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Quietly, Hannah keeps track of Cassie. It’s nothing that distracts from work, and it’s nothing that she’s not allowed to be doing. She just checks on her whereabouts periodically. There’s just something about Cassie’s case, her story, that makes Hannah feel strangely protective of her.

She’s not quite sure what to do when Cassie’s location changes from Germany to Bethesda, a stone’s throw from the DIA building in DC.After stewing for a day or two, Hannah opts for flowers and a visit. She reasons it’s exactly what she would’ve wanted--someone who knows what it’s like to show up and say look, I’m here, you’re going to be okay.

Her badge gets her access, no problem, but Hannah lingers outside the door with her cheerful mixed bouquet, strangely nervous. Cassie has no idea who she is, and as much as Hannah sees their similarities on a professional level, there’s nothing to say Cassie will see things the same way.

Admonishing herself for thinking too hard about a simple, kind gesture, Hannah knocks lightly on the door just as a doctor is exiting.

“Oh,” he announces. “You have company. How nice.” He smiles and ushers Hannah inside before departing.

No turning back now. Hannah steps into the room, smiling, because it’s her default to be warm and welcoming, even when she’s unsure. She’d spent her entire childhood learning to do exactly that.

“Hi. Um, you don’t know me, but my name is Hannah Rivera. I work with Noah. Morgenthau? At the DIA. We were on your case,” she explains, fumbling a bit, because Cassie is really very pretty for someone who was shot and in a pretty gnarly helicopter crash less than 5 days ago.

From the moment the doctor had announced the visitor, Cassie’s muscles had tensed, but she allows herself to slowly relax as she takes in the striking brunette. Ingrained habit has her mentally cataloguing every detail. She’s dressed as a consultant, with the badge to match, but her walk isn’t the walk of someone who’s spent a lot of time in the office. Scars peek from from her collar and slice up her neck, and Cassie lets her eyes travel the length of them before resting on her eyes.

She’s not sure why the woman is standing in front of her clutching a bouquet of flowers, and she runs through possibilities even as she lets her lips curve in a professional smile.

Cassie’s always been good at reading people, and she goes with her gut, matching Hannah’s warmth with the careful friendliness reserved for those who pose no threat to her.

“Noah? Looks like he’s got friends in lots of places these days.” She says carefully, keeping her voice steady even as the gunshot wound at her hip begins to burn with pain again.

“I just...I don't think there are many people who get it,” Hannah says, because it doesn't seem like Cassie is one to appreciate beating around the bush.

“The career you thought for yourself, disappearing. I was like you, once. I mean, in the field.”

Her fingers rub absently over her scar.

“And then, well. Everything went to hell.” She can laugh a bit about it now. It's still raw, it still hurts, but she's figuring it out. “Anyway, I wanted to bring you these and...let you know, I'm willing to listen. If you want to talk. To someone who isn't a therapist or a civilian.”

Well that’s unexpected. Cassie lets the cordial smile drop from her face and stares at the woman in front of her. There’s a story behind those scars. She doesn’t miss the little flash of pain in Hannah’s eyes as her fingers trace the blemish on her neck.

That, more than the sympathetic words, eases her suspicions. Nodding, she clears her throat.

“Thanks, I’ll keep it in mind,” Cassie says, and she’s a little surprised at herself.

She’s still not sure if she’ll take Hannah up on her offer, but she’s not willing to dismiss it just yet. A swirl of panic has been lodged in her chest ever since the orders for the desk job appeared. It feels like the identity she’s crafted for herself has suddenly shifted, and that, plus the sudden loss of nearly everyone she cares about, has her teetering on the edge of panic

“How are you doing?” Hannah asks quietly, setting the flowers on the windowsill. She can tell from the slight tension in Cassie’s frame that she's hurting. It reminds her of her own recovery, of refusing meds because the pain was at least something. “I mean, honestly. I'd guess they're letting you out of here pretty soon?” All things considered, Cassie’s in decent enough shape. Bullet wounds heal. Knowing your whole life is changing is a harder pill to swallow.

Again, Hannah’s actions are a bit of a surprise. Cassie had been expecting her to drop off the flowers and leave. But here she is.

