Disclaimer: Thank you Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and the CGI team for creating such a beautiful playground! The characters are not mine, I'm having a great time writing the stories, and no profit is intended from this.
As always, a huge thank you to Skybase Girl, my beta-reader, who patiently reads everything I throw at her, and makes it better. Another huge thank you to Chris Bishop for hosting my humble work on her wonderful site. It's really appreciated.
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The lounge was empty, the lights dimmed. Good. He didn't feel like talking to anyone. Then again, he didn't feel like much at that point. Sighing, he tossed his cap onto the table in the middle of the room and sank into one of the armchairs.
This time when he had found Scarlet, the man had looked like a broken doll, with his arm in an unnatural position and a huge, nasty-looking gash on the side of his head. One of his boots was missing, his unprotected foot in a sorry state.
Even if he knew in the back of his mind that Paul would heal fully in a matter of days, it was never easy to find him and bring him back when he’d been badly hurt. The others saw the miraculous retrometabolization aspect, and how he improved over time: they usually didn't witness the immediate aftermath of their colleague’s selflessness in the face of the Mysteron menace.
Captain Blue did. Adam Svenson did not remember when, or how, he had become the unofficial locator—retriever?—for Scarlet. Probably because, as his friend and partner, he just shouldered the task as his own, without asking. That, and he wasn't a squeamish man.
Sometimes, though, he thought it was a little too much, even for him. Leaning forward, he rested his forearms on his thighs, closing his eyes. The injuries had been bad, the look on Destiny's face even worse. Usually he was able to hide the worst of the situation from the Falcon pilot until Doctor Gold let her see Paul. He hadn't been so lucky this time. He sighed, leaning his face into his hand, pressing on his forehead with his fingers to try to alleviate the headache he felt coming on.
He still had to report to Central Control, but didn't feel like it. He knew he was postponing the inevitable, but he needed a few moments to himself. Far from Scarlet, far from Destiny, far from White. He knew he also probably should eat something, considering the last time he’d had a meal was the day before, but he wasn't even sure he would keep it down. On his list of crappy days, this one was a serious contender for the top ranks.
Maybe he could "forget" about the report and just go to his quarters, where he'd sleep for the next two or three days, he thought as he slouched back into the seat, his head resting against the top of the backrest. See how well that would go with White. He snorted.
The sliding door to the lounge opened with a small sound. Great. Maybe if he didn't move, they'd think he was asleep and, with a little luck, they'd leave. The door closed again, but he heard footsteps walking towards him. He kept his eyes closed, wanting to tell whoever it was to go away, but at the same time not feeling like gathering the strength to do so.
The person stopped behind him. Then, without a word, bent down and hugged him around his neck.
He almost groaned in relief as he felt her cheek against his. That's right, she had returned from leave this morning. After finding out that he and Scarlet were back, she would have expected him to appear in Central Control. When that didn’t happen, she’d probably decided to go and look for him. And of course, she knew where to look. She knew him. He put his right arm over hers on his chest, entwining his fingers with hers.
They remained like that for a while, silent, content with each other's presence. He had always found their uncomplicated love a blessing. They usually knew what the other felt or needed without asking. Right now, he needed her to just be there and hold him, to let him know things would be all right. So she did. He took a deep breath, squeezing her hand and shifting his head to lean fully against hers. "You smell good," he commented in a whisper. His words held a deeper meaning; you make me feel better. I love you.
She smiled, kissing his temple. "You looked like you needed a hug," she whispered back, her reply also reflecting their silent shorthand. I'm here. I love you too.
She pulled herself back up, putting her hands on each side of his head. Opening his eyes, he tilted his head back to look at her. "Why don't you get rid of the report..." She kissed his forehead. "... so I can take you down to level eight..." She kissed his nose. "... where you can remove this and take a shower..." She pulled at the blue jacket, kissing his lips. "Then, if you're a little hungry, I could get chicken soup from the canteen and toast... no, croissants."
"I'm not sure about the food, but the shower sounds nice," he replied.
"Okay." She walked around the armchair and took his hand in hers to pull him into an upright position. "Let's get you upstairs, then let me handle everything else and take care of you," she said.
He put his arms around her waist and held her close, starting to sway gently as she instinctively put her arms around his neck. The space between the chair and the table was small, but they managed to slowly move around without banging into anything. "Thank you," he said, leaning in so that his mouth brushed against hers.
"Anytime," she whispered, welcoming his kiss as he leant even closer.
She felt him become more passionate about it; she followed along, happy to see that his mood was obviously improving—until the sliding door opened on Harmony Angel, who froze on the spot. "Oops, sorry guys!" the pilot said, putting her hands to her mouth.
"It's okay, you couldn't know," Serena replied, moving her head away from Adam's, but remaining in his embrace.
"I should probably go up to Central Control anyway," he said with a rueful smile at the young lieutenant that clearly meant ‘now that the moment’s been spoiled’. He raised an eyebrow at her. "Grilled cheese sandwich?”.
"I'll see what I can do," she replied with a smile.
He kissed her noisily on the cheek, and then left the lounge, picking up his cap on the way and giving Harmony a lopsided smile as he passed her. "Is 'grilled cheese sandwich' the secret code of the day between you two?" the redhead asked when the door closed behind him.
Green laughed. "No. I'm trying to get him to eat something. When he goes on these retrieval missions, he just doesn't stop until he's back with Paul. Then he collapses somewhere for a while to recuperate and sort out what’s going on in his head. He doesn't want to admit how much Paul’s injuries affect him. Silly man. He should know by now he can't fool me." She shook her head. "I'm going to get food from the canteen, do you think I should bring something to Simone in sickbay?"
"That's where I’ve just come from. I took her a book and a sandwich. Paul's in there for a while, so... I'll go back a little later to see how she's doing. You go take care of your own captain," Harmony said with a wink. "Although according to the kiss I interrupted, I'm not sure who's gonna take care of whom..."
Green seemed to blush despite her darker complexion, but smiled impishly. "Me neither, actually; I won't be complaining either way," she said, nudging the other woman playfully on the arm as she left the room.
She laughed when she heard Harmony exclaim: "Good night, you lucky girl!" as she entered the lift and pressed the button for level three.
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