The truth is… sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it.
23:46:01 p.m, Podromos, Eos.
“Pathfinder. I sense the fatigue resulting from our previous mission. From Doctor T'Perro's advice, I advise you to get some rest.”
“I'm fine, SAM.” Scott sighed for the millionth time that day. He wasn't fine.
“You are not fine.”
Fuck, the AI caught him.
Scott leaned back in his chair from his work desk, rubbing circles into his temple from the growing migraine hammering in his head. He decided against arguing the AI, knowing it would be impossible to convince SAM that he was okay when he was nowhere near the term “okay”.
Scott tried to ignore the AI, surveying the small notes on his table, along with the bunch of datapads piling with the reports. Each one of them from Eos, Voeld, Havarl, Aya, Kadara-
Scott stopped his gaze over the planet's name for a moment.
Scott tensed up at the single utterance of his first name from the AI, his entire body freezing in place as he heard the gentle concern in SAM's voice. The AI always addressed him with Pathfinder or Ryder, he's only heard SAM call him by his first name when they were alone. It was always so rare to hear emotion coming from his AI, it was almost unsettling in a way. He's never heard SAM this vulnerable before.
“Scott. I implore you. You are exhausted. You are overworking and it is not an ideal task for you to be working in such conditions.”
Scott was flattered, really. He appreciated that SAM was worried. He just needed to get his mind off the gnawing pain growing in his body from his last mission and maybe he'd feel better.
“You are always recommended take a break.”
Scott rolled his head back in frustration, his eyes scrunched closed in tiredness, it was threatening to fall and let him sleep right there on his chair. He tried to shake away the sleepiness, his chest heaving in a deep sigh. “I know, SAM, but-”
Ugh. SAM is right, he hated to admit it. But he was exhausted.
Opening his eyes slowly, he looked at his left hand, on his ring finger, was his beautiful diamond engraved engagement ring idly sitting there.
He exhaled shakily, the lump in his throat worsened. He brought up his hand to his lips, kissing the ring. Letting his mind wander, wondering what was Reyes doing right now? Is he thinking of him when he's here working his ass off?
“Fuck.” He cursed. Scott hasn't step foot on Kadara for the last four months. Four fucking months. He hasn't seen Reyes in so long, he missed him so much. He missed his fiancé so much that it was messing up his head.
The Initiative has been pushing Scott to the edge for the last four months with piling him with mountains of work and meetings with the other Pathfinders, negotiating with outpost leaders, maintaining the Angaran connection with them - limiting his time he would use to email or call Reyes.
It was infuriating and Scott was stressed, every piece of work from the Nexus seemed like a chore to him now.
Of course, Scott and Reyes still exchanged emails when the Pathfinder wasn't available or too busy for calls and vidcon. Reyes, the understanding gentleman he is, completely understood that Scott was a busy man. The Pathfinder couldn't be anymore grateful that the smuggler understood him so well.
Still, it didn't stop him from his insatiable need to call Reyes every hour, yearning that he would pick up so he can hear his voice or put up a video call so he could see his handsome face, reaching out to the screen - hoping to feel his warm skin through the screen, to taste his lips against his, to run his fingers through his hair, whispering small I love you’s between each other's lips.
Scott didn't want to seem needy but he just missed Reyes so much, it was almost killing him inside. With work, it always seemed so much better when Reyes was there, the older man's presence was comforting enough.
Now, he needed him more than ever.
“Scott. Would you like me to request Reyes through email for a call or vidcon?” SAM chirped, he seemed to be reading Scott's mind.
Scott shook his head, immediately. It was probably three in the morning on Kadara, the timezones between planets are very confusing at times. What if Reyes was probably asleep right now after a long day? “N-No, SAM, please. I don't want to disturb him, he might be tired right now-”
“SAM!” This little shit. Scott gritted his teeth, hissing out a sneer to the AI. He glared at the blue holographic node of SAM on his desk, as if the AI could see his expression. He groaned in defeat.
