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”Something always brings me back to you. It never takes too long...”

From his office just off the corridor leading to the service bay, Christian heard the sound of two trucks pulling in and cutting their engines. Doors slammed open and voices shouting drifted down the corridor. Most of the voices were ones he recognized; Lieutenant McTavish and his Sergeant, Jamil Meecham.

“I don’t care that it was an order, Jamil. If I hadn’t ignored you, those therapods would have swarmed ‘Toff and torn him to shreds. Would you and McTavish rather be handling death notifications right now?”

An unfamiliar woman’s voice, clear and strong, had Christian giving up all pretense of working in favor of listening in on the argument.

“Given his family? Heaven forbid.” Meecham snapped sarcastically.

McTavish responded close on the sergeant’s heels, his tone was more conciliatory but at the same time, patronizing. “Look, Tash, I’m not saying we’re ungrateful, but you’ve got to follow orders. We can’t trust you in the field if you won’t listen and work with us.”

“For fuck’s sake, Lieutenant. What good is it to have a combat medic out in the field if the men die because they couldn’t get out of danger on their own? This isn’t some dreadful show on the telly. Being a woman doesn’t mean I’m going to stand back wringing my hands and waiting for you to shout ‘all’s clear’ before I attempt to reach an injured serviceman. Check my marksmanship ratings, sir. You’ll find I’m more than competent to protect myself. And if one of your men’s seriously wounded and incapable of defending himself, protecting him becomes my job too. Now if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got better things to do with my time. Like making sure Mister Worcester here doesn’t crash and burn before the MO on call can get here.”

The argument ended but Christian could hear someone groaning and a gurney being snapped up to height. He heard a string of muffled curses in a vaguely familiar language - Russian perhaps. Breathy and puffing like a bassoon, the injured man’s voice stuttered and moaned out it’s part in the concerto while the woman’s voice like a violin sung delicate and resonant over top. Accompanying them both, Meecham and McTavish were the viola and cello, their voices echoing as they came closer to the end of the service bay nearest Christian’s office where the cargo lifts were.

He hesitated for a moment before reaching over to slap the intercom on the wall.

“Jez, the on duty team just came back in and they’ve got a casualty.”

“I know,” she replied, voice tight with worry. “Sergeant Novotny said it’s fairly serious, she asked me to call in the MO while they were en-route. He should be here in another ten minutes.”

“Well it sounded like she’s got her hands full. Meecham & McTavish were holding running arguments with her down the corridor. You might want to ask Anderson or one of the captains to meet them at the med centre and get the lads to back the hell off so she can do her job.”

“Bloody arses. So nice of them to decide to pick a fight on her first shout,” Jez grumbled. “Thanks for the warning, Major. Fee and Mace are in a meeting with Colby right now. I’ll see if one of them can get free.”

~~oOOo~~

Intent on getting Trooper Worcester stabilized, Tash was only peripherally aware of the crackle of anger that was her new Captain’s presence as she pushed through the doors into the med centre. Just a few steps past her, she flinched in surprise when the woman's voice snapped out a sharp command.

“Out,” she ordered.

She froze momentarily before the sensation of focus not directed at her sunk in and she realizing the order had been addressed toward the two men following her. Sighing relief, Tash shoved the gurney forward the rest of the way, letting the doors swing shut behind her.

She worked mainly on reflexes, ingrained training making her do the right things while her mind was partly occupied with sensations not her own. Toff wasn’t thinking coherently any more, thoughts coming in disordered fragmented around the sharp shotgun crack of pain. Tearing open a sterile syringe packet, she plucked a sedative off the waiting tray, ran a quick calculation of body mass in her head, and drew the appropriate dose.

Checking the compression dressings she’d applied while still at the anomaly site, she swore quietly. He was losing blood faster than she was comfortable with. And where the hell is the new MO?

“Duty sergeant outside reports that he’s just arriving now.” Tash jumped, not realizing she’d even asked the question aloud much less that her Captain was there to answer. “I’ve an escort bringing him straight through.”

Nodding recognition of Captain Graham's words, she dismissed the more balanced presence of the officer for the jumbled panic of the injured serviceman lying before her. She could taste the man’s panic at the metallic tang of blood in his mouth. Urging his lips apart, she checked quickly and found that he’d bitten his tongue. It wasn’t much, but in his present haze, he was panicking because blood in the mouth reminded him of watching fellow soldiers bleed out from internal injuries. Talking softly, she explained the injury, deftly insinuating her own calm in place of the fear he’d been harboring.

