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The hallway was longer than it should have been, Lanie was sure of that. Lights were flashing on and off, making it hard to see clearly. A ringing in her ears was keeping her from focusing as much as she wished she could. She was being drawn to the end of the hall, but something told her she really didn't want to find out why or what was there. 

As her steps finally brought her to near to the end, she saw a dark shape crouched over another body. The shape slowly stood up, towering over Lanie, a long dripping knife in his hand. He turned towards Lanie and she screamed in terror -

Magnus had drifted off to sleep at last after tossing and turning for hours. He had finally taken his pillow and blanket and made himself a nest on the floor when he couldn’t seem to fit his long limbs comfortably on the sofa. He didn't remember having this problem when his parents were here. Of course, he also hadn't been sporting a major hard-on then. Cori, confused by the strange human in the bed and his normal sleeping companion exiled to the living room, had not helped matters, meowing and pouncing at Magnus' hair as he tried to fall asleep. The cat now curled up behind Magnus' knees and purred peacefully.

The scream of pure terror upset both man and cat, causing the latter to dig his claws into the back of the former's legs. Swearing loudly Magnus quickly rose to his feet, grabbing his gun from where he had left it on the coffee table in one fluid motion. Holding it in front of him he raced the four steps to the bedroom door, kicking it the rest of the way open. Lanie lay on the bed, thrashing wildly, face contorted with fear, obviously in the middle of a horrific nightmare. Breathing a sigh of relief, Magnus sat on the bed shook her shoulder gently.

"Lanie," he said, keeping his voice calm and brushing her damp hair out of her face. "Lanie, you're having a nightmare. Wake up, darling."

Her eyes flew open and she sat straight up in the bed.

"Shh, shh," he soothed her, stroking her hair. "It was just a dream. You're safe. It's Magnus. I'm here, and I won't let anyone hurt you."

"Magnus?" Lanie blinked at him hazily, clearly trying to shake off the remains of her dream.

"That's right. It's me. You're safe."

"Magnus," she whimpered, and crumpled in his arms, her head coming to rest on his chest as she sobbed desperately. He held her firm against him, letting her cry her eyes out onto his shirt, her body trembling in his arms. Kissing the top of her head he murmured gentle nonsense to her as he rocked her softly. 

Finally all sobbed out, Lanie slowly lifted her head and looked at him with tearstained eyes. He smiled gently as he saw her come to the realization of her circumstances.

"Oh god, Magnus, I am so sorry," she whispered shakily, trying to pull away. He tightened his arms, refusing to let her move.

"There is nothing to be sorry about," he assured her. "I was pretty much waiting for this to happen. You've been in shock for over twenty four hours. Your brain is just now processing it."

"I got you all wet," she sniffed, and he laughed as he looked down at his tear stained shirt. 

"It's alright," he smiled, raising her chin with his finger to look at him. "I'll dry."

Lanie's big eyes gazed into his and his breath caught in his chest. She looked so fragile and lost, but so trusting as she blinked back the last of her tears. Without thinking he lowered his head and brought his mouth to hers. It started as just a ghosting of their lips against each other, a solace in a time of stress, but as he started to bring his head back up Lanie tightened her arms around his neck and deepened the kiss. Magnus moaned and pulled her hard against him, sliding his tongue into her welcoming mouth. She lifted one hand up into his hair and ran the other down his back, fingernails trailing over his t-shirt then up underneath it, scraping his flesh. His own hand wandered down her neck, and then lower to graze the side of her breast before slipping forward to cup it, rolling her nipple to a hard nub between his thumb and finger. His erection, which had lessened slightly as he dozed earlier, sprang back to life and throbbed in his sweatpants. 

"Magnus," she said in his ear, breaking away from his lips, "why are you holding a gun?"

"What?" he asked confused, then reality came crashing back to him. "Oh god! Fuck!" he cried, pulling away from her and dropping the gun carefully onto the bedside table. "Lanie, I am so sorry."

"For what?" she asked.

