can i ask for 15 for mreyder?
The life of a Pathfinder was nothing if not unpredictable. One moment Scott was helping to gather some minerals on Elaaden, the next came an urgent summon to the Nexus or a distress call from the resistance on Voeld. Still, even among all this hecticness – or maybe because of it – he found comfort in establishing a small routine, things repeated almost every single day that helped to ground him no matter in which corner of the galaxy he was at the moment: ungodly amounts of cereal for breakfast, the morning hug from Jaal, feeding the Pyjak forbidden snacks behind Lexi’s back. And of course daily calls to Reyes, right before Scott turned in for the night.
It felt nice to see his lover’s face and hear his voice broadcasted through the infinite void, even if that wasn’t nearly enough to fully quench the longing. They always chatted a bit about what interesting happened to them and joked a little, exchanging cheesy lines or bad puns. Sometimes the conversation took a turn into a naughty territory when they hadn’t seen one another for a long time and were itching for a release.
Scott adored their talks, the time devoted to no one else but each other, the comforting assurance that they both were alive and well, which wasn’t a given with the kind of lifestyle they both lead.
Today Scott needed to see Reyes more than ever.
Lying on the bed in his quarters, one hand under his head, the other with the omni-tool in front of his face, he told SAM to make the call.
“Good evening, Kadara,” he said as soon as his lover’s smiling face appeared on the display. Reyes must have waited for the call because he picked up almost instantly.
“Ryder. How is my favorite Pathfinder doing today?” he asked in an upbeat tone. But the cheerfulness gradually faded from his face the longer he stared at Scott. He could always read him like a book. “Are you okay?” His words were caring, gentle, inspiring confidence and urging Scott to open up. And Scott needed that kind of encouragement to pour his heart out, the certainty that he would be heard.
“No. Not really,” he sighed, using his omni-tool-free hand to rub at his temple. He wondered if he looked as tired and dispirited as he felt.
Scott took a deep breath and let the words flow.
“I was on Eos today when I heard that some of the people from the outpost went to explore the remnant ruins, even though I told them over and over again that it’s dangerous and they should stay away. I drove there as fast as I could but…” Scott paused, closing his eyes briefly. When he opened them again, they were filled with anguish. “I arrived too late. The remnants tore them all to shreds right in front of me. I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t save them. If only I was faster…”
“Scott, stop,” Reyes interrupted him, adamant but still sympathetic. “You can’t blame yourself for their stupidity. What happened wasn’t your fault.”
Scott heaved a sigh. A heavy burden of guilt weighed on his chest, one that he just couldn’t shake off.
“I know. I know, but…” he paused, his mournful eyes telling more than any words could ever do. “I wish you were here with me right now,” he whispered, sounding hopeless and pathetic to his own ears.
But Reyes looked at him not with scorn, but with tenderness.
“I wish I was.”
The silence that fell between them was full of tension, vibrating with the vastness of space between them, the light years keeping them apart when the only thing they wanted was to be in one another’s arms.
Reyes was first to speak up.
Scott couldn’t hide his surprise when Reyes addresses the AI. Especially when SAM responded.
“Could you do something for me?”
“Yes. As long as it will not go against my programming or against the Pathfinder’s wishes.”
“No, it’s nothing like that. Could you… could you make Scott feel as if I’m holding him? I think he needs that.”
“What? Reye–” Scott
gasped when the sensation of being enveloped in a pair of strong arms spread
through his body. The pressure against his skin, the warmth, it all felt so
real. Scott’s throat clenched as he tried to rein in his emotions. He couldn’t
deny though that the weight on his chest became lighter.
“Better?” Reyes asked.
“Yeah. Thank you.”
“Go to sleep. I’ll watch over you.”
Scott tried to protest, but all it took was a little of gentle coaxing and he finally gave up. He closed his eyes and fell asleep quicker than he would imagine, safe in the imaginary embrace.
Reyes dawdled with ending the call, observing how Scott’s chest moved steadily with every breath he took, the expression on his face peaceful at last.
“SAM?” he asked once again.
“Can you help me with something one more time?”
“With what, Reyes?”
“Tell me where will you be touching down in the morning.”
* * *
Of all the things Scott expected to find at the next port, Reyes, who
had apparently flown like a madman entire night to get there before him, wasn’t
one of them. Surprised, touched and happy, Scott was glad to confirm that no
sensory substitute of a hug could compare to the real thing given freely and
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