They are following a small path through a forest that will hopefully keep them out of sight and out of trouble. It's raining and one look at the heavy clouds in the sky tell Charlie it won't stop anytime soon.
Monroe is walking in front of her. He has barely insulted her skills today and she has barely felt the urge to kill him today so as far as she's concerned, it's a good day. They walk in silence. Charlie watches the raindrops that play with the deep blonde curls of his hair before they travel to the strong lines of his neck and shoulders.
Blanchard has sent them on a mission to scout one of the last Patriot Camps. He had suggested she would join Monroe to get the job done. She had expected a lot of smug ego and pouting from Monroe when she had accepted his offer but he, surprisingly, had not been an asshole about it. Now she thinks about it, he had almost seen eager to get on the road again.
So here they are, again, surviving together and her watching his wide shoulders she knows by heart by now in the fading daylight.
There is more rain. And then there is an abandoned wooden cabin, forgotten by people who once owned it before the blackout had changed their world for good.
When they walk inside, Monroe is right behind her, his hands firmly wrapped around his gun, covering her with the tallness of his body and wideness of his chest while her own hand is close to the knife she carries alongside her hip. After they secure the cabin, he gets a fire going and she goes to the small kitchen to see if there is anything they can use. It's what they do.
They eat in silence and in front of the fireplace. Their silence is something she has gotten used to and welcomes after another long day on the road.
Darkness fills the forest and the cabin, but the small fire in the fireplace adds some warmth and light to a cool, grey autumn night. The scent of the wood mixes with the scent of rain before it slowly fills the space around them.
There is a bed in a small bedroom and a couch in the living area. Monroe offers her the bed with a wicked grin on his face. She rolls her eyes at him and tells him to go to hell with the fierce blue look in her eyes while she crosses her arms in front of her. She is not taking the bed or worse, sharing that bed. She rather has a miserable night on the small, old worn couch than accept his offer.
He grumbles something that sounds a lot like goodnight Charlotte which pisses her off even more before he disappears into the bedroom.
And she tries to sleep. She really does. But she can't. The forest is too quiet, the night is too long. Even the emergency flask of whisky she stole from Miles to take with her on this trip doesn't help. Imagining his face when her uncle finds out it's gone makes her smile before that smile fades and the restlessness and the hurt of old loss and new wounds arrives while time moves too slowly towards a dawn that is too far away.
And suddenly she yearns for something, no.. someone, who seems to be the only one that gets her in a way no one ever has. She has fought it from the very start, she hates it, she has tried to kill it, tried to kill him, but it's still there.
She is drawn to him in the same way her eyes always seem drawn to him after a fight. She doesn't think it through, she just gets up. Her bare feet on the wooden floor of the cabin take her to him.
She stops close to his bed. It's dark, she's getting colder with every second she is standing there. She curses at himself for standing next to Monroe in the middle of the night. She feels frozen, the kind of frozen that has nothing to do with the cold night lingering outside of their cabin, all of a sudden, not knowing what to do, knowing what she wants to do.
'Come here' his voice is barely audible in the darkness of the night but it's there, suddenly breaking the silence of the night and filling her chest with warmth she hasn't felt in a long time.
She surprises herself by stepping into his bed, moving deep under the heavy blanket Monroe is moving so she can get under it. There is no misunderstanding about why she is here. Monroe has turned himself so she moves straight into his arms, her head landing in the crook of his neck, her head against his chest, her body against his while her leg brushes against the strength of his thigh.
He wraps the blanket around her and then, moves his arm around her life a fortress of unbreakable safety. His body is tall strength, all hard lines of muscles and survival. She lets Monroe pull her into sleep, never not aware of his scent so close to hers.
When she wakes up, her head is still resting on his chest. His skin is warmth against her cheek. His body feels even taller now she is this close to him, her body is still loosely wrapped around his, his arm is still around her, his large hand wrapped around her hip.
She looks up, to find him awake and looking at her, the morning light brushing against his scruff.
'Thank you..' She pauses. He gives her her space. 'Thank you for not letting me feel weak when I asked for something I need.'
He nods with a strong, yet tender look in his eyes while he swallows thickly.
When she looks in his eyes she knows things between them have changed. Again.
When they have to leave the cabin and the warmth of their shared bed behind later that morning to face the cold autumn day and another day on the road filled with threats, Charlie hands him his gun and when she looks up, his eyes are waiting to catch hers. She gives him a small nod, a nod filled with gratitude and other stuff she refuses to look at but that she knows he will see anyway, because this is Bass Monroe standing right in front of her and that is how it has been between them from the start. His eyes change and the look inside of his eyes reach a new unknown intensity, a softer intensity she has ever seen but still with so much of the man Monroe is inside of it, his anytime written inside of it.