. Nick…he does what he does. She’s learned it’s better not to ask, if she doesn’t want to hear the dirty truth.

Porrim comes home late from the lab, exhausted, her hair pulled back, lab coat still hanging from her shoulders. She didn’t bother taking it off before she left, and doesn’t bother until she’s standing in the middle of her sitting room; she lets it drop to the floor, toes off her shoes, drops her bag on a chair. It’s late; her hours seem to grow longer by the day, and often she doesn’t finish until well after midnight. When she crawls into bed next to Nick, teeth hastily brushed and her clothes stripped off, she doesn’t bother trying to sneak. He’s already awake, eyes sleepy but watchful from where he’s curled up in her big king-sized bed.

“Hey,” she breathes, sliding in next to him, brushing lips against his forehead.

“Hey yourself,” he says, voice a little thick with sleep, and wraps a big arm around her. She’s thinner than she used to be, but harder too—less lush curves and more lean muscle, something she’s had time to make peace with. Porrim curls into his side, letting herself be pulled close into his warmth, and hums into his shoulder. “Have a nice day?” It’s more of a pleasantry than a real question, but she’s glad when he nods into the side of her head anyway.

She doesn’t mean to start a conversation, really; it’s been at the back of her mind for days, and she’d be content to keep it that way, except his fingers brush over the scars on her stomach, the ones where Thirteen’s doctors had removed sacred parts of her to save her life. It makes her think for the thousandth time how much differently her life has gone from the way she’d always imagined it, and her hand moves to cover his hand, not to pull it away but to keep it there.

“You still okay with what we talked about before?” she asks, before she can hold herself back. “With maybe—staying together? Marrying me?”

He’s silent for just a moment, before he makes a sound that Porrim is startled to realize is laughter; she pulls back her head in confusion. “Sweetheart,” he chuckles, “for one of the most gorgeous-looking girls I’ve seen, you sure have low self-esteem.”

Porrim purses her lips, shoving at his shoulder. “Shut up. I don’t want to make assumptions, alright? People change…maybe you were just talking out of your ass.” Maybe he was just saying what she wanted to hear. It happens. She’s prepared herself for that possibility.

He surprises her by flipping her back onto the pillow, framing her shoulders with his arms, smirking down at her. “Give me some credit,” he says. “I might be a piece of shit, but I don’t mince words. I wouldn’t have said all that shit if I hadn’t meant it.”

She stares up at him with wide, disbelieving eyes. “You know I can’t ever give you smug little kids, right?”

Nick snorts, leaning on one arm so he can trace a thumb across the scar on her stomach again. “Yeah, I’m well aware. I don’t want anyone but you calling me ‘daddy’ anyway, sugar.”

Porrim makes an indignant noise, trying and failing to squirm out from underneath him. She might be strong, but he’s got her in size. “You’re disgusting.”

“Love you too, cupcake,” he chuckles, leaning down to kiss her again. “And yeah. Let’s do it right.”

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