The first time Chloe had to be patched up by Nadine was when she'd made a wrong move and fallen through a collapsed roof. She liked to think of herself as cautious and fairly reliable, though the occasional mishap was bound to occur. This was one of those mishaps.
Searing pain shot through Chloe's ribs as she attempted to sit up, Nadine hovering above her with a worried expression on her face. In actuality, Chloe saw two blurry versions of Nadine above her; she was still concussed, and squinted her eyes in an effort to realign her focus.
"How long was I out?" she said, placing her hand on Nadine's arm to steady herself as she got up from the rubble, head spinning.
"Just over half an hour," came Nadine's reply. Chloe noted her voice sounded almost shaky, as if she had truly been worried about her.
"Half an hour? Jesus," she pressed a hand to her forehead and winced, she was definitely going to feel this one for a while. Nadine must have noticed the pained look on her face because she leaned in closer to examine her head.
"You're cut," she determined, "And very concussed."
"I gathered," Chloe gave a slight laugh and held up her hands to show her partner; they were covered in blood. "There's two of you now, right?"
"Ja, there is," she joked, "I'll have to stitch up your forehead, where did you put the medical supplies?"
"Agh, somewhere in the jeep," Chloe said and Nadine's brow creased further with stress. Chloe smiled then, realising that her friend was actually concerned about her, "Nadine Ross, are you worried about me?"
Nadine only rolled her eyes, ignoring the question, and said: "Stay put, I'll be back with the first aid kit in a minute."
"Where else would I go?" she said.
"Just don't give yourself another concussion, Frazer."
"Wouldn't dream of it, Ross," she grinned, leaning herself against a wall for support once Nadine had turned to go and find the supplies to stitch her up.
The pain she was feeling in her head was almost bearable when she didn't think about it, or when she was thinking about — Chloe, she mentally scolded herself. Shit. Despite all of her best efforts, Chloe was unable to keep her mind off Nadine. She had been brushing it off as just friendly attraction for the past few days, but it had almost gone past the point of ignoring now. Yet for the life of her, she could not work out how Nadine felt.
Nadine returned then, somewhat breathless, brandishing a small tightly packed medical kit. She had managed to find it buried under all of the rubbish in Chloe's boot, by some miracle.
"See, no new concussions," Chloe said, pointing vaguely to her head.
"Right sit down, you need to be still for this," Nadine instructed, gesturing towards a place on the ground for her to sit and Chloe obliged.
"How still exactly?"
"Frazer, do you want me to poke your eye out with a needle?" said Nadine through gritted teeth, evidently coming to the end of her tether. Chloe shut up then, and braced herself for the sting of alcohol to be rubbed across her forehead, instead being met with the warm pad of Nadine's thumb.
"You know you're supposed to use alcohol, love," she said, peering up at Nadine.
"Great to see you've still got your painful sense of humour," she hummed, pursing her lips in concentration.
A second later, Nadine had swabbed her cut and Chloe bit her lip to keep from crying out. The rest was easy, she barely felt the needle piercing her skin as Nadine moved to close the wound quickly.
"Done," Nadine said, leaning back on her heels to examine her work. "And don't do that again, Chloe."
"You know, I didn't actually plan on falling through that roof?" Chloe got up from the ground and dusted the dirt off of the back of her jeans. "But seeing as you were so worried, I'll make a special effort in future not to, darling."
How did she put up with Chloe?
The second time Nadine had to tend to Chloe's wounds was an honest accident. Chloe had missed her landing, and as a result had rammed her chest into the side of a cliff, breaking and fracturing a couple of ribs in the process. She insisted that she was fine, but could barely manage to lift herself off the ground without help.
"Just a bruise, I'm fine, Nadine," she said, clenching her jaw when a jolt of pain shot through her chest as she tried to get up.
"You are not fine," Nadine said, "Let me see."
"You just want to see me shirtless."
"Just take your top off, Frazer. I need you mended so that we can continue this bloody mission," she skirted around what Chloe had said, cheeks growing warmer at the thought of seeing her without her shirt on.
"All right, all right," Chloe lifted her arms but immediately flinched in pain, lowering them back down again. There was no way she was going to get the shirt off by herself, considering the pain that she was in. Nadine pondered for a moment, brows pulled into a tight frown.
"I'm going to cut your shirt open," Nadine finally said, rummaging through their first aid kit for a pair of scissors to do the job. She heard Chloe laugh.
"If you wanted to see me naked so badly then you should have just said so," she said as the scissors sliced through the fabric of her top. Chloe had several big black and blue bruises along the left side of her ribcage, and upon further inspection, Nadine counted two broken ribs. They were lucky; the ribs could have punctured one of her lungs and the breaks weren't too bad either.
"Jesus, is now really the time for flirting?"
"And you've only just noticed that I've been flirting with you? You're slower than I thought," she teased. Nadine said nothing and started to bind her chest carefully with bandages, making an incredible effort not to let her eyes wander any further than the wounded area.
"And you're blushing," Chloe remarked, smiling inwardly to herself at the thought of making Nadine Ross, ex mercenary, flustered.
"And you need to stop injuring yourself like this."
"Come on, it's only happened twice so far, I'm not doing it on purpose," she said, innocently staring up at Nadine, "Though it really is adorable seeing you so worried about me."
