The man asleep beside her is peaceful, his face more relaxed now than ever when he is awake. There always lingers that tension between his eyes, his fingers poised and ready for their next move. (With the exception of when they have sex, but it's tension of a different sort then, and she feels it too, thrumming through her.)

It is not like before, with him and his mercurial moods. He could fly off the handle at any time, twitching tensely. Anatoly's tension is different, repressed and hidden, aside from the slight tells she's learned over the last six months. Perhaps it is a Russian thing. She has never met anyone who can at once be so calm and so taut, bow strings ready to snap.

Something tenderly keening stirs in her heart, a desperation to take him and inhabit him and never part from him. Enfold herself around him so that she might melt into him. Gently, as gently as she can so as not to wake him from this sweet peace, she smooths back the strands of silver making themselves known at the edges of his dark hair, and presses a kiss high on his cheekbone. He sighs softly as she nuzzles into his throat, arm tightening around her waist.

Her dear Anatoly. She knows she should feel guilty over that, and she did once but not anymore. She will not permit herself to feel guilty over him, not when they are quiet like this, wrapped in each other. And she has never felt so safe.