In the long slow hours of the morning, sounds are sharper. Breath shallower. A deep sigh slipped into the cracks of silence and the air gave way like a thunderclap. Daniel lay in the bed beside me and the soft bellows of his lungs pumped life in and out of him.

In the long. Slow. Mmm. I considered waking him, not only for the fire breathing just beneath the surface, but also for the indomnitable presence he places against the quiet. His kisses seared like napalm. His voice soothed like honey. The wanting him was louder than cloudburst - his eyes opened as his body felt my eyes burning him.

In the long. In the longing. In the long, slow longing hours. He pulled me to him and the silence was broken, punctured by the deafening roar of blood pumping through my veins. A cartographer of sorts, Daniel had mapped me out and knew exactly where to touch to blind me to everything but the right now and right here. Lips on my lips on my cheek on my neck on my back on my breasts on my skin on my oh my oh my.

And for a fractured moment, I was blind and deaf and stiff and slowly, gently returning back to the long to the slow oh won't my heart ever slow?

"Grace." Husky whisper snapped like a firecracker in the room.

"Yes..." I murmured into his neck, halfway in the arms of sleep.

"Why is it always four a.m. when you get these urges to wake me? Not that I'm complaining..." The tone was amused. He tugged gently at my earlobe; an absent gesture, a loving habit.

"I don't know. The quiet of the hour unnerves me, I guess." I feathered my eyelashes against his neck, hoping to produce a chuckle but mearely getting a smirk as I said, "You can almost hear yourself blink."

"I suppose if you were listening for it, you could..." He shifted and pulled back a little so that he could see my face. "Now tell me true."

"I meant it about the silence. It feels like a great big empty that needs filling right the hell now." He raised an eyebrow at that but said nothing for a moment. Just stared.

"And sex is the only way to do that?" He finally asked, gently tweaking my nose.

"Well, no, but it seemed like the best option that lay before me..." I couldn't really articulate how it felt: To touch and be touched in the silent hours. Half-awake, half-dreaming, things felt stronger, better, more. Words weren't necessary. Movement was fluid and in tune.

His look said he understood. He pulled me closer again and locked his arms around me. I felt his breath on my neck and noted the gradually slowing pace of his heart.

Slowly he pulled me along with him, down down into the stillness of sleep. Where I could drift and dream until the day broke and the silence with it.

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