Just a little something I thought about and couldn't help but write down - hope everyone is ssafe and well!

Patch found himself in Nora Grey's room. He was ready to punch himself as he quietly watched her sleep, his arms folded over his chest and his fists clenched tight. Even in the darkness, he could see the shimmer of her shocking red hair in the moonlight that leaked through her window, saw the gentle line of her lips, noted how her fingers constantly twitched as she dreamt. She was not a graceful sleeper by any means; her arm was slung over her eyes, her mane of hair an explosion of colour that matted against the pillow, and there was no better way to describe her other than she embraced the pose of a starfish under the sheets.

It infuriated him, because it was so normal.

It was the evening after he had not gone through with killing her. It was also the night after he had been so close to kissing her. But he just didn't get it. He hadn't been in control of himself, for something in her eyes had seized whatever control he'd had and shattered it before him. The fear, the question of trust, it had broken him. He didn't want her to be afraid of him. In the moment her eyes had locked with his, then to the knife and back, he knew his resolve was about to break. He couldn't do it. Was he weak? Maybe. Or was he worse for thinking he could murder an innocent girl for his own personal gain? Likely.

Anyone else and he was sure he would have been able to do it. Take Macie Miller for example; selfish, cruel, self-loving, everything in a woman Patch had always disliked. He could have snapped her neck in a heartbeat, and all of his troubles would have been gone. He would never have had to earn her trust, for he knew she was shallow enough to have fallen to her knees upon his command. It would have been so easy. But this one?

No, Nora Grey was something else. She was neither innocent nor guilty, not a genius but certainly not an imbecile. Hell, he hated to admit it, but she was not a supermodel, yet she was so far from ugly it made him ache. Her imperfections made her into something perfect to him. She was a human girl struggling through the human world, making mistakes along the way, and yet she came out smiling and triumphant no matter what she faced.

He had watched her for so long, long before they met. He'd watched her grow in such a short space of time, and he had thought he'd come to know her better than she knew herself. Oh, how wrong he was. He'd never seen her hot-heated, feisty side, and it had thrown him. Never before had he had a woman try to resist him so desperately, and to begin with it was simply a refreshing change of pace. A mere amusement in the leadup to his goal. But the more she fought, the more he wanted to win her over. He'd initially thought it was to make it easier to kill her, and that his sexual attraction was nothing more than a distraction, but last night he knew it was so much more.

At first, he had wanted her the same way he had wanted any attractive woman to cross his path. Even though he couldn't physically feel, sex offered a window of emotional connection he struggled to find any other way. He liked making a woman feel good, liked the effect he had on them. He simply enjoyed their pleasure rubbing back into him, relished in the bliss of their eyes and the softness of their moans… call him pathetic, but it made him feel better about himself. It was one thing he knew he was good at.

But Nora, no, she brought out so many emotions in him at any given time, and sometimes it was a struggle to keep himself in check. She made him feel amusement in a way no one else did, for her clumsiness and her determination was endearing. She made him feel breathless, something that was certainly a rarity; the sharpness of her intricate gray eyes, the angry line of her luscious pink lips and the fire of her hair made her a blast of colour. She was utterly breathtaking. But then she also made him frustrated, maybe even angry; her questions, her demands, her determination, was something he had never thought he would have to deal with. She was supposed to succumb to him, not fight him!

He rubbed his jaw and pinched his eyes shut. Anyone else, why couldn't it have been anyone else? He wondered, if it had gone the other way, would he have ever met Nora? Maybe not. He would have probably gone about his life, embracing the sensation of touch, and still never felt fulfilled. Or maybe he would have been ecstatic, found a woman, loved her and been happy. He would never know, but now, all he cared about was wishing he could be with Nora. This girl, this stubborn, ridiculous, fascinating human girl, was ruining him. She was taking everything away from him and yet giving him so much, and she didn't have a clue.

A soft murmur broke the silence, and Patch peeked through his fingers in a brief panic. No, she was still asleep, but something troubled him. He pulled his palm away as he analysed her face; her arm was pulled away now, gripping the sheets at her side, and her brow was furrowed in… what? Was it anger or fear? What was she dreaming? Patch edged closer, watching closely, listening to the heaviness of her breathing as her face expressed delicate lines of worry. She was dreaming, and whatever she was seeing was frightening her.

Was it Patch, hiding in the shadows, waiting to snatch her and slit her throat? He desperately hoped not.

He couldn't help it. He crouched beside her bed, balancing on the balls of his feet, and he closed his eyes. He needed to see what she was seeing, for her fright bothered him. It would have bothered him even more if it was him scaring her.

Images flashed before him, all of them dark and uncertain. The beams of cars raced by, a street light flickered, and the scene began to shift into place. He frowned, struggling to figure out what was troubling her. But then…

He saw Nora, across the way, watching in horror. He followed her gaze, just as the shot rang violently through his ears. He watched the flash of red against the dark surroundings, wet and final, as the man fell to the ground on the pavement. Blood oozed out of his back, and Nora… she was frantic. All of a sudden she was running, but she wasn't getting any closer. She was so desperate to reach him, screaming, but the man's body edged further and further away from her, taunting her…

He opened his eyes. Her father, gunned down, ripped away from his daughter who needed him more than he would have ever known.

