Author's Note: This story if for the Thursday prompt for SEAL Team Week "It's things like these that keep me up at night." It takes part of the More Than Friends universe just after More Than Friends in the fall of Emma's Sophomore year. Also, it seems to have turned into a preview of the final chapter of More Than Friends.


Anna dug through her closet looking for an outfit to wear on her date Saturday night. She wanted something that walked the line between sexy and slutty. Nothing in her wardrobe so far met her requirements. Suddenly remembering a low-cut black top that would go perfectly with her new, skinny Rag & Bone jeans, she began sifting through the hangers on a mission.

With her head stuck in among the clothes to see if the top had fallen down behind her boots, she barely heard the chiming sound in the room. The ringing repeated, and she pulled her head out of the closet to figure out what it could be. Realizing the tone came from Emma's Macbook, she shouted her roommate's name out their open door into the common area of the suite.

Moving closer to Emma's bed, Anna saw Clay was Skyping from Afghanistan. She knew Emma would not want to miss her boyfriend. "Emma!"

Their suite mate Chloe stuck her head into the room. "She went down the hall."

"Shit. Clay's on Skype." Anna answered Clay's call.

A scruffy and tired Clay Spenser appeared on Emma's laptop screen.

"Hey, Clay."

Clay blinked and stared at Anna. In his weariness, not seeing Emma threw him off. "Uh, Anna, hi."

"Emma's out of the room for a sec, but I didn't want you to hang up. I know she doesn't want to miss you. Hold on, and I'll get her." Anna stood and headed out of the room.

Clay nodded and rested his head back on his pillow. He had stretched out on his bunk before getting out his laptop to contact Emma.

Faintly Anna's voice could be heard. "Emma! Clay's on Skype. Hurry up!"

Returning from the hall, Anna leaned down to be seen in the laptop's camera. "She's on her way."

"Thanks, Anna."

Within a few minutes Emma rushed into the room, dropping down onto her bed. "Clay! I didn't think I'd hear from you tonight."

Rolling onto his side to get a better view of Emma, Clay smiled. "Yeah, we wrapped up sooner than I thought we would, and the rest of guys are still showering or grabbing some food, so I figured I would call while I have some privacy."

Emma settled back into her pillows and propped her computer on her lap. "I'm glad you did." In her peripheral vision, she could see Anna picking up her laptop and waving goodbye. Emma waved in response, and her roommate headed out the door, closing it behind her. "You look worn out."

"We've been busy all of a sudden. Before we were doing a lot of sitting around, but that's changed." He rubbed his eyes.

"Do you want to get some sleep while Uncle Sonny's not there snoring? We can talk another time." Emma hated the idea of ending their video chat, but if it meant Clay catching up on his rest, she would do it.

"No, we haven't been able to connect lately, and I miss you."

She reached out and traced his face on the screen with her finger, but instead of feeling the warmth and softness of his skin there was only the cool, hard glass of her computer screen. "I miss you too."

"Tell me what you've been up to. How have the rehearsals for the show been going?"

"Mostly okay. This is the part where no one remembers their blocking, and a bunch of people still don't know their lines, so there's a lot of starting and stopping. I've been working on the song I'm doing with—"

"Clay, you in here?" Trent's voice cut into their conversation.

"In my bunk, Trent. What's up?" Distracted from his conversation with Emma, Clay's gaze moved to his teammate at the door of the hooch.

"Some new info came in. They want us to get briefed now." Trent lifted a hand in sympathy and let it drop. "Sorry."

Clay expelled a frustrated breath. "Okay, I'll be there in a minute."

Nodding, Trent stepped out and shut the door behind him.

"I'm sorry, Em. I have to go."

"That's okay. I understand." Emma bit her lip. "Be careful, okay? Get some rest soon."

"I will." Clay's reached out and pressed his hand to his computer screen. "I love you."

"I love you too. Bye." Taking deep breath, Emma hit the button to disconnect Skype at the same time Clay did.

Closing her laptop, she placed it on the bed beside her, drew her knees up to her chest, and wrapped her arms around them. She rested her chin on her knees and sighed.

The door to the room opened slowly, and Anna stuck her head in while holding her hand over her eyes. "Sorry to interrupt, I need to grab my hard drive."

