For gerundsandcoffee, based off of her amazing, incredible, I-could-read-this-a-thousand-times modern AU, Coming Clean. Seriously, if you haven’t read it yet, DO IT. Also, congrats on finishing with finals!
Night had long since settled by the time Cullen pulled into the driveway, and he was slightly surprised to see Regina’s car parked neatly to one side; she had mentioned before that it was her last day of finals and he had half-expected her to be out, celebrating the break in her perpetual studying with her classmates.
The thought that perhaps she had gotten a ride from someone else lasted until he noticed the lights on in his apartment, and even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t have been able to stop the smile that rose, unbidden, to his lips. While it certainly wasn’t the first time that she had noticed his long schedule and had moved to make his night easier, he definitely had not expected it on a night when just about any other person would be found revelling in their newfound freedom. Still, it fell perfectly with everything he knew about her endlessly selfless nature and, not for the first time, he marveled at the events that brought such a beacon of light into his life.
His grin only grew larger as he entered his apartment and was immediately hit with the aroma of freshly made dinner. In spite of her efforts to convince him otherwise, he refused to order take-out unless it was absolutely necessary, preferring his own cooking to whatever it was that is put into the Chinese takeout that every grad student seemed to swear by. When her response was to start appearing in his kitchen whenever he worked late so there was always dinner on the table when he returned, he had argued with her for only a few minutes before realizing it was an exercise in futility.
As expected, a pot of spaghetti was simmering on his stove and two places were set at his table, awaiting his return. The woman herself, usually sitting with her textbooks waiting for him, was nowhere to be seen, however, and he paused for a moment in surprise before he heard the quiet music from his living room.
Even though he had always been more of a Star Wars fan himself, he could still instantly recognize Kirk and Spock on his television screen and he stood, watching for several moment as they talked through the transparent barrier separating them before he heard a quiet sniff from his sofa.
He had to fight back a laugh as he turned to spot Regina, nearly hidden under a blanket she had scrounged up from somewhere and wrapped herself in tightly. Her face was still visible amidst the cloth and Cullen watched as she extracted a hand from the bundle of blankets to swipe at her eyes, too lost in the story to even notice his return.
She did, however, notice when he sat himself down next to her and he grinned at the slightly embarrassed look on her face at being caught crying. “Cullen!” she exclaimed, her voice louder than usual. “I didn’t hear you come back. You’re probably hungry! Dinner’s ready if you just give me a minute…”
Before she could reach for the remote, though, he reached out and slid an arm around her blanket-clad shoulders, tugging her gently back against the couch. “We can finish the movie first,” he told her.
Regina gave a small, shaky laugh as she relaxed and he turned his attention back to the screen as Spock pledged, “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” And as Cullen tightened his arm around her at her whimper, he smiled down at the dark-haired woman and realized that he understood the sentiment perfectly.