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Emergency Protocols

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Later, in the safety of her own apartment, Faridah would review the footage from her bird's external cameras in awed, slightly breathless silence. At the time, she only a scant portion of her attention tracked which direction the explosions were coming from as her hands flew over the controls. She'd barely processed the immense thud of something big being dropped in when heavy-duty rounds ripped a spatter of new holes in the side of the VTOL.

"Shit!" She flinched away, but the cockpit's tight confines were unforgiving. If she could just finish rerouting the power -- she ducked and shielded her head with one arm, typing as fast as she could with her free hand. The Sarif ground crew would tan her hide for the safety protocols she was trampling on with these on-the-fly fixes...if she made it home alive, anyway.

Sparks rained down on Faridah as what must have been a mech outside let loose another volley, bullet impacts crawling down the VTOL's side toward her head until the chatter of a combat rifle and the distinctive crackle of an EMP grenade pulled its attention elsewhere. When she lowered her arm from where it had jerked up to shield her face, she hissed as blood dripped from one long score that couldn't have been more than an inch from her head.

It felt like mere heartbeats later when something slammed into the side of the VTOL and she heard Jensen's voice.

"Malik! You alright?" When she unlatched the cockpit door he was suddenly there, all the height and breadth of him blotting out her sight almost as well as the cockpit hatch had done. Outside, there was just...nothing, except the tick of cooling metal and a thousand other small, normal noises of Hengsha's landscape.

"You're hurt." Jensen's growl refocused her attention and she shook her head at him.

"You think this is bad, you should see the bruises I'm gonna have from my shock harness," Faridah laughed breathlessly, until Jensen started unfastening the harness and pulling her loose. "Hey, hang on there big guy, that wasn't an invitation, I'm fine--"

Her knees buckled as soon as she cleared the harness and tried to stand up out of the cockpit. Adam's supportive arm followed her as she sat back down with a thump, his face hovering above hers. There was a bloody scrape at his temple; without thinking she reached up and touched it with her unbloodied hand. Looking him over, she saw a few more places where blood smeared and dripped down his black armor and augments.

"Are you alright? I'm not the one who was just out there taking down ten Belltower guards and-and a damn Boxguard unit," Faridah asked, catching sight of one massive metal limb on the ground outside before looking back to Jensen.

"Fine. Sentinel system's already patching me up."

Faridah grabbed him by the shoulder straps on his armor, the tight clench of her heart easing up. He would be fine. She would be fine. He saved her.

Tugging his shoulders down, she tilted her face up and kissed him on the cheek. Adam went still -- really still, sculpture-still, the way only physical augs could.

"That's for saving my life, Spy Boy," Faridah whispered against his skin. No sooner had she tensed her muscles to pull away when Adam leaned in, pushing her back against the pilot's chair and glaring at her from a breath away.

"That's all I get for taking out a dozen of Belltower's finest?" If she hadn't turned into a connoisseur of the All-Purpose Jensen Growl since his return to duty, she might never have picked up on the threads of amusement and relief underlying his tone.

"You could consider it a down payment," she murmured. Flirting with Jensen was such a bad idea on so many levels, but she couldn't help herself, especially not right now, after he'd just hauled her ass out of the fire in a major way.

"I don't-- life is too damn short." Adam broke off, turned away for a second, but she could read the pain in the tightening lines of his face. "I don't trust the future to be there waiting anymore."

"Then don't make it wait." This time, when she kissed him, he came alive under her lips. She could taste sweat and the tang of other metals under the copper of blood, and he kissed with all the coiled intensity he brought to this whole damn globe-hopping conspiracy hunt they were on.

Her hands shook despite the her augs and she scooted closer to him, letting him draw her to her feet to lean against him. Already, the bruises she'd promised ached under her skin. Breaking off the kiss, she pulled them together, fierce and clinging.

"I thought I was a goner, Adam, you have no idea..." Her breath hitched in a combination of remembered fear and the sudden spike of heat as Adam's mouth trailed over her jaw to her ear and his arms curled protectively around her.

"I wasn't about to lose you, too," he admitted in a gruff mutter before turning his mouth back to hers for another kiss that only escalated. Her breath hitched between explosive kisses, his tongue and lips turning her into jelly. Faridah wanted to crawl into him, to feel his skin on hers, to break through that shell for a chance to touch the soft underbelly.

Not that there was anything soft about Adam Jensen at the moment. His hands slid down her back until he could pull her hips snug against his, and she could feel him, hard beneath the fabric of his pants. It was a moment's work to unbuckle and unzip her flightsuit, her knuckles skating down between them and drawing a low rumble from Jensen, and then his hands slid inside her suit, pushing it down her shoulders, gliding metal-smooth and body-warm against her skin.

Shrugging the suit down past her hips, she toed off first one boot then the other, leaning her weight against Adam and wrapping one leg around him. He groaned out loud and grabbed her ass, lifting her up and supporting her with no apparent effort. It wasn't the world's most comfortable position, but then he set her down in the pilot's chair, running his hands down her chest to her boxers and pulling them down her legs before reaching for his own fly and unzipping.

If Faridah hadn't been a tiny little bit jealous of Megan Reed before, she sure was now. Retroactively. As Adam stepped in between her legs, pants barely undone enough to get his cock out and into her, some small part of her mind was busy being very, very jealous that Megan Reed had had this all to herself. Cramped as they were in the tight quarters of the cockpit, uncomfortable as it was with her flight suit tangling up their feet and all his armor on, Adam was still damn fine.

It didn't last long; Faridah was more than ready and Adam set a fast, hard rhythm that she matched as best she could from a position of little leverage. Small grunts escaped her lips with each thrust until her breath caught and she arched up against him, silent and shaking as she came. He rode it out and finished after, gasping into her hair as his hands clutched her waist hard enough to add more bruises to her collection.

They stayed tangled together for another minute, maybe three at the most, until her heart had slowed and her hands were steady as she pulled her flight suit back on.

"Now get on with the mission, Spy Boy," she said, soft, a hand wrapped around his wrist to push him away. "And...thanks."

He ran his fingers through her hair and straightened up, tucking his cock back in his pants and reassembling his cold exterior. He squeezed her fingers before letting go and turning to leave. "Any time, Fly Girl."