Back in her lab, Regan stared at the files atop her desk blearily. For the past four of hours or so she'd been stuck doing the one thing she hated most - reviewing paperwork. If all she had to do was fill in the forms and stick them in an envelope to be sent to the boss that wasn't too bad but noooo...she had to look through each and every one of them, correct each mistake, draw up legal documents, yada yada yada.
She hated paperwork.
Stretching, she glanced at the clock in the corner, mildly surprised to find that it was half past eleven at night. Damn, Milo was right about her overworking. Yawning, she shut her eyes for a while, relaxing in the comfort of her lab. She could hear the sound of the air conditioner, smell the aroma of coffee in her mug, feel the wind on her face. And before she knew it, she was fast asleep.
But her senses were on guard. Even though she wasn't looking, she always knew if someone was trying to sneak up on her. As far as she knew, no one could sneak up on her.
No one, except him.
Yes, him. Him who always reminded her of apples and sherry. Of childhood memories. But he never would sneak up on her. He was always open, cheerful, being the only one who could lull her to sleep or make her laugh again. He was the only one who could make her feel so protected, so relaxed, when she was around him.
And then she smelt it.
The distinctive, spicy aroma of Seiris mixed with apple.
An aroma so familiar she almost thought she was hallucinating. Regan's eyes snapped open. He smiled back at the look of surprise on her face. 'Seiris,' he said softly, leaning against the door. She sat up, for once unable to keep the emotions off her face. 'Tadhg?' she had to be sure. That it was him.
'Yes,' Tadhg smiled gently, nearing her. He stopped next to her chair, where he knelt down until he was at her eye level. (Due to the fact that he was approximately two and a half inches taller than her - who was five ten- her head would reach his eyebrows - or somewhere around there -whenever they stood together.) Regan reached out a hand, but paused, not daring to touch him.
At that point, he gave a small grin, and took her hand, and placed it on his cheek, his hand holding hers fast. The moment she touched his face, he winced at the cold of her hands. He really needed to get her some gloves. Misunderstanding, she proceeded to withdraw her hand, afraid that she hurt him, but his hand held hers there, not letting go. 'Your hands are cold,' he remarked off-handedly.
Regan managed a weak smile. 'They always are.' Pause. 'How did you get in? This is a top security building. You could be killed for trespassing...'
Tadhg shook his head with a chuckle. 'Always so worrisome. It doesn't matter. Tell me, how long have you been working without sleep?'
She gave a shrug. 'About...coupla days or so.' She gave a cheeky grin at the disapproval on his face. 'Don't worry. I can cope with it. It's okay.'
'No it's not,' he said shortly. 'I don't want you neglecting your health to do paperwork. You should take my advice and go to sleep.'
She looked at him, head cocked. 'As far as I remember, I was asleep before you woke me up.'
'As far as I remember, chairs were meant for sitting, not sleeping.'
'I really don't mind sleeping on the spot.'
'It'll hurt your neck. You'll have posture problems.'
'And you're being so attentive all of a sudden,' she teased. She barely had time to register the spark in Tadhg's eyes when he suddenly scooped her up, carrying her to the couch opposite her desk, where he laid her down. 'You'd rather sleep in a chair than sprawl out on a comfy sofa?'
This time it was Regan's turn to shake her head. 'As I've said, I don't mind. Besides, sprawling out on a cold leather sofa is not comfortable.'
Tadhg thought for a while, before holding up a finger. 'I might have the solution to that problem.' With a flourish he took out a flask from his jacket pocket. He opened it and gave it to Regan, who propped herself up on her arm. She threw a wary look at the flask before taking a sip. Her face registered pleasant surprise. 'Sherry?'
'Only for Seiris,' he deadpanned. Chuckling at his joke, no matter how lame it was, Regan took another sip, feeling the heat from the alcohol spreading to her body. Replacing the cap, she passed it back to him, who took a deep sip before putting it away.
'Now,' he said as if commanding her to do something. 'Go to sleep.'
Her response was totally unpredictable. 'How?' At his look she continued. 'You can't make me go to sleep just because I drank sherry. It takes time for the alcohol to work, remember?'
And so he resorted to his final trick. Sitting on the floor next to her, he ran his fingers through her hair, telling her the story of Prince Hector of Troy, for which he was named after. He knew it would soothe her, the simple gesture of playing with her locks, telling her a story in his low, gentle voice, and simply being there with her. It was all that matter.
Halfway through, seeing her shiver, he took off his coat and covered her. A small smile played on her lips, and Tadhg couldn't resist as he brushed his lips gently over hers.
When Regan woke up the next morning, she wasn't sure if she had been dreaming or not. However, one glance at the coat Tadhg'd had left being, and the memory of his kiss, convinced her that she wasn't hallucinating. She smiled, unconsciously touching her lips where he had kissed her.
Then she noticed the note tucked inside the pocket of his coat. Curiously she took it out and read it. And she smiled when she saw what he'd written.
P.S. Sweet dreams.