"You Don't Have to Face it Alone"
Disclaimer: I do not own anything of Human Target including it's characters and intend to copyright infringement of any kind. Just having fun...
Continues immediately after Imbroglio ends when Ilsa and Chance are talking on the stairs after she realizes he's been following her home since the Hector Lopez shooting, pretending he was just going for a jog. He tells her she doesn't need to deal with this along even though she is strong and she insist he doesn't have to follow her home, she's fine.
Warning: Possible Imbroglio spoiler
Chance was grinning at her as she turned "Good, I don't like jogging anyway," Chance teased as he watched Ilsa saunter away towards the elevator. Chance waited, still slightly grinning. Still staring, he wondered, would she? She would not disappoint, Ilsa turned back towards Chance, smiled over her shoulder and continued on. His grin broke into a full smile. Looking back, it was a tell-tale sign of flirting and he knew it. She did too. Well aware what her looking back over her shoulder meant. She was wondering, no hoping, would he still be watching her walk away from him? Yes he was. She could tell by his reaction and that signature smile of his, that he was pleased she looked back. As she walked into the elevator and the doors closed this realization made her break into a full grin herself.
Chance watched her as she continued toward the elevator, once satisfied she was going he turned to walk up the stairs that lead to his personal space. The moment they shared on the stairs was deep for him. It had been a long time since he allowed himself to share those kind of thoughts and emotions with a woman. That was a lot for him. He wasn't big on words. But she needed to hear them. And to his surprised he found the words came easier then he had expected.
He was exhausted now, it had been a long day. He just wanted to have a shower and try to get some rest. Rest being the operative word. He never really slept. Not deep sleeps anyway. His past and guilt robbed him of his allotment of genuine sleep. This was something he had come to accept and had trained his body to cope with. Any other human wouldn't be able to function let alone perform the way he did.
As the elevator began to descend down to the requested floor, Ilsa let her body fall back again the elevator wall, deep in thought over the conversation she and Chance just shared. She was overwhelmed with feelings of turmoil. She felt anguish and guilt for her participation in the death of a human but anticipation and excitement from the intimate moment she had just shared with Chance. She was surprised but also touched by his openness with her. He was bang on. She was struggling with her own peril thoughts. At night when she was along, when it was dark, she battled through every possible, painful scenario.
Chance had been right about wanting to shelter her, protect her from the distressing certainty of taking a life. This was something a person would want to avoid at all costs, even if it was in self-defence. He warned her of that, and he would know. This only endeared him to her even more. Now she had to live with it. He had done everything humanly possible to prevent this. She knew he felt guilty for what had happened, that he blamed himself. He felt he should have known Lopez would be at her apartment; how could he? He felt he should have gotten their faster; Not even possible for superman.
He said she didn't have to go through this alone. Had he meant it? She wasn't exactly scared, she knew Lopez was truly dead this time. She felt truly safe in Chance's care, but she was having a hard time coming to terms with taking a life.
The elevator came to a stop on the main level and the doors opened. She did not move. She remained leaning against the wall. Several minutes passed and she stood at a stale mate. She was having an internal struggle. She knew what she wanted to do but was having trouble executing her desire. She wanted to head right back upstairs, all the way upstairs to his room, to lean on him, take him up on his offer. It was no big deal right? Just friends talking, comforting each other with words, she reasoned. But her logical side was fighting with the yearning of something more.
What if he was just being kind? No, he meant it, after all he had been following her home every night since the incident. Would she look foolish? No, he could see and knew it would only be natural to reach out for someone in this situation.
Back and forth she went, talking herself in and out of what she craved. She had been denying for a long time now these feelings. Her attraction for him grew stronger everyday. How could it not? What normal woman would not be effected by such a man. From the first time she'd laid eyes on him she knew she was attracted to him.
Those piercing blue eye felt like they could stare right through you to your soul. And his manly chiselled features were enough to make any woman melt. But she had managed to hide, deny and suppress these feelings from herself and anyone else that may be observing, and very well she might add.
But now after being around him for a while it was getting harder. From time to time she'd catch herself observing him from a far while he went about his business. She found herself making up reason to come to her office just to see him.
It wasn't just his overwhelming male magnetism that was getting to her but it was his prodigious abilities. That knight in shining armour, race in and do something breathing takingly heroic quality that had made her knees weak and frankly astonished her to her bones. There was no man like him, anywhere!
What would win, heart or mind. Maybe she was thinking about it too much, just push the button, go back up. Don't think about it anymore.
Done, button pushed.
Before she had time to talk herself back out of it the elevator re-opened on the office floor. Too late to turn back she told herself as she gingerly stepped out of the elevator. She wanted to be very quiet, not to disturb him or let him know she was their in case she changed her mind. Her heart was pounding like a school girl at her prom. 'Get a grip on yourself', she demanded. 'It's not that big a deal'.
She looked around, it was dark, just a soft light came from Chance's room. There was no sound, complete silence. Could he be sleeping already? Should she just turn around and retreat back to where she came from, unnoticed and undetected?
She placed her coat and purse down on a chair by the stairs and walked towards the exact stairs she and Chance had just exchanged the most sensitive moment of their relationship.
