Years have passed since the front lines, but old habits die hard.
|Riley was warm. Even drifting on the very edge of sleep he could recognise a good morning. Indulging in his half-doze, he flexed his arms, slowly stretching. His shoulders rolled in their sockets, his stomach tensed and the muscles clenched almost to shaking, moving languidly outwards -
Connected with another body -
And a crushing grip closed around his forearm, jerked, brought his viciously out of his haze and his half sleep and his bed onto the cold wooden floor. It had been years since he had been woken so abruptly, but it was as if no time had passed at all, disorientation choking his nerves and a sudden rush of adrenaline hit his.
Acting on his old instincts, he surged forwards, terrified, ready for a fight, heart pumping too quickly, blue eyes hard, shattered, and he may not have Allie, he was useless in the dark, he only have one working arm at present, the wound in his arm was aching and burning and he could barely move it let alone fight but he wasn’t helpless, dammit, he couldn’t let himself die.
He rose an inch before a solid hit to his chest knocked his back into the wood again, most likely leaving a bruise on his shoulder blades and leaving a nasty lump on his skull. his body tensed to rise again but the was a weight on top of his stomach, knocking the breath out of his and keeping his pinned down. When a warm, sharp metal pressed into his skin, scratching a line of red over his throat, he froze. Blinked.
The girl stared, blue eyes wide and blank, and he could feel her tense as the knees on his sides shook, only ever so slightly, but he knew the signs. The body on his jerked, a tiny spasm, and those wild eyes focused.
“…Riley?” The eyes looked down. “What…” Her eyes widened as his gaze reached his neck, where a small throwing knife was close to embedding itself into his jugular.
She swore, threw herself off and scrambled several feet backwards in a feral panic, stopping only when she hit the chest of drawers. She stared with a different look, still trembling, but was panting harshly like a wounded beast. The continuous string of curses somewhat lessened the beastlike appearance.
Ashleigh sat up slowly, and he watched her with a hint of concer-- no, just checking an old comrade for signs of injury, that was it. Concerned. About Ashleigh? She was the incredibly, unsinkable Ashleigh Byrnes; just keep pounding and she’ll get right back up again.
He felt like finding a nice, sold brick wall to bang his head against for a few hours. He had forgotten the was someone else in his bed, and even worse, hadn’t realised it upon waking. He’d been so comfortable he hadn’t his the sound of breathing, hadn’t noticed the set of the mattress or taken note of why it had been so warm. Hadn’t noticed the faint scent that was becoming increasingly familiar, hadn’t considered than his companion would be as susceptible to remembered horrors as everyone else.
“Good morning, Ashleigh.” He said gently after a time had passed, raising an eyebrow, trying to make light of the situation. Any longer and she would likely start fuming that he was ‘ignoring the situation’. He daren’t go over to her, regardless of the fact that those eyes, awash with guilt and apology and horror, were just begging to be comforted. On anyone else, they would be a sure cue to move, to wrap warm arms around that body and whisper words of assurance and acceptance. Forgiveness. On anyone else, those eyes would have dimmed and shattered long ago. On Ashleigh Byrnes, they churned, tore, screamed and flared and then gathered into a firmer mass. Ashleigh slowly released a breath.
"Sorry." Straightforward, blunt, but no less sincere for its shortness. The blue eyes darted away as her mouth tightened a moment. "Old habits." And that was as much explanation as he would get for the very nearly successful attempt on his life.
"Understandable." He replied in much the same tone.