“Doctor said I should be released in a day or so.” Cassie says, shifting to try and ease the pressure off her hip. She briefly considers ignoring the first question, but decides that if her life is going to change maybe a friend wouldn’t be so bad.

“As for how I’m doing? I’m not sure.” Looks like honesty is going to win out today.

“It gets harder.” They aren’t the words she wants to be able to say--she wants to tell Cassie everything will be fine, that her hardest days are behind her, that it’s all smooth sailing from here--but they’re the truth. “When you leave here...things are going to suck for a while.”

Hannah sinks into the chair next to Cassie’s bed, figuring that, if the woman hasn’t asked her to leave yet, she’s not exactly unwelcome here.

“Are you staying in the area?” An unfamiliar feeling crops up in Hannah’s stomach at the thought of Cassie leaving. It’s something akin to anxiety, and she has no idea what to make of that.

Cassie smiles. She appreciates the honesty, and it makes her like Hannah even more.

“For once in my life, I don’t have the next six months planned out,” she shifts to glance at the envelope sitting on the bedside table.

“Although those papers say I’m sticking around for a while, there's a spot open at headquarters, and looks like I’m the perfect candidate”. The last part comes out a little more bitter than she intended.

“From what Noah says, you’re the perfect candidate for most things,” Hannah replies. The smile she garners feels like a win. “I don’t make hospital visits to all our recovered targets, you know.” She means it to be a friendly taunt, or at least, that’s what she thinks she meant it as, but it comes out just short of flirty instead, and Hannah ducks her head so she can school her expression. There are lines here she has no business crossing. Her own, the agency’s, probably Cassie’s too.

Cassie pauses. For the smallest moment she thinks there is a flirty undertone there, but she shakes it off. Cool it, Connor, she tells herself. But now the thought is there, and she can’t help but focus just a little more on how pretty Hannah’s hair is. She spends several long seconds staring before collecting herself.

“I’m flattered,” Cassie says easily, keeping her tone friendly.

“So, Hannah. You know any reasonable places to live around here? Hotel living might be off the table if I’m sticking around.”

“Depends where you’re looking but I did just get a place, so I know my way around the market a little bit, if you want help finding something. It’s weird, having a place...one that’s mine and not a cover,” Hannah admits, grateful when Cassie lets her flirty comment slide, though she swears the other woman’s gaze lingers. “I slept on my couch for a long time. I don’t recommend doing that. Pretty sure I’m solely responsible for keeping my chiropractor in business.”

Hannah wishes, suddenly, that she’d worn something more comfortable, that she hadn’t come here from the office. She feels too formal in her silk blouse and designer dress pants. Spilling these parts of herself to Cassie, asking her to do the same, calls for something more relaxed.

Cassie smiles at her statement. There’s a small twinge of recognition in that, humor to cover up the hurt. Maybe that’s what eases her.

“Home? Don’t think I’ve called anyplace that in a while,” Cassie says before she can stop herself. It’s a little too easy to speak to Hannah, and years of checking every corner and being suspicious of everyone she meets makes her cautious. She fiddles with the medical tape keeping the IV anchored in her arm.

“I would appreciate the help, and I know a great place to grab lunch. As a thank you,” Cassie adds.

“You don’t have to thank me,” Hannah says quickly. “But, I wouldn’t object to lunch. I’m still...figuring out how to do things that aren’t work?” She watches Cassie pick at the tape on the back of her hand and rubs her own reflexively. “Do you have people here? I only ask because I can come back? When you get discharged, I mean. Paying for an Uber from here will cost you a year’s salary. I’m not nearly that expensive.”

The flirting tone creeps back in and Hannah huffs quietly at herself. This is a testament to exactly how long it’s been since she’s been out, since she’s done anything beyond a quick dinner at the diner with Noah, or drinks with a few of the other techs after a long day.

Cassie snorts out a laugh, and it pulls at her side, but she doesn’t care.

“I don’t know, I’d pay top dollar for you,” she says, and it feels just a little like living as she shoots Hannah a quick wink.