Emma lifted her head. "Why are you covering your eyes?"

"You know, in case you guys are having long distance sexy times." Anna stumbled on a pair of shoes lying by the door.

"No sexy times, he had to go." Emma laid her cheek on her knees.

Dropping her hand, Anna walked over to her desk. "Well, that's unfortunate. What happened?"

Emma turned her head to meet Anna's gaze. "They had to brief them on some new information or something. I don't know."

Resting her hip on her desk, Anna frowned. "He looked really tired."

Emma caught her lower lip in her teeth. "I know."

"They don't make them go out when they're that tired, do they?"

"Sometimes," Emma whispered. She did her best to hold back the tears welling in her eyes.

"Em, are you okay?"

"I didn't expect to talk to him today but having him call after all and then have to end it is terrible. I miss him so bad." Emma released a shuddering sigh. "And I'm worried about him, that something will happen." She turned her head back to bury her face in her knees.

"Oh, Em…" Grabbing the laptop, Anna moved it out of the way. She sat by Emma and wrapped an arm around her friend.

Leaning into her roommate's side, Emma accepted the comfort offered. "Most of the time I'm so busy at school, it's easy to not think about Clay getting hurt… or worse. But sometimes, like now when I see how tired he is, it's all I can think about."

"I'm sorry, Em." Anna wrapped her other arm around Emma and hugged her. "I'm sure he'll be okay though."

"I guess." Sucking in a huge breath, Emma worked to gain control of her emotions. "It's things like these that keep my up at night."

"If you can't sleep at night, you can always wake me up. I won't mind." Anna pulled a tissue out of her pocket. "It's clean. I promise."

Nodding, Emma wiped her eyes.

"I mean it. I get I have no idea what it's like to worry about your boyfriend, or your Dad, in situations like this, but I can keep you company or distract you, if you want." Anna gave Emma a little shake.

Leaning into her friend's side again, Emma let her head rest on Anna's shoulder. "Thanks. I may take you up on it."

"I want you to. I can't imagine how scary it must be for you." Anna gave Emma another hug.

Emma sat quietly in Anna's arms. Taking a deep breath she spoke again. "Before I came back to school, Clay and I talked about it."

Looking down at Emma, Anna raised an eyebrow at her roommate's words. "That must have been hard."

Nodding, Emma sat up. "A little, but it was better to talk than to pretend it didn't exist."

Tilting her head thoughtfully, Anna shrugged. "I'm not as brave as you."

Emma pursed her lips for a moment. "I think my parents stopped talking about it, and that made it even harder for them." She paused, then continued. "Clay promised he would do his best to always come back to me."

"Then he will."

The corners of Emma's mouth turned up briefly in a facsimile of a smile. "It's not always that easy."

Anna frowned. "I guess not, but he seems like the kind of guy who succeeds at what he puts his mind to."

Emma let out a tearful laugh. "Yeah." Sighing quietly, she continued. "Then he made me promise I would find someone else if he didn't come home."

"Oh, Em." Hugging Emma close again, Anna stroked Emma's hair gently. "That's not going to happen though. He will come back, and if you can't always believe that, then I'll believe it for you."

Emma returned the hug and sat back to look at Anna. "You're a good friend."

Anna's reply was cut off by a knock on their door. "Come in," she called instead.

Chloe's head came around the door. "Hey, Sarah is coming back from her date with the guy from her political science class." She made air quotes when she said the word date. "Abbie and I are going to sit in the lounge so we can check him out. Come with us."

A huge grin flashed across Anna's face. "Em, let's go."

"I don't know." Usually Emma loved joking around with her suite mates, but right now it was the last thing she wanted to do.

"You have to come. We need to heckle Sarah later. I heard this guy has a man bun." Anna threw out the last comment as an enticement.

"Oh, not the dreaded man bun." Emma smiled a little.

"Yeah, this should be good," Chloe interjected.

"Okay, okay, I'll come." Slipping out from under Anna's arm, Emma stood and tugged down her sweater.

Standing as well, Anna patted Emma's arm. "Good, just fix your mascara. It's little smudged."

Anna headed for the door while Emma went to the mirror to clean up her smudged mascara. "Anna." Waiting until her friend turned back, Emma spoke. "Thanks, I needed that. You're a good friend."