The first few days on the weather worn little boat were mind numbingly easy. It made Aaron wary of letting down his reflexes, of getting complacent that they'd given up looking for the loose threads to cut. Of course they hadn't stopped looking for him and the Doc, he doubted they ever would. The first day on the boat, Marta had been put to work twining strands of rope together after being taught how to by the fisherman's oldest boy. Aaron saw the way that kid looked at Marta, like she was a drink of water in a drought. In the sun, Marta glowed. Her pale complexion never seemed to burn, it just glowed like moonlight. He couldn't blame the kid for wanting what he couldn't touch.
Three days in, spent sharpening knives, repairing netting, helping to fish and take care of the boat and Aaron was getting worried. The next time they docked, they'd have to take off somewhere. His gunshot wound was close to healing thanks to Marta's magic and viralling off on greens. She was more beaten up than he was now. When she turned a certain way and winced, trying not to let it show she was still in pain, he knew there were bruises she was hiding but he could never blame her for. She was a warrior, a fighter and a survivor.
Day four on the boat had dawned. They had a room below deck; two thin feather-stuffed mats on the floor next to each other. He never slept for more than a few hours, if that. He saw a lot of dead women and children in his dreams, people he'd killed or been responsible for. Lately, it was her. He couldn't let her die, not now, not after everything. How she'd saved him, gotten him through viralling, killed that LARX agent sent after them. If she died under his gaze, he wouldn't stop until the entire organisation had suffered. Only then would he let himself end. It's what happened every night on that boat in his nightmares, anyway.
Pressing a button on the new cheap watch he'd bought from the fisherman's son, he sees the time. 3.04am. He gazes up at the ceiling, the wood cracked enough to see the sky above them. He turns and looks at her, sleeping on the next mat, breathing deep and peaceful. She'd have nightmares too, soon. He wasn't quite sure how he was going to handle that one. Aaron frowned as he heard a creak beyond what should have been. He reached down to his side; hand on his gun as he sat up. Aaron turned to Marta. Her eyes had shot open and were the brightest he'd seen. She nods and grabs the knife by her head. Aaron places a finger to his lips and watches silently. Completely still. He gets up off his mat, Marta's form safely behind him. His footsteps barely make a sound as he's been trained. He goes to the door and yanks it open.
No one there. He watches like an eagle for anything but the trail is cold, any footsteps are gone and it's just him and Marta in the room, tense and jittery. He closes the door again and bolts it tight. Aaron hears Marta sigh in relief and the knife clatter back down. She chuckles and groans, "Fuck me." She lies back down, "It's like living in a horror movie." She mutters turning to face his mat as Aaron lies back down.
He chuckles and looks at her, "Thanks for the compliment. Really needed the morale boost."
"Not like that. It's just…" she shrugs, "Not knowing what's around the corner. It's makes you..."
He can sense the tension in her voice. Just a quiver. "If you want a get out of jail free card, there isn't one." Aaron looks at her. "It's this or let them take you out."
"Not much of a choice." Marta mutters.
Aaron brushes his fingers down hers, "Never had one, Doc. Never will."
She threads her fingers tightly through his and brushes her thumb across his wrist. An uncomplicated action between them now, "I know. I'm sorry." She stares at him. "You should teach me how to fight when we get off this boat. Anything you can, teach me. Maybe I can save you too."
Aaron's mind flashes back to hearing her scream his name, screaming for him to run from the police. She could have just run, let him get captured and killed. She was smart. She'd have blended in with a crowd and left. But she didn't. Marta screamed and they ran after her. It occurred to him then that maybe he didn't have to teach her anything. "Maybe."
She yawns a little and winces again, caught off guard at the bruising he knew she had on her ribs. "If, just if, we get out of this alive, together… what then?" she asks.
Aaron just looks at her. Domesticity? Pipe dream. "Sleep, Doc. You need sleep."
She seems to take it as rote and immediately falls back into an easy sleep, their hands heavy and weighted together, as anchored in a storm.