|Lt. Abbie Mills (anotherway) wrote in the100,|
@ 2015-07-15 22:29:00
|Entry tags:||!log/thread, abbie mills, ichabod crane|
WHO: Abbie Mills & Ichabod Crane
WHEN: Shortly after the hot mess in Johnny’s post last week.
WHERE: Their room!
WHAT: Making up and confessions and stuff.
There’d been a strange tension in the air since their conversation about whether or not they were flirting - or was it about her sullied honor? Or about how they’d admitted they’d each be at the top of their respective lists? (Or was it about how she knew he wouldn’t take it that far, and it bothered her how much that bothered her?)
Abbie wasn’t sure how they’d gone from joking about the Princess Bride to where they were now, but she didn’t like it. She didn’t like when there was distance between them for any reason. They’d been down that road before, and she knew what happened when they weren’t on the same page. Although the stakes weren’t as high here as they were during the apocalypse, Crane was all she had.
Eventually, whatever irritation she might have had before faded and was replaced with worry. What she really wanted was for things to go back to normal, whatever that was. She wanted her best friend back. Abbie didn’t know if she could have that back now, but she had hope that if he came back, they’d be able to work out whatever was going on. They’d worked out everything else in their lives; why not this?
And, all at once with a clattering door, Ichabod Crane returned. He’d done his best to remain out of the way for the entirety of the day. He’d made himself busy, he’d become a pest within the various supply rooms and armouries as he more or less pleaded for things to shine, and when he was well and truly exhausted of his options, he finally allowed himself to quiet enough to admit: my love for Abigail Mills will be her undoing. And there was a world that needed both of them to live, just a couple hundred years in the past. He was determined to ensure her safety.
But first, he owed her the truth. So much of what had occurred to the worst in his life had been predicated upon lies and half-truths. He wanted to keep this pure. And so, as he entered and beheld her waiting, his shoulders squared as if he were preparing for her an oratory.
Instead it only came out -- “I’m sorry.”
When Ichabod’s tall form appeared again, Abbie stood and looked at him like she was about to yell at him for something. He’d seen that look on her face before, countless times.
And he’d seen the one that followed, too. It was impossible to stay angry at him when he actually looked apologetic -- he was almost like a sad puppy, then -- so Abbie sighed and let her shoulders relax. She was angry, yes. She was angry at his outburst, angry that he’d felt the need to protect her over nothing at all, angry that he’d been avoiding her, angry that she knew nothing would come of their confessions because he had her on a pedestal she never asked to be on. But she was also relieved that he was still here with her, and relieved that he’d come back.
Still, she wasn’t going to give in too easily. Abbie folded her arms across her chest. She didn’t look angry anymore. She looked hesitant, and a little unsure. “For what?”
“For what?” With an arched brow, Ichabod took a seat and opened his hands to Abbie. “For this: I’ve made quite the hack job of expressing my feelings for you, Abigail Mills. And I’ve dressed it up in courtly manners I had heretofore abhorred. That is why I am sorry. I know you to be a woman of surpassing grace and ability. You certainly do not need me crowing on your behalf.”
Whatever she’d been expecting, Abbie hadn’t imagined he’d try to apologize for not expressing his feelings well. Abbie tilted her head slightly, puzzled. “Uh.” After a moment, she shook her head. “No, I think we both know I can handle myself just fine.” What she still didn’t understand was why he’d been so offended -- on her behalf -- by what Johnny had suggested. Or she was in denial about it, but either way, it didn’t make much sense. She could get him being protective if she’d been flirting witth someone else -- Constantine, maybe, she couldn’t see Crane liking him one bit -- but Crane himself? That was safe, wasn’t it?
“And you’re right,” she continued, “unless you meant to sound horrified, you haven’t been doing a good job of expressing yourself.”
“I am actually quite consistently horrified.” His brow arched as his hands folded in his lap; a masque of serenity to cover a heart attempting to gallop away with him. “Abigail, I am quite routinely horrified that my feelings for you will simply be your undoing, as they have been to so many others.”
Abbie suspected he wasn't really understanding what she meant by horrified -- maybe she should have used disgusted? But semantics aside, the more important thing was what he was saying about his feelings again. "Your feelings for me," she repeated, looking up at him skeptically. "What, as your best friend? Comrade in arms? Fellow destroyer of demons? I was under the impression that only made us stronger."
Soul mate. That had been a word thrown about in the intervening months between her rescue and Katrina’s demise. But the stirring within his heart had also learned another name.
“You have seen what becomes upon those who are visited with my especial affection, Abbie. I cannot place you in that kind of additional danger to the demon slaying and such.”
Abbie could have sworn she felt her heart jump into her throat. So he had mean it when he said he'd flirt with her -- if he was going to. And the reason he was so upset by it wasn't because he was disgusted by the idea or because he had to defend her honor. It was because he was afraid she'd get hurt. It was kind of sweet, now that she realized what was going on.
