A/N: Thank you very much everyone who has reviewed or favorited this story! I understand that many of you were disappointed in the last chapter. I hope this one is a return to the form you prefer. This is the end of this story and I do honestly thank you for all of your feedback. As you may have noticed, the rating has been upped for this chapter.
Three years later…
"There's been no trace of any culebra activity," Freddie tells Kate over the phone. "Whatever you did, it worked."
"Well, thank the Lord," Kate says closing the refrigerator door. "I'm never going under a mountain again, just so you know.
Freddie chuckles. "I don't blame you." He goes quiet for a second and then asks, "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm…okay," she says looking out the window of the small kitchen in the house they've moved into. "I'm as okay as I think I'm going to be, at least."
"Can't ask for more than that, I guess," he says. "Thank you for the gift, by the way. Billy loves the dress you sent her. She keeps spinning around in it."
Kate smiles. "I'm glad she likes it. How is she?"
"Into everything," he says with a laugh. "Her favorite word right now is 'why'?"
"It's an important word," she says snickering.
"Look, Kate, you do know you can come back here?" he says. "I can make it work."
"I know," she says as she moves over to the oven to turn off the timer that's just gone off. "I'm okay here for awhile, Freddie. But thank you. God, for everything."
"If anything weird pops up, I know who to call," he says. He pauses, then says, "Your parents would be proud of you, Kate. You know that, right?"
Kate smiles and says, "Yeah, I know. Talk soon. Give Billy a hug for me, okay?"
"You got it," he says.
Kate hangs up.
"Hey, princess," Seth says as he walks into the kitchen as though he hadn't been listening from the hallway and as though he didn't know that Kate knew he was there. "What's cookin'?"
"Cookies," Kate says, pulling a tray of chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. "I wanted to see if I remembered how to make them."
"Looks good," Seth says as he goes to take one off the tray. Kate smacks the back of his hand. "Hey!"
"They have to cool," she says smiling.
"You have to cool," he mutters, as he goes to grab a beer from the fridge and she snickers.
So, Kate makes it to twenty-one.
She's not altogether sure how, but she makes it.
She also kills a lot of monsters, helps two brothers get through the underworld, gets shot, cracks her ribs a few times, gets knocked unconscious on three separate occasions and, despite what Seth promised her all those years ago, acquires several bumps and scrapes along the way.
She also gets to watch as gods are defeated.
A week after the Gecko brothers save the world and while the three of them are recovering in a small house near the ruins of Tulum, Kate's own brother knocks on the door. Scott somehow manages to look sheepish, rebellious, and scared all at the same time.
Kate pulls him inside instantly.
Kate honestly has no idea how the whole culebra venom thing works, but Richie and Scott are back to human. Mostly. They aren't crazy about the sun and they can see extremely well in the dark, but at least they don't get the urge to sink their teeth into anyone.
Seth says that he counts that as a win in his book.
Kate does too.
It's not easy for them, though. Adapting to being human again. Richie takes to sitting on the back porch and staring out at the ocean for hours at a time.
Scott can't seem to stop sleeping under his bed.
Neither of them seem to want to eat food.
It takes Seth yelling at both of them to snap out of it, Kate yelling at him to have a bit more compassion, Scott yelling at Kate that he doesn't need her to look after him and Richie punching a hole in the wall before the tension sort of breaks.
Kate brings home a pile of comic books one day and shoves them at Scott, thinking that maybe something familiar from before would help.
And it does.
It really does.
Because the next day, he goes to the store and comes back with a blank notebook and several colored pens and starts drawing.
"They don't get anything right," he says when Kate looks in on him. "I mean, look at those fangs! Not even close to accurate."
What's surprising is how Richie joins in.
"You draw, I'll plot," he says grabbing a notebook. "They always make the mistake of dumbing the stories down. People appreciate complexity."
It seems too simple and far too easy but Kate and Seth just look at each other, shrug, and hope for the best.
Three months later, they have their own website and actual followers.
"But, not like 'Hey, I'm going to go drink blood for you' followers, right?" Seth asks brow furrowed.
Scott and Richie roll their eyes and start talking about podcasts.
Kate just pats Seth on the shoulder.
They still aren't eating well and Kate's decided to give up on getting them to eat a balanced diet and just getting them to eat. Hence, the cookies.