"For taking advantage of you," he said, grinding his teeth. He was scum. Everything everyone ever thought about him was right. Here she was, scared and vulnerable, and he had pawed at her like a school boy alone with a girl for the first time. He deserved to be taken outside and shot with his own gun.

"But I kissed you," she said with a blush.

"It's my job to keep something like this from happening," he ground out.

"I thought it was your job to protect me," she countered.

"That includes from myself," he dropped his head into his hands, pulling at his hair. It was only the first night and already he had proved unable to keep his hands off her. “You have been put under tremendous stress, so it’s only natural for you to seek out comfort. It was wrong of me to use that, and your presence in my bed, as an excuse to grope you. Please, accept my apologies.”

“Of course,” she said, her eyes looking oddly hurt. 

“Thank you,” he sighed and stood up from the bed. “I should go back to the living room.”

”Magnus,” her voice was small, “do you think maybe you could stay in here tonigh? Just to sleep, I mean. I... I don’t want to be alone.”

He looked down at her, all forlorn with huge eyes staring up at him beseechingly. More than anything he could think of he wanted to crawl into bed next to her. He knew exactly how it would end if he did that. Maybe he would be able to hold off his baser urges at first, but feeling her soft body curled up along side him, pressing into his length (he had no illusions - they would be body to body within moments) would surely crack his resolve. As sweet as it would be to lose himself to her, and in her, that was not the reason she was here, and she could not be thinking clearly.

“Best not,” he said in a rough voice. “The lines in this whole operation are blurred enough as is. Crossing more wouldn’t be a good idea.”

”Oh, of course,” she sounded as though he had slapped her, and he ached to take his words back. “Good night then. I’ll try not to bother you again.”

”No bother,” he told her awkwardly. “Good night, Lanie.”

Silently cursing his damn sense of duty he made his way back to the living room floor for the rest of a long, sleepless night.


The sound of a door locking woke Lanie from her restless slumber and she sat up in the strange bed. It took her a moment to remember where she was, and as she did she instantly wished she could forget. 

How was she going to face him? It was bad enough that she had cried all over him like a baby, but then she had to go and kiss him! She wasn’t an idiot, she knew his own brush of lips against hers had been meant as a kindness, a way to calm down her racing heart and frayed nerves. And how had she responded? By basically attacking him with her tongue, taking advantage if his kindness. And if that wasn’t bad enough, when he had managed to untangle himself from her she had begged him to come to bed with her. Yes, she had told him it was just to sleep, but why would he believe that when she had so shamelessly thrown herself at him just minutes before? She hadn’t even believed it herself. She knew she wanted him, and with an intensity that scared her. 

Sighing a huge sigh Lanie got out of bed and used the bathroom. Since she was up already she decided she may as well go face him. She would have to at some point, best get it over with. And if he wanted to back out of the whole plan she would understand.

Walking hesitantly into the kitchen Lanie realized with relief that he wasn’t there. A piece of paper sat on the kitchen table with a note scrawled across it in messy writing. 

- Out of cat food, went to the market. Back soon with coffee and breakfast. DO NOT open the door to anyone until I get back. Text or call if you need anything. M -

Lanie sank onto a chair, giving thanks that the inevitable had been delayed. Hugging her arms to herself she looked down at her ridiculous outfit. For the first time she realized just how tight and borderline see through Magnus’ t-shirt was and her embarrassment doubled. Just once she’d like to be able to wear a white top without feeling like she belonged in a porn movie. It wasn’t that she wished to be flat, but there was no moderation!

As she sat there replaying the events of last night on a loop, Lanie began to feel claustrophobic. She needed to move, she realized. She was feeling trapped. Magnus had mentioned picking up things from her apartment. It was not that far away, a ten minute walk at most. 

After changing into her close from last night Lanie scribbled a quick note on the bottom of the paper where Magnus had written. Grabbing her purse and giving Cori a quick pat she exited the apartment, making sure the door locked behind her. She would just pop home, get a few changes of clothes (pajamas definitely included!), some art supplies to keep her from going crazy, and be back before breakfast was cold.