It’s probably a terrible idea, but anything to distract her from the pain that is currently sending shockwaves up her side. The button to deliver another dose of pain meds is inches away, but she ignores it. The pain distracts her from the reality she’s not ready to face. She doesn’t have people, didn’t think to get people outside the job. Now her only people are flying home in flag draped coffins.

Cassie pushes the thought away because she’s not ready to let the grief come. She lets out a slight involuntary groan at the ache and leans her head back.

“I... yeah. I could use a ride. Thank you, Hannah.” Cassie’s voice is a little rough with pain, and she reaches for the lukewarm cup of water and sips.

The way Cassie volleys back and forth with her makes Hannah’s stomach flutter in a way she’s forgotten about entirely. But the feeling dissipates seconds later as she watches Cassie wrestle with her discomfort. Hannah wants to provide her with something hopeful, something useful, but she has nothing of value. She’d subjected herself to the same suffering for the same reasons, and nothing anyone could’ve told her would’ve changed that.

“Top dollar, huh? I’ll keep that in mind when I send you your invoice,” she says instead.

Out of restlessness, because sitting with other people’s emotional discomfort wears on her after a while, Hannah reaches for the hospital-grade thermos that’s just out of Cassie’s reach and refills the cup for her.

“Jaz was right, you know. You are a badass. I know, that’s pretty meaningless right now, but it’s true. I’ve seen a lot of tough people but...You’re something.” It makes her reflect, strangely, on her own strength, and Hannah feels a little bit proud of herself.

Tough? It feels like a facade that will come crashing down at any moment. Cassie gratefully takes the cup of cool water, and she’s a little embarrassed to feel the sting of emotion behind her eyes. People being nice to her always makes her feel a bit too vulnerable.

Cassie breathes through the pain for a moment as the room remains silent.

“Badass? That’s a compliment coming from her,” Cassie says, and then nods at Hannah, “from you too.”

She means it. Those aren’t small scars, and although Hannah hasn’t lost the instincts honed in the field, she doesn’t have the jumpy nature of someone forced behind a desk. Cassie wonders if she’ll ever be strong enough to manage that kind of acceptance.

So, Cassie doesn’t see it yet. Hannah understands that almost too well.

“We mean it. Both of us.” She reaches automatically for Cassie’s hand on the tray, covering it with her own. “Being strong doesn’t mean not hurting. It doesn’t mean not waking up in the morning and wishing everything was a dream...that you could just go back to bed and wake up in your old life. It doesn’t mean not thinking about how much easier it would be if you could just...stop everything. Just for a second, just to catch your breath. It means you get through it and you do it anyway.”

The touch anchors her, and Cassie swallows at Hannah’s words. They hit too close to home, and she finds herself slipping on the mask of cool collected Cassie, the Cassie that isn’t mourning over lost friends who had become a little too much like family.

She can’t come up with a reply, she’s too tired to think of some comeback to act like those words hadn’t just touched her, so she turns the hand Hannah is holding and squeezes the slender fingers lightly.

Cassie jabs angrily at the button to release the pain meds, and waits for the numbness to settle in. It feels a little like giving up.

When Cassie accepts her touch, Hannah takes it as a win. She’s far too used to people shutting down, pulling away. She knows what it means that Cassie doesn’t.

“You hurting doesn’t fix anything,” Hannah whispers, watching the pain in Cassie’s face shift to something closer to despair and self-loathing. “Taking the help doesn’t make you weak.”

A nurse materializes, seemingly from nowhere, and Hannah startles. She’s used to being aware of her surroundings, but she’s poured so much attention into Cassie, everything else has just blurred out.

“Visiting hours are finishing up, I’m afraid,” she announces.

Hannah nods and straightens, her hand finally slipping from Cassie’s. She digs in her purse for a pen and scribbles her cell on a napkin.

“Call? Anytime. Seriously. It’s not like I keep any sort of schedule.” She wants to say the middle of the night gets hard, that it’s lonely and it takes a while to get used to, but the nurse is still there, checking Cassie’s stats and her IV, so Hannah keeps quiet. “It was...really nice to meet you. I look forward to chauffeuring you around.”

Cassie stares at the number for a long time after Hannah and the nurse leave. Part of her wants to crumple the napkin up and toss it across the room. Not because Hannah upset her, but because it hurt to want to let someone else in so soon after she lost a part of her heart. They’d told her not to make connections, to keep people at arms length. It was the only way to stay sane in this job.

