Magnus was still shaking. She had both hands wrapped around the mug of tea and a blanket over her shoulders but she wasn't warming up at a fast enough rate. Will watched her trembling fingers with a furrowed brow.
"I'm fine," she said softly. "I feel much better."
"Better in comparison to being dead," Will said. "That's not good enough."
"We'll be home soon." It was a dismissal.
"Do you want more tea?" he asked.
"I want you to stop hovering, I'm fine," she said.
"Magnus," he said. "I just... you scared me."
"I know," she said. "I know I did. I'm so sorry."
"You don't have to be sorry," he huffed. "You just have to let me make sure that you're you again."
"I am," she said. "I swear it. You saw the creature leave me."
They'd put its frozen remains into a containment chamber in case flash freezing it hadn't been enough to kill it. They'd seen stranger things, certainly.
"I did," he said. But it didn't feel like enough. He wanted to inspect her head to toe, pat her down, move his fingers through her hair, check her pulse, press his ear to her chest to hear her heart. It was an overreaction, surely, but the urge was intense.
She put her mug down and her hands shook enough that the bottom hit the table too hard and the liquid sloshed. He sighed again, more impatiently.
"The wet clothes are not helping," he said.
"We didn't bring a change," she said. They really hadn't planned on being away for more than a day. A lot had happened that they hadn't planned for. He looked at her and she gazed back at him evenly.
"Are you really going to make me say it?" he asked.
"I'm curious to hear your phrasing," she said. He sighed, a small smile at her teasing. At least this was Magnus.
"We need to get you out of those clothes," he said, dropping his voice purposefully to sound deep and soft. She smirked and nodded at him once.
"You as well, I'm afraid," she said.
"Oh," she said. "Come now, Will. You haven't endured quite the shock that I have, but I can still see your goose flesh. And as I have made this blanket quite worthless-" She dropped it and it hung heavily over the back of her chair, "we're going to have to share."
Will blinked. "Oh."
"Isn't that what you were angling for?" she asked. "Shared body heat?"
"Well," he said uncertainly.
"It's the most practical option," she said. "But if you're too uncomfortable..."
"No," he said. "You're right. Survival 101."
"I don't think we'll freeze to death," she assured him. "But it's a long way up and I'm starting to feel dreadful."
She sucked her bottom lip into her mouth and looked unsure of herself. She didn't often admit such a thing to anyone, even someone like Will. Someone she saw daily.
"Okay," he said. "The last thing you need is a chest cold on top of this."
She nodded. They stood there. Finally, her hands moved to the buttons on her shirt at the same time he reached for the bottom of his. He pulled it up and off and bought a few moments laying it out flat on the table so it would dry. She hissed when she tried to pull her shirt off her shoulders.
"You okay?" Will asked.
"My sternum is sore," she said, taking a breath.
"Oh yeah, sorry," he said.
"Worth it," she assured him. He went around the table and approached her.
"Let me," he said and eased the shirt off her shoulders and down her arms. She wore a small black tank underneath with narrow straps. But that was wet too, so Will reached for the bottom and she said nothing. Allowed it. He was careful pulling it up and over her head. He'd seen her hair look better and he tried not to snag it in his fingers. He spread out her shirts, too.
"I can do the rest myself," she said.
"Okay," he said. She kept her back to him and they both were quiet as they pulled down their pants and hung them over the backs of the chairs. Will pulled the dry blanket from the other bunk down and then turned to see Magnus, her arms around herself, shivering in her underthings. "Come on, come on," he said. "In you go."
She pulled one last face of disbelief at their situation and then nodded and crawled into the bunk. His shorts were still damp but he wasn't about to take them off and apparently she wasn't going to strip any more either. He was glad. Once she was in, he got in next to her and spent a few moments spreading the blanket over them before lying back. She rolled up to him and he raised his arm so she could tuck herself against him.
But when she did, he felt a trickle of water between them.
"Ew, what... what was that?" he asked, pulling away. She closed her eyes briefly.
"My brassiere," she said. "The padding is..."
"Take it off," he said.
"Will, I don't..."
"It's soaked, it's gotta go," he said.
She sucked in air between her teeth and then sat up a little to reach for the back, but then bit her lip again and looked at him. "I can't."
"I'll do it," he said and then reached around her awkwardly. "Chance to show off my skills."
"Of which you have many, I'm sure," she said. He smiled at her, tried to be reassuring as he undid the clasp with his left hand. "Show off," she muttered, sliding the straps down her arms and maneuvering so she could remove the garment while holding the blanket against her. Will just grinned. He reclined again and then she followed suit, shifting so the blanket covered them, but her arm served as a buffer between their bodies.
It was warmer, at least. Her skin was cool against his, too cool, and he concentrated on the fact that together, they were going to raise her body temperature even if he felt a little colder in the process. It was nice to have the wet things off, at any rate.
