Disclaimer: I do not own Human Target and intend no copyright infringement.

Unsung Hero Inside

"….and that wraps it up. Any questions?" The team nodded in approval as Ilsa began to collect her paperwork. "Thank you all for staying, I appreciate it." Over the past few months, they had joined her in completing her side of the job. It only required a couple hours. They were beginning to realize her assistance was just as important as theirs. Ames, Winston, and Guerrero left while Chance followed Ilsa to her office. She sat down ad clicked on her computer. "Aren't you done?" She turned in her chair and looked at him. "Oh. No, just a few more things." He smiled. "Ok, well you have a good evening." She returned his smile. "You as well." He decided to go to bed. He knew she would eventually go home, and leaving her to her work was the best idea.

After an hour had passed, she gathered her coat and purse to begin the decent to her awaiting Maybach. As the outside night passed by, she leaned against the window and sighed. Today was the day. It marked one year that she had pulled the trigger and killed Hector Lopez. She still had nightmares and would wake up in cold sweats. In her mind, she knew he was dead but she couldn't seem to shake his presence. She could still feel his cold hands on her skin and she hated it.

When the car stopped in front of the penthouse, she reached forward with an unsteady hand. She squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath. The driver turned around and looked at her. "Mrs. Pucci, is everything ok?" She stared back at him. "No. No it's not. Can you please take me back to my office?" He turned back to the road. "Yes mam." She didn't know what else to do. She was a strong willed woman who was independent enough by her own right but even this still rattled her. She wasn't sure how she was going to approach Chance, but she knew she didn't want to be alone.

The cold, wet nose didn't stop its assault. When Carmine had an agenda, he never gave up. Chance swatted at the huge Rottweiler with little luck. "Come on Carmine, go away." He started whining. After a few minutes Chance rolled over. "All right, all right. We'll go out. I told you not to drink all that water before bed." Carmine twisted his head as if to question Chance. He smiled. "Silly dog. Come on."

As they made their way outside, he spotted Ilsa's car approach. Carmine wandered to do his business while Chance watched her climb out of the car. She walked up to the dreary eyed assassin, who was clad in nothing but sweat pants. He looked her up and down. "What are you doing here?" When she got closer the evening moonlight lit up her face. Her eyes were red and her hands were shaking. He hurried up to her. "Ilsa, what's wrong?!" She looked around to formulate her words. " I…umm.. I just needed somewhere to go. It's…it's been a year." Chance's eyebrows rose. "Oh my God Ilsa. I'm sorry, I completely forgot. Are you…" She broke down. "I just thought I could get thru this. He put his hands on her forearms and gently massaged them, silently begging her to meet his gaze. She finally pulled up the courage. "I just don't want to be alone." He pursed his lips. "You don't have to be." He placed his arms around her shoulder and walked towards the warehouse. He looked over his shoulder and yelled. "Carmine! Let's go!"

They walked up to his loft and sat down on the edge of his bed. She had finally stopped crying but he still kept his arm around her. "You know Ilsa, it's okay to be afraid. You have done so much in your life and you're such a strong woman. But I think sometimes you need to realize you're human." She shook her head. "I know. I just feel like I need to be stronger in order to do this job. It's been a year, and I still can't get past this." He bit his lower lip and waited a moment. "You don't have to be perfect. We don't expect it. I don't expect it."

She looked at him. "I'm sorry…." He interjected. "Don't apologize. Sometimes you have to let your walls down." She pursed her lips. "Do you want to stay here tonight? I don't mind." She just shook her head. "Wait here. I'll be back." He got up and walked to his living room. When he returned, he was holding a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt. "Here you go. I promise they're clean." She smiled. "Thank you." She walked to the bathroom and closed the door. He crawled into the bed and closed his eyes. After a few minutes of dozing he got back up and noticed the lights were out. He got up and made his way to his living area and spotted her lying on the couch with her eyes wide open.

"Hey, why are you out here?" She looked up at him. "Oh, I'm fine. I can sleep out here." He shook his head. "Ilsa, honestly, come to the bed. If it makes you feel more comfortable, I can sleep out here." She got up. "If you're ok with that." He extended his hand. They walked into the bedroom and he pulled back the covers and got in, then lifted them back for her so she could climb in behind him. She instantly wrapped her arms around herself. He knew she was hurting inside and out and was embarrassed to be in this state. He figured if he reached out to her, she would either jump out of the bed or embrace him. He decided to take the risk.

He crawled behind her placing his arms around her waist. To his relief, she immediately relaxed. As he got more comfortable, she did the same. He leaned into her eat and spoke softly. "As long as you're here you're safe. I promise." She placed her hand over his and closed her eyes. It was the first time in a week that she had slept thru the entire night. She hesitated going back to Chance because she didn't want to appear weak in his eyes, but deep down she knew he would be the most sympathetic.

Her relationship with Chance was a slippery slope, and her heart was not in a position to be compromised. But that was the deeper meaning when it came to Christopher Chance. He told her that he was once in love. Of course, he never displayed that sort of behavior. When it came to her health and well being however, it seemed like his radar was on high alert. Ever since they met, his behavior around her exuded absolute protection. The issue she always questioned was the kiss they shared. It was indeed in a drug induced state, but he willingly kissed her back. She knew Chance would never take advantage of her, but it begged the question of whether or not she was in the right state of mind.

Dawn crept thru the blinds. By fate, or fear, she had ended up facing him, in his arms. Neither of them could escape the inevitable issue of their current physical state. She had the luxury of watching him sleep. She imagined it was rare that he did so and figured it was due to the fact that he wasn't worrying about her safety. He stirred and inhaled deeply.