Another presence, solid and tranquil like a deep lake, had Tash looking up into grey eyes as a second pair of surgical gloved hands joined her own.

“Run it down for me, Sergeant Novotny,” the other man requested calmly as he began checking the injured trooper over for himself.

Years of training and combat deployments far too recent for comfort quickly had her reciting the bare facts while she continued to remove pressure bandages and debride wounds.

“Trooper Christof Worcester, age 23, multiple moderate slash injuries, two ribs broken anterior and posterior and possible subarachnoid concussion. He’s received 0.07mg Midazolam for sedation. Due to the nature of the attack, all slash injuries should be treated for possible sepsis.”

Silver streaked curls bobbing gently, the medical officer nodded his acceptable of her report. “I assume you requested that I be called in to assess the severity of the head injury?”

Accepting the warm weight of his presence in the room, Tash bit back a harsh reply. Feeling territorial and defensive after her confrontation with Sergeant Meecham, that having their first meeting be under less than calm circumstances was no reason to go biting his head off.

“If you’d please, Major. I’ve got my hands full stopping blood loss but that head shouldn’t wait to be attended to.”

“As you say, Sergeant,” he agreed. “Can you get him stable quickly enough for x-rays?”

“Nearly there, sir,” she replied easily. “These pressure bandages should hold long enough for a round before I start getting him stitched up.”

Lips quirking up at one corner, the major offered her a wry little smile. “Sounds like a plan with a hat. Even wager that your stitching is faster and more accurate than mine?”

 

~~oOOo~~
“No matter what I say or do I'll still feel you here 'til the moment I'm gone. You hold me without touch. You keep me without chains. I never wanted anything so much -”

Singing along quietly, wrapped up in her task, Sergeant Tash Novotny worked away at her section of the reports from the most recent anomaly call. Thankfully there’d been no more major injuries and Trooper Worcester was continuing to recover nicely.

She jumped, startled when someone tapped her on the shoulder; a gentle intrusion.

Hesitancy, preoccupation, the image of a circus performer trying to juggle too many things.

Trying not to show how much the casual touch had unsettled her, she put a bland face on, pulled out her earphones, and turned to face her visitor.

Dark curly hair threaded with occasional strands of silver. Garrett, Major Byrne. Technically her OC. He was just settling in at TEAR and for the most part, Tash had yet to get a good feel for him. He seemed to be a kind man, but she knew perfectly well that appearances could be deceiving. At least he looked contrite for having startled her.

“Can you spare a few moments, Sergeant?”

“Of course, sir.”

Saving the report she’d been working on, Tash rose to follow him. Like Major Byrne her offer for transfer to TEAR had come as a surprise. After two consecutive tours, at the end of her previous turn in theatre Tash had fully expected to be assigned to MDHU Birmingham or Frimley Park, or perhaps an instructor’s post at one of the TA field hospitals.

Not yet back from Afghanistan, Tash had heard rumors and the odd bit of news from the wire reports at the time. Upon returning home, she’d disappeared into the wilderness of the Orkney Isles for three weeks decompression, not caring at the time whether the stories were true or not. While the time alone had done her good, returning to be drafted into TEAR had left Tash wishing she’d bothered to read those news stories far sooner.

Realizing they’d reached the main surgery while she’d been wool gathering, Tash looked up. Jamie Sorenson nodded a noncommittal greeting to her. Jamie had been at TEAR slightly longer than Tash as his team had been pulled in to deal with an anomaly at King’s Cross. Beside Jamie sat a second man in a wheelchair. Wavy light brown hair brushed his collar and full lips greeted her with a warm, inviting smile.

“Captain Graham informed me that you hadn't met Major Sayer, our quartermaster.” Garrett said by way of introduction. “Now that I’ve settled in, I was hoping we could pick your brains as to changes that should be made to our field kits to accommodate our erm, unique, mandate.”

Instinctively she walked up to the major and held out her hand.

“Sergeant Tash Novotny. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

His large firm hand wrapped around her own.

Warmth, humor, patience, determination, pain.

Suddenly Tash was breathless, falling with no harness or safety line to arrest her descent. She stumbled, left knee giving way and hip twisting like she’d tripped over something that wasn’t there.

