She notices their bed empty, the cold invading her bones like every night they’ve spent apart from each other throughout the years. There had been many, way too many for her liking. Far far too many for his (he has memories of all the nights without her during that missing year that she hasn’t).
She walks softly through the house, looking for him. It seems unreal, the old habit of walking stealthy to avoid waking up the kids. But the kids are long gone, turned into young adults, with their own lives and dreams and hopes and happy endings. Yet, she still tries to make as little noise as possible.
She finds him in his old bedroom, where her first instinct told her he would be. He’s sitting on the bed, an old model ship in his hand. Even in the dim light, she can make out his features, his striking profile, with his nose and perfect jawline. There’s more gray than black in his hair now, silver and black intertwined in his eternally disheveled hair. The creases around his eyes are deeper, marking years of laugh, of tears, of pain. Years of finally living.
And then he lifts his head as she approaches him, the moon casting him in its light, as he is as beautiful as he ever was. And his eyes. His eyes have never changed as he looks at her with a mix of longing and despair.
“I feel old, Swan.” He says as his hand caresses the sails on the model ship he’s holding. She remembers that ship. It’s the first one he and Henry built for him, decades ago. She remembers the proud smile when their toddler trotted on the toy store and ignored the trains and cars and trucks and pointed directly to the ship; his blue eyes and curly hair making her catch her breath on her throat.
She doesn’t say anything. She knows there is nothing to say. She knows that she can try to reassure him, repeating over and over that he’d be safe, that there is nothing to worry about. But he and she know more about losses than most, and she knows those are empty words.
And she’s worried too. It’s her baby boy too. But this is different for him. This brings back his most painful memories, the memories of his only family lost to him so painfully, so cruelly. A pain that centuries hasn’t been able to fully heal.
So she reaches for his hand, intertwining their fingers as she sat next to him, her head resting on his shoulder. And they just stay there, next to each other, in his old room. He slowly turns his head and presses a kiss to her hair, sighing.
“He’s Captain Liam Jones of the US Navy. Bloody Hell, Swan.”