A/N: From a long-standing tradition wherein my dear friend holygoof101 prompts me for her birthday and I write something postable. So far it happens in odd-numbered years and here it is. The prompt was the song Love Takes a Wrecking Ball by A Silent Film. To be honest, you all can blame iTunes for that. The YouTube acoustic version fits pretty well with what happened here, too.
Disclaimer: I don't own this. Or that. Or much. This contains spoilers/spec for 1X09 "Necromancer". Just a little mention of the release from the other day, separate from the post-1X07 trailer. If you don't want to know, don't read. And I'm pretty sure this'll be AU/spec in the end.
Come Out of the Basement and Let Me Share Your Load
They've been through a lot lately. More than usual, and she knows that's saying something.
It's saying a lot. She doesn't really like to do that, so it's taking even more of her own willpower to admit it and to even consider admitting it to him. She's this stubborn, closed-off woman and she knows it. She's always been that way, and he's the first person who's really put any sort of context to her isolation. It goes back to a forest, and a bizarre experience she's done her level best to bury. It isn't as hidden from him as it is from anyone else—in fact, it isn't hidden from him at all.
That's what makes all of this about a thousand times more intense, which is also saying a lot.
She's afraid one more stark revelation will be the final thing they can handle, as individuals or a team or whatever.
She needs a drink.
Instead, she studies her reflection and tries to figure out what she sees. It isn't disappointment that Luke, who has been so attentive and persistent, now won't touch her or even return her phone calls. She isn't sure what that means or how she feels about it, other than life is way too complicated to be bothered with romance or relationships she killed before all of… this crap. It isn't crap, though. Maybe that's the problem.
Anyway, her reflection is staring at her and, if she hadn't already known it was there, it might make her uncomfortable. She's never really enjoyed being looked at. She'd rather have her head down, nose to the grindstone and all that.
Nose to the grindstone? Fuck that noise. Her internal debates are starting to sound the like the back-from-the-dead Englishman she probably ought to go find because, if his face looks anything like hers does, he needs that connection. They need to talk, just the two of them. She doesn't know how she knows that's true, she just sort of does and, honestly, she doesn't care why anymore. She's kind of over asking questions of this anyway. She'll save it all for another topic because this one just doesn't yield answers in any time but its own.
The other thing she isn't questioning is she knows exactly where he is, and it's easy enough to geti to him. After their talk a few days ago, she knows it isn't as though he's got other options. She's it—their places, their plans, their conversations. Their dilemmas, their revelations, their accomplishments and failures… that is really the majority of what he has now. That's what she's got now, too. For all the things they are, they aren't alone.
They're partners, and it's gone beyond a level she even shared with Corbin. That wasn't exactly a partnership, now that she thinks about it. That was him guiding her, sorta, and her learning from him—kind of.
She finally makes it to the archive and he's there. He's sitting at the normal desk spot he seems to prefer, but he isn't looking at much. The desk is empty. His hands aren't, but then again, she didn't expect them to be either.
"I have always considered myself to be an honest and trustworthy person," he says. They haven't made eye contact, and she's surprised he's speaking to her because she didn't know he knew she was there. She isn't surprised he knows she's… you know, whatever. Not completely important.
"You are," she answers, once the minor surprise has worn off and she's continuing toward him. She lets her mouth move into something sort of like a smile. "The one act of treason aside."
His eyes meet hers and she doesn't really like the way they have a retort burning in them, but it's like he's too tired to argue, even if it's lighthearted. His heart is too heavy for that. She wishes it wasn't. She sits across from him, like she does sometimes (she's way less predictable than he is), and waits like she does always.
"That was for a good cause," he says eventually. His words coming so slowly is unsettling because his words, his curiosity, his ever expanding mind… they move faster than this and she is not particularly patient as it turns out. "I fail to see how this furthers that cause, or supports another as just."
"It's a necklace," she says. He gives a small hum and slides it over the cheap wood paneling of the desk retired to the archive for some reason she hasn't figured out just yet. She's thinking one of these days it will collapse into their laps. Then again, it wouldn't catch her off-guard since she's seen people actually turn to sand before her eyes.
(People? A person? Is he a person? Is he a he? Maybe Crane isn't the only one with focus issues.)
His gaze drops and his silence is long. She used to handle quiet so well and he's completely ruined it for her. She can't explain why she's uncomfortable holding what he's passed, but she sets it down all the same. She's more interested in watching him anyway.
"It belongs to my wife," he finally manages. "I'm rather concerned what I might learn next about the woman I love—and more importantly, her deceits. I'm beginning to fear they will never stop." She sees the bounce of his Adam's apple when he swallows and she knows each word is spoken at a cost to him—a dear cost. They are both private people, in some ways.
