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     My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]

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    Blake Mason
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    PostSubject: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Tue Aug 16, 2016 2:43 am

    His watch told him it was almost 2 in the morning, the stars said it was a clear night, and his brain was yelling that he would not be going to sleep anytime soon. It was Maison's anniversary. All those years ago, on this day, a girl he never truly knew gave up her life for a ten year old boy she also barely knew. He sat half-hidden in the shadows of the night, watching the silent grounds below. The towers, he had come to find, was a place of solitude. Hardly any students came up here, and it was usually quiet, which was exactly what Blake needed.

    His eyes, normally bright and glinting with amusement, were dull, serious. It was a side of him hardly anyone ever saw, and he meant to keep it that way. Blake was Blake. He had no past to talk about - besides his wild school and University days - and no secrets to hide. Blake was carefree, outgoing, full of life, always shrugging off anything bad that happened, and he worked hard to make people believe that. It wasn't hard; people tended to not look past the surface.

    But the boy he had once been - Martin - was another story altogether. Martin had a secret. Martin was insecure. Martin was the one who lost his mother before he was a month old, and his father before he turned 17. And Martin was the one who constantly wondered if his life - if what he was doing now, as Blake - would make Maison smile.

    No matter how hard he tried, no matter how many identification cards of his read 'Blake Mason', inside there was always going to be a part of him that was that terrified kid running for his life, the image of a girl being stabbed in exchange for his life burned into his mind.

    He closed his eyes, then, allowing the light breeze to run through his hair, half wishing they would carry the memories far away, somewhere he couldn't access them. His hand tightened momentarily around his wand. It wouldn't be hard; he knew the spell. Performed it on hundreds if not thousands of people, accidental witnesses to crimes or magic. Trained, in fact, to perform it flawlessly and quickly, to mutter that one word. No, it wouldn't be hard at all.

    ***
    "So what is there around here to do for fun besides sleeping with students?" he teased, wincing a little at Andi's fist collided with his arm.

    The glare that followed made him laugh, though, and he shook his head at her. "Oh come on, Andi. We both know you've got some tact." He paused, winked. "That is to say, if you were sleeping with someone - which we both know you are - you wouldn't admit-"

    Before he could finish his sentence, he was flipped over, landing painfully on his back, arm twisted behind him. "If there's a safe word I'd like to use it now. SAFE WORD. Andrea! SAFE WORD," he cried, though he was grinning, as Andi began to murmur threats into his ear.

    ***

    The memory made him smile, and his grip on his wand loosened just a little. No. He needed to remember. Had to, because it was his reason - it was why he did what he did, and it was what got him out of bed in the mornings. Someone had given up their life for him. He wasn't going to waste it.

    With a light sigh, he turned his attention back to the grounds and the night. There was no point trying to sleep, not on days like this.

    _________________________________________________________
    ~Even in the worst situations, all a person needs to survive is ONE GOOD THING~
    ~You are my one good thing~
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:15 am

    Andi turned for what felt like the thousandth time, kicking off the blankets only to put them back on a few minutes later. She'd tried every trick she knew to help her sleep but Dreamland still evaded her. Her mind was too loud, too disturbed, thinking at a million miles an hour.

    Blake. The mole. Her compromised identity. Blake. Her other team members. Blake. The case. Blake. Her job. Blake. Her students. Blake.

    She growled out her frustration, making a fist and sending it at the mattress. Why was Blake consuming so much of her thoughts? Ever since he’d shown up and declared himself to be a professor, she hadn’t stopped thinking about him. She’d thought about him before he came, no doubt about that. But now, she was losing sleep over him. And she didn’t even know what about him that was giving her a sleepless night.

    Every time she closed her eyes, she saw his smile, his eyes, the way his lips would twitch when he tried not to smile, the way his teeth showed through when he failed to keep his smile in check. Scenes played in her head of their adventures, the cases they’d solved, the trouble he’d get into, the times he’d risked his life to save her and their never ending banter.

    Giving up on sleep, Andi checked the digital clock beside her bed. 1.50. Sitting up, she ran a hand through her tousled hair before tossing the blankets aside and standing up. Deciding to keep her white tank top on, she changed out of her pajama bottoms into shorts, slipped on her shoes and gathered her hair into a ponytail, not bothering to comb it through. At the last minute, she grabbed a light jacket to keep the cold at bay before exiting her apartment.

    There was only one place in mind. The astronomy tower at the academy.

    She breathed in the cool early morning air, grateful for it’s refreshing quality. Her shoes made no noise as she walked the short distance from Avalon to the academy. She took her time, enjoying the cool air and the beauty of the night.

    It was a long climb up to the tower but when she reached the top, her eyebrows creased in confusion when she found the door unlocked. With a wave of her hand, she put a silencing charm on the door so it wouldn’t creak when she pushed it open.

    Her heart stopped when the first thing she saw was a familiar head of messy blonde hair. She stood stock still for a moment before stepping into the room and silently closing the door behind her.

