“You were my strength when I was weak. You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see. You saw the best there was in me. Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach, you gave me faith ‘coz you believed. I’m everything I am because you loved me…” - Celine Dion, Because You Loved Me
Abbie curled into a ball and leaned her head back against the cave wall. She tried breathing deeply to settle her nerves but the chattering of her teeth and the violent way her body shook from the cold made that near impossible. Just thinking in this cold was a chore. If she could just keep herself warm enough until this spontaneous blizzard wore itself out, she’d be able to make it home without becoming a Witness popsicle.
It was by the grace of God that they’d even found this little hidey hole. They had barely gone a half a mile away from the main road into the preserve when the wind whipped up out of nowhere. Gone was the light flurry that had nagged Sleepy Hollow off and on all day. It was replaced by a ferocious storm that seemed hell-bent on burying everything - and everyone apparently - in it’s path.
The cave itself wasn’t overly deep but it curved in enough that a small alcove blocked virtually all of the wind from outside though ambient light still made it in, casting an unearthly spell on the space. It still didn’t do much for the cold however. Ichabod sat down next to her, chafing his hands together and blowing into them to try and produce some form of warmth. Abbie distantly heard him say something to her but it didn’t make much sense.
“Lieutenant! Abbie! Stay awake!”
Ichabod cupped Abbie’s cold face, rubbing his thumbs along her cheeks to try and rouse her. He’d been so busy running his mouth, insisting that he’d been in the right about the weather that he didn’t realize that Abbie was beginning to succumb to the frigid temperatures. Springing into action, he began to remove Abbie’s clothing starting with her coat and scarf. She began to shiver further but he knew if he was to save her, he needed to get her as warm as possible. There was only one way, to his knowledge at least, of doing so.
Abbie didn’t think it was possible to feel colder but as she listened to the gale outside, she became aware of Ichabod removing layers of her clothing. She was too tired to fight - to cold - and yet she still managed to mutter her displeasure with the situation at hand. Then - as if by some miracle - she felt warmth pressed against her side. It began to wrap around her as it seeped slowly into her marrow. Her thinking became clearer and soon enough the chattering of her teeth ceased. Finding the energy to open her eyes, she found herself wrapped tightly, skin-to-skin, in an embrace with Ichabod.
Relief flooded him as he caught her gaze. She was still with him. As quickly as the relief hit him, panic set in at the look of confusion on her face. He’d stripped them both down then covered their bodies with their clothing, creating a cocoon of warmth. It was the only way he knew to save her. Still, now that she was indeed out of harm’s way, he feared the wrath of Miss Grace Abigail Mills.
Abbie looked down at their state of undress. She was pressed firmly against his side, her head resting on his shoulder, his arms wrapped around her shoulder and waist. He’d lain her legs over his lap so that her entire body was engulfed next to his under their clothing. At least her bra and pants were still on. She still shivered some but managed to give Ichabod a reassuring smile.
“If you had wanted to g-get me naked Crane, all you had to d-do was ask.” Abbie laughed at the look of shock on Ichabod’s face.
“Lieutenant, I would never impugn your honor in such a way!”
“I wish you would.” Abbie said softly, her eyes downcast. Lord only knew if they’d survive this night. It made little sense to her not to say what she’d been feeling for years now. “I wish you would have held me like this before. I wish it didn’t take nearly freezing to death to make it happen. I wish,” she lifted her eyes to his then, holding his gaze, “that you would forget honor for once and just live in the moment and be impulsive. I’ve wished for so long that you would be the man I know you can be; that you would step up and take the lead for once and that you would let me in.”
Ichabod blew out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding during her confession. It puffed out into a cloud, surrounding her shadowed face in an ethereal haze. He’d hoped against hope that Abbie felt as he had but he’d worried he’d never be brave enough to tell her how he felt. Bravery was only part of it though. He knew he was undeserving of her affections, still, he loved her and longed for her in a way he’d never felt for anyone before. And here she was, confessing her truths to him; a dream he dared not to dream. It didn’t matter to him that Abbie probably said all of this in fear of them not surviving the night. He wasn’t going to let the moment slip by.
“In truth Abbie, I’ve longed to hold you for so long. I’ve wanted to comfort you, to kiss away your tears and soothe your worries. I only feared, no - I knew, I wasn’t worthy of you. I feared you felt affection for me but only that of a friend and partner; I was afraid of your rejection.” Ichabod raised his hand from her waist to cup her cheek. “But oh, Abbie. You have no idea how long I have wanted to hear you say that you cared for me - how long I’ve wanted to come clean and tell you how I’ve felt. I love you, Abbie. I am incomprehensibly in love with you and always will be.”
Tears pooled in Abbie’s eyes and landed on Ichabod’s hand when she turned her head to kiss his palm. She snuggled closer to him, nestling her head in the hollow between his neck and shoulder. Placing her hand over his bare, slightly hairy chest, Abbie felt the strong, rapid beat beneath it. It matched her own. It took nearly freezing to death to get them to be honest with each other - to get them to tell the truth.
“I love you, Ichabod. I may not have your flowery way with words but if we don’t make it out of here tonight, I’m glad that we both know how we feel.”
For once, Ichabod didn’t offer platitudes of false hope. He simply pulled her closer to him, kissed the top of her head and leaned his chin against it. In this moment, there was peace. They awoke with the sun. The wind had died down and the snow had stopped. They redressed quickly in silence and walked hand in hand toward the mouth of the cave. Abbie continued to walk when she felt Ichabod holding her back. She turned to find him staring at something on the wall outside of the cave.
“The Sigil of Ameth.”
“The what now?” Abbie moved next to him and looked upon the round drawing with interlocking stars and symbols drawn within.
“The Sigil of Ameth. It’s an ancient Hebrew seal. It means “the seal of the truth of God”.” Ichabod looked down at her, his expression one of wonder and awe. A shiver ran down her spine at the same time an overwhelming sense of calm seemed to fall over them.
“I guess He got tired of waiting for us.”
Ichabod touched the sigil reverently before smiling at Abbie. They waded their way, hand-in-hand, through the fresh snow back towards where they believed the road to be. Their truths had been revealed and the path before them, like the path they were leaving in the newly fallen snow, was theirs to create.
This is a challenge hosted by @waywardlullabies! I was given 12 prompts, one for each of the 12 days of Christmas. I have taken the prompts and turned them into a fluffy, smutty, feels-y love story about Sam Winchester and Jody Mills, and I hope you love them as much as I do! (Also, shout out to my loves @unadulteratedstorycollector and @littlegreenplasticsoldier for their general wonderfulness.)