The major’s grip remained strong and she regained her footing, a flush of embarrassment flooding her face. When she stood steady once more, he released her hand. She swallowed the sensation of loss and her need to feel him again.

“All right?” His eyes were warm with concern and her sense of sound briefly narrowed down to the low smoothness of whiskey tumbling into an empty glass.

“Fine, thank you. If you’ll excuse me, sir, I need to go check on Trooper Worcester.”

“By all means, Sergeant Novotná,” he said, sweeping one arm out in an offer to let her pass.

Moving past him as quickly as politeness would allow, she retreated, drawn onward by the comfortingly familiar sensation of Trooper Worcester and his aches. At least that was a pain she understood.

It wasn’t until she was checking and redressing ‘Toff’s wounds that she realized with a start that the major had done what no one else at TEAR knew enough to do; corrected her surname for gender. Continuing her task with mechanical precision, Tash’s mind drifted, caught in the puzzle presented by a fleeting touch and a single word from her native tongue.

She hummed softly to herself as she worked, anything to distract her from desire, a craving for skin that she knew she could never afford.

”Set me free, leave me be. I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity. Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I'm supposed to be. But you're on to me and all over me.”

The sound of wheels and a jangling discord playing across her nerves brought Tash up short from her own thoughts. Knowing who it would be, she made a show of bending over to check the bandaging across ‘Toff’s ribs as he slept, re-tucking the end though it hadn’t even been loose.

“A moment of your time, Sergeant?”

Trying to focus through the hive of bees, Tash blinked and shook her head in frustration. The fuzziness refused to clear. Inhaling deeply she fought to pull herself back from the brink of sensory overload.

When she finally straightened, Tash stiffened her back, pulling all her senses in tight and close like the body armour she wore in the field. She motioned away from her sleeping patient toward the other end of the hall where they could speak without disturbing anyone. Major Sayer nodded his acceptance and motioned for her to precede him. As she led the way, she forced herself to remember that he was an officer, out of reach and potentially dangerous if he caught an inkling of some of her less-than-conventional talents.

Moving into one of the vacant treatment rooms, she looked up to find Major Sayer watching her, his expression quixotic as he scrutinized her demeanor. Squaring her shoulders, Tash organized her thoughts as best she could around the echoing sensation of needles jabbing the backs of her legs.

“What can I do for you, Major Sayer?”

“I’ve spoken to Lance Corporal Sorenson, but I’d like to get your assessment of the medic kits as well if you have the time.”

Raking a hand through her hair, Tash tried to think around the echo of sensations not her own.

“Our standard issue kits are designed for gun-shot wounds and IED explosions. The call-outs I’ve attended thus far as well as my predecessor’s reports suggest I’m more likely to be treating open wounds, broken bones, poison, and shock. We need more Morphine, Epinephrine, and Adrenaline in these kits as well as cauterizing tools. If you’ll pardon my bluntness sir, I’ve got to keep a man alive till a civilian ambulance arrives, not wait for Bastion to send a helicopter.”

“No offense taken, after all I did I ask for your assessment, Sergeant. We’re never going to fit the mold they envisioned when the standard kits were compiled. While I’m still wrapping my head around the concept of dinosaurs in the twenty-first century, I’m acutely aware that your field situation is risky at best and lethal more often than not. Now, would it suit for me to assemble kits that could fit into vest pockets and a belt instead?”

“By preference, I’d rather not have anything that might get in the way of weapon use. We just can’t afford a hindrance in combat. It has to be compact enough that it won’t slow us down while dodging raptors. Having the kit won’t do our teams any good if we’re the most likely member to turn casualty. A daysack could do, but it needs to be smaller than the Medic-Bergens and fit a fairly broad range of body sizes.”

Tash smirked, thinking of how awkward Jamie would look in a pack built short enough to suit her frame. At barely five feet tall, she’d grown accustomed to feeling dwarfed by her predominantly male colleagues. She’d been in the military for so long, it was hard to remember a time when she wasn’t the shortest, didn’t have to subtly prove herself by working twice as hard. While not quite the same as being in one of the elite front line specialties, there was still a faint prejudice against women medics. But she’d learned; figured out how to use gravity to her advantage instead of brute strength and gained their respect.