    “Mason,” she said, her voice soft so as not to startle him. “Hey.”
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:03 am

    The fresh air he was getting wasn't doing much. Normally, sitting out here in the open air helped with clearing his mind - but there was nothing that could really help. Not on this night. He hadn't even bothered to go to his room, instead still wearing what he had on from that evening - jeans and a hoodie. A long walk around campus had helped somewhat, but after midnight it was far too suspicious to be caught outside; it wasn't like he had that good a reason, anyway, and security was much tighter after the incident. That meant he would have been found out, one way or the other, and probably questioned.

    But there was nothing against sitting in the open air of the astronomy tower.

    Blake let out a slow sigh, rubbing the palm of his hands together. It wasn't a cold night, but he couldn't find the warmth that was normally there, inside him, spurring him on.

    There was a single thud, so soft it was almost as though a shadow had made it. That alone wasn't enough to spook him, but the hairs on his neck rose just a little; he wasn't alone. His instincts he had come to trust, and the many times they had saved him on the field proved them accurate. He didn't move his body or turn his head, but his fingers curled around his wand, and he focused on a non-verbal spell, waiting to release it as soon as he found out whether it was friend or foe that joined him tonight.

    A split second later, he heard his name, and once more, his grip loosened. He tried to smile, but it didn't quite work out, and he gave up altogether, instead turning his head a little to hide it more in the shadows. "Zi..- Andi," he replied, habit making him use her undercover name first. But nobody was up here; he had already cast protective spells around the area he was in, so he couldn't be overheard if he had decided to talk to himself.

    Of all people... He wasn't sure if it made it worse or better that it was Andrea who stood there. He closed his eyes for a brief moment, counting to three before opening them, trying to push everything behind that wall he was so familiar with. No, he was not Martin. He was Blake, and Blake was sarcastic, snarky, witty, fun... Blake whined and irritated people and didn't care, not brood in the early hours of the morning. That was Martin, and he wouldn't - couldn't - be Martin in front of anyone.

    "It's five past two in the morning. What are you doing here?" he asked, then, trying to revert back to Blake, still not turning to look at the witch.


    _________________________________________________________
    ~Even in the worst situations, all a person needs to survive is ONE GOOD THING~
    ~You are my one good thing~
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:04 am

    Andi hadn’t expected to see anyone at the astronomy tower. From her observations, barely anybody visited it and it’s only use was for the astronomy class. It was unusual for people to go up there randomly. Perhaps the odd couple who wanted to fulfil the cliche of gazing at the stars romantically and the lonely introvert who wanted his own space. That was about it. But the last person she expected to see up in the tower was Blake.

    It wasn’t that he had a phobia of heights but she just couldn’t picture him in a place of such isolation. She associated him with happy, lively, active places but she definitely did not expect him to willingly go to a place where even the wind sang a song of loneliness and stars were the only company to be found. It just wasn’t him. Or what she knew of him.

    What did she know of him, though? He was her partner, someone who would endure torture for her, someone who’d seen her at her worst and at her best, someone she trusted with every cell in her body. At least, she thought she did. But she was learning new things everyday, even if it was 2.05 in the morning.

    When he began with her undercover name, she smiled. She’d done that more than once, especially when they were required to stay undercover for many days without an opportunity to be alone. It showed the amount of training ingrained in them as undercover specialists. Which was why she found herself unconsciously studying Blake’s face. But the darkness of the night, barely lit by the stars thousands of light years away, didn’t allow her to read his expression as well as she’d like. And he just had to stand in the darkest spot.

    She shrugged her shoulders at his question, tucking her cold hands into the pockets of her shorts as she walked closer to him. There was an underlying tone in his voice that told her something was not right. She’d heard his voice countless times to be able to recognise the slightest whisper and the intonation had her wondering if he was okay. Plus, he hadn’t made a teasing jibe or a sarcastic remark which was unusual. Something was definitely up with him.

    She battled within herself for a while, unsure if she should question him about it or let it go. They did share some personal moments before but it was nothing serious and it was over rather quickly. Deciding to remain casual until the subject was brought up - because it was past two in the morning and, according to Ted Mosby’s mum, was the time after which nothing good ever happened - she tackled his question.

    “I couldn’t sleep,” she replied simply, leaning her hip against the waist high wall. “You?”


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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:39 am

    Undercover jobs were among the hardest thing one could do. There were so many unforeseeable aspects to practically everything, and one constantly had to be on guard. The slightest mistake could cost one their life - or, worse, the lives of many innocents. One had to maintain cover to absolute perfection, had to become the person, so that nothing said would or could faze them. If your character was someone who was violent and had a history of said crimes, you couldn't freeze or bat an eyelid when the people you're with torture someone, even someone you know.

    There were many ways to do this, and each had their own coping mechanism. Some chose to focus on their kids, their families. Some sang songs in their minds, recollecting the lyrics to tens or hundreds of their favourite songs. Some quoted books or passages from stories. And some numbered the objects in the room. Whatever the means, the principle was the same: plain and simple distraction.

