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[personal profile] elionwyr
"I've always wanted to join the circus."

Like any other besotted fan girl, I'd jumped at the opportunity to babble to the object of my affections. She probably just wanted to drink her coffee in silence. Instead, she smiled with no trace of exhaustion and invited me to join her.

She didn't have to ask me twice.

"So you enjoyed the show?" She smiled around the edges of her cup.

"Yes. Oh, yes. You were beautiful. Amazing. I can't imagine being able to do what you do."

"Oh. You could."

I couldn't look away from her. "No. I - really. I was never good at gymnastics."

"I could show you."

Have you ever had someone make you think anything is possible? In the face of her conviction, I almost believed I could master the trapeze. Which was ridiculous. Or just cruel.

I shrugged. "I'd rather hear about you. How did you get started?"

"Let me show you." Her hand snaked across the table, captured my unoccupied fingers. She was ridiculously strong beneath all that golden glowing skin.

She pulled me closer. And then she kissed me.

She tasted of sawdust and incense, of sweat and something bitter. I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe, I could do nothing but kiss her back; and when her lips released me, there was nothing left to discuss.

She took me back to the circus, back to the tent earlier filled with magic, now filled with stark white lights and litter. And now that I was breathing on my own again, doubt (or common sense) was making a reappearance. But curiosity and lust were the stronger emotions. So I let her pull me where she wished. Which happened to be towards the trapeze.

"Hands here." Wrapping my grip around the bar, she took my face into her hands and kissed me again. I barely felt the bar begin to move.

"Hold on tight," she murmured, slinking away.

"But I -"

An unseen force started to pull on the rope, and I was rising above the ground. Oh, I wanted to let go, but my hands were frozen into place, as if my body couldn't imagine obeying any voice but hers.

Three feet. Then five. Then just enough for me to start to fear the lack of a net beneath me.

And then there was no more time to think. Just scream.

The rope was suddenly spinning, snapping my head back, body flailing. I might have thrown up. I might have passed out. All I was aware of was the instinct to hold on, and to scream. We moved, the rope and I, like a badly designed bullwhip, cracking, rippling, thrashing, until every bone felt like rubber, until there was nothing left but pain, until the begging in my thoughts fell to silence. Hold on. Hold on.

It might have been minutes, or hours, or weeks, when the rope finally descended. She kicked the trapeze away from my hands and rolled me over. She studied my face, then smiled, and I felt an echoing smile stretch my mouth.

She stroked my legs. "Now there is no reason to be afraid. Nothing else will hurt you." She touched my hands. "Let me show you."

Impossible to rise. Yet I did, with that same sinuous motion I had noted in her earlier.

And as she led me to another trapeze and again put my hands upon the bar, as she helped me relearn how to keep my head balanced on my neck, as I looked around the tent at other spangled smiling people, I felt no fear of dying.

I felt no fear at all.
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