A/N: This was a plot bunny- if you can call it that- that I decided to write out. It's not long at all, as you can see.
If you like it, love it, hate it, let me know!
I became irritated with my partner on a regular basis- but it's not because she was actively doing something wrong. In fact, she was probably the best person I could possibly be partnered with, and she would do absolutely everything to keep me alive, with minimal trauma.
This was why she irritated me. I watched as she moved around our hotel room, her gait different than normal because one of her ankles was injured from something that happened earlier that day. It didn't slow her down, she didn't wince, she didn't try and keep it from getting worse by avoiding putting pressure on it- she just didn't care. She had a bruised knuckle, a cut across her palm- that needed stitches, by the way- and a cut on her forehead. If she could get away with it, she would have just put a couple of band-aids on it and let it heal on its own. Nothing fazed her anymore, I had to remind myself that she still had functioning sensory neurons.
It was like the familiarity of the pain itself, dulled it. You can only be cut and bruised so much before you start to ignore the pain with relative ease. I didn't want her to be so used to pain that she barely even felt it. I was biased of course, she wasn't just my partner- I had fallen in love with her. (Well, as close to in-love as people like us could feel.)
"Danny, do you know where I put the envelope with the dossier?" It was in her hand.
"It's in your hand," I said shortly. She looked down and smiled, laughing to herself. Yeah, this happened to people all the time- people looking for the exact thing they're holding or looking at. It was different when she did it though. How many concussions can a person get before they can't function like they could before? Maybe that's why she acted like she couldn't feel the pain- her sensory cortex was just too damaged.
"Okay, that's good. I can't write a decent assignment summary without it," she told me. She picked up the open file she had on her bed and took it to the desk that was tucked into one corner of the hotel room. She immediately took out a pen and started writing. She had already jotted notes on a pad of paper complementary of the hotel.
"Rose, you're the only person I know who starts the paperwork this early," I observed. She turned her head to grin at me for a moment.
"The more free time I have between assignments, the better." She had started to assimilate to a life of normalcy, though even she knew she could never do it completely. I think a part of her treated that aspect of her life like some sort of psychological experiment. What were ordinary people like, people who didn't get compelled to kill on a regular basis? Maybe Rose would detail their lives to me, so I could live vicariously through them.
I sat on my bed, reading a book I had brought with me, just in case we finished with time to spare. I was just starting to feel cold myself, when I noticed Rose absentmindedly squirming in her chair. She kept reaching up to her left shoulder and squeezing it. An old injury was flaring up.
All the way back when we were fifteen- could that really have been eight years ago?- she had gotten stabbed in the shoulder with a rather terrible weapon. It was a dagger made of dry ice. A part of it was lodged in the bone of her shoulder, and it does well when it's warm, or even just cool. When it gets too cold, however, the dry ice (that wouldn't be solid in normal temperatures) solidified just enough to expand in the bone. Her uncomfortable squirming was really just her downplaying the pain. It was the one injury she had the most trouble hiding.
"How about we wrap that up?" I suggested. She swiveled around to look at me, then nodded graciously. I stood up and went to my suitcase, where I had an emergency kit, just like she had one in hers. I opened the box up and grabbed the gauze and medical tape. I unrolled it enough to wrap her shoulder a few times, and she had already pulled her shirt down so I had full access to it.
"You, Fiona, and Xander probably know me better than anything else," she sighed. I furrowed my eyebrows.
"You're including Xander? And not Jade?" Fiona and Xander were her "adopted" siblings, with the same predicament as us. Jade was her best friend from her normal life, and of course, just like us.
"Jade and I practice some intentional ignorance with each other. We know enough. Xander, even though he doesn't say much about anything and doesn't seem to act like he knows things, he does. He's just good at taking a step back and letting us deal with our own bullshit." That did seem to be a fitting description of him. Normally the only one who berated Rose about the shit she pulls is Fiona, who's a week younger than Rose. (Fiona was the best at pretending she was normal. She was a medical student. I guess doing an impromptu surgery on your sister when you were fifteen makes you want to become a surgeon.)
"I'm glad I made that list," I smiled. She smiled back, a full one, with her pretty white teeth and one dimple.
"I am too. I doubt you'd be such a good partner otherwise." I taped the gauze down (because neither of us trusted it to stick on its own) and then pressed the stuff around her shoulder. I stepped back to look at my work, and then nodded, because it would do. I went back to my bed and picked up my book. Rose moved her shoulders around to feel more adjusted, and then went back to working on the mission report.
This was the norm for us. I fly us to the location of the mission, get the info, the victims, kick ass, avoid getting hurt and caught by public authority, and come back to the hotel room. Rose works on the mission report for the both of us, occasionally asking for my input, and I read or work on something else. Then, at some point early the next morning, she finishes and we go to bed. lights out. Sometimes, when one of us gets hurt the routine gets shaken a bit, but really we've gotten too good at what we do. (It could never be boring though. The adrenaline rush never goes stale, and the introverts that we both were appreciated the night in at the hotel room.)
"Okay, Danny, come look this over and sign it," she said, arm outstretched to hand me the report, not even looking at it. I stood and walked to grab it.
"That was quick," I commented.
"Over the last several mission I've developed a lot of shorthand. My symbols and abbreviations are superb, and even Jake appreciates them." Jake was our tech guy, who digitized our reports. He was Rose's "little brother." I glanced at the details, nodded to myself and then stepped forward to grab a black pen to sign with.
Again, I went back to my bed to continue reading my book. About half an hour later Rose gave me the "get ready for bed" signal, as she was finishing up the report. I went to the bathroom with my toiletries bag.
Five minutes later, the both of us had taken care of what we needed to take care of, and I switched the lights off. Rose put on a rock station, so we didn't have to deal with the silence. She stripped down to her bra and underwear, and myself to my boxers, because at this point neither of us really cared. (I did, a little, because my goodness, was she gorgeous.) She crawled into her bed with her coral-colored heart pillow that she claimed to smell like something nice, and curled in. I don't think I was so graceful, I just slid into bed and rested my head on my hands.
The radio station, by some coincidence, played a Queen song and a Billy Joel song, and I could almost hear Rose smiling and humming along. ("Freddie Mercury was a musical genius, Danny. He's a legend." "Billy Joel sings songs that go straight to the soul, my soul.") My partner listened to other artists with pleasure, but those two were her classic favorites.
I was on the edge of sleep when there was additional weight put on the mattress. I would say there was additional heat added, but then that wouldn't match up with the freezing feet placed against mine. I briefly felt cold fingers, but she kept those to herself mostly. Her nose however, did press up against my shoulder. She let out a quiet, soft sigh, and she rubbed her nose against my shoulder nicely.
This had not happened before.
"Shh… I'm pretty sure you like, like me, so I assumed you wouldn't mind." I stiffened up, because I had thought that I wasn't that obvious.
"Uh… um, well…" I tried, but she shushed me again.
"Please, just sleep with me," she sighed, wearing a grin. (Because those words couldn't be taken in a different way.) "It hurts more when I'm cold and all alone. I want to be in this bed with you."
"Does this mean…"
"I like you too, I guess. Very thoughtful. Very handsome. I like that. Now please, I'm tired." I couldn't help but smile. "She likes me… she really really likes me." Though something else popped up in my mind.
"Being with me makes everything hurt less?" I felt her nod.
"The sense of familiarity dulls the pain." I smiled even bigger, and kissed the top of her head. I wrapped an arm around her wrapped shoulder, and I found myself falling asleep much quicker.
A/N: So, there's that.