    Looking out across the dark field, Blake tilted his head slightly so that his eyes were focused on the twinkling blackness above. Then, slowly, almost painfully, he began counting stars.

    "I decided that I was tired of my accommodation, so I'm moving up here. Didn't they tell you this is now my room?" he asked, but even he could tell his voice sounded... different. Distant, as though he was far away. It was a voice's equivalent of turning pale. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. "Of course, you're welcome to share it if you want, but I'm going to have to insist you don't sleep over." Ten. Eleven. Hey, isn't that the southern cross? "I mean, we wouldn't want your mysterious lover to get jealous, would we?"

    He was grasping for straws, now; there was no passion to his tone, no jest or sarcasm. It was just ... words, and nothing that made it banter whatsoever. Twelve. On second thought, I don't think so. Thirteen.

    Blake faltered. Swallowed. Fourteen. Fifteen. "Sixteen. Seventeen. Hey, Andi, do you think that's the southern cross over there? I can't seem to decide. I think it might be. Are we even facing the right direction? Eighteen," he was rambling now, a sure sign that he was definitely not okay. "I mean, does the southern cross point south or north? How do you think the people did it back then? Nineteen. Twenty. Twenty one..."

    Blake trailed off, then, turning away from the scenery and looking directly at Andi. "I can't sleep either. Also, I think I'm going crazy, so you might want to take a step back," he said. He had absolutely no idea what he was doing. It felt so wrong and yet so right and all he knew was that he was utterly and entirely confused. The emotions - everything - was so overwhelming that he didn't know what to do. His mouth was moving of its own accord, saying things he didn't want to, and unable to control any of it.

    _________________________________________________________
    ~Even in the worst situations, all a person needs to survive is ONE GOOD THING~
    ~You are my one good thing~
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:16 am

    There was rarely a time Andi was afraid. She’d face a gun without flinching, dive head first into a sword fight with nothing but her bare hands, fight five people at once without losing her cool and get tied and locked up with no route of escape in a house about to be burned down all without fear and panic. She’d even stepped into an ambush once completely unarmed and relying only on her wandless magic and two other team members to take down a den of bloodthirsty wizards that outnumbered them eight to one with no backup enroute.

    She’d done all that and more. Fear wasn’t something she had the luxury of feeling in the face of death. It was either kill or be killed with no room - or time - to feel anything else except the urge to survive and justice to be served.

    But now, with her gaze on Blake, trying - and failing - to see through his soul, she could feel her head beating an unsteady rhythm in her chest. And she realised she was afraid. She didn’t know what was going on with him, didn’t know what to say, didn’t know how to help. Bad guys she could handle. An emotional situation she could not. Not even with a thousand manuals detailing how to behave in such situations.

    But this was Blake. He’d walk through fire for her and she would do the same for him. If he needed it, she would talk to him on a personal level.

    Then he turned his head and started counting stars. It wasn’t aloud but she knew, deep inside her, that he was counting. Blake only counted when he was going to lose his cool. It was his coping mechanism. Her eyebrows creased and her worry and fear increased tenfold. Something was seriously amiss if he was counting.

    The next thing she knew, Blake was rambling and her heart broke with each word that left his mouth. This ran deeper than she realised. Way deeper. She completely ignored his questions and his attempt at sarcasm, hearing the emptiness in his voice. What happened to him? What happened to make her Blake become like this? If someone had hurt him in any way, she wouldn’t hesitate to find the person and make their life a living hell.

    When he finally stopped, she didn’t heed his words and took a step forward. And another. And another until only a hair’s breath separated them. “Blake,” she said softly, taking her hand out of her pocket and placing it against his cheek, stroking with her thumb for a moment before taking it away. “What’s wrong?” she asked, keeping her gaze locked on his.
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:55 am

    "Twenty..two?" he asked, as Andi took a step forward. "Uhm. Hi," he added, with each step forward, and then stopped altogether. Words were his go to, his defence mechanism. He never failed to find something either snarky or sassy about something; and, if he did, he could always babble his way through some nonsense that made him sound as though he wasn't afraid. And, usually, his carefree words usually made him feel that way, too. So, tonight, when words refused to come, Blake knew he was left bare, without anything to hide behind or run to.

    He refused to flinch when she reached out, but he couldn't help swallowing hard when she stroked his cheek. It was so intimate, so personal... And yet she couldn't feel the way he did. There was no way she cared for him in any way more than as his partner. So, once again, he pulled on every last trick in the book and began to run through the lines of his favourite muggle movie series.

    He heard her question, but didn't - couldn't - acknowledge it, instead leaning back slightly and forcing a frown on his face as he shrugged. "Hey Andi, do you think that Antman would beat the Hulk in a fight? The smallest hero versus the biggest. That would be a movie worth paying for, don't you think?" he found himself asking. Rambling. Again.

