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     They finally returned to Cinder's temporary base (an out of the way little motel where no one asked questions) after the dust gathering mission she'd sent them on, where they had little time to actually interact, much less reconnect.

It was later at night, and the two of them retired to the small double bedded room she'd managed to procure for them, Cinder having a singular room all to herself ("less distractions", she'd said).

With the door shut firmly on the noise and bustle from the halls (people rarely truly slept in this place), the silence crept in on them, Neo's forced muteness all that more apparent in the quiet. Roman sank down onto one of the room's beds, and looked up at her, gesturing for her to take the adjacent bed. She looked at it for a moment, considering it, before she shook her head and, pausing for a second to take off her boots and tucking them to the side, she walked the short distance to the one her former (current?) teammate was sitting on, and plopped down just a small space away from him on the sheets.

He was about to speak when she shook her head, holding up her pointer finger to her lips, indicating for him to not break the silence. That did get a small smirk out of him though, he was glad she hadn't held up a different one.

Taking a moment to slide off her gloves and set them aside (he noted that she had opted for a more covered version of her old pair), Neo reached her hand out tentatively towards his face, her fingers shaking, and she diverted her course, instead moving her hand to brush at the ends of his hair near the base of his neck, recalling a time when it had been much, much longer, surpassing her own at its current length.

Roman went to reach for her as well, to see what the years apart had done to her, and hesitated, still looking as though he barely believed she was sitting in front of him, a pale ghost of the vibrant girl she once was, back when their team was still whole. She glanced at him, giving him a quick nod, and swept her extended hand up towards his bangs, brushing them gently away from his face, her eyes flickering momentarily to white as she saw the rough scarring surrounding his eye, cutting into the dusting of freckles he had beneath it, claw marks permanently etched into his skin from the attack that had taken their team away and separated the two of them for so long. He gave her a small smile of reassurance and her eyes switched back to their default pink and brown, popping between the two colors a few times while she tried to get herself back under control.

She withdrew her hand and gave a small wave to get his attention after he finished tidying up his hair again, gesturing at herself in return. The faint remnants of a harsh slice across her throat showed clearly against the white spots that trailed down her neck and shoulders, and she pointed between the scar and her lips, making an 'x' shape in front of the latter with her fingers, indicating the reason why she had yet to say anything.

He shook off his own gloves in mimicry of her earlier action and slid his fingers down her throat, very carefully brushing against the by now old wound, just as a precaution. Neo closed her eyes as he leaned in to examine it a bit closer,happy tears pricking at them when he placed a soft kiss to the scar, before leaning back again, taking her face in his hands and swiping his thumb across her lower lid on the right side, wiping away the tears that had started to form. She gently slid her arms up around his shoulders, drawing him in closer as he finally met her lips with his, one hand going behind her head to thread through her hair, and the other sliding around her back, just under where the coat met her corset.

After a few lingering kisses between them, she rested her head on Roman's shoulder, her arms having moved to hold him around the torso, fingers idly kneading at the expensive feeling fabric of his coat, a wide, happy smile on her face. His fingers trailed through her hair, amazed at how curly it ended up being once grown out, and he glanced over at the clock, the night having slipped away from them, shifting a bit so that he could pull away from her, muttering about it being late and needing sleep in order to function during whatever Cinder had planned for them the next day.

Neo gingerly stood up from the bed, her foot having fallen asleep at some point during their well needed cuddle session, and she made as if to head over to the other bed before Roman tugged lightly on her arm, pointing to the bathroom near the entrance.

"Get ready for bed and come back over here if you'd like, you don't have to sleep alone over there."

With a smile and a nod, she shook her foot back into consciousness, and grabbed her pajamas and toiletries from the small bag she'd be permitted to bring along, heading off at a brisk pace to the bathroom. While in there, Roman took the opportunity to ready himself for bed as well, changing while he had the time, some worn pajama pants he'd had for ages (didn't want to risk bringing anything nice along to this place, he'd learned that the hard way in other seedy motels) and the same black shirt he wore under his white coat.

He busied himself at the sink outside the bathroom, quickly brushing his teeth and cleaning up his face a bit, making a mental note to shower in the morning if possible, before heading back to the far bed and scooting in under the covers.

Neo came out of the bathroom shortly thereafter and after setting her clothes down on the vacant bed, her pajamas consisting of a simple nightshirt and a pair of shorts, she followed him over to the one he lay in, wiggling in under with him, curling in happily to the welcoming pair of arms. After several long minutes of her just laying there, on the edge of sleep, Roman began running his fingers through her hair again, mindful of any tangles, soothing her to sleep with the repetitive motion, his heartbeat pulsing close to hers, until she finally slipped into dreamland.

Once entirely certain she was asleep, Roman held her tighter than before, pressing a light kiss to her forehead, murmuring apologies for having left so abruptly, for never coming to find her, for how he was so so sorry for her having gotten hurt as badly as she had, voicing all the regrets he had to the silence that surrounded them, the only sounds being muffled noises from outside and the other rooms around them. Eventually he began trailing off, sleep claiming him slowly as well, and he dozed off with Neo finally back in his arms, after so many years, an unconscious smile on both of their faces.


The next morning brought strong sunlight streaming through the window that Roman had been certain he'd closed the curtains on, as well as an already up-and-ready Cinder, indicating that their day had begun, and that she, alarmingly enough, somehow had a copy of their room key.

Neo was still firmly asleep, and Roman blinked away the sleep from his eyes, his visible one very drowsy looking still, one of his arms tightening instinctively around her, Neo having ended up sleeping halfway across his chest despite how they had fallen asleep at first.

Cinder was smirking at them from the other bed, where she'd sat down for the time being until they were awake enough to receive orders, pushing Neo's discarded clothing aside.

"You've only known each other two days and you've already gotten her into bed, Roman? I'm rather impressed, to be honest."

He shot her a grin back, not wanting to be one-upped this early in the morning, especially not by Cinder of all people.

"A bit late on that, Cinder. She and I have shared many a bed and many a night together, years before either of us came into contact with you. Though I suppose I do have you to thank for reuniting us, in a way."

An eye roll was the reaction he got in response to his taunting, and she sighed and stood up, dusting herself off, making to head for the door.

"Just get cleaned up and get ready, we're heading out in an hour. May want to scrub extra hard, clean up all that sap that seems to be in the air."

As the door clicked shut behind her, Roman gently shook Neo's shoulder to wake her up, smiling at the way her eyes flickered back and forth between all three colors as she began to collect herself.

Getting to his feet and stretching widely, accompanied by a rather impressive yawn, he glanced back down, seeing her just starting to sit up, hair magnificently ruffled by sleep, curls sticking out every which way.

"I'm thinking an early morning shower might do us both some to join me?"

And with that, punctuated by a brief nod of agreement from Neo, they began their day...complete with a couple of ridiculous shampoo hairstyles.