A/N This one is for crschuetz who asked for a bit of a love scene. And for ThreeMagpies, just because.

"We may die tomorrow. We'll probably die today." -Rachel Matheson

The school is behind them and Charlie will be perfectly happy if she never sees that place again. The smell of burning bodies still lingers in her nostrils. The sounds of their screams echo in her head.

As does the memory of Monroe leaving her in that stairwell. Bastard.

He'd come back, so bonus points for him, but still. He'd left her. Left HER. After all they've gone through, she really thought he'd changed. Maybe not a lot. But a little?

"Are you still pouting about the exit door?" Monroe's sounds more than a little irritated as he follows her along the narrow trail. They are heading toward the rendezvous where they'll be meeting all the others.

"Pouting? Really?" She shakes her head and keeps moving forward.

"Cut me some slack, Charlie. I came back."

"Yeah, you came back because you promised my mom to keep me safe or because you thought Miles would hate you if you didn't or -"

"No. I came back because I didn't want you to be dead."

She slows, turning to face him. "If my not dying is so important, why leave in the first place?"

"I could see that you had a room to duck into. I didn't. It's not like I ran down the stairs and out the front door. I was waiting just on the other side until they passed by. When I came back out one of them had you by the throat."


Bass rolls his eyes and brushes past. "Come on, let's get a move on."

"What's the hurry?" She asks, sounding tired. "We might die tomorrow. We'll probably die today." She grimaces a little bit, hearing her mother's words on her lips.

"Really? You're choosing today to go all morose? Why now?"

"Just something my mom said."

Monroe stops and turns to face Charlie. "First of all, your mom is a wackjob and you'd be well advised to not take anything she says to heart. Second, why are you suddenly so worried about mortality? Has it not escaped your notice that we live in the fucking dark ages?"

"Yeah, yeah. I know. It's a dangerous life."

"Damn, straight. So, why is your Mom worried anyway? This some of her crazy ranting bullshit?"

Charlie looks surprised.

"What? You didn't think I knew? Your mom is certifiable. Has been since she first came to Philly. Whatever. Why are you all Debbie Downer all of a sudden?"

"I feel like -"

"Like what?"

"Like time is running out." Charlie is feeling a surge of emotions. She hates being reminded of her mom's sanity (or lack thereof). She hates being reminded of Philly and her mom's reasons for being there. Most of all, she hates looking at Monroe and not seeing a monster.

She hates that sometimes when she looks at him, she sees more.

"What?" He tilts his head to one side, curious. "Time is running out for what?"

Frustration builds and bubbles to the surface and she needs to do something, anything. She can't shoot him because she just can't. And she can't hit him because he's like a brick wall and she'd just hurt her hand. She can't yell at him because she knows he won't listen. She wants to talk but the words get stuck in her throat.

So she does the one thing she can do that will maybe show him how she feels.

She takes a step forward and leans up on her toes, pressing her lips to his in a gentle kiss.

To say that this kiss takes Bass Monroe by surprise would be like saying there is a little water in the ocean. He's not complaining. He just wasn't expecting it.

Not from her.

Not while he's awake at least. Asleep Monroe does expect kisses from Charlie on a regular basis. In fact, Asleep Monroe expects and receives a lot more than kisses. Awake Monroe? Not so much.

He's not an idiot though. Like his grandpa used to say, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." Bass thinks a better saying would be, "If Charlie Matheson kisses you, kiss her back!"

So, that's what he does.

Her lips are soft and her breath is hot. She kisses him tentatively and although he's tempted to ratchet this shit to another level, he lets her do her thing. Slow. Steady. Sexy as hell.

She parts her lips, and he follows suit, deepening the kiss without taking charge. She smells like smoke and blood and that should be a turn off, but somehow isn't. She tastes like the whiskey they'd shared after leaving the school and the memory of her lips on his flask brings him back to the present. He had liked sharing his flask with her, but he likes this a hell of a lot more.

Her tongue slips between his teeth, tasting him, teasing him. Every move is subtle and sensual. She's in no hurry and he can work with that, as long as she doesn't stop kissing him.

Because more than anything else, Bass wants her to never stop kissing him. Hell, he's been half in love with her ever since the swimming pool. This kiss is like winning the jackpot lottery.

Charlie starts to move away but his hands grasp at her shoulders and he pulls her back to his chest. He's maybe showing his hand - just how needy he is for this, for her - just how long he's waited.

He doesn't care.

Bass kisses Charlie, angling his lips over hers, delving into her mouth with his searching tongue. Their breathing is heavy, their hands searching. Bass Monroe is forty-five years old and he doesn't remember being this affected by a mere kiss.

He wants more kissing. He wants more touching. He wants to hold her and whisper in her ear. He wants her naked and pliant beneath him. He wants it hard and rough and he wants is soft and sweet.

He wants it all, but the truth is he's not totally sure that fucking her might not just kill him dead. With that thought in mind, he puts his mind back into the kiss. This is enough for now.

His hands are shaking slightly as they slide down her spine and when she keens softly against his lips, he's a goner. She fits so perfectly in his arms and he pulls her closer still. Their bodies are pressed tightly together. Nothing separates them now other than flimsy layers of fabric.

Bass decides he doesn't even care if fucking her kills him. He's going to have to do it.

Charlie seems to read his mind and knows that if this is going to stop, she'll have to be the one to stop it. She disengages from the kiss and pulls back slowly, looking up at him with liquid blue eyes and swollen lips and he falls the rest of the way in love with her in that moment. He wants to ask her a million questions, but he says nothing, waiting. Wanting.

"We may die tomorrow. We'll probably die today." Her voice is a whisper.

"Well, if we do, at least we will know what that felt like."

She nods. "And if we don't die today or tomorrow?"

"Then I think we might have to explore this some more. Maybe in a place that has a bed."

Charlie grins at that, nodding slightly. "Maybe. We live in a difficult world though. No promise of tomorrow."

"Then we don't wait till tomorrow."

Charlie turns and walks away but Bass is smiling. She didn't say no.

It's a start.