Leonid Prelude

By Ovo

20:47, November 12, 2065

Neil swore he could stand to wait another couple of minutes. In his mind, this wasn’t right. He’d gotten back late, but that was to be expected. For as long as he could remember knowing her, Jane had never been late unless something was wrong. She should have been there already.

He stood and glanced around his quarters, trying to remember if there was anything he was missing. He had a plan. It was a dangerous endeavor any day, and normally he’d never think of such a thing. Tonight was special though, something he didn’t want to miss.

The door slid open, signaling Jane’s arrival. Neil’s first impulse was to look as angry and hurt as he could, but he couldn’t hold it long enough to make much of an effect.

“Yeah, right,” Jane shook her head, “You’ve got nothing compared to what I’ve been through today.” She silently promised herself not to go to any of the lounges for the next six months. A hangover was bad enough, but one lasting through Patrol and through a health examination…. Not to mention how her physician tried to diagnose said hangover.

“I might have,” Neil looked her over. She did look tired, and he knew she was right. But, hey, why back down? “If you’d have got here any later, you might have ruined it.”

“Might give me a little more incentive if I knew what ‘it’ was,” Jane stated, although she didn’t really need any more incentive. Neil had made such a big deal of something and managed to keep it quite secretive at the same time, and it was enough to get her curious. Not that she’d admit it, of course….

Neil grinned, prompting Jane to smile in turn. He could almost forget everything bad that was happening in moments like this. ‘Almost’ because of the glow that Jane seemed permanently engulfed in. He loved that glow, it meant she was happy, confident, and over all in a good mood. He hated that glow, because of what caused it. They’d been together long enough for him to know how it seemed to intensify after every mission, and how it would fade between them. How it seemed especially profound after the really dangerous ones, the ones that nearly cost her life. It terrified him.

He could forget that too, sometimes, while caught in the moment… with her arms wrapped around his neck and her lips softly pressed to his. This was his life, his reason for living. It was what he fought for everyday.

“So?” Neil blinked in confusion. Jane smirked in mirth, “What do you want to show me so damn badly?”

Neil had to think for a minute before he remembered. His triumphant grin returned, “You’re gonna love it, but we’ve gotta go now unless you’re up for waitin’ another thirty years.”

“You could just tell me,” Jane said, getting all the more inquisitive. She straightened her shirt when Neil pulled away and watched absently as he gave his room one last stare down.

“Nope,” he said, satisfied that everything was in order, “let’s go.”

They left, Neil quietly calculating how much time he had. It would take about an hour to get to the sub-levels, and less than fifteen minutes to get to the place… that was if there weren’t any Phantoms about.

He hoped desperately that there weren’t.

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