Without notice and without opening his eyes, he spoke. "How long have you been watching me?" She bit her lower lip silently thanking God he kept his eyes closed. " Not long." He smiled. "Stalker." His amusing comment made her feel less awkward to be sharing his bed. That is, sharing his bed because she was afraid to be alone.

"Did you get some sleep?" Secretly she wanted to tell him how she wanted to be there every single night since her attack but she wasn't bold enough yet. "Yes, I got some sleep." He finally opened his eyes and met hers. They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity until he broke the silence. "Like I told you last night, you're safe here. We're both adults." She chuckled. "You're more like a stubborn adult Mr. Chance." He pulled her closer. "Are you going to be upset if this stubborn adult kisses you?" She froze. Where did that come from? She was already feeling nervous for being in his bed and now he was asking her if he could kiss her.

She wanted to reach out and hold him and pretend like the world was a perfect place. She tried her hardest to formulate words. "Well Mr. Chance, I don't know if…." He didn't let her finish. He pulled her body to his and gently met her lips. Much like their first kiss, she relaxed into him. Only this time, neither of them had any intention of pulling away.

When they finally came up for breath, he smiled. "Now just imagine if you got to do that everyday." He always had a way of making her relax. He knew she was normally in work mode, and barely took time to herself. "You know this is the only time I get to see you relax." Her smile faded slightly. "I think sometimes I don't know how to." He rolled her onto her back and pinned her underneath of his weight. His deep blue eyes looked directly into her soul. "Why don't you let me show you how?" He leaned down and met her lips again. This time they both extended the sensual lip locking session.

When they broke apart she smiled. "You're a wonderful instructor." He kissed the top of her nose and she giggled. "Wow! I didn't know you could laugh!" She smacked his arm. " Hey, I do laugh." He rolled his eyes. " Yea, just not enough." Her smile changed to a serious look. She placed her hands on his cheeks. "Maybe because I never had a reason to." He rubbed his cheeks in her hands. "Are you okay with this?" she licked her lips. "It may take time, but I think I like it."

He laughed. "So I should try to get to second base?" She rubbed his lower lip with her thumb and he laid his head on her chest. When she intertwined her fingers in his hair, he nearly fell back asleep. Even though he was the protector, she opened her arms to let him relax but she wasn't fully ready for him to be completely vulnerable when they were alone.

They slept for a few more hours. Normally she would have been up and about, but this was indulgent relaxation. When she finally did roll over and wake, Chance was still asleep. She smiled at his slumbering form. He had turned on his side some time while they slept and she ended up holding him. She moved slowly to not wake him. He rolled back towards her, tangled in the sheets. He reached out for her and was met with an empty space.

When he sleepily realized she had gotten up, he struggled to get his bearings. "Mmm, hmmm. Hey, why are you up? Lay back down." She leaned down and untangled the sheets from around his legs, and covered him back up. He reached up for the pillow she had slept on and clutched it to his chest. Ilsa's heart grew heavy as he closed his eyes again. There lay her ex-assassin partner. His chest rose and fell rhythmically with each breath he took. Half of his upper body was exposed and she took the opportunity to admire his well defined muscles.

She recalled the last several hours she spent being held in those arms. She could make out half of the tattoo that snaked around his arm. He had managed to leave one leg exposed along with his gorgeous backside. She attributed his perfect look to his near strict exercise plan, surely not consistent of takeout. His hair was unruly, no doubt from her hand running thru it earlier that morning. His brow was furrowed, almost as if he was concentrating on something. Was he dreaming? Was he still half awake waiting for her to return?

She willed herself not to get back into the bed with him. It was the safest place she knew, but a calculated risk she wasn't ready to take. With a heavy sigh, she leaned down and kissed his forehead. He stirred again and pulled the pillow tighter to his chest. "I'll be back to see you later." He murmured something incoherent ad resumed his slumber. She walked to the top of the stairs and looked back.

What was she afraid of? Did she really think he would intentionally hurt her? She knew deep down her own paranoia was keeping her from making a permanent place in his arms. He was one of those men that could bring the world to its knees, and in the same breath make your heart melt. But since she met Chance and his crew, her attitude in general made subtle changes even she wasn't ready to openly admit. In the past, she had complete control of her life and everything it involved, but Chance challenged that.

When they were together, or she was involved in a mission, he had the control. It scared her not being the decision maker. He was forcing her to let go. At first, she felt like she should walk away with her investment. She promised to be an absentee boss, but somehow, her participation surged. Chance was most of the reason. On one hand he needed her help, but at the same time, he wanted to ensure her absolute safety. Her husband had been the only man in her life to make her laugh and enjoy the company she kept. Christopher Chance was the second man. She still couldn't put her finger on why he made her feel that way. But the road ahead was beginning to straighten. Whether she continued down that road….was another story.

Author's Notes: I have one too many stories hanging out there, but this came to me the other day. I worked feverishly trying to put all my thoughts to paper, but it only happened for one reason: I was suddenly awakened the other night by my dogs barking and something crashing in my house. As always, I grabbed my gun and went to see what was wrong. I have been living on my own for quite some time, and my only warnings for safety are my two small dogs. There has never been a theft on my street or a crime committed and I have never encountered a problem such as that, but I am ALWAYS prepared.

My point you ask, is this: Sometimes there is comfort in having a strong, competent male by your side…or for some, a female. Sure, I can hold my own and protect my turf. But, in the end, it's nice to know that there is someone who is willing to let you be vulnerable. It's nice to be vulnerable. It's nice to let the walls down and be human. We have to be heroes in some way shape or form every single day, but being a hero isn't always easy…or fun. So the pistol, rifle (and soon an axe….yes I am buying an axe, because I really like the idea of having one…just in case) that sit by my bed will remain necessary, but I will ALWAYS welcome when a good man looks to me and says, "you stay here, I'll take care of it."