She thinks it will work because they demolished the pan of brownies she made the other day.
"Where're the boy wonders?" Seth asks drinking from his beer and watching Kate as she moves around the kitchen.
"Off at some comic book store in Mexico City," she says. "Said they'd be back later tonight."
"Wondered why it was so quiet," he says. "Can I have one now?"
She rolls her eyes and nods. "Take it. Burn your mouth. See if I care."
"You do care," he says grinning and kissing her cheek, before taking a cookie. He eats it in two bites and moans a little. "Damn good, Katie."
Kate takes one for herself and takes a small bite. Oh, yeah. That is good. It's still hot from the oven and the chocolate melts in her mouth and her hand. She bounces a little on her feet and hums.
"Yep," she says. "Still can make 'em. These won at the church bake sale two years in a row."
"I believe you," he says taking another. "Can you do cakes?"
"Been awhile, but probably. Why?" she asks.
"You're going to need one for your birthday coming up," he says with a shrug.
She wrinkles her nose. "I already had my birthday."
"What?" he says surprised. "When?"
"About six months ago," she says laughing.
"I missed it?" he asks, frowning.
"We were a little busy at the time," she says. "In fact, I think we were under a mountain by that point."
"Shit," he says. "You're right. I forgot. Katie, I'm sorry."
"It's fine," she says still chuckling. "Important thing is that I made it past it."
He stills. "Yeah. It is. You made it to twenty-one."
"How about that, huh?" she says grinning at him. "Thank you."
"Do not thank me," he says shaking his head. "You did it on your own."
"You helped," she says thinking of all the times he pulled her ass out of the fire and she returned the favor.
"Yeah, well." He looks away and she's suddenly filled with a kind of hyper-awareness that usually only comes over her when she's hunting. She looks at Seth and sees him. Really sees him. Sees the gray in his temples, the scars on his hands, the lines next to his eyes that the last few years have etched onto his face. A face that has become so familiar to her and she realizes that she is standing two feet away from the one person who knows her as she is now and God, she wants.
It's not an unfamiliar feeling but it's one she's kept strict control of over the years and it makes her dizzy to think that she could just. let. go.
There's also a smudge of chocolate on his right index finger that she can't stop staring at.
"Do you still…" She doesn't know how to say it.
He looks at her and oh, God, his eyes. They're staring right through her and her skin starts to tingle.
"Do I still what, Kate?" he asks softly, setting his beer down on the counter.
"Do you still want me?" she asks hesitantly.
"Like I could stop," he says matter-of-factly. "Question is - do you want me? Seen all the worst bits of me by now, princess. Sure you want to keep going?"
She crosses those two feet and takes his hand. She lifts it up to her mouth and kisses a spot between his knuckles. He sucks in a breath and she lifts her eyes to his.
Then she licks the chocolate off his index finger.
Next thing she knows, she pressed hard up against the fridge, Seth's mouth moving over hers.
"Don't know how long I'm gonna last, honey," he says in between sucking kisses to her neck while his hands skim up her sides. "Three fucking years, Kate."
"It's okay," she says breathlessly. "Not like I've got a basis for comparison."
He stops sucking on her neck and lifts his head. "What?"
"What?" she asks. "I've never done this before, remember? It could be terrible and I wouldn't know."
His eyes narrow and his mouth fiercely covers hers once more, then he pulls back slightly. "This is going to be fucking fantastic. I am going to make you forget your name and you are going to get religion several times over."
Then he hoists her up in a fireman's carry towards his bedroom down the hall. She shrieks and smacks his butt. "Seth! Don't hurt your back!"
"I might be a dirty old man, Katie," he says giving her butt its own smack. "But I'm not that old."
"Notice you don't excuse the dirtiness," she says giggling before he drops her on the bed.
"Naw, that's gonna come in handy right about now," he says grinning.
He looks down at her and just runs his eyes over her, his grin fading. She feels her face flush and his eyes linger on the pale strip of her stomach that's showing where her shirt has ridden up. Slowly, carefully kneels on the bed and leans over her. His fingers trace along the edge of her t-shirt and her breathing speeds up. He looks up at her under hooded eyes and leans over her completely, his mouth gently meeting hers.
