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She just needed comfort. And though she can trust everyone - even Warner, now - that ended up in Hell with her, Andrew is the one who had seen her at her best and worst. She knows that he’d die for her. Not just because of the oaths that he’s sworn; it’s not just his honour that binds him to her anymore. There’s something else there, something more. Something that she doesn’t particular want to put a name to, though Nimitz is losing patience with that reluctance. She’s been burnt - badly burnt - by the events of the past. Hades, where they’re trapped; where they’ll have to fight their way off the planet and more of their small company will die, is not the place to deal with that particular piece of emotional scarring.

It starts with the need for warmth and the psychological need for touch. Hades’ climate is erratic, and vicious; boiling hot during the day, and cold at night. They’ve got the survival gear from the shuttles, and that helps, but even with high tech gear available, sharing body heat is still one of the more optimal and sustainable ways to avoid hypothermia. It also has a tendency, for many, to suppress nightmares at least a little and they all needed that.

It starts with sleepiness and warmth and safety. It starts with a sleeping Andrew, and her own sleeplessness; she can’t quite get used to the loss of her arm. (She knows, intellectually that if they can get home that Daddy can fix it. He did miracles with her eye after the events in Yeltsin’s Star, but that’s a long way in the future, if it happens at all. First she has to get them all home.) It starts with her sitting down, beside his sleeping form; with her taking an opportunity to meditate, to try and quiet her mind enough to sleep. His mind glow is a complex, nuanced thing, but it's also deeply familiar and comforting, and she finds herself wrapping it around herself.

She wakes to find herself curled around Andrew, a blanket tucked around both of them by one of the other refugees from Tepes. It becomes a regular thing when Montoya realises that she'd slept properly for once and that Andrew hadn't quietly acquired another strip of stimulant tabs from the shuttle's stock of them. No one mentions their new habit, and while she can pick up a touch of curiosity from the other escapees no one says anything, other than Montoya. The Surgeon Commander merely commented on the fact that both she and Andrew were doing better, and to please keep doing whatever it was they were doing.

She's never really slept with anyone other than Paul. Not even in the just sleep sense; the navy's bunks really are only designed for one person and as a single child she'd never had cause to share with a sibling. So perhaps the fact that her remaining hand reaches out for Andrew when she's sleeping, shouldn't be surprising; Paul had put a lot of effort into coaxing her into shedding some of her inhibitions and being more assertive about her pleasure. She is still uncomfortable when she wakes with her hand tucked beneath the waistband of Andrew's trousers.

She tries to go back to not sleeping next to her only surviving armsman, only to find that sleep won't come. Won't come even if she exhausts herself; she begs Montoya for sleep tablets, for stimulants so she doesn't have to sleep at all, but he refuses. Andrew has some sort of stash of his own, and spends most of his time on guard, perched high up in the trees, rifle close to hand.

It takes three more days before Montoya and Nimitz stage an intervention. Three nights during which her grasp of reality starts to fracture between her insomnia and the pain from her injuries; three nights where Andrew's only human interaction is the brief few minutes when he scales down from his chosen perch to relieve himself and refill his water bottles. They wake bundled together in a make shift bed in one of the shuttles, curled around each other, Nimitz watching over them. He makes it clear that they aren’t leaving unless they talk to each other.

She’s never been good at saying no to her ‘cat. He’s been her sanity, since the day that Pavel Young tried to rape her. Even with the knowledge that hindsight is twenty-twenty, it’s becoming increasingly clear to her that ignoring him when he demands that she pay attention to something messy and emotional is a bad idea. Andrew trusts Nimitz for different reasons; he’s the one that taught all of her armsmen to pay attention to the ‘cat. That said, all her Graysons tend to defer to her ‘cat to a certain extent. No one over the age of twelve in the Yeltsin’s Star system had managed to avoid seeing the footage of what had happened in the Protector’s Palace during the Maccabean coup.

It was a hard conversation. Full of stuttering, the two of them circling around the issue. While they’re both adults, neither of them are particular well studied in relationships and they’re also talking across cultural boundaries. Her empathy and his willingness to pay attention to the ‘cat is their saving grace. It’s a discussion they’ll have to revisit. If they escape from Hades. Until then, they’ll do what they have to do, to keep themselves sane. They’re as skittish as each other, and they’re nowhere near ready for sex; but touch, touch is allowed.

It continues with an affirmation, the evening before they launch the attack on Camp Charon; it’s entirely possible that one - or both of them will not survive the assault. It’s messy and clumsy; it surprises her, though it probably shouldn’t with Grayson mores, that of the two of them, she’s the more experienced.

(Months later, there is also a choice that isn’t a choice at all. She’d put away any thoughts of children when Paul died.)