Rating: PG 13
Warnings: Het (Crawford/Manx)
Spoilers: Weiß Kreuz Original Series
Archive: No Archive
Manx sighed, leaning wearily against the front door of her apartment. Home wasn't quite as comforting as it should have been. Rubbing at red-rimmed eyes, she dropped her keys on the hall table and stumbled back towards her bedroom.
Somehow, it was hard to believe that he was gone. She always thought he'd be able to escape any catastrophe that came his way. Part of it was the aura he projected, so in control and on top of everything.
It hurt to think that the last image she'd have of him would be the shocked expression on his face as she shot his gun out of his hand. That hurt feeling only intensified when she realized the last time he'd seen her, she'd been looking rather smug, a front she adopted to keep anyone from noticing that she was mildly shaken by having to shoot that precisely at him. She didn't doubt he had known that it was a front, it was something instinctive in him that noticed things like that.
They were such an unlikely couple, people that you would never think would get together. After all, they were supposed to be enemies that hated one another. To tell the truth, when they had first met, Manx had thought of Bradley Crawford as being painted a deep shade of grey. Kritiker wanted their agents to think in terms of black and white, but Manx had never been able to conform to that ideal. She had always seen things in shades of grey, knowing that nothing was ever fully white or black.
Her opinion of him started to change after she encountered him during an undercover mission. He had had every opportunity to blow her cover, reveal the fact that she was an agent to her target, but he didn't. In fact, he had helped her get the information she needed. All the time she spent in his presence showed her that he wasn't as evil as Kritiker liked to make out. Crawford had his reasons for being in Schwarz, just as she had her reasons for being in Kritiker.
When he had saved her from the attentions of his 'boss', she had been bewildered, wondering why he'd do something like that. By the end of that first night, she had known she could trust him. He was one of the few people she could talk to frankly about things, and not worry about getting into trouble or offending him. They had agreed not to talk about their work, and they upheld that agreement. She had learned things about him that she wouldn't have ever been able to imagine.
Once that mission was over, Manx found herself addicted to having him around. If she really thought about it, she would acknowledge that she was probably more than halfway in love with him at that point. Before long, she had given him a key to her apartment. She trusted him, and knew that it would probably be one of the safest places for them to meet.
His arms felt like the perfect refuge for her. He had a way of making her feel beautiful, special, and his presence spoke of safety to her even though they both knew it was dangerous to be together.
Swallowing a sob, Manx tiredly gathered some clean clothing and made her way into the bathroom, wanting a hot shower and the ability to slip into an oblivious sleep once she was finished.
It had been difficult, not knowing what had happened to Weiss or to Crawford and yet still having to take care of things. The whole time, she had just wanted to cry, but knew there were things that needed to be done before she could.
Convincing Sakura and Aya to leave was one of the hardest things she had to do, each wanting to stay and try and find Ran. A great deal of persuasion went into that task before they finally let her take them to one of the Kritiker-run hospitals, and she had contacted Birman to come stay with them.
She returned to the beach in order to search for Weiss, and had been startled to find Ran and Youji leaning against one another near an outcropping of rocks. Ken and Omi were curled up next to each other not far from them. None of them looked too badly injured, though she was sure they all needed medical attention.
Discovering that Ran knew about her relationship with Brad had been startling to say the least. The fact that he was supportive of her even more startling. When he had hugged her gently, brushing a light, brotherly kiss onto her forehead, it had taken all of her willpower not to burst into tears. The best she had managed was a few sniffles, before smiling up at him, telling him that his sister was finally awake. His expression eased her heart somewhat, to see that hope written on his face made many things seem so worthwhile.
Focusing on taking care of her team allowed her to momentarily forget that her lover was gone, to push the heartache away. Only with prodding from all four Weiss members and Birman had she returned to her apartment, exhaustion evident in her every move.
Now here she was, with nothing to distract her from thoughts of Brad and the time she had shared with him. Smiling bitterly as the hot water pounded down on her sore muscles, she eventually gave into the urge she had fought all day, hot tears pouring down her face. No one was here to see it, no one could witness her weakness, and for that she was thankful. Going through the motions of bathing rather mechanically, Manx once more slipped into thoughts of the past few weeks.
One of the things she loved to do when they spent time together was sprawl out on the couch, head in his lap. He loved playing with her hair, something about the color and texture drawing his attention. They would talk of various things as they just sat there, using the time to learn more about each other and the things they liked.
It always astonished her, how much younger he looked when he laughed. He seemed so different when he was with her, less serious. His eyes would light up, gleaming mischeviously as he teased her, and he'd smile more often. When they were together, he treated her like something precious, as if she were a treasure to cherish.
She remembered how he'd always do his best not to wake her when he'd slip from the bed, knowing he couldn't stay with her if he didn't want to make his team suspicious. He'd tenderly pull the sheets back up, kissing her gently even as she sleepily protested before gathering up his clothes and retreating to the bathroom to get dressed.
The realization that the water had gone cold drew Manx out of her thoughts, making her shiver slightly and shut the shower off. Patting herself dry, she pulled her bathrobe on and wrapped the towel around her hair.
Stepping out of the bathroom, she glanced up and froze, green eyes going wide at the sight before her.
Leaning against her bedroom door, slight smile on his lips and arms folded across his chest was Brad. His smile widened as she stared at him, and he held out his arms, beckoning to her.
"Hanae..." he whispered, holding her close once she had thrown herself into his arms.
Manx looked up at him and smiled brilliantly through her tears, clutching him tightly. "I thought I had lost you..." she murmured against his chest, relief flowing through her veins.
Authors' Notes: Just a ficlet my Manx muse demanded from me. ^^;; This is based on an rp I'm doing with Kyo-chan (kyofujimiya). The rp is still in progress...but this shouldn't have any trouble fitting into it.
Disclaimer: Weiß Kreuz (and associated characters) belongs to Koyasu Takehito *.*, Project Weiß, TV Tokyo, Bandai, and others. No copyright infringement or disrespect to the creators/copyright holders was intended in the writing of this 'fic.
Feedback welcomed and very much appreciated. ^^