Set during "Red Sky". Erica can't risk everything by admitting how she feels, despite the fact they might not all survive the mission to destroy the eggs. Afterwards, however, she decides regret would be worse than taking the chance.
"I've walked away from worse," Hobbes says and he's a little smug about it, but then smug is seemingly a default setting for him, interspersed with occasional bursts of anger and full-on flirting. She realises that's probably one of the things that's let him walk away from bad situations, his utter self-confidence – coupled with undeniable expertise.
"Good," she replies. She can't say more, won't let her guard down any further, will not give him the satisfaction of letting him know she cares. The Fifth Column is better off with him alive, with his skills and contacts and willingness to take risk, but there's more to it. She wants him alive. And not just because of his inherent value, nor because he's Fifth Column, but because she's attracted to him.
She can't say it, because the moment she does, she jeopardises everything. He'll know he has some power over her and her emotions. It will shift the group dynamics, strained enough at times. She worries that Jack will look at her with disappointment or disapproval and she'll never know if it's because he's a priest or because, deep down, he's harbouring fantasies of his own about her.
At the church, she waits nervously for him to show up, but he'll never know that, nor how relieved she is when he finally sits down next to her. She's outwardly composed, despite everything she's just done.
"You made it back in one piece," he greets her, and grins. "Good on yer." It's the closest he'll probably come to telling her how glad he is that she's alive.
"I couldn't have done it if Marcus was there," she admits. The grief and anger she feels for having to shoot Joshua is souring the elation of the destruction of Anna's eggs, and perhaps that's why she's sharper with him than she might otherwise have been.
"I didn't think you'd come through," she adds, despite the fact that since he joined them, Hobbes has never once let her down. Hoping to soften the blow a little, she acknowledges, "I guess I was wrong."
"You wouldn't be the first," he replies and Erica won't pry, but she files this away for future reference, noting the flicker of emotion her admission had on him. Who doubted him, and who did he prove wrong – or right? She wonders if it has something to do with his overall demeanour; jaded, cynical, sarcastic, good at keeping people at a distance. Did he once let his guard down and was hurt in response? Or is she seeing what she wants to see, trying to excuse his more undesirable qualities?
A few minutes later, after his impassioned speech, Jack walks proudly down the aisle, and they greet him, Erica running one hand from his shoulder down his back, while Hobbes touches Jack's arm in a rare gesture of affection. They go to Jack's office and have drinks, because the adrenalin is wearing off now and Jack's beginning to realise what he's done. Then Erica explains about the eggs – more drinks – and about Joshua's sacrifice. A moment of mourning. More drinks.
Joshua is dead. Erica can't get past it, not yet. And she lived and Hobbes lived but maybe next time they won't be so lucky. The issues that seemed so important this morning seem insignificant when weighed against the potential regret of never having acted on her feelings, of leaving things unsaid.
Perhaps it's the three shots of whiskey or just the emotional fallout from the day they've had, but when they take leave of Jack and head outside, Erica's made her decision. She pauses at her car and turns to Hobbes, who's unlocking his vehicle.
"Hobbes," she calls. "Wait up. I left something at the safe house. Let me come with you." It's a ridiculous excuse, which she blames on the drinks.
"What about your car?"
She shrugs. "I'll get it tomorrow," she explains. She's in front of him now, glad of her heels that let her look almost directly into his dark eyes.
"Am I driving you home then?" He's uncertain, as if he thinks she's baiting him. He doesn't know her well enough to know that she never plays games when it comes to love. She falls rarely and commits fully, and that's why she's waited this long to act on the almost instant physical attraction and the slowly built trust and respect that let her see past his flaws.
"No," she says. "Not if you don't want me to leave."
No, she thinks. He doesn't suddenly get to be the responsible, sensible one, not now. She presses her lips to his, hands clutching his dark coat, pressing herself up against him.
"All right then," Hobbes says, still taken aback, when she pulls away. And, being Hobbes, by the time she climbs into the passenger seat, he adds, "About time."
"Shut up," Erica says. "I have a gun, you know."
He smiles broadly. "Oh, yes. Can I disarm you?"
How could she have forgotten how obsessed he'd been with the thigh holster! She laughs. "You can try, Hobbes. You can certainly try."
Things will change, and change irrevocably, but other things will most definitely stay the same.