A clean bandage, warm water left to cool on the cloth pressed to his cheek. Lamp light and a soft couch, the small comforts of a home he had almost forgotten. Ben could only blink silently, peering at his foreign surroundings with an odd sense of detachment clouding his mind. Home for him this last perilous month had been little more than a bunker filled with rations and weapons, stark and cold in its necessity. Soldiers had no need for quilted blankets and stacked sheet music, the lingering scent of chocolate and coffee somehow stronger here than the blood and fire amongst the streets. He was used to hard-faced men and women marching the corridors in quick, brusque steps, guns heavy at their hips and determination a hard light in their eyes.
Johanna… Ben settled his gaze on his saviour of sorts, the movements of her hands deft yet graceful, gentle in a way he hadn’t experienced in what felt an age. The fear was there, of course it was; it plagued everyone, regardless of circumstance. So why did this young woman feel so much stronger to him? Living alone, surviving against the odds… it was a miracle, in all honesty.
Wiping at the dried blood at his chin, Ben once again examined the room. Aside from the haphazardly boarded windows, the small living space seemed almost untouched from the horror happening mere feet away from them.
“Has this…” he paused, unsure whether to ask personal questions. People these days were so guarded when it came to their pasts, the hard decisions they had been forced to face. The last thing he wanted was to upset his host. “Has this always been your home?”