She feels a little woozy from the pain meds and leans her head back against the pillow. Tears track slowly down her face. She doesn’t want to see their faces. It hurts to remember them, but it hurts even more to try and forget them, so she allows their faces to bloom in her mind. In her memories she relives the sound of their voices and the way their laughter used to ring out. There’s this big empty space in her and she has nothing but time to fill it with. There isn’t a mission, or a cover to slip into, to get away from it all.

Cassie feels herself begin to panic, and that prompts her to pull back on her racing thoughts. She’s been trained for this. To talk herself through fear, real or imagined. A combination of willpower and most likely the hefty dose of pain meds make it so that she falls into a fitful sleep.

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It’s three days later when Cassie is sitting on the floor of the hotel room staring at Hannah’s name on her phone. It’s just past one in the morning, and Cassie has fallen into such a desperate state she’s pulled up the number and is staring at the screen, praying this feeling goes away.

All attempts to fix herself have failed, and Hannah’s words replay in her head. Taking the help doesn’t make you weak.

Cassie stares at the time and hits call before she can lose her nerve.

Hannah’s just getting into bed when the phone rings. She's still trying to wrap her mind around knowing Urzua is dead.That today, he'd drawn his last breath. It doesn't feel real.

She sighs when the phone rings, sure it's an emergency work call, and she's just so tired. But there's an unfamiliar number lighting up her screen and her brow furrows. Cassie? She doesn't let herself hope.

“Hello?”

Cassie almost bursts into tears right there. It’s the only familiar voice she’s heard in days, and she bites down on her lip to steady her voice.

“You said to call, if-“ Cassie swallows because her voice is shaking.

“I. God, sorry it’s Cassie. From the hospital. I am so sorry it’s late. I still owe you that lunch. Um, which can be discussed at another time.” Cassie closes her eyes. That’s the way to do it Connor, ramble at the woman at 1am. She thinks sarcastically.

“Hey, of course. Don't worry about it. I'm glad you called.” Hannah can't help smiling a little despite the obvious tension in Cassie’s voice. She called. It's something. It's a hell of a lot more than Hannah had given at this stage. “Are you okay? I mean, safe? Do you need me to come there?” She stands next to her bed, staring blankly at the bedspread, focused on Cassie’s voice, her breathing.

The first step towards healing is coming to terms with the fact that you’re broken.

That’s what the shrink had said to her yesterday. The man in the pressed suit had been calm, logical, and completely devoid of emotion. It had been exactly the sort of person who had worked for her before. But now the panicky feeling wouldn’t subside, and all she could remember was Hannah with her soft eyes and steely strength.

“Please, I can't be alone anymore.” It takes all her strength to admit it.

“Okay.” Hannah’s already halfway to the door. “I'll be there soon. It's gonna be okay, Cassie. I'm right here.” She knows, once the feelings start, getting them to stop is almost impossible. And being caught up in that is both isolating and overwhelming.

She stays on the phone, murmuring reassurances, as she gets back in her car and makes her way back toward 95. Traffic is thankfully nonexistent at this point in the night, and Hannah decides she'll deal with the cops if it comes to that. She rides close to triple digits the whole way.

Hannah only pockets her phone once she’s standing outside the door of Cassie’s hotel room, the damp fall air still clinging to her.

Cassie opens the door the moment Hannah disconnects the phone, and there’s this woosh of relief at the familiar face. Cassie’s gaze travels over her, and she restrains the urge to wrap her arms around her. Craving touch had never been something she experienced, until steady fingers had curled around hers in a hospital room.

She steps back, slightly embarrassed as she catches her reflection in the mirror. Dark, wild eyes stand out against her pale skin, and her hair is falling out of the loose ponytail. The bed is a mess of tangled sheets and there’s an unopened bottle of pain meds still on the ground where she’d thrown it earlier.

“Thanks for coming,” Cassie says.