Upstairs, Chance felt frustrated, he had been so tired and had longed for rest, but now he felt wide awake. He would take that shower, a long hot shower hoping that'd trigger the sleep mode again.
He removed his shirt, yet again stiff and soar, comes with the territory, all in a days work. He tossed it on the couch, waking up momentarily a sleeping Carmine. While unbuttoning his pants he walked toward the bathroom and half shut the door.
He removed the rest of his clothes and turned the shower on. This was going to feel good. Once the water reached the desired temperature he stepped in and let the hot water beat on his back.
It felt good, he stood their taking it in, just savouring the feeling of heats against his soar muscle. He reached for some shampoo, washed his hair and put his head under the the downpour. The soap rolled down his face, his neck, the crevasses and bulges of his muscles.
The shower was helping, he was feeling sleeping again. But as he remained still under the heat and steam of the shower his mind began to race again. His thoughts were on one thing, Ilsa. He didn't want to think about her. He had tried for months now to erase her image, her aura from his mind. When he was alone and it was quiet, this was almost an impossible obstacle. He usually had better control over these "women" things. He was always in the drivers seat, what was going on? When it came to woman, he had the upper hand, always had. It was on his terms.
But he felt this "upper hand" slipping through his fingers just was easily as the water pouring over him slipped through his fingers now. He reached for the soap and for a split moment his mind wondered to Ilsa being with him in the shower. He shook the image from his mind. But her smell came back to him, he'd been close to her enough times to smell her smell, the mixture of expensive perfume and her own natural scent.
When you save a woman as many times as he needed to save her you got pretty close to her flesh. In save mode it didn't effect him too much, but when he was alone the memory of the scent would flood to his brain and then the effect would take hold. He had know a lot of women in his life. Most were extremely brief encounters, all were beautiful. But Ilsa was having a profound effect on him. He hadn't felt these feelings since, well since Katherine.
He took a big sigh, ran his finger through his hair as the water pounded, could he pound her out of his head? Those long legs, that soft skin, the sultry hair, those intense eyes he had a hard time turning away from. He had felt the sparks when they had touched either by accident or in many of his rescues.
They often seemed both taken aback and would remove themselves from each other quickly and move on. It was getting increasingly harder for him to "move on" to stop touching, to let her walk away, like he did tonight.
Why hadn't he stopped her earlier on the stairs. When she got up he was about to grab her arm and pull her back. But as always, he stopped himself.
Tonight he shouldn't have, he should have just acted. She had looked back after all. He was pretty sure she would have stayed. For what exactly, that was to be determined. He soaped his body up and leaned his hands against the walls of the showers and let the water rinse his body.
He could have stayed their all night but he forced himself to reach and turn the water off. Grabbing for a towel he dried his face, stepped out. He wiped the steam from the mirror and while looking in it ran the towel over his head.
He reached for a pair of worn black sweet pants and threw them on.
Ilsa didn't know if she should call his name. If he was sleeping she would feel awful for waking him, maybe she should just tip toe up stairs and see if he's sleeping, if he is she'd just leave, she reasoned.
As she reached the top of the stairs she began to realize she was very much hoping he wasn't sleeping.
Once at the top she turned toward his room. He wasn't there. It was completely dark except for a dim light on at a desk, but she could definitely tell he was not asleep on the couch where he so often just allowed himself to crash. She never knew this for certain but from the few times they've had meetings up there with Winston it appeared that was his spot.
Her initial reaction was confusion, where was he, but then she noticed the contrast of light to dark peeking under the partially closed bathroom door. "He's in there," she told herself, almost panicking she became uncertain and was about to turn to leave when the bathroom opened.
She turned to see a half dressed, wet and steamy Chance emerge from the bathroom. At first she couldn't move. He didn't notice her right away.
But within a split second he had. He was rubbing the towel still on his head when he looked over and saw her. It was too late, she couldn't leave now, she was spotted. His hand lowered slowly from drying his hair as he stared at her. There was just silence and they stood a few meters apart, eyes locked.
Ilsa, was trying her hardest to keep her eyes on his eyes and not let them following down to his uncovered body. They had been in close working quarters now for almost a year and had yet to see him with no shirt.
Oh she had imagined it several times. When he wore his t-shirts it didn't leave much to the imagination. They would cling to his muscles and reveal an amazing body, it was such a tease that created a longing for the real thing.
And now here it was, wet and clean, right in front of her and she couldn't allow her eyes to give her away, to linger to where she longed to look.
He was the first to break the stare. Walking behind the couch working his way towards her, eliminating the objects separating them. This was her chance to look undetected, she allowed her eyes to finally take in his wet body.
It was even better then she had pictured. This was a strong man. Of course she knew this, he had to be considering the ease of his protection.
As he walked the muscles contracted exposing extreme detail in every profound muscle. His pants rested low on his hips revealing the indents in lower hip muscles. Even as he tossed his towel as he rounded the couch towards her, she was unable to pull herself back to his face.
He was getting closer. He was grinning now, she could tell this even though she wasn't looking at his face. He was use to this, he'd seen this reaction before. He looked good and he knew it, not in a conceited way but in a confident yet bashful way. She breathed out heavily, blinked her eyes a few times, was this real? Was it even fair for a man to be this perfect?