"Okay, Crane." Abbie smiled fondly at him, but the look in her eyes told him she still thought he was full of shit. "Listen. First of all, Katrina? Brought it all on herself. That had nothing to do with you. That was all her, all the way. I'm not her. And second, don't I get a say in any of this, if I want to put myself into any more hypothetical danger? Why are you the one who gets to decide for me?"
Perhaps later, when Ichabod had the full faculty of his senses about him in order to thoroughly interrogate her responses to him, he would understand that Abigail didn’t spurn his affection. She seemed to be welcoming of it.
“ … I can’t imagine anything less appealing than additional danger.”
If he was really saying what she thought he was saying, that his feelings ran deeper than the bond of friendship that they'd already forged, wouldn't that be worth the risk? Wouldn't it be worth finding out if this could be turned into something more? But however she felt about him didn't seem like it would matter much in the long run, not if he was so adamantly set against putting her in danger. Abbie knew better than anyone that no one could sway him once he dug his feet into the ground. She just hadn't imagined that would hurt as much as it did.
"You know what's really unappealing?" she asked after a moment, finally tearing her gaze away. Her eyes flitted between the floor and the ceiling, focusing anywhere but on his face as she remembered what it was like to be there without him. It hadn't been like when they'd parted ways in Purgatory, or when she'd jumped into the past with Katrina, knowing she'd still find him there, even if he didn't know her yet.
"It's not the danger. It's imagining a life without you in it." The lump in her throat was growing larger by the second, and now she wanted to flee before the walls closed in around her. "But if you wanna be more concerned with danger that may or may not ever knock on our door, so be it. I can take a hint."
Abbie’s words took Ichabod back several paces; for, her suggestion implied to him that it was not only his feelings which had managed to swell.
When at last he spoke, it was quiet. “ … it has been there, hasn’t it? For months.”
For Abbie's part, she could say with certainty that she hadn't given it any thought before she'd arrived years in the future and very much alone. There hadn't been time -- or rather, she hadn't allowed herself the time to think about Ichabod in any way besides her fellow Witness, her partner into hell and back. There'd always been something else in the way. Their job and their dedication to a cause much bigger than either of them had ever bargained for. Katrina.
When it was all ripped away from her, she'd felt more lost than she could ever remember. It was worse than how she'd felt before Corbin saved her. Before she'd met Crane, she had no idea that something in her was missing. Now, she knew. She hadn't hesitated to describe Crane as her other half. She hadn't blinked when Emma called him her soul-mate. There was more to that than she'd ever wanted to admit.
His answer made her smile, and she looked up at him. Any other time, she might have teased him, but that didn't feel right, not this time. "Yeah, I suppose it has."
How many times had her presence or her safety been his guiding principle? How many times had the weight of her in his arms pointed his way true north? And though he still carried the grief of his family’s loss in his heart, though he had meant to hone himself into a singular weapon which would fight the onslaught of evil … but here, space had been afforded to them.
And who was he to snub his nose at it, to gainsay the lady’s desires too?
His smile was soft and full. “I will attempt to be less dire in the pronouncements of doom.”
"Okay, good. Because that was really irritating."
She hoped there was enough affection in her words that he didn't take offense, but just in case, she reached out for his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. "Just… you know, if you want to show me how you feel, a duel isn't the way to my heart." Never mind the fact that he was already there. "We know how short life is. Maybe it's time we stopped… being afraid of the what-ifs and just started living." But she knew he'd barely had any time to mourn what had happened to Katrina and Jeremy, so she pulled her hand away slowly. "Let me know. When you're… ready. I'll be here. It's not like I have guys lined up around the corner. It's just you." Regardless of the direction their relationship took, there was no one she'd rather spend her life with. The thought of someone else being there in his stead felt like a farce. She'd only half-ass it with someone else. She'd never be able to give anyone else all of herself. Not anymore.
Ichabod didn’t have answers. He didn’t know how to quantify the depth of his feeling for her; only that their hands intertwined was right. And that as long as these future times held breath for him, he would choose to breathe them with deference to Abigail Mills. He knew he wished to never be parted from her again.
Rising to perch next to her, his arm settled across her shoulders before his lips breathed a kiss across her temple.
“Steady on, then.”
Abbie's eyelids fluttered closed, and she realized she hadn't thought he had the guts to do that yet. She'd expected him to hold back, to still try to act proper with her, or to at least wait until some arbitrary amount of time had passed so he didn't feel guilty about moving on.
Her skin tingled, the warmth spreading through her like wildfire. Steady on.
She turned her head and, after bumping noses, looked at him. It never failed to surprise her how much he'd changed in the short amount of time they'd known each other. He'd once hesitated to show her any sort of physical affection. And now, here they were. She lifted a gentle hand to his cheek before leaning in to press her lips to his, soft and chaste, a promise of what could be.
“Now …” Ichabod’s hand swept from her shoulder across the back of her neck. This was a brave new topography, uncharted territory which he blazed with a tentative curiosity. Abbie was known and unknown. She was home and still so new. He smiled slowly.
“Now, it’s as you wish.”