A Revelation of His Own
Summary: While preparing to raid the Cabal weapon's factory, Henry experiences a revelation of his own. Henry/Ashley
Spoilers: Minor for "Edward". Technically takes place during "Revelations, Part 1" but no spoilers for that ep. Could take place before any mission.
Disclaimer: I don't own Ashley Magnus or Henry Foss, but I'm given to understand that the Cabal is always looking for new talent, so maybe one day.
Author's Note: Thanks to Kameka for the beta. Quack, m'dear
A Revelation of His Own
Henry disassembled his gun quickly, checking each piece for wear or corrosion before snapping the whole assembly back together and sliding in a freshly-loaded clip.
"You're getting good at that," Ashley murmured from the doorway.
"Yeah, well, I've been practicing," he told her.
"That's not all you've been practicing?"
"'Course not. I didn't ask your mom to let me go out in the field with the rest of you lightly. I've been practicing all of it. Shooting, tactics, hand-signs… Everything."
"In addition to everything else you do for the Sanctuary? Where do you find the time?"
"Gave up my social life and cancelled my subscription to Dungeon Quest. I'm getting too old for computer games anyway."
Ashley crossed the room and rested one hand on his arm. "Thank you for this. Coming with me, I mean. It makes me feel a lot more confident about this whole thing."
He smiled, unable to look at her. She was such an amazing woman.
She cleared her throat before continuing, "Neither of us say it enough, but I want you to know, especially now. Mom and I really appreciate you. You aren't just Tech Support Guy any more. You never were only that to either of us, but now you're more than you used to be, too." She smiled warmly at him, the hand on his forearm squeezing gently. "Welcome to Team Sanctuary, Henry."
"Happy to be a member," he answered.
"Are you ready?"
"I think so." He nodded, feeling a little shy. Then he suddenly felt brave, perhaps courtesy of his anti-anxiety meds. "Only, there's this thing I've been meaning to say."
"Yeah?" she asked. "It can probably wait," she pointed out. "I mean, what we're about to do: big."
What I'm about to say: big.
"It's something I should have said a long time ago. Thing is, I've been scared to say anything."
She frowned. "Scared? Since when do we have secrets from each other, Henry?"
"Uh, this is the only one. Ever. And it's one I've been keeping for a long time. Only, before I tell you, I need to know that nothing's going to change with us. Our relationship, I mean."
She gave him a reassuring, if bemused, smile. "You'll always be my best friend, Henry. Hell, we grew up together. What could you possibly have to say that'll change any of that?"
"It's the growing up thing that might make it weird for you," he explained, once more unable to look at her.
She touched his cheek and asked gently, "What's going on, Henry?"
"I, uh… You're beautiful, you know that?"
Her expression grew more bemused. "Henry?"
"Promise that nothing I can say or do is going to change us. You're the person who means more to me than anyone in the world. You know that, right?"
"Henry, I couldn't love you more if you were my brother. Now, we've got a castle to storm. So what's going on?"
He freed his arm, but only to grasp both her shoulders lightly in his hands. Ashley looked uncertain, but made no move to shrug him off, let alone pull away. He bent to her until their foreheads touched.
"I'm sick of fighting," he whispered.
"You haven't done it very much yet. But… I mean, if you don't want to come, I understand. We can come up with a plan where you tell me how to handle the tech aspects over a headset. That's no deal."
"That isn't what I meant. I'm sick of fighting myself."
"Oh, Henry, this really isn't a good time for the reluctant werewolf trip," she sighed.
"I didn't mean that, either."
Her frown deepened. "Then what?"
He tilted his head slightly, dropping it until their lips almost touched. After years of waiting, years of wanting, there was absolutely no hurry. Nothing would happen now. There was too much at stake, too much to do. But he found himself wanting, needing her to just know.
He nuzzled her cheek, breathing in her scent. It was unique, the way every human's was. A mixture of vanilla and rosewater and her favored brand of gun oil, coupled with the indefinable tang of anxiety and anticipation that she always carried about her before entering battle.
He had first noticed that about her long before he had any right to notice something like how amazing the younger woman could smell. For all her bravado, she was not without fear. She merely hid it better than most. To him, it only made the things she did more amazing.
Ashley stood, rigid with shock, but making no attempt to pull away. After a moment, he felt her body relax and shift subtly. She did not exactly lean into him, but she came closer without seeming to move at all. He could feel the heat of her, a pleasant counterpoint to the deep chill he always felt before seeing action.
He could have stood there like that with her forever.
"I'm scared," he whispered.
Her surprisingly honest answer, "So am I."
"I'd die if anything happened to you."
"I'm not worried," she breathed in his ear. "Not while you have my six."
He smiled, as much with relief as anything. "We should move out."
"Aren't you going to kiss me?"
"No." He shook his head.
Ashley pulled away, staring at him with shock and a healthy measure of defensiveness.
"When we get back, if you'll let me. When we have time to do a proper job of it. There's a lot more than needs to be said before we move on to any actual doing."
She relaxed instantly. "You move slow. I could get used to that."
"I hope you have a chance to," he told her, biting back tears.
"We'll be fine," she promised, lightly smacking his arm. "And, when we get back… we'll finish this conversation."
"I think I'd like that very much."
She smiled. "Thanks for not just… you know, saying words."
"Talk is cheap. You taught me that."
"That's right. I did, didn't I?"
He grinned. "Ready to move out?"
"Got everything you need?"
"I've got you. Can't think of anything in my arsenal likely to keep me safer. But, yeah, I packed a few toys, too." He nodded.
"Well, then, let's get this over with," she suggested. "So we can come home and…" She colored. "Talk."
"Talk is cheap," he reminded her, winking. "Come on, Ash, let's go save the world."
"Sounds like a plan," she agreed. "For some reason, the place suddenly seems even more worth saving than usual. Wonder what's up with that?"
"Not a clue," he chuckled. "But I'll look forward to exploring it with you in detail. After we save the world."
"I'll hold you to it, Foss," she told him, pulling out her own sidearm and chambering a round. "Now let's move out."
Feeling like the luckiest man alive in spite of the impending suicide-mission, Henry followed her from the Sanctuary with a smile on his face.