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Warmth in the Catacombs

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Of all the idiotic things they had done, getting separated from the others in the labyrinth beneath the city ranked high. Probably not the stupidest, but it was definitely up there Ellie thought to herself as her feet pounded against the cobbled stones sending echos throughout the catacombs.

She quickly realised that her echoing footsteps would make it impossible for her to hear if anyone were nearby or calling her, so she skidded to a stop, ears straining for shouts or echos. Nothing. Just silence. Ellie swore under her breath. With a heavy sigh she set off slowly, all senses primed to notice something, anything, that alerted her to where the others were.

She cursed Toby under her breath as she went, it was his newest hair brained scheme that landed them in this predicament… as usual. When she got her hands on him this time, it was going to take more than a few punches to make herself feel better.

Ellie froze. She could just about make out the muffled sound of footsteps. It was clearly someone trying to walk quietly, perhaps stealthily, but the echoy nature of the catacombs thwarted their attempts. She tensed. Friend or foe she wondered as she slunk into the shadows, removing a knife from her belt. She'd soon find out.

A slight figure soon came into view, their red hair and whip at their side quickly betraying who they were to Ellie. Maeve. Ellie sighed in relief.

"Maeve," Ellie said. It sounded like a statement rather than a greeting.

Maeve jumped and whipped round, their hand darting to their whip before noticing Ellie as she emerged from the shadows.

"Ellie!" Maeve blurted. "You're very lucky, I nearly went for you with my whip. Have you seen the others? Or any one for that matter? Are you okay? Are you hurt?" Maeve said this all in one breath.

Ellie shook her head in bemusement. Maeve always did talk a lot when nervous or scared.

"I'm fine, Maeve. Thanks. Are you?" Ellie responded, stepping closer to examine her archeologist companion.

"I'm.. I'm fine… Not hurt at all really… but… but you're bleeding! There's blood… hmm… blood… I need to fix that… Huh… hmm… okay…"

Ellie shook her head. "Not right now, we need to find the others."

"Others? Oh yes, we should find the others," Maeve responded as Ellie's comment dragged them from their examination of Ellie back to their situation. "Fine, but if we don't find them in 20 minutes, I'm taking a look at your injuries."

Ellie chuckled to herself, Maeve could really put their foot down when they wanted. "Fine. Deal. Now let's go," Ellie said, her knife still held in her hand.

Maeve followed Ellie's lead walking back the way they had come.

"I came from the left, so I guess we can head right? I'd love to have time to actually take in the site and see what I could find," Maeve mused.

"We'll go right," Ellie answered. Maeve's passion for their craft was something Ellie didn't necessarily understand but she admired it. She was happy to let Maeve mutter to their self about history and archaeology as they walked down the tunnel together.

The tunnel ahead began to widen, and soon they entered a large room. Ellie grabbed Maeve's elbow and gently pulled them to one side of the entrance by the wall. She wanted to take in the room fully before venturing out. She scanned the room carefully looking for any evidence of danger. Maeve looked like they wanted to say something, but kept quiet as Ellie took note of their surroundings.

"I think we're in the clear," Ellie stated, stepping back into the room. Her voice steady, lacking emotion as normal.

"Ellie, come here," Maeve demanded bluntly, almost an order.

Ellie rolled her eyes but did as she was told and stepped back towards Maeve.

"Sit," Maeve said, pointing at one of the numerous crates in the room. Definitely an order this time. Ellie knew better than to argue so she plonkerd herself ungracefully on top of the crate.

"I'm fine, Maeve."

"No you're not. There's blood everywhere. Now let me have a look," Maeve muttered as they started to fuss over Ellie's injuries. Ellie sighed dramatically in surrender as Maeve dug through one of their belt pouches for medical supplies. She gritted her teeth as Maeve began to clean out her numerous cuts and scrapes. Thankfully she didn't think any would require stitches, although it wouldn't be the first time Maeve would have needed to do it.

Maeve muttered to their self as they worked, Ellie couldn't quite make out what they were saying, so she just let Maeve get on with it.

"There…" Maeve murmured. "I think that's all of them," they added as they placed a hand gently on Ellie's cheek so they could turn her head for inspection. Ellie felt her cheeks warm and her chest tightened. That was strange. What was even stranger was that her hand was now placed over Maeve's. She quickly moved her hand away, and dropped it lamely to her side.

"Thanks, Maeve," Ellie said, her voice steady as she tried to hide the embarrassment she felt. She looked away, hoping that Maeve hadn't noticed her blushing.

"You're welcome. I just wish I didn't have to fight with you before you'll let me treat you every time," Maeve huffed. "I just want to make sure you're okay, Ellie. I care about you!"

"I…" Ellie stopped. She finally looked back at Maeve and looked into their green eyes. She could see the care and concern. Maeve's hand was still on her face. Was she blushing or was that warmth from Maeve's hand. It felt nice. A small ray of sunshine in the catacombs darkness. It then hit her how she didn't want that warmth to go away. She placed her hand back over Maeve's.

"Are you okay, Ellie?" Maeve asked with concern.

Ellie didn't respond straight away, instead she stood up and pulled Maeve gently into her arms.

"Thank you," she murmured into Maeve's neck. Maeve froze for half a second, taken aback by Ellie pulling them into an embrace, even more so when Ellie's breath tickled their neck. Maeve finally relaxed into her embrace.

"You're very welcome, Ellie. I just want you to be okay," Maeve finally responded, still taken back by Ellie's display of affection.

"My turn to check you over," Ellie said as she pulled away from Maeve. Maeve sat down on the crate Ellie had previously been occupying before Ellie had a chance to tell them to. Ellie smirked and quirked an eyebrow.

"Some of us know when to accept help," Maeve teased as Ellie knelt down in front of them and begun examining Maeve's injuries. After a few moments of checking Maeve's arms she turned her attention to Maeve's face. Maeve's piercing green eyes followed her every move. Ellie looked into them again. They were hypnotic. She could feel herself losing herself in the depths of Maeve's eyes.

She didn't know who had closed the little remaining distance between them and she didn't care. The feeling of Maeve's lips against hers took her breath away. Her heart felt like it was trying to hammer out of her rib cage.

Ellie's hands wrapped themselves in Maeve's bun of hair as the two passionately kissed. Months of unspoken attraction finally making itself known. As Maeve and Ellie finally broke apart, a voice rang out from a corner.

"Well it's about time that happened," Nemo commented as she stepped out from her corner.

"Nemo! How long have you been there!" Ellie demanded, as Maeve buried their face in their hands in embarrassment.

"Well someone had to make sure you two didn't get gunned down by guild soldiers whilst you were busy making eyes at each other," Nemo argued, blatantly ignoring the question. "Don't worry, your secret is safe with me, love birds," she added.

"Nemo…" Ellie said menacingly, taking a step towards her.

"Oh don't be so dramatic, come on let's find the others," Nemo sighed as she rolled her eyes and began to walk away.

Ellie turned to look at Maeve who simply nodded towards Nemo. With a heavy sigh, Ellie nodded back and the two silently followed behind Nemo as they continued the search for Frey and Tobias.