    "Did you know that apparently the actor for Tony Stark actually hid food around the filming sets and that scene in Avengers when he started eating was real? I don't know if that's unprofessional or just really cool." He paused, tilted his head, gazing at her.

    ***
    "I love you," he said, placing a kiss on her cheek.

    Andi smiled, lacing her fingers through his. "And I, you."

    "The both of you make such a cute couple," the storekeeper had commented, placing another ring in front of them. "How about this one?"

    Blake pretended to consider it for a moment. "Hmm. I don't think it's big enough to prove my love for my girlfr- fiancé."

    With a nod, the storekeeper turned away, moving to a display further down. Beside him, Andi murmured, "Where are they? They were supposed to hit at ten. It's five past."

    Blake smiled. "Patience, my dear. We need to find the perfect ring, after all," he said, aloud. Then, much lower, he added, "Maybe there was traffic. Hopefully they'll be here soon and we can get this over with. I swear to Merlin, if I have to look at one more dratted ring..."

    But secretly, he was pleased the robbers were late, even if it made the tension that much stronger. Because for every minute the wizards were delayed, the longer he could stand there and pretend to pretend to be in love with his partner.

    ***
    "Martin," he said, inhaling sharply as his name left his lips. He'd never said it before to anyone. "My name... Martin." He paused, licking his lips and considering Andi for a moment before continuing. "Maison. She was 17. She was my babysitter. And. And I should have never begged her to take me to the park."

    That was all he could say. There were no tears, no visible sign of grief, but his heart was heavy and he could feel the emotions threatening to burst out in... Well, he wasn't quite sure. All he knew was he shouldn't be talking and yet he couldn't stop.

    _________________________________________________________
    ~Even in the worst situations, all a person needs to survive is ONE GOOD THING~
    ~You are my one good thing~
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:27 am

    Her heart sank when he didn’t respond to her touch. He didn’t lean towards her hand, didn’t inhale or exhale, didn’t react. Nothing. Did her comfort mean nothing to him? Did he think it was just a sisterly gesture? Did he not feel anything when she was around? She couldn’t be the only one that felt this way right? But the things he’d gone through for her said otherwise. Maybe he did it because they were partners and it was expected of him. Then again, no one had ever gone as far as he had. If he was just a mere partner, he’d draw a risk line and never cross it. But he’d risked his life, over and over and over when she was trapped and looking death in the eyes. He just couldn’t feel nothing, could he?

    He began talking again and Andi found herself shaking her head, tears almost filling her eyes at the hurt and emotion in his voice. She’d never seen or heard him so vulnerable before. He was pushing her way with his words and it hurt when he did that. He didn’t want to confide in her. Didn’t want to trust her with whatever stole the sparkle from his eyes.

    Without knowing what she was doing, her index finger came up and pushed against his lips, silencing his words. She couldn’t bear to watch him build a fortress with his words, locking her out. Let me in, Blake. Please. “Shh,” she said, managing to keep the tremble out of her voice. “Stop, Blake, please.”

    Then he was speaking again and she listened. Oh, how she listened. At first, her eyes went wide in shock that he was actually opening up, trusting her with a personal story. Maybe she did mean something to him after all. Perhaps as much as he meant to her. Her heart rejoiced at the thought but she quenched it down, not wanting to lead her hopes up to the tallest mountain only to have it crashing back down to earth and breaking into uncountable pieces.

    When he finished speaking his few short sentences - very uncharacteristic of him - Andi was silent for a moment, piecing the words together and inferring the meaning behind them. Quite a number of Aurors had a backstory, something that made them want to see justice in the world. She had one. And now Bla - Martin had one. His babysitter had died. Because he wanted to go to the park. She probably died protecting Bla - Martin from something and now he was feeling guilt over it.

    Her first thought was He doesn’t look like a Martin. Her second Oh Merlin, he actually confided in me! Her third What do I say now? Fourth Do I make a sarcastic remark so everything returns to normal? Fifth Do I say something comforting? Sixth Do I call him Blake or Martin? Seventh What should I do? Eighth I don’t know what to do! NinthSomeone walk through that door right now so it won’t get awkward. Tenth Anyone?

    Unfortunately, her wish wasn’t answered. At a loss for what to do and say, she moved, as if someone was controlling her like a puppet, and wrapped her arms around him in a gentle hug. It wasn’t a tight squeeze like the one she’d given him when he appeared at the academy. It was like the one he gave her when she came out of a torture chamber and told everyone she was fine when she really wasn’t. And it was like the one he gave her when she cried her heart out when couldn’t save a little girl. It was the kind of hug that brought comfort and assurance that she was there for him like he had been for her.

