Tulip woke with a start and her stomach lurching. The dream was the more or less the same every time, it was just a matter of when it ended. Sometimes, she’d wake up while the Saint still had her around the throat, not squeezing, just holding with a vice-like grip. Sometimes it didn’t end until she felt a bullet rip through her, making her wake with the sound of a gunshot still echoing in her ears. This time, she woke at the sick splatting sound of Cassidy’s fingers hitting the floor.
“You alright, love?” a concerned, familiar voice said, as its owner’s hand came to rest on Tulip’s arm.
“Yeah, I’m fine, Cassidy,” she assured, looking down at the hand, all fingers intact, “Just nodded off for a bit, is all.”
Cassidy smiled just a bit, in that way he always smiled at Tulip, like he was pleasantly surprised he was allowed to do so. It made him look young enough that he’d have a right to fall in love as fast and hard as he did. “You were out for nearly a half hour this time,” he said, squeezing Tulip’s arm gently, before realizing she was still looking at it and taking his hand away, “Thought maybe I’d let you rest a bit longer… You had the dream again, huh?”
Once Cassidy’s hand was gone, her eyes followed it, eyes still locked on his fingers until they left her line of vision and she looked up at his face, seeing the concern there. “Yeah,” she admitted, knowing it’d be no use lying, not to Cassidy. Cassidy, who was sitting right next to her, who kept asking her if she was alright, who had saved her that day when Jesse was just a moment too late. “I had the dream again.”
“I’m sorry,” Cassidy murmured, genuinely, like he felt responsible for the horrors Tulip relived when she fell asleep. He hid his hands then, crossing his arms, as if the sight of them was hard for her, rather than the opposite case.
Tulip shook her head, reaching out to grab Cassidy’s hands, to his obvious surprise. “Ain’t your fault, Cassidy,” she said, pulling his hands in front of him and looking down at his fingers, running her thumb over the spot where the cavalry sword had sliced clean through flesh and bone, “Not your fault at all.” She took her time to look at them, marveling at how there wasn’t a single scar or mark to indicate they’d ever been gone at all.
“I’m still sorry anyway,” Cassidy hummed, letting Tulip take his hands and examine them for a moment before saying anything more. “They’re really there,” he chuckled after a moment, almost amused, taking one hand from her grip and wiggling his fingers.
That got a laugh out of Tulip, although it was a small one. It was easy enough to see that it made Cassidy happy nonetheless, a genuine smile spreading across his face. The one that had formed across Tulip’s fell a bit after a moment as she took his hands again. “Did it hurt?”
The silence of Cassidy considering the answer stretched out for a moment. “Aye,” he finally settled on saying, and Tulip could tell it was the truth, “Not bad, been through a lot worse. But it did.”
“I’m sorry,” Tulip said softly, squeezing Cassidy’s hands gently.
It was Cassidy’s turn to shake his head, looking down at his and Tulip’s hands then back up to her face, “Don’t be. There was no harm done, really, and it wasn’t your fault anyway.”
“You still got hurt, Cassidy,” she said, keeping her eyes glued to Cassidy’s hands in hers, equally to remind herself they were there and whole and because she didn’t think she could take looking at Cassidy’s face right then, “You got hurt saving me.”
Slowly, Cassidy took one of his hands from Tulip again, sliding it up her arm slowly and then cupping her jaw, gently turning her attention upward so she had to look at him. “Being down a few fingers for a bit is a more than fair trade for one Tulip O’Hare,” he teased, before letting his voice go soft and genuine, “It was worth it, love.”
Tulip had never relied on what others thought of her to measure her worth. She knew who she was and what she could do and that it didn’t matter what value anyone else placed on her. Her mama had taught her that, and it was a damn good thing, too, because if she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have gotten near so far in life. People were idiots, and mean, and both sometimes, and there were far too many of them who, until she forced them to do otherwise, didn’t treat Tulip like she was worth anything. Then, there was Cassidy. He was definitely an idiot. But he thought Tulip was worth saving, and Tulip didn’t know what to do with that. For what it was worth, Tulip was an idiot, too, and she didn’t even know what she was doing until her lips were on Cassidy’s, her hands finding both of his again and holding them tight.
Cassidy returned the kiss without hesitation, letting it continue and deepen at the pace Tulip set, until Tulip moved to straddle his lap. “Whoa,” he finally said then, leaning back to break the kiss and freeing a hand again, cupping Tulip’s jaw again to keep her from trying to reconnect their lips. “What are you doing?” he asked, trying to catch his breath.
“Kissing you,” Tulip replied simply, already trying to lean in again.
“Yeah, I got that, believe me, I got that,” Cassidy chuckled lightly, “But why?”