"I'm worried because if you keep slowing us down, we may not get the tusk before Asav does," she lied.
The third time Chloe injured herself was not exactly an accident, per se. She didn't intend to hurt herself, though the level of damage could have been largely reduced had she reacted differently. She and Nadine had come into confrontation with some mercenaries from Shoreline and instead of taking cover, Chloe decided to run head first into the middle of things. Thus resulting in a very irritated Nadine.
"So did you try to get shot twice or was that an accident too?" she asked, referencing Chloe's ribcage injury from two days before while examining her arm.
"The bullets only grazed me," Chloe said, even though the bleeding appeared quite bad. Nadine ripped off some of her own shirt and tied it tightly above the wounds in Chloe's arm, making sure to apply enough pressure to stem the blood flow.
The truth of the matter was that Chloe enjoyed having Nadine patch her up, it was moments like this in which they were most intimate with each other; they had excuses to be close when she was injured. She knew it was no longer 'friendly attraction' as she'd put it previously.
Chloe was all too aware of how close Nadine was to her now; their legs pressed together, faces close, as Nadine's fingers touched her skin ever so slightly each time the bandage wove round her arm.
"I don't call this only a graze," Nadine said, biting down on her lip as she cut the bandages to size.
"Okay, maybe a bit more than a graze," Chloe admitted.
"You need to stop scaring me like this."
"Sweet to know you care so much about me," she said, earning an eye roll from her partner.
"Just don't go running at mercenaries anymore, ja?"
"There," Nadine said finally, wiping her forehead, yet still remaining closely positioned to her body.
"Thanks," Chloe was surprised to find herself actually thanking her, she had never done so before, and Nadine appeared to be shocked too. "Don't get used to it, sunshine, it's not every day I'll thank you."
"Next time I might just leave you there," she joked.
"You'd miss me too much," Chloe winked, causing Nadine to roll her eyes again.
"And what makes you think that?"
"The way you screamed when you saw me get shot."
"I did not scream," she huffed.
"It was definitely a scream," Chloe said, smirking at the fact that she made Nadine so defensive.
"In your dreams, Frazer."
The fourth time Chloe got hurt was unquestionably not an accident, though she wasn't exactly injured. She had bound her chest incorrectly that morning because she knew it would cause her mending ribs some irritation, thus providing her with an excuse to get Nadine's help again.
"Frazer, I'm starting to think you're getting injured on purpose," Nadine said once Chloe had complained to her about feeling a pain in her side.
"And what would give you that idea, love?" she said, and then breathed in shakily through gritted teeth when her ribs caused her more pain.
"Top off," Nadine ignored her question, she had to sort out the bandages on Chloe's chest.
"Mm, bossy," came her reply as she complied and lifted her shirt over her head, revealing very poorly wound bandages. "You haven't answered my question."
Ignoring her again, Nadine said: "Do you even know how to bind a wound?"
They both knew the answer was 'yes'. Chloe would not have been able to make it this far without knowing some simple skills needed when injury occured. However, she feigned innocence and shrugged.
"Guess I must have forgot."
Chloe was now undeniably head over heels for her partner, and despite being the smoothest person she knew, she could not seem to make any advances on Nadine. What could she say? She was thrown off by Nadine - the closest she had come was to have slightly suggestive conversations with her.
"Ouch," she said suddenly when Nadine tightened the bandages.
"If they're not tight they won't work."
After having finally fixed the mess Chloe had made of her bindings, Nadine got up and handed her shirt back over to her.
"You know, Frazer, if you're so attracted to me, you should just say so," and with that, Nadine was on her way, leaving behind a very dumbstruck, very red, Chloe.
The fifth and final time Chloe got 'injured' on their trip in India, was when they were climbing. She stumbled and 'hurt' her ankle, and then dramatically fake-limped over to a place where she could sit.
Nadine rushed over to where she was sitting, not even bothering to hide her worry anymore.
"Frazer, are you trying to give me a heart attack? This is the fifth time in just two weeks," she said, evidently frustrated that Chloe was somehow being so clumsy.
"What can I say, shit happens on the job."
"Are you able to walk?"
"I-uh, I don't think so," Chloe lied, faking a pained expression.
"Let me take a look at it," Nadine said, kneeling down to get closer to her partner.
"Ah, no need, it's probably just a sprain."
"I should look anyway, I don't need you making it worse," she said, and before Chloe could protest any further, she was rolling up the bottom of her jeans to inspect the damage.
After a few moments, Nadine frowned, "There's nothing here."
"Yeah, I know, just needed an excuse to get you close to me," Chloe smirked.
Nadine's eyebrows raised, "Are you coming onto me, Frazer?"
"If I was, would it work?"
"If you're going to do it, just get on with it and kiss me already, for Christ's sake, I've met men with more initiative than you—"
Chloe cut her off with a kiss. It was chaste, barely anything more than a peck, but she had to leave Nadine wanting more, right? Her lips were softer than she'd imagined, and the feeling of butterflies filled the pit of her stomach. God, it was so much better than she'd imagined. She leaned backwards then, breaking the kiss, and smiled smugly.
"Better?" she asked.
Nadine looked as if she were lost for words.