    She didn’t know how long passed before she finally thought of something she could say. It would lighten the situation and yet it she said it in a way so he would know that if he wanted to keep talking about it, he could. “Martin, huh?”
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:08 am

    He kept his eyes on her as he waited. Each second felt like a year as Blake searched her face for the tiniest trace of a reaction. He wasn't disappointed, although with each flicker he saw, he was more and more uncertain if he had done the right thing. For the first time in... a long, long time, he could not read his partner's mind. They had worked as one for so long, trained together for even longer, and by now he was able to tell her thoughts from how she blinked; it was vital to missions, after all, to work well together. But it went beyond that, far far beyond. Except now - when it counted for himself and not the lives of others - he could not read her any more than he could when they first met and she told him she would never, ever work with such an arrogant pighead.

    The hug, though... That was unexpected, and said more than words ever could. It told him she was there. It told him she didn't mind his brokenness. It told him she cared. He let her hug him, but didn't try to move to reciprocate. He couldn't. He just couldn't, although for all the world he wanted to.

    When she let go, he took a breath and found that - to his surprise - the weight he felt earlier was lifted. Slightly, and a lot of it was still there, but it seemed that Andi... No. He couldn't go there. He couldn't bring himself to hope that there would or could ever be more. The question made him smile - genuinely - and he let out a tiny laugh, shaking his head. "Blake. It's legally Blake. I haven't been Martin in... I haven't been Martin since University."

    He refused to break eye contact, though he desperately wanted to. "Blake Mason. She was Maison with an 'i'. One year ago today, she took me to the park at my insistence. She was stabbed, eight times, by a rogue wizard who tried to kidnap me. She was a Muggle. I was ten. It was her second time babysitting me. She lived down the road with her parents. She was studying to be a teacher. She saved my life." He paused, taking another breath. "Blake Mason. A reminder not to waste mine."

    Now that he had started, he found he couldn't stop. "My dad - Landon. Landon Granger - was a muggleborn. He worked as a muggle cop in that town." He offered her a grin. "Hard to believe, but I wasn't always this good looking. It was only in my fourth year that I started attracting attention of the good kind. But then my dad... He died with I was sixteen. His heart finally gave way." He shrugged. "I broke up with my girlfriend - or rather, she dumped me. My DADA professor pulled me aside after class one day. I ended up telling him everything. He had only one thing to say: she didn't die so you could throw your life away. I've never forgotten his words."

    Blake glanced around and then back at Andi. "I worked harder. Passed my newts. Got accepted here. Martin Granger entered University to become an Auror. Blake Mason left as one. He joined a team of professionals and met this female who became his partner."

    Once more, Blake hesitated. He had already said more than he intended, told her things that nobody knew, that he had worked so hard to keep hidden. But he had already come so far... What more did he have to lose? Everything was already on the line. "What Blake didn't count on, though," he continued, slowly. "Was falling in love." He paused. "With." Another pause. "Her."

    "Of course," he continued, barging on ahead, mouth moving faster than his brain again. It was so much easier talking in third person, too. "He couldn't tell her. What would she say? What would she do? There was no chance she felt the same, so he kept it hidden. Why ruin a perfectly good relationship with love? Besides, he had his reason to do what he did - Maison. The girl who gave up everything for him, who died for a ten-year-old. He read this quote once that said, "all a person needs to survive is one good thing." And that was Maison. She wasn't a good thing, but she was a reason. A reason to get up every morning and do what he did."

    He slowed down again, emotions and thoughts jumbled everywhere. "But one day he found himself in a torture chamber. And suddenly, Maison wasn't enough. But Andi..." His voice had gotten softer, somehow, though he wasn't sure when. "You were. And..."

    Blake reached forward, gently brushing one finger against her cheek in a simple gesture. "And I never told you then, but for what it's worth now, I just want you to know that the place I went to in my head to stop the pain was you. I just kept thinking about your smile and your laugh… Everything. It’s the only thing that got me through." He took a deep breath; he was almost finished. There was only one last thing to say before he had no more to give, no more secrets to lay bare, before he had to wait and see how she reacted. Quietly, so much so that he was practically whispering, he said, "Andi... You're my one good thing."

    _________________________________________________________
    ~Even in the worst situations, all a person needs to survive is ONE GOOD THING~
    ~You are my one good thing~
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:10 am

    He hadn’t hugged her back. He hadn’t hugged her back. He hadn’t hugged her back. He hadn’t hugged her back. No matter how she tried to say it, Andi couldn’t shake the utter disappointment and devastation she felt deep in her soul when Blake didn’t return her gesture of comfort. Did he not like it? Did he not want it? Had she overstepped her boundaries? Had she hugged him wrongly? All these questions and more swirled through her mind like a cyclone bent on destruction. In the center of it all was the biggest question. Why didn’t he respond?

    His reaction - or lack thereof - told her one thing. He didn’t reciprocate her feelings. And that knowledge cut deeper and hurt more than any physical wound ever could. They’d been partners for seven long years and they’d been through hell and high water together. Andi didn’t know the exact point the ‘just partners’ ended and the ‘more than partners’ began. She couldn’t put an exact date to when she realised that what she felt for Blake went beyond mere partnership. It’d been growing so steadily that she hadn’t recognised it until he had to kiss another woman to keep his cover. The jealousy that arose could not be mistaken for anything else.

