She'd fallen asleep with her head against the rain-spattered window, her light breath fogging its surface. She seemed oblivious to the slight rocking of the train, able to sleep almost peacefully with only the slightest, almost unnoticeable furrow touching her brow. Across from her, he sat with his arms folded over his chest, staring out at the rainstorm they were passing through. He'd stretched out his right leg so his foot could rest beside her lap.
He turned his head when he sensed her shiver, noting the goosebumps on her arms. He stood up from his seat to reach into the compartment above him and pulled out a blanket. Sitting down beside her, he lightly nudged her with his elbow.
"Hey," he said as her eyelids flickered, "wake up for a minute."
She lifted her head slightly from the window and cracked open one pale blue eye. "What?"
He spread the blanket out over the both of them, giving her enough to wrap around her shoulders. She accepted it, tucking it around her opposite side before leaning into him with a small hum.
"How much longer till we get there?" she asked.
"Ghost came by a few minutes ago who said it would only be about another half hour."
She groaned. "Honestly, I'd rather just sit in the train. I don't want to stop."
Holding back a sigh, he silently agreed. The thought of stopping, setting up, performing, and then setting out to do his real job afterward made his stomach twist.
"We're going to get caught one of these days," he said, tracing the round red jewel on his metal wristband, "and then we can get out. Once we're caught, good and officially, you and me will bust outta here."
"And we'll go back to Amity," she said.
"Yeah. Back to Amity."
They had this same conversation often. "Once we're caught," they'd say, over and over again. Because, surely, they had to be caught eventually. Someone had to figure out that wherever the circus stopped, bad things happened.
Well, not everywhere the circus stopped. That's what made it so infuriating.
Having realized that people would begin to make a connection between his circus and the crime sprees, the ringmaster had decided that they would have to pass up opportunities once in a while to cover their tracks.
Mulling all this over for what seemed like the millionth time, he decided to bring up something they hadn't talked about in months.
"You could get out now," he said quietly. "Nothing's keeping you here."
She stiffened. Sitting up and pulling away, she glared at him, hard.
"I'm not talking about this again!" she snapped.
"No! Not another word or I swear I'll…" But she couldn't think of anything bad enough to threaten him with.
He took her hands in his own and looked her in the eye. "It's not forever. I'll get out when we're caught, but you could go ahead of me, you could slip away, get back to your family and tell mine that I'm safe—"
"But that would be a lie, wouldn't it?" she challenged, removing herself from his grasp. "You're not safe."
"I'm plenty safe. They feed us, clothe us, give us a place to sleep. It's not like he beats us or anything. Considering he's a ghost-obsessed psychopath, he treats us pretty well."
"Oh, yeah, the brainwashing, mind control, mental torture, and experiments are really great signs that he cares!"
He rolled his eyes. He knew he shouldn't have brought this up.
"I'm not leaving you, you idiot," Star said, crossing her arms with a huff and turning her back to him. She glared out at the rain. "I could never go back home to my family and then have to face your parents and say, 'Don't worry, Danny's fine, just peachy.' I couldn't do that."
The train moved on as they sat in silence. A distant lightning flash momentarily lit the sky outside the window.
Danny leaned forward and rested his head on her shoulder.
"Okay. I understand."
"Good," she ground out. "Now don't ask me again."
His arms circled around her from behind, and despite how she tried to maintain her anger, she couldn't help the light blush that crept into her cheeks. Lately, this had been happening a lot. He'd get closer than she was used to and it would send butterflies swooping through her stomach.
Who knew, she thought sardonically, that I could ever feel this way about Danny Fenton?
As she turned to face him again, to touch his cheek and look into those sad, deep blue eyes, she thought that, despite how crazy the idea had seemed at one time, it only made sense now. They'd only had each other for so long, of course they'd become close. They had to be.
There were only three humans in the entire circus—the ringmaster himself, Star, and Danny. And unfortunately for them, Danny was only a human half the time. They'd been thrown into this mess together, relied solely on each other for comfort, for human contact, for humor, for everything.
She didn't know, exactly, what their relationship was at this point. It wasn't quite as platonic as a brother/sister relationship, but it wasn't anywhere near non-platonic enough to qualify as a romantic one. She knew by now she loved him, just not exactly in that way. Or maybe she did, but what could she do about it? Love would just make things hard, make them awkward. They needed each other too much to start thinking that way.
That's sort of twisted logic, she thought, smiling despite herself.
Dismissing these thoughts with a small shake of the head, she simply leaned into him so that his arms could keep her warm for the rest of the trip.
After all, she only had half an hour more before his arms would become decidedly colder.