“I meant what I said. I'm glad you called,” Hannah replies, taking stock of Cassie, who looks suitably wrought and in pain. Two steps forward, one step back. “I'll stay as long as you need. What can I do? Listen? Talk? When did you eat last?” She draws herself up short then, realizing the barrage of questions is likely unhelpful. “Sorry. I'm...I'm still trying to learn not to approach everything like a mission.” Her cheeks flush and her fingers twitch at her sides, anxious for action of some sort. Any sort.

Cassie laughs at that, relieved she’s not the only one at a loss here. It throws her slightly, that someone would care this much about someone they’ve met mere days ago. It touches a soft spot in her before she can prevent it.

“You mean that’s supposed to stop?” She asks lightly, wincing a little as the bandage on her side pulls.

“Food,” she adds, picking up the phone and dialing the pizza place down the street.
“You down for pizza at one in the morning?” she glances back at Hannah and takes a second to marvel at just how gorgeous she is. That really shouldn’t be humanly possible.
“Any opinion on toppings?”

The act of doing something besides sitting around fighting her demons adds a little spurt of unexpected energy. She knows she’s unstable, she can feel herself moving a little jerkily, but she’s not alone, and maybe putting on a brave face will make it feel like she’s actually back to normal again.

Watching her makes Hannah’s chest ache. Again, there are things she wants to say, but they're things Cassie’s not ready to hear, or things Hannah doesn't have words for. So she settles for being here because that, she can do.

“I will literally eat anything except anchovies,” she says, setting down her things on an empty chair. “And I am always down for pizza, regardless of the time.”

There's not just a little irony in realizing she forgot to eat dinner tonight. She'd been so exhausted, so fixated on getting home.

Snagging the pill bottle off the floor, Hannah sets it on the nightstand, fighting the urge to offer it to Cassie, who, she decides, looks prettier now. A little less pale. Definitely more raw, but that just endears Hannah to her more. What she wants to do is hug Cassie, because physical comfort is something Hannah’s always known. But maybe Cassie hasn't. The thought makes Hannah ache all over again.

Cassie eyes the pill bottle as she calls the pizza place. It’s silly, but she’s a little afraid of letting the physical pain go. It feels like it’s the only thing anchoring her to... something… sanity maybe.

She settles on the couch and gestures for Hannah to join her.

“There’s water and some sort of weird health juice in there. The health juice I do not recommend, it kind of tastes like grass, which is the price to pay for getting vitamins in your body I guess.”

Cassie glances up at Hannah and feels a little twinge of guilt as she notices the weariness around her eyes.

“Tough day at the office?” she asks.

Hannah settles, pulling a pillow into her lap, toying with the seam. It gives her something to do, physically, which helps. She breathes, suddenly remembering her own day. The pain edges deeper now and she forces a swallow around the small lump in her throat.

“I...don't know? I feel like my answer should be no. But, yeah. It was...a day.” Her fingers still and she breathes again, in through her nose, out through her mouth--and then she looks up at Cassie. Sharing pain goes both ways. She's not trying to be a hero here.

“The guy who decided I was better off dead? The one whose cronies sliced me up on the side of the road? He died today.” It still feels weird to say.

“Shit,” Cassie breathes. Her eyes remain on Hannah’s. To glance down at the scars now feels wrong, even though that’s all she can think about. Her brain is already trying to piece together a story from the small part she’s given, but she lets it go. This isn’t an interrogation. The other woman’s pain is evident, and Cassie feels a pull towards her.

“How did it happen, his death?” She asks, and then shakes her head, “and you don’t have to tell me, if you don’t want to.” Cassie qualifies.

She knows she hasn’t been open herself, but it’s because she doesn’t exactly know how to.

“Happenstance? Fate?” Hannah pauses and shakes her head. “No, that's not entirely accurate. I made a call. The wrong call. And my team...the ones who rescued you? They stepped up to the plate. So, a little grace, maybe, is the right answer.” The high of a mission successfully completed echoes in her bones and Hannah relishes it, finds herself smiling, even. It won't last, but for now, it's here.

“We set him up. His own guys took him out. Shot him. That's what you really want to know.” Because there's something in Cassie that Hannah recognizes, a kind of camaraderie she rarely finds. “I wish it'd been me.”