    And he’d rejected a mere hug.

    Fighting for control over her emotions, Andi forced the hurt to an abyss in her soul, trying to lock it tight until she got back home. Ted Mosby’s mum was right. Nothing good ever happened after two a.m.

    She gave him a gentle smile. “Blake it is, then,” she replied, then kept silent as he talked. Though he didn’t think of her as more than a friend, she treasured this moment. He was talking to her, trusting her with his story and that was more precious than millions of diamonds. She wouldn’t trade this moment for anything. Hearing him break past his walls and take that step forward of speaking about his past would be etched into her memory forever.

    Her heart broke for the girl who gave up her life to save a ten-year-old boy at the same time it exploded with gratefulness. If she hadn’t given up her life, Blake wouldn’t be standing in front of her. She wouldn’t have someone she could tease endlessly, someone she could trust wholeheartedly, someone she could beat to the ground in a pulp. If Maison hadn’t given up her life, Blake would be dead. If Andi was a religious girl, she would be thanking all the deities for Maison.

    Blake began talking about his father and Andi couldn’t stop the flood of memories of her own dad. She could empathise with the pain of losing a father. She knew the grief, the sorrow, the confusion and all the other emotions she could not name but which overwhelmed her soul. She wanted to hug him again, to tell him that she understood but she didn’t move a muscle, not wanting to break his flow of words.

    And not wanting to be rejected again.

    But as he continued in the third person, Andi felt her heart beating harder. And faster. And more unsteady. He fell in love with her? But she thought he didn’t think about he that way! And he thought she didn’t love him back? But she did! More than words could say, or describe, or explain. She loved his smile, his laugh, his eyes, his personality, everything! She loved him.

    She didn’t know when the tears sprung from her eyes but she could feel them running down her cheeks as Blake continued talking. She remembered his time in the torture chamber, remembered him afterwards, wondered how he survived when everyone thought he was going to break. She remembered the darkness that threatened to consume him in the days that followed. Because sometimes, counting wasn’t enough and everyone had a threshold of how much they could endure. She remembered feeling helpless, at a loss of what she could say or do to help him through it. But she was the one that kept him sane. And he was telling her this. Now.

    She couldn’t breathe. She didn’t know what to think. Blake loved her. Blake loved her. Blake [/i]loved[/i] her. Blake loved her.

    But she didn’t know what to say. What does one normally say when faced in a situation like this? Andi was never good with emotional things.

    “Blake, I…” her voice came out shaky. “Ted Mosby’s mum was wrong.”

    The moment the words were out of her mouth, she wanted to take them back. What had she just said? Who says that when someone they love just confessed their feelings to you? I suck at this.

    “She said nothing good ever happens after two a.m,” she blurted after trying to compose herself. “She was wrong. This..this is the best thing that has ever happened. Blake. I..never knew you felt that way but I was hoping you did and...and I’m botching this up.”

    She took a deep breath, wiping away her remaining tears and trying to articulate herself like he had. “I just...I didn’t expect to fall in a love with a partner as annoying as you. I wake up everyday and you’re the first thought in my mind and I go to sleep every night and you’re the last face I see. Before you, I never knew what it was like to trust someone so much. I mean, it wasn’t that way at first. I didn’t trust you at all and now I do and that’s what I meant when I said Ted Mosby’s mum was wrong...and I...”

    Blake’s lips on hers cut her off. For a few seconds, she was stunned but soon, her eyes closed and she responded, kissing him back, letting her hands rest on his chest and shoulders before moving them up to bury her fingers in his soft hair.
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:35 am

    She was talking.

    That much, he was sure of, but all he heard was this dull white noise, like the droning of a TV during dinner or the whispering of a crowd at a play. The most important thing - the only thing that mattered, really - was that he understood her words, even if he couldn't hear them. She liked - no, loved - him back. For some reason he could not wrap his mind around, Andi loved him. Despite his failures, despite his shortcomings and all the things wrong with him, Andi had fallen in love with him, too.

    He wanted to tell her he understood. He wanted to tell her that her meaning had not gone over his head. But he couldn't speak, and she was still rambling on about that damn television show. He also he wanted to kiss her. And there was nothing in the world that would stop him from that - and so, leaning forward and tilting his head slightly, he brought his lips to meet hers.

    The kiss was... Beyond anything he ever expected. Sure, he had kissed her before, while undercover as couples or whatever, but never like this, never as himself. It was the first time Blake Mason was kissing Andi, his partner, and there were no words he could dream of that would adequately explain how amazing this was.

    "Shut up," he spoke, into her lips. It wasn't till a few long moments later that he broke away, realising with a start that he had, somewhere along the lines, laced his arms around her. He didn't let go; instead, pulling her gently forward, he pulled her into him and held her close, burying his head in the nook between her shoulder and neck. Breathing in her scent, he smiled.

