IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS WAS WRITTEN BY JEANVALVERNAIRDIENJOLEPONIUS ON AO3/THATONEARTSYISHPERSON ON TUMBLR!
Patton's eyes opened to find him in an abandoned house, in very dim light, heart pounding as he realized the situation he was in.
Though it was surely pitch black inside, due either to the time of night or the spirit inhabiting the residence, it wasn't a problem for him, as everything seemed faintly lit, as though there were something very far away casting a very meager light everywhere.
He ran a fast hand through his hair, thinking about what had happened to him in the past few days.
He took a deep breath as his mind, for the millionth time, reconstructed a picture of his wife's face smiling kindly at him as she dove for the nail.
She'd died for him, for Kendra and Seth, for the entire preserve.
She was a hero.
And she could never, ever know.
Patton wiped the tears from his eyes as he realized he'd been in the house for far longer than he'd planned. He'd started waxing philosophical when he should have been trying to find some way to sneak past all the horrors that surely awaited him on this festival night. A high-pitched shriek pierced the night as his eyes swept over the house in front of him. He was certain that Ephira couldn't resist the possibility of roaming on a festival night, but the moment she was alerted to his presence within the manor she'd probably turned to find him.
That was something he could not risk.
He wasn't sure if he should try the door, rubbing a hand on his face as he thought. He glanced out the window, finding that the tree he and Seth had jumped out onto wasn't nearly tall enough to catch him safely at the moment.
The door it was.
As quietly as he could manage, he ran down the stairs and to the front door, which he opened and closed without so much as a hint of resistance.
It seemed too easy, but it was also a festival night, so he wasn't sure what sort of resistance he might find.
He clutched at a bag of salt he'd hidden in his pocket, hoping he wouldn't need to use it.
Patton knew the preserve better than anyone, living or dead, magical or otherwise. He'd traversed every corner of the map, creating the map where there was none to be found. He'd traversed every dangerous area, everywhere that hadn't been searched, everywhere that seemed too treacherous to visit. Every creature he'd encountered that had tried to kill him had been unsuccessful. Every human that tried to take his life had met with the same outcome.
And yet, here he was, feeling more terrified than he'd ever been at the sight of nothing in his resistance.
He'd rather there be something to fight in front of him than to be left alone to his own thoughts, which he knew would drown him if he didn't do something about them.
The last time he'd seen Lena, the last time in this year at least, they'd had a fight. A long, drawn out, entirely unavoidable and utterly meaningless fight about the curtains in the house. He'd left the house angry, leaving her alone on a festival night to wonder if he would make it back to the house alive. Was she worried about him? Did she ever worry about him?
He shook the thoughts from his head. Of course, she worried about him. He only hoped she didn't worry too much—he never wanted to cause her stress—though clearly, his adventures would cause alarm in even the most cautious of people.
He wondered if she knew how much he loved her.
He couldn't wait to make it home so that he could prove to her just how much he cared.
The moment he'd begun to get excited about the prospect of being home, rather than fearing for a monster, he'd encountered one.
A monster, that is, not a home.
Near his feet, so low and so dark that he'd nearly stepped on them, was a swarm of imps. They hissed when they saw him, though the noise was barely distinguishable from the general cacophony of the festival night around him. One particularly brave imp jumped to bite him, and Patton had mere milliseconds to choose a direction to jump in. He violently swerved to his left, trying to avoid stepping on one of them at any cost, but they moved around so that any direction he stepped, he'd have to step on one of them.
Gritting his teeth, Patton stood with one leg raised and one foot gently on the ground, supporting him by the ball of his foot and his heel. Glancing around him, he spotted a branch that seemed low enough to the ground. Mustering all his energy into him, he lowered his body closer to the ground, before pushing up with all his might and leaping to the branch, which he grabbed onto and swung off of to push himself further away from the imps.
Thankfully, they hadn't had the foresight to predict the move, and were left dumbfounded, standing in a circle about seven feet away.
Unfortunately, however, they were very, very fast.
Patton broke into a run, carefully staying on one of the safer paths. It took him close to the pond his wife had left, and closer still to Muriel's hut. Both had to be avoided at all costs. The faster he ran, the more exhausted he was, but the closer he was to being home.