This kiss is nothing like the one in the kitchen, this is slow and yes, deliciously dirty. His tongue strokes alongside hers steadily and languidly and before she knows it, she's writhing underneath him, her hands clutching at his hair and trying to get closer to him.
But he holds himself just above her body and she actually whines into his mouth.
"You want something, Katie?" he asks lifting his mouth to hover just above hers.
"You," she gasps. "And you know it!"
He smirks and places his hand on her hip and lowers his own hips to hers, resting in the cradle of her pelvis. The denim of his jeans is rough against the soft skin of her inner thighs and she immediately raises her knees to hold him in place. He grinds down heavily and slowly and Kate gasps. A bolt of pure arousal pierces her body and she moans into his mouth.
"Fuck, princess," he says into her mouth. "I'm trying to make this good for you."
"It's incredible," she says slipping her hands under his shirt and pulling it up and off of him. Her hands immediately roam over his chest, over scars and muscle and she rises up to kiss his collarbone. "I want you, Seth. Now."
"Jesus," he hisses when she bites down gently on his pectoral. His hand slides into the hair at the back of her head and he sharply pulls her head back to cover her mouth with his.
Any pretense at finesse is ditched by both of them and they scramble to get Kate's shirt and shorts off along with Seth's jeans. Soon enough, Kate's naked and sitting in Seth's lap, grinding down on his hand, while he suckles and licks at her breast.
"Sugar and almonds," he murmurs against her breast. "Fuckin' knew it."
He slips his hand to between her legs and slides a finger along her slit. Kate stills and he looks up from where he's licking at her nipple.
"Still good?" he asks hoarsely.
"Yeah," she manages. "Don't stop."
He slips a finger inside and crooks it just so and her head falls back and her hips start to rock to the rhythm he's setting.
"Fuckin' gorgeous," he says, sounding practically reverent. "Hand to God, Kate, you're fuckin' gorgeous."
She can't seem to get her voice to work, so she lifts her head and find his mouth and kisses him hard.
With a quick move, Seth lays her on the bed on her back and cradles her face in his hands while he runs the length of his cock along her folds.
"You ready?" he asks.
"Yes, now," she says nodding.
He takes a second to grab his jeans from the floor to get a condom and Kate arches an eyebrow. "How long have you had that?"
"Since you turned twenty," he says with a grin.
"You're terrible," she says as she grins back and then he's on top of her again, kissing her like she's the sweetest thing he's tasted in his life. She feels the backs of his knuckles brush against her as he lines himself up and then…
She arches her back and gasps sharply as he bites out a "Fuck!"
It's not pain that she feels, precisely, more the feeling of being stretched and she furrows her brow as she adjusts her hips.
"Fuck, Kate," he says on a groan. "Still good?"
"Yeah," she says pulling his head to hers and kissing him. "I'm good, let's go."
"Hold on," he says and then he starts to move.
Every stroke feels like heaven and Kate's running her hands along the sides of his face, his shoulders and down his back to his ass. She digs her nails into the small of his back and he thrusts harder and she actually shouts, "Yes! There!"
"Fuck," he says again through gritted teeth as she figures out how to rolls her hips in time to his thrusts.
Something urgent is building inside of her and kisses him desperately and she can't control her body anymore, it's been taken over by this need for release and he reaches down and cants her hips just so and…
Reality leaves her - all she knows is this feeling that spreads inwards out and she thinks she shouts something but all she knows is the sensation of explosions and shudders that take over her body.
She comes back to the world in time to see Seth shout and he pumps hard into her, his hips shuddering against hers.
His head falls to her shoulder and with shaky hands she runs her fingers through his hair.
She presses a kiss to his neck along his thrumming jugular. He rolls off of her and just looks at her.
"You good?" he asks hoarsely.
"Yeah, I'm good," she says smiling.
He leans over and kisses her over and over again.
Later that afternoon, they lay in bed, eating cookies that Seth has lined up on her stomach.
"I love you, you know," he says eventually, looking down at her stomach. "I was gonna say it earlier when I…but you wouldn't have believed me. Never believe anything a man says when he's got his dick inside you."
"Thanks for the tip," Kate says amused, running her hand through his hair.