"Do you think you could sleep?" he asked.
She made a noncommittal noise.
"Is the sub okay without someone watching the monitors?" he asked.
"The tablet will alert us-" She paused here to yawn. "Pardon - of any sudden changes that require our attention."
"I think you could sleep," he said.
"Only if you do," she said. "Deal?"
"Deal," he agreed. Still, he waited until her breathing evened out before he let himself relax.
He woke up warm. He didn't exactly feel fresh and his skin was sticky with salt and sweat. Magnus was flush against him, one arm across his chest, her leg over his. Her breasts were pressed against his ribs. She was sleeping hard, hard in a way he suspected was rare for her. He didn't want to move or wake her, not matter how hot it was in the small bunk. He eased one foot from the blanket and the air on his skin was a relief.
Magnus stirred a little but did not wake. He dozed again, his eyes feeling gritty each time he blinked. He could feel her breath across his shoulder with each exhale. Every so often, she sighed in her sleep.
When he woke up again, really woke up, he eased himself out from under her. She shifted and rolled into the warm space he left behind.
He used the head, washed his hands with the cool water. He touched her shirt and his pants as he passed by the table - still damp. He didn't look forward to putting them back on in - a glance at the clock - two hours. He checked the monitors but everything seemed even as they ascended slowly. When he got back to the bunk, Helen was sitting up, one hand holding the blanket to her chest. Her hair was tousled and her cheeks flushed and she blinked at him with glassy eyes.
"Hey," he said.
"Come back," she said.
He swallowed. She made a tempting picture, disheveled as she was and though he couldn't see much, her bare shoulders were rare enough. When he'd first come to the Sanctuary and started to get to know Magnus, she'd been this larger than life figure, almost unreal. She'd been the woman who had rescued him all those years ago and had rescued him again - brilliant, lovely, and flawless.
But this Magnus in the bunk, watching him walk toward her, was different. Was more real. She'd spent the better part of this day stark raving mad and trying to kill him and somehow, he liked her better for it.
"Are you still cold?" he asked.
"Chills," she said, scooting back against the wall to make a space for him. He sat and ducked and eased himself back in. She started to lift the blanket but he shook his head. He was warm enough. He lifted a hand slowly and pressed the back of his fingers against her forehead. Her eyes closed briefly at the contact. "Fever?"
"A bit," he said. "How do you feel?"
"Sore," she said. "Tired."
"Sleep more," he said.
"I... my dreams were... disturbing," she admitted, but put her head back on the pillow as she did so.
"You're okay," he said because he didn't know how else to comfort her. He felt her temple against his shoulder.
"Thank you," she murmured. Her hand reached out from under the blanket and touched his bicep, sliding down to cover his hand and then worm her fingers between his. He looked at their joined hands for a long minute.
"What are we going to tell everyone when they ask how our trip was?" Will asked, running his thumb over the back of her hand - once lightly and then, when she didn't flinch or react adversely, he settled into a soothing rhythm.
"Sally must already know," Magnus murmured, her eyes locked on their hands. "About the slaughter. She must, at the very least, suspect."
"We'll be home soon," Will said. "Where there are showers and hot meals and dry clothes."
She wormed her leg from under the blanket and he felt her foot move along his calf. She turned her head, pressing her nose into his shoulder and when she spoke, he felt her lips move against him.
"I want to assure you that I would never really have killed you but I'm not sure I can," she admitted.
"Well, I actually did kill you," Will said, trying to sound cavalier but the wobble in his voice gave him away. "Stop apologizing. I did kill you." He squeezed her hand hard and she squeezed back, rubbed her nose along his shoulder and then, perhaps a little hesitantly, her lips.
"I asked you to," she said, kissing his shoulder. "I made you." Another kiss.
"No," he said. "Magnus, I..."
"We're not dead," she said, tilting her head back and looking up at him. She was so close, he could see her flushed cheeks, the circles under her eyes, how light her eyelashes were without mascara. "Are we?"
"Nope," he said. "Very alive." He couldn't help glancing down at her lips. "Very."
"Will," she said.
"Please." He saw the word more than he heard it. He swallowed - there were plenty of reasons not to give into her request and she might even thank him later if he refused but... he was scared, too. Magnus had scared him and he wanted to be able to reassure himself as much as he wanted to reassure her. He leaned in and touched his forehead to hers. He felt their noses brush and then, hesitantly, their lips.
She made a desperate noise in her throat and surged up to meet him. The warm press of their lips seemed to stretch out, dragging through slow seconds. He was almost sure she moved first, shifting slightly so her bottom lip slid along his and then she breathed out through her nose a little and he thought, oh and when he moved his tongue to taste her, hers was there to meet him.
They were already skin to skin. They were already warm and slippery and when his hand drifted up her bare back, it'd glided with the sweat gathered at the base of her spine. She arched into the touch and then seemed to snap back - shifting so instead of pressing against him, her body was cradling his.
