Getting ready for the next phase

Reagan's eyes fluttered open as Patrick sat next to her. The older woman did look a little worn out. Still the smile she gave him was warm enough and she gave a soft laugh at his humor, though it was hard to tell if she actually found him funny or she was just being a good sport. "I suppose if you promise to keep Perkins from bleeding out all over the place I wouldn't mind closing my eyes for just a minute." She gave him a wink and a smile, "Maybe 5 minutes." She settled back into the seat and it wasn't more than a few minutes before she was out. After a few moments she shifted in her seat trying to get comfy, her head falling to rest on Patrick's shoulder.

Patrick was glad that she was finally getting some rest. She had been working so hard since they started this mission. Putting others before herself even at a cost to her own health and well being. He admired her probably more than she'd ever know. He wasn't really sure why he gave her his shirt. Maybe deep down he longed for some sort of connection with her. Longed for someone he could just talk to like a person again through all this.

As her head fell upon his shoulder, he felt a comfort he'd not experienced in a long time. Fighting the dead had taken a lot more from him than he realized.

It felt so good to just relax and close her eyes. She was so tired, not just physically, but mentally too. She felt responsible for the young men and women left. Everyone that died she took personally; she carried that weight like an albatross around her neck. At least with Patrick and Ingrid she didn’t feel like she needed to mother them. She enjoyed Ingrid’s humor a lot, but not being a soldier, she felt more at ease with Patrick.

She felt safe in the C130 and she trusted Patrick to wake her if there was a problem. He’d feel her relax fully and after a few moments she turned slightly, her head settling into the sweet spot just under his shoulder, one hand coming up to curl in the center of his chest. Her breathing was slow and deep, the press of her breasts against him through his too tight t-shirt, the faint scent of vanilla clinging to her. How she managed that through the blood and sweat and stink of the dead was a trick in and of itself.

He was taken a little by surprise as she nestled closer against him. A hint of vanilla filling his senses. Patrick moved his arm slightly allowing her to become more comfortable. He'd not seen her sleep a wink since leaving headquarters and wasn't about to wake her. For a moment he allowed himself to forget what the world had become, what perhaps he was becoming. Moving his arm to cradle her gently, Patrick just held her close. Providing a comfort that perhaps she too needed.

The sleep was good, much needed. She woke after several hours and it took her a few minutes to figure where she was. She felt refreshed, comfortable, and safe. Safe because of the arm wrapped around her. Her eyes fluttered fully open, head tilting upwards to see exactly whose chest she was sleeping on. She smiled when she saw Patrick’s face. She resisted the urge to reach up and touch his face. She hesitated a heartbeat before she shifted at all. She didn’t want to wake him if he was actually sleeping. She moved her head a fraction to see if anyone was watching their canoodling. She didn’t want the rest of the team to respect her less.

She looked so peaceful as she slept. For a moment Patrick was able to forget where he really was. He shifted slightly about the time Reagan's eyes opened. She really did have a lovely smile. He gave a little smile back as he spoke. "Did you sleep okay? I know body armor isn't the best pillow. I've some water if you'd like, maybe even a can of soda." His words came off a bit nervous. Fighting Zeds wasn't a problem, talking to beautiful women, not so much, no training in that field. Reaching into the front pocket of his kit he produced a small red wrapper. "How about a stick of gum?"

The gum comment made her smile widen as she looked up at him. Her eyes lowered demurely, and her cheeks flushed a bit. "Um, yeah, I guess I was really tired. You made a great pillow though." She sat up a little, moving back into her own seat, left hand coming up to brush her cheek, then fix her hair self-consciously. "Gum would be nice and some water. I hope I didn't snore too loud, keep you awake." Her smile wasn't nervous, it was genuine, but a little shy now. She kept her voice low, not wanting to draw attention to them.

Patrick got a bottle of water from the Yeti Cooler provided by the C-130 crew. There was just something about the ability to have a good cold drink that seemed to make the day better. He twisted the top and politely offered it to Reagan. Speaking in a hushed tone. "If you promise to keep it a secret I've a surprise for you." Folks often joked with Patrick on missions that he carried a Mary Poppins bag. He seemed to always be able to fish out just the right item at just the right time. Never mind the fact that he was a Boyscout from age ten to sixteen. Pulling his hand from his bag,he slowly, gently took Reagan's hand into his. She could easily feel the weight of something no more than that of a coin in her palm. Feel the smoothness of glossy paper or foil perhaps. As Patrick moved his own hand away he revealed a piece of wrapped Dove Dark Chocolate. He offered a simple smile and a wink.

She took the water bottle gratefully and made a cheers type toast before taking a sip. She whispered back playfully. “Keeping secrets are we?” She was smiling as he took her hand, opening her palm to see the red foil of the Dove Dark Chocolate. She made a soft sound, almost like a little coo. The smile that curved her lips was certainly a happy one, then she frowned slightly, looking guilty. “I probably shouldn’t, my diet…” She trailed off uncertainly, her eyes darting to the chocolate once more.

"If you think you need a diet than I should probably find myself a new job,because by my eyes you're beautiful. Shit,shit I'm sorry that just sort of popped out. Lips moving before the brain gives the order and all. I promise I sat through that video and everything. I didn't mean any disrespect." Patrick's cheeks were now as red as the candy wrapper as he fumbled for the words.

She smiled delightedly. His embarrassment was charming. "That's so sweet of you to say. Really, it's okay." Her cheeks were a little rosy too. She leaned over and planted a quick kiss on his cheek. It happened so fast he might not believe it happened at all. She sat back and unwrapped the chocolate, she popped the candy in her mouth, lips closing as she let it melt slowly on her tongue. She flattened the wrapper out, looking for the message on the inside. It read Don't settle for a spark, light a fire instead

Patrick's dimples shown big upon receiving the peck on his cheek. He just stood there for a moment taking it all in. Today was going to be a good day. "Well if you need anything else Reagan. Um,I think I'm going to check those cases again. You know got to make sure we've got what we need and all." Patrick gave a genuine smile as he stepped over to the two Pelican Cases, checking the resources within. It was a pleasant sight to see that hardly any of the food and water had been consumed. The ammo was a bit low but still had over half the case full of magazines and boxes of rounds ready to go.

She watched him for a minute, her cheeks still a bit warm. The taste of chocolate was still sweet upon her tongue. She was alive and despite everything she was happy for the moment. Today was going to be a good day.

(Co-authored by Spacecowboy and Buttongirl)

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