    "You have no idea how long I've waited to do that," he murmured, following up his statement with a gentle kiss to the neck. It wasn't sensual, and it wasn't foreplay of any kind like he had done before - it was real, gentle, loving, and felt so much more right than anything he'd ever done before. "I love you, Andi," he added, a moment later. "And I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to tell you the truth."

    And as he spoke, he found that his heart was light and at peace. For some reason he could not explain, Andi had calmed his storm - and, a moment later, he realised he could explain it. Slowly, unwillingly, he let her go, pushing her back gently so he could look in her eyes, hands holding onto her shoulders.

    "Andi, when I said you were my one good thing, I'm not joking. There is nothing about you that I don't love, that doesn't feel right. I said earlier that Maison was my reason to live, but I was wrong. She isn't. She's the reason I started this, but you're the reason I'm staying. And... And I wouldn't have it any other way." It was probably the longest he'd ever gone without saying something sarcastic, but he wasn't done yet. "When I'm with you, my demons... They quieten. There's just something about you, Andi, that soothes the monster inside me. The only reason I'm alive is because of you. And that's why I'm here. I couldn't - wouldn't - let you face this alone. You're my partner, Andi, but more than that, you're the only woman I've ever truly loved."

    The words were coming out on their own, an outpouring of his heart that he had never ever done before. It was so odd, so unlike himself - and yet nothing had ever felt so damn right.

    _________________________________________________________
    ~Even in the worst situations, all a person needs to survive is ONE GOOD THING~
    ~You are my one good thing~
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:51 am

    Andi liked control. That much was true. She liked control in the battlefield, predicting the exact move of her opponent, calculating the risks involved, and knowing exactly what she was doing. Her teammates teased her endlessly over her want for control. She needed to be able to control what was going on in her life. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t like floundering in the deep end without a foothold or something to grab onto to keep from sinking.

    There was only a handful of times she didn’t have control. When her father died and she wandered the streets for a year, and the few times she couldn’t save a life on the field. In all those times, she’d felt like she was drowning, trying to breathe but only taking water into her lungs. It wasn’t a nice feeling. She didn’t mind spontaneity but not when things got out of hand and she couldn’t control what was happening to her.

    Just like right now.

    Words were tumbling out of her mouth and she didn’t know half of what she was saying. It was unusual for her to ramble on and on. She always knew what she was saying, always chose her words carefully. It was a habit ingrained into her from her years in undercover work. One always had to be careful of what one said. One slip up could destroy years and years of work. Rambling was Blake’s duty, not hers. And yet, here she was, spewing words out like there was no tomorrow.

    Until Blake shut her up real good.

    With his lips on hers, all thought left her mind except that this felt right. This was what she’d been waiting for. It wasn’t her first kiss. She’d kissed other guys before, but none of them made her feel like she was floating on clouds or losing herself in a daydream. It wasn’t her first kiss with him either, but it was their first kiss that did not have any pretense or hidden agendas. This was pure. This was genuine.

    She grinned at his words - not easy to do with her lips on his. “Those are my words, you idiot,” she whispered when her lips were free. She let Blake pull her closer, relishing his touch and his presence, allowing herself to melt into his embrace. She rested her head against his chest, hearing his steady heartbeat, the rhythm soothing her soul. This was perfect.

    When he kissed her neck, she fought the urge to laugh at the ticklish sensation. Blake was being sweet and gentle and she refused to do anything that would break the moment. “Better late than never,” she murmured with a smile, her hand absentmindedly tracing circles on his back. “I love you too, you know. Every stupid, childish, immature, amazing part of you.”

    When he let her go, Andi had to squash the urge to protest. She wanted to stay in his arms where she felt treasured and whole. But she could tell he wanted to say something so she held his gaze. The words his spoke melted her heart and it was all she could do to keep tears of joy from leaking out of her eyes. She had no idea that his feelings for her ran that deep and her heart exploded with love for this man. She never knew she could feel so much love for one person - excluding her father.

    His words left her speechless and not knowing what else to say, she responded with a kiss, hoping that it would convey all her feelings. She broke it off when words returned. “And you’re the only man I’ve ever truly loved and will ever truly love.” She paused. “Besides my father,” she added with a grin. “You complete me and make me whole. And with you, I want to take risks, I want to let go. You’re the reason I keep doing what I’m doing and you’re the reason I don’t give up. No words can ever describe what and how much you mean to me, Blake. None at all. And I just want to love you for the rest of your life.” It wasn’t as romantic and elaborate as what Blake said but even a twelve-hour long speech could not truly convey everything Blake meant to her.


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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:40 am

    “I love you too, you know. Every stupid, childish, immature, amazing part of you.”

    He couldn't help the grin on his face. "Hey, I'm the epitome of perfect, excuse me," he responded, back to banter. It was comfortable, and for the first time in a while, he felt... free. To be himself. To be real.

