Disclaimer: I don't own Human Target and intend no copyright infringement.
They didn't address the matter.
Of course not.
They were guys.
But it was still there, like the proverbial elephant in the room. Sitting on the sofa with its fat gray ass as Chance meticulously cleaned and bandaged Guerrero's wounds, watching with its big dark eyes from a corner of the hotel's bedroom while Chance dozed in a chair by sleeping Guerrero's side, curling its trunk out of harm's way when Guerrero lashed out in a violent dream about handcuffs and fire till Chance managed to calm him down again.
They holed up in the room till Guerrero was on the mend. It was better to lay low for a while anyway. Winston was busy sorting out the mess they'd caused and cursing quite a lot about it over the phone, but he was making progress.
The client lived and Guerrero lived, that was all that counted.
After a couple of days Guerrero felt up to taking a bath. The hotel room had a shower, too, but his wounds had healed enough that exposure to water didn't pose too much of a problem anymore. His muscles were practically screaming for the extensive relaxation only a hot bath could provide.
The rushing of the water, a sound that, a couple of days ago, had announced they wouldn't burn to death after all, brought back a whole bunch of memories connected with that ill-fated evening: The ambush, him getting caught by the attackers, the handcuffs, the flames, the smoke…
Chance rushing to his side, desperately trying to carry him into the open.
Guerrero shouting at him to just drop him already and save his own life.
Chance shouting back that he'd rather die than leave him behind.
Guerrero scolding him for heroic idiocy.
Chance, coughing and gasping three words in reply.
I love you.
Then Winston had managed to get the sprinkler system working after all and they had been safe.
In the past few days neither Guerrero nor Chance had said anything about it… but the words had been spoken. And the more Guerrero tried to ignore them, the more they seemed to haunt him. Hoping the bath would put his mind at ease a little, he lowered himself into the tub.
Letting out an involuntary sigh, Guerrero closed his eyes and for a moment simply enjoyed the sensation of intense warmth loosening his tensed up muscles.
When he opened them, he was only planning to do so for a short moment, just to get a bit of shampoo… but there was something on the far end of the tub, almost hidden behind the towels provided by the hotel… a yellow speck…
Guerrero reached for his glasses.
The yellow speck turned out to have an orange beak and very round blue eyes.
A rubber duck.
Now that was surely not standard hotel room equipment… Chance must have put it there, after Guerrero had announced he was planning to take a bath. He had been gone for about an hour, shopping to stack up on some necessities… that's when he must have gotten the duck.
But why? Did Chance picture him to have a hidden childish side?
Frowning, Guerrero reached for the small toy and examined it.
It was a rather elaborate exemplar, heavier than he had thought… wait a moment… oh. It looked as if it had some kind of built-in mechanism that probably provided a loud squeaking sound. His son had a similar one, only in mouse shape.
Still frowning, Guerrero let it swim, watched it slowly floating towards his knees, made little waves to steer it left and right.
Then he understood.
He watched the duck some more, thinking about three little words uttered under desperate conditions.
Suddenly everything was easy. He took the toy and squeezed it.
Barely a second later a muffled squeak came in reply from behind the closed door.
"Come in", Guerrero called.
Chance stepped in, fully clothed, carrying a second duck.
Guerrero involuntarily let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding. For a moment he had pictured Chance carrying nothing but the second duck and maybe a towel around his hips.
That would have been a little too fast.
Chance hovered by the doorstep, lopsided smile on his face, studying the floor with great interest.
Awkward silence filled the room.
Till Guerrero squeezed his duck again.