Major Sayer studied her critically, eyes sweeping leisurely down the length of her body and back up to her face again. Ghosting through her mind, she could almost feel the warm caress of hands and it made her ache to lean into the insubstantial touch. As he met her gaze once more, his full lips quirked a little at one corner, part acknowledgement and part invitation. Tash found herself unconsciously taking a step forward, drawing closer to the man and the warm promise of no longer being alone.

About to take a second step, she froze. Get a hold of yourself, she admonished. He’s no different than any other man. If anything, this one’s even worse because he hurts. Constantly. Being with him would bring nothing but pain.

Stepping back deliberately, Tash shook her head minutely. In response, Major Sayer cocked his head to the side, a small crinkle of concern forming between his eyebrows.

“Have I offended you, Sergeant?”

“Yes. No. I -” she stammered and a flush crept up her cheeks.

He put his hands up, palms out in a placating gesture. The smile he offered was easy and loose and just a tad too bright.

“As you and Lance Corporal Sorenson are the only two medics on staff thus far, I was trying to get a gauge for how broad a variation in size I’ll need to accommodate with these packs. But yes, I admit that I was also admiring to a certain extent. I’m sorry, Sergeant Novotná. Please forgive me, that was rude.”

Without further conversation, he turned away from her and headed back toward the main surgery. She could feel the bitter quinine-like tang of disappointment. Tash’s eyes narrowed as she caught the undertone of accompanying emotion. She’d been right, damnit. His appraisal of her body had been meant as an invitation, but one from which he could easily excuse himself if she’d objected. Sensing a conflicting mixture of brash hope and cynicism, Tash was puzzled by the contradictions which the man represented.

~~oOOo~~

”You loved me 'cause I'm fragile. When I thought that I was strong. But you touch me for a little while and all my fragile strength is gone.

The sound of trucks pulling into the service bay and doors being slammed alerted Christian to the return of one of their SF teams. Their voices, too loud as the men filed past his office to the lift, let him know that the shout hadn’t been an easy one. Rolling his shoulders, Christian tried not to let himself tense up in anticipation.

“That damned thing was as big as the trucks and when it’s jaws -”

“I thought for sure it was going to tear right through -”

Every time the lads came back from a rough call it was always the same. They’d go get showered and changed, he’d begin cleaning up and restocking the truck, and when they came back again, they’d be all too eager to burn off their adrenaline by telling him all the gory details. They didn’t do it on purpose, but it was a slap in the face for him regardless. He’d been one of them once upon a time; braver than smart and convinced of his own immortality. He’d lost the privilege of that illusion to a roadside bomb. For the most part, he was accepting of his current life. But some days, when the lads were full of stories and smiles too wide, he couldn’t help but ache with wishing to be like them once more.

“God, Captain’s going to have me doing paperwork for days on this one. I hate it when they -”

“- don’t have to be the ones to go to hospital and ask them to sign the Official Secrets Act.”

“Did you see her? Practically in hysterics -”

Tapping out a few more notes on his tablet, Christian sighed relief as the voices abruptly cut short when the men stepped into the lift. Perhaps this time he’d give himself the leisure of waiting a little while before he started the tedious restocking process.

Half an hour later, Christian finally gave in to his own work ethic that would not allow him to let the task linger. Acknowledging the previous impulse as a childish one, he brushed his hair out of his eyes, slipped the tablet into its case, and balanced it on his lap as he traversed the short distance between his office and the service bay.

Easy things first; check to see that they haven’t made a mess of the interior.

Pulling his wheelchair along side the returned Hilux, Christian popped the door open, pushed himself up to balance briefly assisted by the door handle and frame so he could pull himself up onto the bench seat. Instincts he’d forgotten he possessed made him move just quickly enough to avoid the small fist which connected with the seat back. The hand in question pulled back quickly to cover a mouth formed into a tiny “o” of shock.

Blond hair slightly mussed, Sergeant Tash Novotny, looked completely mortified at what she’d done. “Oh god, I’m sorry, Major! They must have left me sleeping after we got back. I’m just going to -”

Seeing telltale clean streaks in the smudges on the woman’s face, Christian became worried. He reached across tentatively to stroke one hand down her arm in a gesture intended to be soothing.

“It was my fault for having surprised you. Look, the lads have gone up to shower, why don’t you stay for a bit? I need someone to walk me through what got used from the kit in the vehicles.”

