The war is still raging, battles still have to be fought. Their camp is silent, shielded by tall trees from sight. The scent of smoke and the golden light of the fire to keep them warm, fill the air. It's a cold night while stars linger above her, high in the night sky.
Aaron and her mom are asleep. Miles is taking first watch. Monroe is asleep, although Charlie knows he is probably still aware of his surroundings.
She follows Connor with her eyes when he walks out of their camp. She has seen the look on his face. She knows he needs his space. They all do. This life under the stars, is hard. But tonight, she has to talk to him.
She finds him sitting with his back against an old tree. The moon adds soft light to the spaces between the trees.
Connor knows it's her before he has looked up. After spending so many months on the road with her, he knows what her boots close sound like. She can be quiet when she wants to, so Connor knows she wants him to know she is here. He had been staring in the dark. He had been thinking of the hell his life has become. And Charlie's words, her words about not having hope, about her rather being realistic are close, again. He finally starts to understand what she had meant. It had broken his heart to listen to the raw reality in her words and see the edgy truth in her blue eyes, but now he finally gets it.
When Connor finally looks up, Charlie meets eyes that feel haunted, reminding her so much of Bass' eyes. Connor's eyes are dark and filled with hard edges but also with an endless loneliness that is hard to keep away from her heart. The shadows of the night play with his dark curls and the lines of his face.
She nods to the bottle standing next to Connor. 'You want to share?'
A small grin appears around his mouth, breaking through the deep misery in his eyes. 'Would it make a difference if I say no?'
'Probably not.' Charlie's answers with a grin of her own. She sits down next to her while Connor offers her his bottle.
Connor looks at her while the moonlight brushes her face. She's strong. She's smart. Definitely a Mini Miles.
They drink in silence. His wide shoulders are close and she welcomes the warmth radiating of his body.
'My mom...it's hard to remember her…' Connor says with a raw sadness in his voice.
Charlie can't look away from him when Connor starts to speak. It makes her have to swallow her own hurt away, hurt for the people she misses. Somehow, her dad is suddenly close.
'I had this picture of her…but I lost it.' He can't look at her anymore when he shares with her what he hasn't shared with anyone else.
This is what they do on moments neither of them expect it. They find each other. Connor doesn't know why, but on some days, and on some nights, they talk. He listens. She talks. Or he talks. And she is there.
When he finally looks at her again, Charlie's eyes are there waiting for him. 'You haven't lost that picture Connor…' Charlie slowly pulls something out of the pocket of her jeans. And there, in her slender hand is the picture that has been haunting him. It's the only thing of a home that is broken, he has left.
'Where…' his voice sounds hoarse while she gives him the picture that he thought he had lost.
'I found it close to the tracks, when we went back to look for you, after you left.'
They are both back at the night where they had met again, standing on opposite sides of the same fight. When Connor had left with Neville she had returned to where Neville had almost shot her, right before Bass had stopped him.
Bass had refused to take her with him when he had gotten out there to look for him. Charlie had given him no choice. Bass had grumbled something. She had ignored him. They hadn't found Connor, but she had found the picture. She had recognized Emma. She had never told Bass.
Connor's hand is trembling when he finally looks at his mother again. And in the middle of nowhere, shielded by the shadows of the forest and the night around them, he remembers how things used to be. He looks at his mother, holding him when his was so small and their whole world had been so different. Tears he curses away start to cloud his eyes.
Charlie doesn't move. She doesn't talk. They just sit there for a while before she gets up, giving him the time and space she knows he needs. Before she walks away she gently moves his hand to his shoulder, letting him know she is here. She is about to walk back to their camp when he is suddenly there. The moonlight lights up his eyes. Connor slowly moves his arms around her. His chest is close, her hair brushes his jawline.
'Thank you,' he mumbles into her hair. His breath is soft when it brushes the skin of her neck. A soft kiss lands somewhere between her lips and hair. She lets it happen. It's rare, standing so close to someone in the night air, in an honest moment in the middle of their war.
The war is still raging, battles have to be fought. Their camp is silent, the scent of smoke and the golden light of their fire fill the air. It's a cold night while stars linger above her, high in the night sky. She soaks up his warmth while she lets Connor hold her.
Author's Note: I love the scene from season 2 where Connor holding the picture from him and Emma in his hands. I already wrote about it in other stories but I wanted to write about it in this Connor/Charlie one shot as well. Love from Love