He couldn't wait to see Lena again.
The run was exhilarating because he knew he'd be able to hold her close to him.
The rest of the run home, though exhausting, caused him little trouble. He rested for quite a bit in the trees outside the yard, not daring to alert anything in the yard to his presence there. He knew he would have few precious seconds before he could make his way into the house, and he would have to use them wisely, lest his story be cut short hundreds of pages before his time.
He scanned the yard, though his mind kept drifting to thoughts of his wife. How was she? Was she worried about him? What did she think of the noises? Did she regret her decision to leave the pond? What was she doing while he was out?
Patton took a deep breath in, jaw set in determination as he stared at the yard. There was nothing in his way other than his own thoughts. He grabbed some salt in his hand just in case and made a sprinting dash for the front door of his home.
It swung open easily, and though Patton was certain there was at least one thing following him, nothing made its way into the house. He thanked whoever had been watching over him to make that possible before he made his way up to the door of the attic.
"Lena, my love? It's me. I know you have no way of proving that it's me, and I'll stay outside this door all night if I have to, but it is me."
He heard breathing from the other side of the door, and eventually, a shuffling over to meet him, though the door did not open.
"Patton? Are you back so soon? I thought you would be gone far longer."
Patton smiled at the sound of her voice. "I thought I would take longer as well, but I ran most of the way here."
"Scared of the festival night?" He could hear the concern in her voice, and his breath caught.
"No, my sweet. Desperate to hear from you again."
"You can talk to me at any time, Patton. You don't have to run."
Patton smiled. "See, I understand that I can talk to you at any time, but I simply cannot believe it. I never thought I would end up marrying the sweetest, most beautiful, most understanding, most caring, kindest woman on the planet earth, and yet here I am. I feel as though I should spend all the time I have appreciating you."
There was a pause. "Is this your Patton-ese way of apologizing to me?"
Patton chuckled, tears welling in his eyes. "My dearest darling, I never should have fought with you. I should have realized that nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important than our relationship. If I had to choose between the safety of the world, and you, I would choose you at any time."
The door opened in front of him and Patton was finally able to behold the sight of his wife.
Every time he saw her, it was like the first time again. The breath was knocked out of him, his eyes could hardly process what he was looking at, and he was overcome with excitement. She was smiling, her eyes crinkling around the sides. Mirth danced in the dark depths of her eyes, beckoning him in.
"That's not a very feasible practice, my dear. Surely the world would prefer to be saved."
Patton smiled at her. "The world is going to have to wait, my love. This comes first."
She offered him her hand, and he kissed the top of her fingers sweetly. She giggled, and he kissed her up her arm, resting on her shoulder as he turned his head to look up at her. She laughed and turned her head away, a blush dusting her cheeks. She hid her face with her hand, which Patton grabbed as he pulled his face away from her. She looked down at the wedding ring on his left hand, smiling as she aligned it with her own.
"Patton, I don't know what I ever did to deserve you." She admitted, voice hardly above a whisper.
"Funny," he whispered back, "I think the same thing every day."
At that statement, she grinned brightly, pulling him into a close hug. She rested her head against his chest, rubbing her fingers along his back comfortingly.
"Lena, I'm so sorry we argued. Let's never do it again, that was awful."
"I agree." She murmured, a hint of humor in her voice. "Though, I'm not quite sure that's how it works."
"It works for me."
Lena chuckled as she moved away from him, pulling an over exaggerated face. "You're sweaty."
Patton, feeling the adrenaline starting to ebb from him, chuckled as he leaned against a wall for support. "I wasn't kidding when I said I ran most of the way here."
Lena kissed him softly on the cheek nonetheless. "I suppose it's time for bed for you, then."
Patton smiled dreamily at her. "I can think of nothing better."
Knowing his wife loved him just as he loved her gave Patton the sweetest dreams he'd ever had.
A/N: AGAIN! This amazing work was written by jeanvalvernairdienjoleponius on ao3/thatonearstyishperson on tumblr! Make sure you guys give them lors of love!