Tulip had to pause at that, taking a moment to think and try to sort out what was going on in her head, what drove her to do this. “...Because you're worth it,” she finally settled on saying softly.
That made Cassidy pause again, frowning just a bit and keeping Tulip’s gaze on him. “I ain’t no knight in shining armor, Tulip,” he said firmly, “I didn’t rescue the princess to ride off into the sunset with her. I didn’t want someone I care about to die when it was that easy to try and stop it is all.”
“And I ain’t no damn princess, neither,” Tulip huffed, reaching up and putting her hand over his before biting at her lip softly and swallowing hard. “Just… let me do this, Cassidy.”
Cassidy thought for a long moment, Tulip could guess what about, but eventually he nodded, letting go of her face, and leaned in to meet her lips again.
Tulip kissed him again, pushing away any thoughts of if this was a good idea, of Jesse, of what might happen if Jesse found out. Jesse was so blind to anything that wasn’t the God search that he would probably walk in on them and not bat an eye most nights, and even if she knew Cassidy was in love with her, something was better than nothing, so wasn’t it better to give him this something, especially after what he did? Her hips ground down against Cassidy’s subtly, but enough to get a reaction, enough to feel the reaction and encourage it. Eventually she let go of one of Cassidy’s hands, albeit reluctantly, taking her free one and sliding it down Cassidy’s sweatpants to grip him and stroke him slowly.
A groan escaped from Cassidy’s throat, and he bucked up into Tulip’s hand as he took his newly freed one and slid his fingertips over her skin, anywhere it was exposed, then under her shirt, taking note of anywhere that made her breath hitch, and finally, slowly, beneath the waistband of her pants.
Cassidy’s touch pulled soft, almost needy, noises from her. She held his other hand even more tightly as she kept kissing him, kept stroking him, afraid he’d say something that would make her hesitate, that he’d want her to stop if she let her lips separate from his or stopped the movement of her hand.
He didn’t stop, didn’t hesitate, didn’t show any signs of wanting Tulip do to any of that either, moaning into Tulip’s mouth and sliding his hand down lower, feeling the slickness between her legs and brushing his fingertips over the nub of her clit before continuing his movements to slide a finger into her.
Tulip gasped for breath as Cassidy touched her there, shutting her eyes and squeezing his hand so tightly the thought crossed her mind that she might break his bones and feel them knit back together under her touch. Her mind was pulled away from that thought, though, Cassidy pushing another finger into her, searching for a sweet spot inside her.
He kept searching, with Tulip’s help, pushing down herself against his hand and trying to angle so his fingers, the fingers that had saved her, would hit just the right spot, while his thumb found her clit to help things along otherwise, so he didn’t finish too quickly before her.
She could tell that despite his efforts, Cassidy was going to be the first to finish, the rhythm of his hips bucking up into her touch already becoming erratic and the whines that he let escape into the kiss becoming more high pitched. Tulip didn’t mind, though, not as long as he kept touching her the way he was. Finally his fingers crooked just the right way and she had to break the kiss to cry out in pleasure.
When the kiss broke, Cassidy pressed his lips to Tulip’s neck, just to be near her and muffle his own sounds, not so loud but just as enthusiastic as he was nearing the edge rapidly. It only took another moment of bucking upwards and listening to the sounds she was making before he spilled, making a mess of his sweatpants and Tulip’s hand, but neither of them caring one bit yet.
Cassidy’s orgasm didn’t affect his ability to work his fingers, and Tulip was thankful for that, focusing the feeling building between her legs and the soft lips against her neck. She turned her head enough to recapture Cassidy’s lips and lick into his mouth again.
He moaned into the kiss as he came down from his orgasm, but he focused on getting Tulip to to hers, putting more pressure on her with his thumb and pressing on that sweet spot rhythmically.
Finally, the pleasure that had been building and building in Tulip overflowed and she felt like she was bursting, feeling it radiating to the tips of her fingers and toes and and spilling out of her in a cry of Cassidy’s name against his lips.
Cassidy worked her through her orgasm, easing his rhythm and pressure and kissing her more softly until his fingers were just inside her and his lips were barely brushing against hers. He just stayed like that for a good moment, letting both of them catch their breath in silence before he slid his hand fingers out of her and took his hand out of her pants, wiping her wetness off on his sweatpants before taking her hand again.
Tulip tried to gather her thoughts, think of anything to say, what she should do after having done that, but she felt too good, too cared about, too safe with Cassidy’s hands in hers to do much of anything but press her lips to Cassidy’s one more time before letting her head rest on his shoulder, and then nod off into a peaceful sleep.