Emma woke up in Owen’s arms. They were both still fully dressed, so decided not to freak out. Instead, she just laid perfectly still to absorb the safe, once familiar feeling. They had two months, two glorious months, when they thought they might be happy, when they thought it might be all okay. That was before she had to go into hiding. That was before they were out to kill her. That was before he had to be her protector, and any relationship, even this what they were doing right now, was technically against the law.
Supposedly, that’s why he was chosen to be her protector, though, when she had to completely forget who she was. No one flat-out said it, because it wasn’t exactly kosher, but Owen loved Emma. He always had. Since day two of their training when they were assigned to the same squadron and she was stubborn, but easy to laugh, Impossible to intimidate, but the first to tell a sergeant when she thought something untoward was going on.
Emma fell in love more gently, a much slower process as she got to know Owen little bit by little bit. She came to appreciate his quirks, and was impressed by his determination to try to always make things right, without letting himself become a door mat for anyone.
But for the longest time, they just danced around each other. They flirted, they danced, and they had a soft understanding that the other was interested as well, but they never really made a move, until one faithful night.
They were all or nothing kind of people, so the first time that Emma and Owen kissed was the first night that they slept together. They slept in the same bed every night after that for the next two months, often waking up in positions not dissimilar to the positions they were in now, sometimes with, sometimes without, their clothing.
But when her life was threatened, when she had to forget everything for the protection of herself and those around her, someone had to go watch over her, to make sure her lack of memory stuck. And to make sure that no one came after her regardless.
They all knew Owen would protect her with his life. They all knew that as long as he was there, no harm would come to Emma. He didn’t even hesitated to swear as her protector, even though he knew that would make it officially illegal for them to have any kind of romantic relationship again. He had to make sure that she stayed safe, and he didn’t trust anyone else to do that properly. He didn’t trust anyone else to protect her with their life. Not for anything.
She appreciated that. She liked knowing that he’d been that close to her this whole time but—to never do this again? To never be together again? Well, she almost wanted to hate him for that.
He started to move a little bit, and Emma groaned softly. “No, no. Stay asleep. Please, still be asleep.” She whispered almost desperately.
She saw his eye open, just a hint, and he said softly in his gruff just woken up voice. “Of course I’m still asleep. I never wake up until my alarm goes off. You don’t either, right? You’re still asleep?”
“Of course I’m still asleep.” She agreed softly and readily. “Who would dare wake up before they had to?”
“That’s very good. Because if we’re both still asleep, then this is a dream, and if this is a dream. And if I’m dreaming, then nothing is illegal. Not really.”
Emma didn’t need much encouragement. She curled a little closer into his side, and kissed him gently, afraid to push too much. She didn’t want to over step her bounds, and she most certainly did not want to get him in any kind of trouble.
But he kissed her back, with a sort of gentle desperation she’d never felt from him before. Perhaps it’s true, and absence does make the heart grow fonder. Or having to watch her live her life for almost a year, seeing him, but never having an idea who he was. Or maybe it was just the threat of being jailed for kissing the person he loved more than anything else.
They kissed until the alarm went off. They groaned slight, and pulled away. Owen untangled his arms from around Emma. He draped one hand over both his eyes. “Oh, man,” he groaned, “I just had the most amazing dream.”
“Well, don’t talk about it. Because if you talk about dreams, they don’t come true, you know.” Emma replied.
“Yeah. I know. But I wish.” Owen heaved a sign and then dragged himself out of bed. “We were trapped, couldn’t get out. I slept on the floor like a proper gentleman.”
“Of course you did,” Emma sat up slowly, a very careful smile on her face. “You’re a decent man, Owen, no one would doubt it, right?”
“Right.” They smiled at each other, the stilted broken-hearted half-smiles of two people who knew they couldn’t get what they wanted, but had to pretend like they were happy anyways. They didn’t have any other choice.
“But that dream though—“ Emma said, and own smiled just a little bit wider.
“A good dream. A very good dream.”