Cassie nods and swallows hard as she reaches out to cover Hannah’s fiddling hand with her own. She knows how the desire for revenge can burn through a person.

“I’ve been there,” she says, and she meets Hannah’s eyes. “I’ve never gotten to be the one to pull the trigger either, and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or not.”

Cassie makes a decision.

“The men who took my friends’ lives? I would have gone after them all myself, and possibly died trying.” Cassie releases Hannah’s hand because she’s afraid she’ll squeeze too hard as the violence boils in her blood.

“I’m glad you didn’t, for what it’s worth,” Hannah whispers, immediately missing the warmth of Cassie’s touch. Herein is the danger, because with the playing field level, she’s no longer at an advantage. This is no longer professional. And personal is still really rocky territory. “I mean, I would’ve understood. I wake up sometimes, sure I’ll be covered in blood...his, theirs. I dream about all the ways I can make them hurt. I’m always a little disappointed when it’s not real.”

Saying the words out loud releases something in Hannah’s chest and she chances glancing up at Cassie, half-convinced she’ll have scared the other girl (woman?) away.
Cassie meets Hannah’s gaze head on. Her eyes are frighteningly open, and Cassie sees the truth of her words there. She doesn’t look away.

“The first three days of recovery I dreamt up a million ways to kill the man responsible. I wanted to gut him.” Cassie says roughly, and she surprises herself as the raw violence bleeds out of her.

A little shaken, Cassie reaches for Hannah again. She can’t seem to help herself, and her thumb traces absently along one of Hannah’s fingers.

“And I say that,” Cassie says slowly, “because I think maybe the universe did us both a favor by not letting it happen that way.”

“Yeah,” Hannah breathes, watching Cassie’s hand in her own. It takes a second for more thoughts to gather, thoughts that aren’t just about being touched, about being understood, about being ripped open and accepted as she is--broken but trying. “You could’ve decimated him. In a fair fight, no question. He never would’ve stood a fucking chance.”

She draws Cassie’s hand into her lap, holding it in both of hers now, unwilling to let this tenuous connection go. It’s the first thing that’s actually meant something to her in far too long.

Cassie smiles at that. For some reason Hannah’s words release that small piece of her that had blamed herself for not being able to take the bastard down when she had the chance. But then again, she hadn’t exactly been at the top of her game when she’d been bleeding out in a Russian bath house.

“If that bastard had faced you himself he wouldn’t have lived to give the orders,” Cassie says,
and nods playfully at Hannah’s arm.

“You’ve got some definition under those sleeves girl.”

“Thanks,” Hannah laughs. “I work out.” She winks teasingly and then lets out an undignified snort of amusement at the realization that they’re apparently flirting over each other’s murderous revenge fantasies.

“I’m sorry,” she says, still chuckling at herself. “I think I forgot how to have a normal conversation...And now I’ve been up for...26 hours. So that’s not helping.”

It’s the little snort that does it. Cassie feels a quick zing of attraction and blinks.

Huh.

She laughs at Hannah’s amusement and shifts to tuck a leg under herself.

“Normal conversations aren’t a part of our milieu I think,” she says, and rests an arm on the back of the couch. Her fingers are millimeters away from Hannah’s hair where it falls over her shoulder. She itches to reach out and touch, to see if her hair really is as silky as it looks.

Cassie feels the uncomfortable crawl of guilt as she notices the weariness around Hannah’s eyes again. She’s working up the courage to tell her to just sleep here for the night, because that is a totally weird request to make of someone she’d met mere days ago, when there’s a sharp knock on the door.

Cassie practically jumps out of her skin, ripping her hand from Hannah’s grasp and grunting in pain as the movement tugs at the stitches in her side.

“Oh fuck me” Cassie says, laughing a little at herself as she hobbles to the door.

Hannah laughs, too, though it takes a lot of work for her to stay on the couch instead of following Cassie and insist she sit down.

“I’d say you have to buy me dinner first but you have that covered,” she teases instead, just as Cassie reaches the door.

For most of her life, Hannah’s been a flirt. She’d had no idea how to be any other way. And then Mexico had happened. She'd learned to interact more carefully, to not draw attention because she didn't want to have to explain away the scars, or the anxiety attacks. But Cassie doesn't need an explanation, she gets it. And the old version of Hannah, the one who’s barely seen the light of day for three years now, is starting to peek through.

