Yet another tag, because I can't seem to help myself.

Your thoughts are always appreciated.

jae


The trip that so often haunts his dreams - the place where his thoughts still unconsciously drift toward each and every day - has never felt so fresh in his memory as it does in this moment of time.

The ocean passes beneath him, a swirling abyss below. His gaze follows the journey, but his mind is on the woman next to him. He wonders if she's aware of just how much she encompasses his thoughts, his mind, his every decision.

The cabin lights had been all but extinguished, dimmed to a low glow overhead, and it was soon after that his sleeping partner's eyes fluttered shut and her breathing evened out.

Goosebumps rise with every soft breath that fans across his neck.

Had it really been since Paris that he'd held her this close - her guard completely abandoned, at her most vulnerable?

Her hand splayed over his chest curls involuntarily around his wrinkled shirt, and he finally breaks his gaze with the consuming darkness outside to look at his partner. The relief he feels in this moment, to see her so relaxed and trusting against him, after all that had passed and led to where they are today, is powerful enough to bring tears to his eyes. He blinks against the burn and tightens his grip around her, burying his face in her hair.

It's been a long time since he's had to have the constant reassurance that she's still here in his life, but sometimes, a soft touch from her, the whiff of her shampoo, or the unrestrained laugh he rarely hears but always chases, overwhelms him with the need for more; more of this tangible evidence that she's living and breathing and not beyond where he can't reach again.

Her hair tickles his face, but it's easy to ignore if it means he is able to get away with the intimate proximity. He can pretend they've made it to where he so desperately wants to be.

The finish line seems in sight, but they have yet again met one of their infamous road blocks.

She hasn't shared with him her reasons for keeping him out of the loop. And he hasn't asked. But what has kept him from confronting her is his faith in the miles they've come. It started that night in Paris; They've come such a long way since then.

The recent events, particularly in the past fortnight, serve to remind him how many miles still lie between them. And he wonders, not for the first time, just how many more there are to come. In this moment, it feels as many as the ones that separate the pair of them from home.

But the panic and the urge that has flared throughout the years, to finally walk away for the last time, doesn't threaten to consume him now.

With every minute, he feels the distance closing in. He's felt it since Paris, but it was solidified when they found themselves trapped in that elevator.

He lets his eyes fall shut, and takes a soothing breath as he grips her tighter.

Although she's asleep, he would swear she grips him tightly back.

He's ready to close the gap, once and for all.

He knows, when she's ready, she'll meet him where he stands waiting.

And when she gets there, he knows they won't look back.