Perhaps he could take a short break, talk to Reyes, see if it would make him feel better.
Oh hell, who was he kidding? Seeing Reyes after a whole a full four months not seeing him would definitely make him feel better.
A loud ping erupted from Scott's private terminal, a call incoming through with the contact of Reyes’ name on it. Scott's eyes immediately lit up.
Speak of the devil. Looks like he wasn't resting at all, figures.
Scott eagerly patched through the video call, Reyes’ face popped up in front of his screen. The first thing he felt was the amount of butterflies swarming his stomach meeting his fiancé again. The fact that Reyes had this effect on him that made Scott giddy inside and swoon so easily around him.
“Ryder. How's my favourite Pathfinder?” Reyes greeted him, his usual flirty undertone with his golden eyes crinkling mischievously.
Scott tried to look unamused but he couldn't stop the stupid dumbstruck smile appearing on his face when he finally hears his fiancé's voice from the video call. He felt like he should thank SAM for this later.
“As you should.” SAM said in their private channel, his tone almost sarcastic. Scott mentally rolled his eyes, the little shit was rubbing off his snarky qualities from him.
The camera sketched out Reyes roughly but Scott can still how handsome he was. An emotional wave washed through his body, he was so glad to see him. It felt like a relief after so long, like Reyes was truly a sight for his sore eyes. He ultimately tried to ignore the ache in his chest.
“I'm your favourite?” Scott asked, eyebrow raised, playing a coy smile. Reyes chuckled, his deep voice resonating through the call.
“But of course, mi cariño,” Reyes tilted his head, he was leaning closer to the camera, giving a good view of his face. A smirk tugged on his lips. “Is there a reason you called your handsome fiancé? Not that I'm complaining, I do appreciate that I can finally see your beautiful face and not through an email terminal.”
Scott's face turn dark red, averting his eyes for a moment. He hears Reyes' undignified chuckle. He leaned an elbow on the table for support before rubbing a hand on his nape sheepishly, letting out a breathy laugh.
“I-” Scott opened his mouth but nothing came out, his chest was aching that was growing a little more painful again. “I- just… wanted to see you. I missed you… That's all.”
He said that so honestly, so genuinely, he saw the shock in Reyes' eyes before his expression softened, the traces of his smirk not to be found. Scott almost wished he didn't say anything, his face was heating up.
“Scott,” Reyes whispered. He turned his head away, inhaling sharply and exhaling shakily. Little did Scott know that he was feeling the same thing. “It's been far too long.”
Scott almost missed Reyes’ muttered words but he caught them just in time when the older man looked back up to his face. Scott swallowed, whispering, “Too long.”
It hurt so much, it was unbearable sometimes. He just couldn't stand it. Scott would wake up with the other side of the bed empty and cold, expecting another body to be there in his arms.
Now that they were engaged, things were a lot more difficult. They didn't had time to discuss about their wedding.
“I know.” Reyes said.
The silence is excruciating, the tension and longing pain that made Scott look away from his lover's face again.
“Do you know when you'll be back on Kadara?”
Scott hesitated. “I… don't know. I'm stuck here all the way from Eos, I'm hoping to see you in a week or so but… the Initiative wants us to be on our toes and I-I just-”
“You're working yourself to the bone, Scott. You need rest.” Reyes responded gently.
Scott softened at the way Reyes called him by his first name, he looked into his eyes, he wished so much that his fiancé could be here right now, with him.
“I miss you, Reyes. So much,” Scott swallowed the lump in his throat. How did he get so emotional all of a sudden? No, he wasn't going to cry, not here, not now. Scott mentally cursed himself, feeling his breath quicken. “I wish you were here. Things are better with you here with me.”
“I wish I was there too.” Reyes frowned, his eyes glancing in concern, reading through Scott's shaky tone.
