Haruka was stuck in the medical bay after being severely wounded by an irous on a recent mission. Her stomach was covered in bandages, and she had been told that she was lucky to have survived.
She had been drifting in and out of sleep for several hours, until Subaru came in with a glass of water. Groggily, Haruka sat up, giving the other girl a weak smile.
"Sorry, did I wake you up? I thought you'd be thirsty."
Haruka shook her head. "No, I haven't been able to sleep. And thank you."
Subaru sat down on the chair next to the bed, smiling at her while she gulped down the water. When she was done, she laid back down, turning slightly to look at Subaru.
"Um... are you feeling any better?"
"A little bit. Having you here makes me feel better, too."
The short-haired girl looked away, scratching the back of her head in embarrassment. "Aha... w- well, I'm glad..."
Haruka giggled, reaching out to hold Subaru's hand in hers. She took a moment to enjoy the other girl's warmth, before looking back up at her with a solemn smile.
"Hey, Subaru? Thank you... for saving me on that mission. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't even be here right now."
The look on the other girl's face was probably the most warm and gentle the injured girl had ever seen. "Of course, Haruka... you mean a lot.. to me... and- and I'll always be there to protect you."
Unable to stop herself, Haruka felt tears start to prick at the corners of her eyes.
"Ah- Did I say something wrong?! I'm sorry!" Subaru began panicking.
Haruka shook her head, laughing quietly as she wiped the tears from her eyes. "Of course not. I'm j- just, so grateful... Thank you, Subaru..."
The green-haired girl almost felt like she could cry too, with all the emotions she was feeling. Gently, she pulled her hand away from Haruka's, leaning down to wrap her arms around the other girl.
After a moment, Subaru began to pull away, but Haruka held on to her. "Subaru, can we stay like this... for a while?"
"Huh? A- Are you sure?"
"If you cuddle me, I'll heal faster," Haruka joked, smiling up at the other girl.
Subaru rubbed the back of her neck with a bashful smile. "Well, I can't say no to that, now can I?"
"Nope," she giggled, shifting slightly to get in a more comfortable position as Subaru laid down and wrapped an arm around her.
As the two girls relaxed, Haruka turned her head until she was face-to-face with Subaru.
"I'll always be there to protect you, too."
A small smile appeared on Subaru's face.
"Thank you, Haruka."