A/N: And now for something completely different. Warning for het.

------

A loud, metallic banging jerked Bryce unkindly out of his sleep. He got out of bed, annoyed, and promptly fell flat on his face. Not trusting himself to be any farther above the ground than that, he crawled to the door of the trailer on all fours, hiking himself up onto his knees once he arrived there. He swayed precariously for a moment, regained his balance, and was just reaching for the door when that banging sound recurred. He fell back, bracing himself with his left arm and pressing his right hand to his forehead. "Ugh, gah, Lara!" he groaned as the door swung open.

"Bryce! You were supposed to meet me in the manor at nine o'clock!" Lara said, briskly.

Bryce squinted as light flooded into the trailer. "So I'm a little late. Ain't no reason to come..." He groaned again, the rest of the sentence dissolving into incoherent muttering as the light hit a small pain switch in the back of his brain, exploding that organ in a rather unpleasant way.

"It's one in the afternoon, Bryce." Lara stood with her hands on her hips, her legs spread assertively, her expression casting a chill. "You were drinking again, weren't you."

"What was your first fuckin' clue?" Bryce grumbled, pressing the heel of his right hand to his forehead. He realized he was wearing nothing but a stained pair of boxer shorts that belonged to Hillary and were far too loose on him, but he never cared terribly much about his appearance around Lara.

"That's not good for you," Lara said, crisply. "You can't get thrashed every night simply because Hillary isn't here."

Bryce grunted. Any number of replies ran through his head, but actually speaking any of them seemed like too much effort. "It's not that he's gone - it's the fact that he's gone on one of your damn errands, risking his neck for your convenience, and that pisses me off and frightens me equally" was one of the things that he did not say. "I have found that I don't sleep very well when I sleep alone, and that fact is a bit frightening to a man like me" was another phrase that flitted through his mind without making its way to his mouth. "He hasn't even called," though short, was not said. His lips and tongue told him that they were simply not up to "He will never leave you and I can never leave him even though it kills me to see him slaving away for you." Bryce merely grunted again, and managed to force out, "I'll take care of whatever the fuck it is you need tomorrow."

Lara tapped her lip as Bryce spoke, cocked an eyebrow, and stepped back. "Right," she said, nodded, and repeated, a little more gently and quietly, "Right." She closed the door, and the room was mercifully cool and dark again. "Get some water..." she called as her footsteps retreated.

------

After an afternoon of shuffling around the trailer playing video games, after a few swallows of water, and after an Advil, Bryce was feeling more like himself. He was not enjoying the sensation. His mind drifted idly to the cellular phone that had lain silently on the counter for the whole day, and then drifted a foot to the left - to the little freezer full of bottles of spirits that were potent enough to stay liquid at very cold temperatures indeed.

Bryce opened the freezer and pulled out a bottle of very good gin. He was surprised when liquid stopped flowing from the bottle after his glass was only three-quarters full. "Have to get some more," he told himself, pitching the bottle in the corner. He settled back to his game, sipping at the gin. Potent stuff.

The trailer door opened. Bryce's heart lept into his throat, but rapidly sank back somewhere near the region of his bowels as he saw a slim, cat-like figure reflected in the black border of his monitor. "I told ye I'd come by tomorrow," he grumbled. With his big toe, he deftly flicked the CD player over to his Nick Cave CD, which he knew Lara hated.

She slipped behind him almost noiselessly and put her hands on his shoulders. They were warm and dry. "You shouldn't be drinking," she said, quietly.

"Piss off," Bryce growled. He savagely shot a US Marine. I should, he told himself as the computer-generated man screamed and fell apart into a bloody mess, make a patch to turn them all into Laras. "You're not me mum."

"No," she said, quietly. Bryce suddenly noticed that she was rubbing his shoulders. She had been doing so since she had first touched him - so gently that he had not even noticed. "I care about you. I know you think I don't. But Hillary loves you, and I love Hillary. So I have to love you, as well."

"Quit with the shite, woman." Another Marine died very messily indeed. "You pull 'im away from me whenever you can." He was starting to talk sloppily, he noticed. He had not even finished his drink, though.

"It is... the way we have always worked," she said, quietly, still rubbing his shoulders. "I am not going to change who I am simply because you've arrived. I certainly would not presume to change who he is simply because you've arrived. I enjoy danger. He enjoys it, as well - in a different way. It will always be a constant in his life."

Bryce shrugged, then slammed his controller down with an irate "Fuck!" as a Marine shot him in the back. He glared at the screen with a sigh, trying not to look at the reflection of the woman in the black bits.

"Come to bed," Lara said, quietly.

Bryce did turn to look at her, then, twisting in his chair and staring. She did not appear drunk or high. She did not appear to have sprouted a second head, which would have been less ludicrous to Bryce than what he had just heard. "You want me to what?"

"I don't know when he'll be back," she said, stepping back and crossing her arms. She looked, Bryce was startled to note, nervous. For the first time he had ever seen. "I want to do right by you."

Bryce snickered. "You're not my type." But he did not look away.

"I know," she said, quietly. She looked down at her folded arms, then unfolded them, letting them fall by her sides.

Bryce could never determine later what made him stand up and kiss her. Something about her vulnerability, which was something he had never seen before. Something about loneliness. Something about need. Something about a shared love. Something.

It was odd to kiss someone his own height. He instinctively wanted to tilt his head upwards. All of the logistics worked better when they fell onto his unmade and not-aired-out-recently bed; he held himself up on all fours and kissed her, hard. She kissed back at least as aggressively as Hillary, but her mouth was just constructed completely differently. He determined right then that trying to compare her to Hillary would be a very bad idea, and so he focused on the differences - pushing her shirt up and snaking his hand under her bra to play with her very un-male nipples, then unhooking her trousers and pushing them down. Being inside of her was... well, distinctly odd. It involved a certain amount of pleasure, of course, but the logistics all seemed off - especially when she reached down to take care of herself, and her nails kept bumping Bryce's cock. However, he did, eventually, come, and the release was unexpectedly intense. He most likely said Hillary's name a few times, and ended up on his back, drained and shaky, with Lara strangely soft and curvy next to him.

He slept like the dead.

Bryce was alone and naked when he woke up the next morning, but he had no hangover. He felt... he paused for a moment, trying to figure out exactly how he felt.

He felt rather good, actually.

He stood up, shuffled into the main room of his trailer, yawned, and stretched, making a cacophony of bone-popping sounds. He looked down at the cell phone that was still sitting on the counter. A text message alert blipped brightly on its face.