His heart hammered in his chest; his dick throbbed between them.
This didn't have to matter, he told himself as his hand circled her hip and found its way between her thighs. Coarse hair and then wet heat and she choked out a gasp that made his whole body hum. He spread the wetness around and then pushed one finger inside. Her legs fell open and she used her long arm to push the blanket away. There wasn't a lot of space and the blanket slipped to the floor.
The flush on her cheeks went down her neck and crawled across her chest. She was beautiful as he suspected she would be. Hips and thighs and all that pale skin. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth and he could see the tip of her tongue move across the bottom of her teeth as he touched her.
"Magnus," he said. Her eyes open and after a moment focused on him. Her hips rose into the air the moment they made eye contact, her body longing for more. He found her clit with his thumb and her eyes snapped shut again. Her nose wrinkled with the effort of pleasure and she huffed out. An arm reached out for him blindly - touched his stomach and his hip before finding his penis and wrapping her fingers around it.
"Feel what I feel," she said. "I want..."
"God," he moaned. It was hard to focus with her hand tugging him in short, hard strokes. He clenched his jaw and focused, two fingers inside her and his thumb pressing harder and harder. It was like a race then, both of them relentless. She groaned when he bit her neck and then soothed the bite with his tongue. She tasted salty, sweat and ocean and when he curled his fingers inside her, she cried out.
"I'm... I'm..." she said.
"Come," he ordered.
Her hand stilled, her focus shifted, and he could feel her flutter and clench around his fingers. She whimpered, cried, gasped and then, melted against his chest, boneless and sucking in air. He wrapped his arms around her, moved his trembling fingers along her lower back. He was so hard that he ached, his erection pressed between them.
"Will," she sighed, her breath hot across his skin. "So good."
He made a strangled noise when she moved; her hips aligned with his. Wet heat along his length, her lips on his collarbone.
"Good," she mumbled, her tongue across his nipple. The head of his penis nudged against her entrance and he couldn't help but thrust. Then she moved away, her lips on his stomach, his hip.
"Oh my God," he said. "Magnus?"
She hummed and then he felt her tongue at the base of him. She licked up his length and then wrapped her lips around the head, sucking it in hard.
"Fuck," he yelped. He felt her fingernails dig into the skin of his thigh and she lifted her head.
"Language," she chided. He propped himself up on his elbows so he could watch her, watch the way her cheeks hollowed as she sucked, her hair brushing his skin. She was still as relentless as before, her fingers brushing his balls. Her eyes met his and he could have sword she smirked around him. His eyes rolled back into his head and he felt it, the tightening of his balls and then the surge too strong to stop. He shot into her mouth, flopping back onto the bunk as she swallowed what he offered and then released him with a wet pop.
She crawled back up him, her knees on either side and then lowered herself back down so she was nestled against him. Her whole body rose and fell as he tried to catch his breath. He wondered if she could feel his heart still pounding away in his chest. He was exhausted - she must have been too. Finally she raised her head and looked at him.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
She considered this for a moment and then leaned in and kissed him lightly. "I believe so."
"I am too," he said.
Across the room, something started to beep.
"We're approaching the surface," she said and rolled off him. He watched her walk toward the monitors, her hand against the table for support and then the door frame. She was tired. She sank into the desk chair and reached for the navigation control.
He stood, pulled on his boxers, and then picked up her underwear. She took them with a grateful smile.
"We should put our clothes back on, too," she said. "We're about to re-enter communications range and I'm sure Henry will be calling."
"Our clothes are pretty dry," he said. "But, Magnus?"
"What?" she asked. She was standing, reaching back to fasten her bra.
"You look like..." He grinned. "Like you've been mauled."
"Well," she said. "I've had an eventful day. You look a bit tousled yourself."
"I feel a bit tousled," he said. "But alive."
"Yes," she said, reaching out to take his hand. She squeezed his fingers. "For that, I'm glad."
Magnus was just pulling on her tank top when Henry's call came through. She nodded at Will, so he answered.
"Finally!" Henry's concerned face appeared in the monitor. "I've been calling forever and I... whoa, look at you!"
"Thanks," Will said dryly.
"You okay?" Henry asked, frowning. "What happened?"
Magnus came up behind him and Henry's eyes widened again.
"Hello, Henry," she said, her voice as steady as ever.
"You don't look so good, Doc," Henry said.
"We had some complications, but we should be in the harbor in about twenty-five minutes," Helen said.
"But you're all right?" Henry asked.
"Yeah," Will said. "We're okay now."
Out of the view of the monitor's camera, her hip brushed his and he focused on the point of contact.
"Henry?" she said. "We'll see you soon." She ended the connected and turned to face him. "Let's go home."
He nodded and left her to work.
After all, it didn't have to mean anything.