"So… you hike."
He hates himself the instant the words leave his mouth. What an idiotic thing to say to someone. If she’s out here hiking with him, of course she hikes.
It’s strange to see Ruby in a simple pair of jeans and a tank top, muddied up hiking boots on her feet. When Graham thinks of Ruby, it’s usually a girl with a semi disgruntled look on her face, blazing reds and clothes that leave too little to the imagination. Clunky hiking boots? The exact opposite.
Ruby reaches up as though to fiddle with her hair, remembers it’s in a ponytail, and twists one of the straps of her tank around a finger instead. “So do you, apparently.”
red huntsman, injured requested by zorabet: (FTL AU)
The wolf had done it again.
Red wrapped her arms around herself tightly, backing away from the blood-stained snow and staring wide-eyed at the man crumpled on the ground before her.
"No. No, no, no, not again, not again, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
Graham lifted his head just slightly. His voice was ragged, but it was there. She fell on to her knees, letting out a strangled sob. He pushed himself up, clutching a bloodied arm and frowning.
"Hey, hey. It’s alright. It’s mostly my arm. Nothing that can’t be fixed, and I’ve had worse, I swear it."
He was rambling. He barely spoke, half the time, and he was rambling and reassuring her after the wolf could have killed him. She shook her head, balling her fists up tightly against her side. She should have known this would happen. She should have known not to trust her own control, she should have used the cloak.
"The wolf could have killed you,” she snapped, her voice shaking. “It’s not alright.”
He frowned. “You think—-Red, no,” he sighed. “There was an animal, I could barely tell what it was until it was on me. You fought it off before it could do anymore damage.”
She frowned. “The Wolf….saved you?”
He sighed, shaking his head. “You saved me.”
Life’s not so bad, she thinks, she’s got friends and family, music and kisses and fun. So why is it she wants something so different?
Every other Saturday she likes to keep the diner open late. She’ll work the night shift, allowing the other regulars a weekend night off, keeping her sparkly dresses or ripped jeans in a locker in the break room. Some Saturdays she draws dramatic liner around her eyes and keeps her lips red. Some Saturdays she keeps her face bare. She sends the line cook home at regular closing time and she staffs the grill for any stragglers for an hour or two. If Granny were awake, she’d read her the riot act, but as it is, her grandmother is upstairs, asleep in her small apartment, unaware of the late-night activities.
She likes the quiet of the night shift, the low voices of the customers who filter in and out, some spending hours at their booth with nothing but a pie and a coffee, other eating on the run - rushing in and out, stools swiveling at the counter. She likes the ritual of wiping the tile and linoleum down, before she rushes to the band’s after party, dressing hastily in the restroom behind the kitchen, her face blurry in the cracked mirror.
(She even likes the way that her boyfriend grabs her waist and kisses her like she’s been gone for years, grumbling about how she missed the show and why does Granny keep the diner open so late. She likes having her secret.)
There are never that many guests between the hours of ten p.m. and one a.m. Any stragglers are always gone before eleven o’clock anyway. She mostly keeps it open for one reason. One leather-jacketed, curly-haired reason. The first night she worked the Saturday shift he’d rushed into the diner as she was at the door, about to flip the sign to closed.
“I’m so sorry,” he had said, voice breathless, face red and hair windswept.
“It’s okay, I can stick around for a few,” she had replied. “Just tell me what you want.”
That’s how it started and how it’s continued for months. She makes him his favorite snack and a fresh pot of coffee, while he’s on his mid-shift break. He opens the door, the bell dinging loudly in the quiet night air, every other Saturday at exactly 11:05 p.m. He sits in a booth along the back wall, near the dartboard while she cleans up from her other guests
(She likes that he does not sit at the counter. It allows them both to pretend. She pretends like she was about to close when he comes in, and he pretends like he does not know that she’s staying for him.)
Some nights he convinces her to play darts with him, and she pretends that she does not know how to flick her wrists and she just barely misses the wall. He’ll come up behind her and tell her that his aim is perfect and he never misses. She catalogs the way his worn leather smells and the way her body heats as his aligns along her back. She catalogs the way that his breath feels against the back of her neck and how his hands lightly hold hers in position before he steps back and she lets the dart fly.
Some nights she sits across from him in the booth and they talk for hours, and she forgets that she’s supposed to leave until he startles, looking at his watch, and runs out the door yelling that the sheriff will have his hide if he’s not back on patrol soon.
(She pretends that she doesn’t feel it in her gut when he leaves. She’s getting good at pretending, it seems.)