|Running the Course
Author: FuziPenguin PM
It's been a long month. Cassie reactsRated: Fiction K - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - Pritkin & Cassandra P. - Words: 818 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 1 - Published: 04-24-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5922098
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Running the Course
Pairing: John Pritkin/Cassandra Palmer
Word Count: 736
Summary: It's been a long month. Cassie reacts.
A/N: No real spoilers, but it helps if you've read all the books so far.
Disclaimer: It all belongs to Karen Chance; I'm not making any profit off this work. This is a piece of fiction, written merely for the sake of entertainment
The knock at his door was so slight he thought at first that he had imagined it. But the brush of a presence against his perimeter wards could never be ignored. No alarms were going off, and here at Dante's, that could only mean Ms. Palmer.
Pritkin gently placed the ancient tome he had been looking through on the side table and stood, making his way to the door. He pulled it opened while muttering a word to release the wards. Once the door had been cracked, he looked over the top of Cassie's bowed blonde head, scanning the corridor behind her.
She looked up when he didn't say anything, a puzzled expression on her face. "What are you doing?"
Pritkin frowned and tucked the gun that he had been hiding against his thigh between the waistband at his lower back. "What's wrong?" he countered. "I thought you were going to sleep."
Cassie blinked, lower lip trembling. "I... there..." she began, and then ducked her head as tears welled up in her eyes and trickled over onto her cheeks.
Pritkin took a step back in alarm, inadvertently letting the door swing open further. In doing so, he raked his eyes over her form, taking in her sleeping clothes and thick terrycloth robe wrapped tightly around her. Some of the panic ebbed slightly when he did not see any obvious wounds. Her hair was shining once again, which meant she had showered the mud and gunk off from their earlier adventure. They had parted ways barely two hours earlier. Surely she couldn't have gotten into trouble in that short amount of time?
"What did you do? Did you shift? What happened?" Pritkin demanded, moving forward, ready to shake her into coherency if need be.
Cassie shook her head wildly, blonde locks whipping her own cheeks. "No! Nothing, I've been here the whole time," she said, voice choked with tears.
"Then, what..." he began, frustrated.
"I don't know!" she exclaimed, cutting him off. "I just..." her head shook again and her already slumped shoulders shook with sobs.
Pritkin stared at her, half in anger and half in terror. He wasn't built to handle things like this. He wanted to slink away and find someone else to deal with her apparent breakdown, but she was quite efficiently blocking the doorway.
With a small sigh, he pulled her into the room with one hand while shutting the door with the other. A whispered phrase brought the wards back up again as he led the greatest Seer in the magical community over to his bed and guided her to sit on the edge.
Pritkin sat down next to her, his body tilted towards hers. "What do you need me to do?" he asked quietly, after watching her for several moments.
Cassie's crying slowed, and she looked up, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. Her eyelashes were clumped together, and her cheeks were streaked with red. She did not cry prettily, Pritkin decided absently.
Her mouth opened. Then closed, then opened again. Then she shrugged helplessly and crying renewing, leaned against Pritkin's chest. The war mage automatically slid his arms around her, tucking her head beneath his chin.
His eyes lighted on the pillow at the head of the bed. Pritkin grabbed it, jostling Cassie in his hold and placed it up against the wall. Then he scooted across the width of the mattress and beckoned to his partner.
Cassie immediately fell into his arms, hiding her face in his T-shirt near his neck. Now that he was reclining with something at his back, he realized that Cassie actually fit quite nicely against him. Without the cover of mud and sweat to mask it, the clean womanly scent of her wafted up and mixed pleasantly with the strawberry odor of her shampoo, tickling his nose.
Pritkin shifted minutely beneath the shivering bundle leaning against him, silently scolding himself soundly as his body tingled with interest. She was annoying and reckless, but she was his Pythia, his partner, and she was upset, seeking him for comfort and counsel. Not... other things.
So with centuries of practice he forced down his desire. He stroked the nape of Cassie's neck beneath the sweetly smelling strands of hair, rested his cheek against the top of her head, and let himself be the rock that she clung to in her tumultuous sea of tears.