He pulls her close, rolling him underneath him again, dislodging the remaining two cookies. "Not that you're going to have anyone else's dick inside of you. This is it, Kate. You're it. I mean it, for the rest of my life. There's no one else. Hasn't been for years now."
Kate runs her foot along the back of his leg and hooks it, then smoothly flips them over so that she's on top.
"You're mine, too," she says before kissing him.
The cookies are ground to crumbs beneath them but that just means they have to take a shower.
True to his word, Kate gets religion twice while he goes down on her - once on the bathroom sink and once in the shower itself.
By the time night falls, they're back in the kitchen. Kate's in her tanktop and her favorite pair of Seth's boxers and sitting on the kitchen table watching Seth make them grilled cheese sandwiches. She feels wonderfully sore in all sorts of new places and every time she catches sight of the lovebite she sucked onto his collarbone, she bounces a little.
He glances over at her and smirks. "Have I created a monster?"
She nods. "Yep. I'm hot for your bod, Gecko."
He laughs and hands her a sandwich, joining her on the table. She's hungrier than she thought and devours the sandwich quickly.
"So, what are we going to do now?" she asks.
"I kinda want you on top next time," Seth says shrugging.
She swats his arm. "I meant us. Life. What are we going to do now that there are no more monsters to kill?"
"Beats the hell outta me," he says with a sigh. "Could get married."
She looks at him. "What?"
"We could get married," he says before finishing off his sandwich.
"That's not a career plan, Seth," she says kissing his shoulder. "But, if it's a proposal, then yeah, okay."
"Yeah?" he says starting to grin.
"Why the hell not?" she says grinning back.
He gets to his feet and kisses her, his lips slipping against hers, greasy from butter and she giggles into his mouth.
"We still need to figure out our lives," she says on a gasp as his mouth slides down her throat.
"Yeah, yeah," he says pulling her to the edge of the table and rocking against her. "Whatever you want, Katie."
It's just as she slips her hands underneath the waistband of his boxers and is palming his ass while he kisses her neck that their brothers come home.
"Oh, for Christ's sake, Seth," Richie says as he comes into the kitchen. "We eat on that table, you know."
"Oh, god!" Scott yells as he comes in and then turns away, covering his eyes with his hands. "My eyes! My eyes! It burns!"
Kate sighs and takes her hands out of Seth's boxers.
"We need our own place," Seth says shaking his head before dropping it on her shoulder.
"Or you could keep your fucking to the bedroom like respectable people," Richie offers looking amused.
"My ears!" Scott yells from the hallway. "What is wrong with you? I can't take it anymore."
"You two are morons," Kate says. "I made cookies, by the way."
"Ooh! Are those your bake sale cookies?" Scott asks coming into the kitchen. "Sweet."
They each grab a handful.
"Nice cookies, Katie-cakes," Richie says arching an eyebrow. "Nice hickey, Seth."
"Bite me, little brother," Seth says.
"Never again," Richie says making a face. "You taste like shit, remember?"
"You know this reminds me of the time I caught you flirting with that guy with the leather jacket at church that time," Scott says around mouthful of cookie and grinning. "You were like, two seconds away from jumping his bones."
"Shut up, Scott," Kate says.
"Leather jacket, huh?" Seth says looking at Kate. She rolls her eyes. "You have a thing for the bad boys?"
"I think I've proven that several times over today," she says leaning close and sliding her hand up his arm.
"Charming," Richie says as Scott fakes throwing up.
"What do you say we leave these two losers to their cookies and you do that thing you do with your tongue?" Seth asks her, his hands sliding to her butt.
"Seriously?" Richie asks while Scott bangs his head against the wall and wails, "This is gross!"
"Get used to it," Kate says grabbing Seth's hand and pulling him from the room.
"Later, bros!" Seth says cheerfully.
Inside Seth's room, they fall onto the bed and Kate straddles him.
"Were you serious?" she asks as he pulls her tanktop off.
"About what?" he asks distractedly cupping her breasts. She pinches his side. "Ow! Hey! Yeah, I was serious. Marry me, Kate. Let's find new monsters to kill and provide endless amusement for our two dumb brothers. What do you say?"
She looks down at him and tilts her head to the side. He grins up at her and she has to laugh.
"Not like I had any other plans," she says before leaning down and kissing him.