    Blake couldn't help but want to kiss her as she spoke, but he held back, waiting, searching her eyes as he did. He had dreamt of these words, once. Or twice, or maybe more - not that he'd ever admit it. It was one of those things that his subconscious wanted, and he knew he wanted, but couldn't bring himself to hope. Those nights, when he dreamt of Andi saying things like "I love you" or "I want to be with you" were the nights he would wake up and the hurt would be so tangible, it was almost as though he could feel his heart physically break.

    Because he knew she would never, ever say those things.

    But now, here he was. And here she was. And the words she was saying went so far beyond all his dreams combined - because here, they were real, genuine, and not something his brain had made up to torment him with.

    He didn't try and talk when she finished, instead leaning forward to place another kiss on her lips. That was all he wanted, now - to be with her. To know she was there, and she was real, and she was his as much as he was hers. He had always been hers. And as he kissed her again, the voices in his mind softened even more, dying out with a last breath till they no longer existed. The cries that he wasn't worth it, that he was a disappointment; the harsh laughter at his attempts to do good, to change the world; the scoffings of inner demons that told him he would never be enough or do enough, they died.

    He let the kiss run its course, and then leaned back when it was over, once again staring into her eyes - eyes that now he could look at without feeling guilty for what he was feeling.

    "Hey Andi, you know how when you're on a bike and it's pouring down rain, and you can't see and are afraid of crashing, so you go under a bridge and everything just sort of .. stops?" He started, the words coming without him realising what he was saying. "Like, you know that it's still storming outside and you can still hear the thundering of the storm, but everything in your brain just goes quiet. And despite the howling of the wind and the hail and rain, there is peace because you know you are safe from any harm."

    He paused, swallowing past the lump in his throat. He was not going to cry. Not now, not when he had already held himself together for so long. Besides, crying was for sad things, and this? This was probably the happiest he had ever been. He reached forward, taking his hand in hers, letting his thumb gently stroke the back of hers. "Well. You... You are my bridge."

    Blake took a deep breath, grinning a little. "Hey, Andi? There's this great restaurant over at Laguna Beach. How about tomorrow night we go? Just you and me. On a date. A real one, not like all those pretend ones we did for missions. This time it'll be you, Andi, and me, Blake. For reals."

    _________________________________________________________
    ~Even in the worst situations, all a person needs to survive is ONE GOOD THING~
    ~You are my one good thing~
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    PostSubject: Re: My One Good Thing (Bland) [Rated PG 13]   Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:34 am

    “Yeah. The epitome of perfect immaturity,” Andi shot back playfully, recognizing the banter in his tone and responding to it instinctively. During the long months she’d been away from him, she was forced to admit that she thought of him as more than a friend and partner. She had always suppressed and denied her feelings, coming up with excuses to try and make them go away, but the separation only made her think of him more. She even found herself missing the silly side of him.

    She’d never felt more vulnerable than when she confessed her feelings to him. Andi wasn’t one to open her heart to people easily and for her to show him the deepest portion of it was a big step. She remembered making him promise to be patient with her and he’d gone above and beyond to fulfill that promise, never pushing her more than she could manage. Whatever did she do to deserve such a good man?

    As the words she’d spoken hung in the stillness of the night, Andi felt her heard pounding rapidly against her chest. If she had been anywhere else with anybody else, she would have gone to the gym and beaten the adrenaline out of her body. But she was here, standing in front of a man who loved her, who would go to the ends of the world for her and who – besides her father – had seen her at her worst and at her best and still loved her. He truly was a precious gem.

    As his lips encased hers, Andi felt herself relax, giving in to a different sort of adrenaline. It was the adrenaline that made her want to dive headfirst into an unknown future with the man she loved. She slid her arms around him, reassuring herself that he was right there, and telling him that she wouldn’t ever let him go. As he kissed her, peace washed over her, chasing away her fears, doubts, and anxiety, calming the once tumultuous emotions to a stillness and quiet within her soul.

    She could stay in his arms all day in quiet content, but the kiss was over and he was looking at her with those gorgeous blue eyes. She let her love for him shine through her own dual-coloured ones, happy to enjoy their comfortable silence. But he broke the silence and the words he said made her want to cry all over again.

    “Blake,” was all she could say in an uncharacteristically breathless voice. To mean that much to someone was something Andi couldn’t comprehend with a logical mind, but she understood the feeling since Blake meant as much to her as she did to him. Maybe even more.

    “And you are mine, Blake. You are my bridge,” she replied once she’d managed to swallow past the lump in her throat. She gave him a tight hug, squeezing him close to her to hide the tears that had sprung in her eyes. When she’d regained control of her emotions, she let him go.

    At his suggestion, she smiled widely. “I’d love that. It’s a date,” she responded, pausing a little as a mischievous glint sparkled in her eyes. “And I expect you see you in nothing less than a suit and tie,” she continued with a grin.
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