He ached. Nora's face contorted in terror, he breathing verging on screaming, and he knew she was about to wake up. He didn't want her to wake up with that image, for she didn't deserve the pain. She didn't deserve any of this. He never wanted to be the one to frighten her like this, but even more so, he never wanted anyone else to frighten her like this.

So he closed his eyes, and went back into her mind. The images were still unfolding, white and blue flashing in the scenery as the police arrived, and Nora wrapped in her mother's arms as she wept. No. No, she didn't deserve this. So Patch searched through her mind, searched for memories that offered brighter colours, presented a more positive outlook. He could have made her dream anything; he could have made her dream about kissing him, holding him, loving him, purely for his own pleasure, but he didn't. He knew that, at this point in her life, he was not what made her happy. He needed to remind her subconscious of what did make her happy.

He found an image of a younger Nora, much younger. Maybe seven or eight years old, her hair shorter but with curls much more uncontrolled. Her freckles were more pronounced across her nose and under her eyes. Her eyes were so bright, so full of wonder, full of the innocence that still bled through her even now. And she was running, running and shrieking and yelling in glee. The image unfolded, displaying an picture of her running in a garden, her garden, and her father chasing after her. She didn't have a care in the world other than escaping the hands that reached for her, and when her father grabbed her, he swung her up into the air and tickled her relentlessly. She shrieked, squirming and yelling and laughing… happy.

Patch grasped another image now, one where she was a little older, her hair less wild and her eyes a little wiser. Perhaps eleven, and she was on a walkway, doubled over, laughing so hard she couldn't breath. The image flexed, and Vee Sky blurred into view. She was speaking, encouraging the laughter, but Patch couldn't hear her. He was fixated on that laugh, wondering if he could ever make her do such a thing in the present. Vee continued, right up until Nora's knees wobbled and she fell; Patch grinned as her laughter intensified.

More memories flitted by under Patch's control; Nora and Vee singing ridiculously to karaoke in Vee's living room, both dramatic as they sang back to back into their microphones. Nora baking with her mother, a session that began controlled but soon ended in a floury mess and a kitchen loud with giggles and squeals. Nora walking with her father, following him through a wooded creek, listening to him intently as he told her stories of Coldwater's history. Nora, fifteen or so, prancing around in her room at what must have been early morning, singing loudly. She danced without a single care in the world as her father barged in and threw a pillow at her, begging her to stop singing despite his sheepish grinning.

He reached for every memory, grabbed for every one that had Nora smiling and laughing, and as he did so he could feel her subconscious sink back into a peaceful slumber. When he opened his eyes, he thought he should have felt weak… he was going soft. But the smile on her face as she slept unclenched every ache in his body, smoothed every tense muscle, and he knew he would do anything to keep her smiling like that.

He wanted to be in one of those memories. He wanted to make her laugh the way Vee did. He wanted to take her on dates, buy her little gifts, teach her how to make things like tacos. He wanted to be in her life. He wanted to be the one to kiss her tears away, to hold her when no one else understood, to soothe her when her nightmares plagued her sleep. Even now, as he slowly stood back up, he wondered what it would feel like to just hold her, wondered how it would feel to run his fingers through her hair and to stroke her cheek.

He wondered what his name, Jev, would sound like falling from her lips.

Oh, fuck, Patch thought, grinding his teeth. Had he not been in her room, he would have growled and punched a wall. He was in love with her. He was in love with Nora. He ran a hand angrily through his hair, exasperated, almost panicked. This was not supposed to happen! For Christ's sake, he could have made her dream anything, anything, but instead he had plucked out every memory he felt would make her smile.

The girl he was supposed to have on her knees, had instead made him crumble before her. He looked at her again, something he found himself struggling not to do these days, and she was still smiling. Because of him. He'd put that smile there, and it warmed him in a way he didn't think was possible anymore. Before he could even think, he reached towards her; her cheek fit perfectly in his palm, and she turned into his palm, smiling wider as she sighed. His dark eyes widened as he once again crouched, staring, bewildered. His other hand reached over, gently, so gently, stroking her hair, tucking it behind her ear. Her smile widened even more, and the only thing that would have made this moment better was if he could feel it.

Oh, Angel, he thought to himself, allowing himself a gentle smile of his own. If you smile like that for me when you're awake, I'll be a happy man.

He thought about kissing her head, but he didn't. No, she wasn't his yet. She didn't feel the same about him the way he did about her, not even close, but he would try. He wouldn't kill her. He wouldn't hurt her. All he wanted to do was to make her ache for him, just as she had done to him, and then hope that she would love him, too. He would try. A man could do nothing but try.

Perhaps one day, she would smile as she dreamt of him. He surely hoped so.