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Near Misses
JayBird -- Romance -- Posted: 25/09/2013 -- Updated: 25/09/2013
Acacia woke in darkness. The trees rustled around her as she lay curled up under her blankets, and behind one shivering leaf she caught glimpses of a single bright star.

She glanced across at Jay's bedroll, and was surprised to see it empty. Was there something happening in the Words tonight? A quick glance proved there wasn't – nothing until the dawn departure. So where was Jay? Acacia considered going back to sleep and dealing with it in the morning, but on the other hand, if something was wrong… grumbling, she pulled herself out of bed and went looking.

It wasn't a very long search. Jay was sitting on the ground, just out of sight of one of Rivendell's covered walkways. At first Acacia thought she was asleep, but as the shorter Assassin approached, Jay's eyes twitched slightly.

Acacia reached her friend's side and knelt down. "You look cold," she said.

Jay didn't reply.

Acacia sighed. It wasn't often she had to be the cheerful one, but this was clearly one of those times. "I'll go and get you a blanket," she offered.

Jay didn't move a muscle, including those of her jaw, but nevertheless managed to grind out, "Don't bother."

"All right." Acacia looked around for a minute, then shrugged and tugged her jacket off. She draped it carefully over her friend's shoulders, already shivering slightly in the night air – apparently, Uruk-Hai weren't cold resistant.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked quietly.

"No," Jay growled again. "No point."

"Something to eat, then? I think I have half a chocolate bar squirreled away."

"No." Acacia swallowed hard – this was bad. If even chocolate couldn't get through to her…

"Well, what can I do?"

"Nothing," Jay replied, still staring straight again.

Acacia chose to take the fact that she hadn't been told to go away yet as a positive. "That's ridiculous," she chided. "There must be something. Seriously, do you want a hug?"

Finally, Jay turned her head slightly, making eye contact for the first time. Acacia recoiled slightly at the intensity of that gaze, and at the sight of her partner's swollen, tear-streaked eyes.

"Is that a serious offer?" Jay asked, her voice still almost entirely flat. Almost – but there was perhaps a hint of incredulity in it.

Acacia thought for a moment. "I suppose it is," she said, shrugging. "If it would help."

Jay's shoulders slumped. "I doubt it," she said.

Acacia rolled her eyes. "Don't be so stubbornly literal," she admonished, and wrapped her arms around her friend. After a few moments, Jay relaxed slightly, leaning in against Acacia. Acacia held her friend tightly.

Some time later, she realised Jay was crying.

Later still, she realised she had stopped.

Finally, Acacia patted Jay awkwardly on the back and shifted slightly. Taking the hint, Jay pulled away, sitting back up.

"There's still a fair while until dawn," Acacia said softly. "I'm heading back to bed. You coming?"

"To your bed?" Jay asked, with just the faintest hint of a twinkle in her eye.

Acacia coughed. "I meant to your own…"

"Ah." Jay thought about this for a minute, then shook her head slightly. "I think I'll stay put. It gives me a chance to… think."

"Okay. I… okay." Carefully, Acacia got to her feet. "I'll see you in the morning."

"Yeah," Jay said, her eyes already fixed on the horizon. "See you."