Scott could feel himself slipping away, he shook his head hard, looking away from Reyes’ worrying gaze. His emotions are going haywire. He can hear SAM confronting him about it.
“Four months, four fucking months. I just wanna see you, Reyes- I don't get why Tann won't let me just see my fiancé just for a few days-” Scott spat, his jaw clenching in sudden anger. A wave of his furiousness letting all out at once. All of his pain and frustration coming straining out of his tone.
“Hey, hey, Scott. Cariño-” Reyes called out, his eyes widen in concern.
“Do you know how tired I am? I've been awake for days, I just… need you here with me-” Scott breathed, his voice growing weak and hoarse.
Scott finally looked up into Reyes’ eyes and his frown, his head feeling lighter than usual, he felt dazed for a moment. But then realized that he was crying, warm salty tears running down his face. He didn't notice that the tears started leaking out of his eyes uncontrollably.
Fuck. Scott brushed away the tears, looking down at his knees, shame bubbling up in his throat for acting so unprofessional and childish. He just didn't realize how much he needed Reyes.
“I'm right here, darling.”
The younger man sees of Reyes in the corner of his eyes, he spared a glance up to the older man and noticed that he was holding his right hand up next on the screen as if he was trying to reach out to Scott desperately, wanting nothing but to comfort the crying man.
Scott's heart melted at the thought, blinking his sad eyes up to Reyes. The smuggler's thumbs made a small brushing movement on Scott’s screen, ghosting right above it, pretending to brush away his tears.
It was such a heartfelt act. To be so separated away from your dearest, yearning for the familiar touch. It was such a longing pain they both experienced for quite some time in their relationship.
“Don't cry, my love. You're strong, I know you can get through it.” Reyes softly muttered, his own hands trembling as he hovered Scott's cheeks on the screen, almost as if he could feel the stubble on his cheek through the call.
Scott glanced at the engagement ring on Reyes’ finger, he finally smiled shakily. Letting out a puff of breath, laughing. His eyes feel swollen and more exhausted from crying while his nose feels uncomfortably stuffy, settling by breathing through his mouth.
“I miss you.” He finally says, his tone so weak and small, like a tiny kitten. So soft-spoken and sweet, it did things to Reyes’ heart.
“I miss you too. More than you ever know, Scott. I promise we'll see each other soon, I know it.” Reyes responded.
The younger man bit his lips, the lump in his throat still present. He reached to the screen, his hand hovering Reyes’ hand that was pressed on the screen as well, mirroring their hands together to make it seem as if they were pressing their hands together. The act of it was comforting to him but he wanted the familiar warmth of the real hand. What separated them was only the vast space of the galaxy blocking the only means of them to feel each other's skin through it.
“I love you. Tann can complain all he wants, I'm heading straight to Kadara when I'm done here. I just.. need to see you.” Scott whispered, this time, showing a pained smile. Reyes deflated his shoulders, tension coming out of his body from hearing the three letter words from his fiancé.
“Te amo, querido. I don't doubt that,” Reyes laughed. “There is nothing in the whole galaxy would I ever give up on you for, you know that? You are going to be strong for me, as I will as well.” He gave a similar pained smile of his own, pulling back his hand to press a thoughtful kiss on his engagement ring.
Scott followed him, pressing his lips on the ring of the array of small diamonds, as if he was kissing Reyes. He looked at him like he was hung with the stars, so bright and beautiful.
“... You should get some rest now, my dear Pathfinder. You look tired.” The smuggler said, a genuine smile gracing on his face now.
Scott sighed. “Yeah. Y-Yeah.. Some sleep does sound good right now.” The heavyweight in chest was somewhat lifted, feeling less in pain than before. “Shouldn't you be asleep too? Isn't it late there?”
Reyes waved it off, pretending like the dark circles under his eyes didn't exist. “Don't worry about me, cariño. I'll be fine. You, on the other hand, need to sleep.”