Cassie laughs, enjoying Hannah’s wit, and swings open the door.

“Order for Jane Smith?” The delivery man says. Cassie nods and accepts the box, noting the way the man’s eyes travel and rest on Hannah.

Yeah me too bud she thinks.

Cassie snags the bottle of meds on her way back to the couch, where she sets the box on the rickety coffee table.

“Help yourself.” She pauses briefly.

“And this is probably gonna sound weird, but we did just share our murder fantasies on a couch in a hotel room so I’m just gonna ask. Did you want to crash here tonight? You look exhausted,” Cassie says. She waits a beat, and feels an uncharacteristic flutter of nerves.

“But you’re obviously not, I mean, you don’t need to. The couch pulls out, and so do I,” Cassie finishes somewhat lamely and shrugs, giving Hannah a self-depreciating grin.

Nice. A proposition and a dick joke. Way to be cool Connor.

Hannah laughs, because Cassie flustered is kind of adorable, and then actually considers the offer.

“Are you sure?” Sharing space with someone overnight is exactly the kind of intimacy Hannah usually avoids these days. Like Cassie offering the pizza delivery guy an alias, the more bases you cover, the safer you are.

But she’s so tired and Cassie is...safe. Because even if Hannah wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, she won’t have to explain herself.

“I don’t want to impose. You need sleep.” She gestures vaguely at Cassie’s midsection. “You’ll heal faster.”

Cassie scoffs.

“You drive all the way over here for me at one in the morning, and you’re worried about imposing.” She says, around a mouthful of pizza.

Cassie laughs lightly and unscrews the bottle of pain meds, popping a pill in her mouth. It’s half a dose, but it’s more than she would have taken if she were alone. Somehow it feels okay to let some of the pain go when she’s not alone.

“Stay. I’ll heal better if I’m not worried about you driving all the way back. I’ll take the pull out couch. Although I’ll warn you, the bed is not much more comfortable.”

Hannah cocks her brow. “You absolutely will not,” she insists, already halfway through her first slice of pizza. “Nice try, Conner, but only one of us has a damn bullet wound. Plus, I’m well-versed in couch-surfing, remember? The chiropractor will be so proud. We’ve gotta get you into an actual, liveable place. This is...questionable.”

Polishing off the last of her crust, Hannah reaches for another slice. Now that she’s started, she’s ravenous.

“Maybe we should’ve ordered one for each of us,” she teases. “I may have forgotten to eat today. Yesterday? Whatever.”

Cassie shakes her head. “I would scold you, but can’t say I haven’t done the same.”

The thought of living anywhere permanent is daunting, but Cassie shakes it off. That’s not a concern for now.

She’s suddenly exhausted and she yawns.

“There’s an extra blanket in that closet over there. I need sleep, and maybe tomorrow I’ll work on finding a place that doesn’t have an ice machine down the hall.”

Cassie glances at Hannah again and she feels the soft tug of affection. It makes her a little nervous.

“We’ll figure something out,” Hannah agrees with a gentle smile. “Thank you for calling me. I think I needed it as much as you did.”

The way Cassie’s looking at her makes her warm in a way that's so much more dangerous than physical attraction. Tucking that thought away for a time when her brain is actually awake, Hannah gets up to fish the blanket out of the closet.

“If you need me, wake me up, okay? I don't mind,” she promises.

Cassie nods at that, and takes Hannah at her word. Lies are easy to spot after all, and clearly Hannah has no motive to lie. As she slides under the covers she thinks on that. Needing someone, knowing they might need you too. It’s not something she’s had much practice with.

She turns off the lights and lies in the still darkness, listening to Hannah’s soft breathing.

“Same goes,” Cassie says, and then, “I don’t scare easy”. She’s not sure why she adds that, maybe because she’d seen the hesitant way Hannah looked at her, like this was a risk for her too.

“No, you definitely don't,” Hannah agrees, settling back onto the couch with the blanket over her lap. “Think I'm too tired for nightmares, though. Hopefully we both get some rest. Goodnight, Cassie.”
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