Her expression crumpled and the previously fierce medic scrabbled away from him to the far side of the cab where she curled in on herself and began sobbing. Christian’s expression turned dark with anger as some of the earlier bits of conversation he’d overheard began to fit together. Careful not to move any closer, he spoke quietly hoping he could draw her out.

“Tell me, Tash, please?” He murmured.

Her head lifted and a pair of intensely uncertain green eyes met his for a moment before she looked away.

“I can’t. You don’t need to hear -”

“Look at me,” he gestured toward his mostly useless legs. “It’s not as if I don’t have first-hand experience in the horrors this world can dish out. I won’t break, promise.”

Seeing the hesitance and fear still written large across her face, Christian’s expression hardened. “Fine, you can be just like the rest of them then. Treat me like glass, like I couldn’t possibly have ever seen anything horrifying just because I spend all day stuck in an office now. Honestly, Sergeant, I’d hoped you of all people would know better than to make assumptions.”

Tash’s head snapped up and she was firing back angrily before she’d even considered the words coming out of her mouth.

“You don’t know. You can’t possibly know what it’s like when they die in your arms, inside your head. He was just some random bloke. Wrong time, wrong place. He didn’t deserve to get killed by those creatures any more than our own do but at least our lads know what they’re signing on for. This man? Not a clue. One minute he’s out shopping with his wife and kid and the next he’s bleeding out on the pavement. What consolation could I possibly offer to his wife when she’s going to have to raise that kid alone now? She’s falling to pieces in front of me and the best I can offer her is the equivalent to an emotional plaster. That’s what I have to deal with every day. People dying, hurting, mourning. And the men? They just come back here, grab a shower, act like nothing’s happened. They’ll go out to the pub when they get off shift. Throw a couple rounds of darts. And for them it’ll be as if nothing bad ever happened. Me? I don’t have that luxury. It’s in here,” she tapped her head hard with two fingers. “It’s all in here and it won’t leave and I can’t stop feeling that moment when he slipped away and -”

Tash dissolved once again, sobbing so hard she couldn’t get words out between the great gulping breaths of air. Christian watched uncertainly for a moment but seeing her crying was more than he could stand. She fought half-heartedly as he pulled her into his arms but he guided her head onto his shoulder with a firm hand as he murmured nonsense, rocking her gently to and fro. For a long moment she held herself so stiff that he was half afraid she’d shatter. Panic wriggled in and out of his head like a centipede and he cursed the lads for walking away from her.

Between the space of one breath and the next she went limp in his arms. If he’d had a moment to think, he might have been puzzled that the sense of panic vanished but Christian was too busy reaching for his comm to call in one of the other medics, afraid that she’d blacked out, or been hiding an injury. Another shuddering sob from her had him exhaling with relief as he realized she was alright, or at least as much as one could be in a situation like this.

“Shh. It’s alright Tash.”

“No, it’s not alright. He’s dead and it’s inside my head and I can’t make it stop!” Her hands reached into her hair, yanking and clawing frantically.

Reaching up he grasped her wrists, gently pulling her hands down between their bodies again where she couldn’t harm herself with them.

“You’re right; its not okay. Seeing someone die is never going to be okay. Or, it shouldn’t be, though as those idiots prove some people have learned to ignore or hide their natural reactions.”

Still sobbing, she shook her head violently. “But I can’t stop feeling it. And it hurts. And I don’t know -”

“Shhh,” he admonished. “You need to get a handle on this, or you’re going to work yourself up so badly that you pass out. Come on, you know this stuff. It’s simple biology. Just find something else to concentrate on for a little while. Something familiar and stable.”

She curled her hands into his uniform, and he could feel her working hard to get her breathing back under control. Wrapping his arms more closely around her, he pressed their bodies together. Hands splayed out across the back of her ribs, he took a couple slow deliberate breaths and waited to see if she’d fall into sync with him. Head buried in the crook of his shoulder, her body continued to twitch and shudder against his as she fought her way back into control.

Her breathing evened out, slowing down to match his own, and Christian became intensely aware of how close her lips were to the exposed skin of his collarbone and neck. Holding her felt better than it had any right to be. He knew that he should put some space between them, but damn if that wasn’t the last thing he wanted to do. She was limp, drained to exhaustion from crying and he couldn’t bring himself to move away.