Scott wanted to complain, saying that the older should be taking care of himself more but he didn't argue, not when his eyelids are practically falling asleep already. “If you say so, make sure you get some sleep at least, okay? I'll see you soon, Reyes. Call me tomorrow?”
Reyes chuckled. “Of course. I love you, Scott. Stay safe.”
“You know I do. And… I love you too.” Scott grinned, his heart thumping in his ribcage, putting all his feelings into his nine words. He watched as Reyes softly smiled at him before the screen disappeared into thin air, ending the call.
Scott closed his eyes, a huff exhaled from his lips as he leaned back in his work chair. His eyes stung is slight pain from crying, in result he rubbed his face and his puffy eyes, hoping to ease his exhaustion. He stood up from his chair, immediately tensing at the sharp shoot of pain down his lower back resulting from sitting too long.
He cursed, stretching out his aching muscles as he yawned, not bothering to shut his mouth. He was alone so didn't bother to worry about mannerisms. “SAM, lock the doors, make sure no one disturbs me, I need a little shut-eye.”
If SAM had human lungs, Scott would bet he would be sighing in relief. “Yes, Pathfinder. Locking doors now. Dimming the lights.”
Immediately, the Pathfinder hears the door sealing shut with the lock as the his quarter's lights dimmed. He slowly raised up his shirt, following with his jeans and threw the clothes somewhere on the floor, he'll pick it up later soon. For now, he really needed sleep.
Scott plopped onto his bed, on Reyes’ side of the bed, tucking himself into the sheets. He quickly inhaled the scent. It almost felt like Reyes was still with him.
Scott frowned, the bed felt extremely cold without Reyes’ body pressed up against him as he cuddles up to him in his warm embrace. Reyes just felt like a safe haven, so warm and comfortable, as he laid on his chest and listened to the man's heartbeat into slumber.
For now, Scott clutched around the pillow as a substitute for the absence of his fiancé. It will suffice for the time being until he can visit Reyes back on Kadara.
Scott slept peacefully that night, tightening his hold on the pillow as he dreamt of himself and Reyes getting married on their wedding day that Scott had fondly thought for so long.
01:59:08 a.m, Podromos, Eos.
Scott was still in dreamland when SAM was trying to awake him, too busy dreaming of Reyes and him, now newlyweds, slow dancing to their favourite song while everyone was watching on the dance floor. He was in bliss.
Scott stirred but ultimately still driven with sleep to even notice the call of his AI, he lets out small puffs of breath and quiet snores.
There was silence after that. The SAM node on Scott’s desk lit up, the blue hologram illuminating the deep blue colour in the dimmed room, making it the only source of light.
SAM hesitated, wondering what he should do.
“Scott.” The AI called out, that seemed to do the trick as the young man rolled onto his back, letting out a tired hum as an attempt to reply to SAM's call.
SAM called him by his name again, this time, Scott groaned in annoyance, his voice deep and thick with sleep. “Leave me alone, SAM.”
“Scott. I suggest you awoken. There seems to be-”
SAM stopped his words halfway when he hears Scott snore again. If it were anybody else, they would've given up on waking up the Pathfinder, the man was an absolute pain to wake. But not SAM, the AI has been through everything with Scott. He was apart of him, he wasn't going to give up so easily.
SAM brightened up the lights, then triggers Scott's nervous system in his body, forcing him to wake up. Scott immediately cursed loudly, throwing the sheets and pillow over to his eyes.
“Fuck, SAM. I'm trying to sleep-”
“There is someone in front of the Tempest airlock, Scott.”
Scott stopped his words, he sat up on his bed, his body tense before blinking his eyes finally wide awake and alerted.
“An intruder?” Scott manage to say, his words slurred in a half-asleep coma. He waited for a response, nothing came out of SAM for a moment and Scott really wondered if it was an intruder, he was ready to pull out his spare gun from under the bed.
A moment of silence, before SAM finally tells him what it was. Or rather who.
“No. It is Reyes.”