"The Horseman had it. He was a—"
"A Hessian soldier in the war," he admits, tilting his head. He sets his shaking hand on the desktop and she frowns. He's admitted fear once, in the time she's known him. She thinks his 'rather concerned' now is a lot like his 'terrified' was then.
"Why would he have her necklace? This looks… expensive."
He was looking down. He now looks up. He isn't looking at her. She doesn't know why, but she largely suspects it's because her face is a mirror of his own. She's noticed that happens a lot. "It was. Katrina was fairly well-to-do, by our standards. Her father was a landowner." He lets out a long, slow breath. "She was also not prone to giving favors—or so I thought."
Abbie doesn't touch it again, but she stares at it some more, and she thinks hard, probably harder than he has to about anything ever. "Do you think this… is this some connection to her maybe? A way to get in touch with her?"
He actually snorts. "Do not be ridiculous. It's just a necklace." His tone is gentler mocking though, at least.
"You know… I've seen stranger things," she comments wryly.
This makes him lift his head up and he's smiling, a little.
"Look, Crane, we've had this conversation before. I know how much you like repetition and all, so…" she slides the necklace back over the desk toward him. "You and me… we have each other. I need you, and you need me, and it isn't going to do us any good to sit here and stare at just a necklace."
"If my allegiance is called into question, in this instance, I'm not sure which side I'd choose. I don't really know what to believe anymore—at least not when it comes to certain aspects of our situation. I'm not sure… whom I can trust. It's a novel feeling and I don't enjoy it."
She raises her eyebrows. She's felt the same way at times—doubted him, doubted herself, doubted Corbin, doubted Jenny. Even when he's frustrated by the differences in his world versus the difference in their present world—she doesn't think he doubts it. He just isn't comfortable. This… this is doubt. It looks weird on him. She wonders how innocent he is about things like interpersonal relationships. This might actually, for all she knows, be the first time he's been lied to by someone he loves. The whole witch thing was more an omission than a lie, because she highly doubts he asked his beloved if she belonged to a coven, so that doesn't necessarily count here.
"You damn well better choose my side," she says, attitude coming up out of nowhere. The poor guy looks sort of rocked, though, so she decides to throw him a bone. "Look, me and you…it's the same side. I can't promise you I'll tell you everything about me, but I'll be honest. I won't lie or hide anything on purpose." She stands up because he's looking smaller by the second (she knows; she didn't think it was possible either—he's tall and his presence is usually not easily concealed for a lot of other reasons like his curiosity, constant questioning, neverending thinking and did she mention curiosity?) It's wrong. She doesn't think she can handle anymore tonight and, without delving too far into it, she knows that means he probably can't either. They just get each other on that level. "Put that in your pocket or whatever you want to do with it, but we should get out of here."
For once, he doesn't argue. She thinks maybe she should give him a cookie or something. Actually…
"Morales won't even sit in the same room with me," she says as they start their walk up to her car. This is better than a cookie, in some ways. This is them sharing something—something apart from their work, something apart from all the shit they've been dealt just because. She's come to care about his feelings and value his opinion—God help her—and she thinks he deserves something because he shared something extremely personal with her. "I don't know what I did. It was just a coffee date."
"The date you cancelled?" He asks.
She nods. "Maybe it was more than that to him, even though I said it shouldn't be." She looks over at him. "For all his persistence, I'm kind of wondering what he was after. Or… if maybe I pushed too hard and now he's giving up."
He looks at her without breaking his stride. "Isn't that what you wanted?"
She looks down to hit the button on her key fob. "It doesn't matter," she admits with a shrug and a smile. "He never really told me and I never really asked. Now, though… it's in the past. What's in the past, personally speaking, doesn't really seem to have a whole lot to do with what's coming, apocalyptically speaking, does it?"
He raises his eyebrows appreciatively, his chin puckers with the motion. "Indeed, Lieutenant. I see your point." She's halfway to her house, planning on teaching him about drowning relationship woes in a pint of ice cream with a friend—she will not cry on his shoulder about any of it and she's less disappointed about Luke than he is about his own problems, for sure—before he speaks again.
"I thank you, sincerely, for sharing the load with me."
She doesn't know which load he's talking about specifically. The disappointment of someone you love/care about failing you? The hordes of demons that sprout up out of the ground or portal or the magical traveling forest, looking for them? The secret of a dude with an axe who commits ritual manslaughter fortnightly if they're lucky?
They have a lot of loads and, the more she thinks about it, the more she finds herself feeling thankful they're sharing them, too. His initial appearance may have been a wrecking ball in her life, but his residual presence is nothing nearly as disturbing. It's comforting and, more than anything, it's welcome.
Just like he is.
It might not be saying a lot, but it's saying something that she means the words as they leave her mouth in a voice mirroring his; it's quiet but it cuts through the stillness of her car anyway.
"You're welcome, Crane. We'll be all right, you and I."