”I live here on my knees as I try to make you see that you're everything I think I need here on the ground. You're neither friend nor foe though I can't seem to let you go. The one thing that I still know is that you're keeping me down.”

For a while, he just held her, his thumbs stroking idly across her back. Her hands, still curled into the fabric of his shirt, left him wishing they were touching his skin instead.

“Why do you hurt?” she asked in a small voice.

Christian looked down at her with confusion. “Come again?”

“You always hurt,” she said with certainty.

And she was right. Every day was accompanied by a host of discomforts, reminders of a broken body. But the pain had been part of his day to day life for so long that it’d become nothing but a hum of background noise. Thinking about it now though, he was puzzled by the question.

“How do you know that I hurt?” he asked, resting his cheek against the smooth sweep of her hair.

Tash’s body stiffened in his arms and suddenly odd pieces of what she’d said earlier fell into place, adding up to something that until a heartbeat ago Christian would have sworn to be relegated to the pages of sci fi novels.

“Answer me,” he demanded, refusing to let her go. “How do you know that I hurt?”

“I..I..I’m a medic,” she stuttered continuing to fidget within his embrace. “It’s my job to notice -”

“Granted intimate knowledge of people’s bodies is your job, but you’ve only just met me; there’s no way you know me well enough already to know something like that. So I’ll ask again, how do you know?”

Tash’s expression went dead neutral as she firmly but carefully disentangled herself from his grasp and reached behind her to pop the truck’s door open.

“You really don’t want me to answer that, Major.”

Grabbing her wrist, Christian pulled her hand close to him again, bringing it up to drop a feather-light kiss into her palm. As if in confirmation of his storybook wild suspicion, he felt the phantom of his touch echoed across his own skin.

“Stay,” he whispered, the word coming out as a command until he belatedly added, “please?”

“Let me go. This is a bad idea, sir. Whatever you might be thinking, you really don’t want to have this conversation with me.”

He released her wrist to reach up and brush the remaining tears off her eyelashes. “You may not want to have this conversation, Tash, but I know exactly what I want, thanks.”

A sudden heat not her own flashed through Tash’s body, singing in her blood, a craven siren’s call that matched her own. Helpless to deny its power, she fell head first into the sensation.

This time it was Tash who invaded Christian’s personal space, kissing him with a ferocity that magnified heated desire into an inferno. Christian returned the kiss with interest, desperately trying to retain enough control to pay attention to the live wire current of feedback inside his head that was telling him exactly how she liked to be touched and kissed. Eventually he broke off with a groan of frustration as his normally nimble fingers were thwarted by the presence of body armour under her jacket.

Burying her forehead in his chest, Tash was breathing raggedly again. “Have I mentioned that this is a really bad idea?”

The low resonance of Christian’s answering chuckle vibrated against her face. His fingers combed idly through the ends of her hair, blunt nails raking across the back of her neck in a gesture that kept Tash riding the edge between arousal and panic.

“If I’m right, you already know what’s inside my head. I will never intentionally hurt you. So what’s so bad about the possibility of exploring the way we feel about each other?”

“Aside from your rank seniority?” she asked.

“Yes,” he replied firmly. “We’re not even close to being within the same chain of command. There’s no way I’m going to let you use that as an excuse. Try again. What’s so bad about this?”

Looking up finally, Tash leveled him with a raw gaze.

“You hurt,” she said, as if that explained everything.

“Yes, I hurt,” Christian affirmed, teeth gritted as he clung stubbornly to the last of his rapidly shredding patience. “Every. Single. Fucking. Day. But you know what? Its better than the alternative. Because in my case, not hurting would mean having been paralyzed by that bomb. Or worse. So in a way, I’m thankful for the hurt. Its a reminder; my own personal center of gravity that let’s me know I’m still alive.”

“Gravity,” she echoed thoughtfully.

Christian nodded his assent. “An anchor to keep the proverbial ship from drifting into dangerous waters. Rather seems like you could use one of those.”

“Is that an offer, Major?” Tash asked shyly.

Gently smiling, Christian held out his hand.

“Would you accept the offer if it were?” He countered.

Palm to palm and fingers threaded together with his own, for the moment Tash’s hand in his was more than enough of an answer.

”You're on to me, on to me, and all over...Something always brings me back to you. It never takes too long.”