Caitlin tucked her coat tighter around herself, trudging up the stairwell to her apartment. Delicate hands trembled from tension and cold, unsteady as she hadn’t allowed them to be when digging metal shrapnel from Barry’s back.
The cool steel of her key slid home in the lock, so different from the crimson slick corroded copper.
Weary steps collided heavily as they dragged her into the familiar space, deep breaths carrying the scent of-cinnamon?
Brown eyes snapped open, sharp awareness cleaving through her. Her apartment never smelled of cinnamon. Earth from the potted plants, cigarette smoke from her downstairs neighbor, maybe mint or vanilla on the occasions she lit a candle. Never cinnamon.
A quick observation revealed heavy ash smudged work boots, an easily recognizable tan coat hanging above them. Tense shoulders relaxed, breath frozen in worried lungs trailing out in a soft sigh.
“They’re back,” she murmured, distantly aware that Len would not be pleased with his boyfriend’s current condition. That was Barry’s problem.
Grey wool found its place beside flame retardant tripolymer, black flats toed off where she had stood.
“Look who’s back.” The deep rumble was tinted with amusement as she stumbled into his embrace. Chilled fingers clutched at the threadbare cloth of his shirt, heady warmth enveloping her as thick muscle banded around her waist.
“Like you have any room to talk.”
They settled against each other, wind chilled and fire hot, cinnamon and mint and copper and smoke.