Someone was pounding on the bathroom door, yelling obscenities. Kurtis simply gave a smirk, and turned on the faucet to drown out the noise.
They had been following the Nephilim for the better part of a week now, thanks to the radio they had salvaged from the station back in Prague. Now they were shut up in a bathroom somewhere in central Hungary, at one of those rest stops so tiny you had to ask the proprietor for the bathroom key. Said proprietor was not too happy at the moment, since Lara and Kurtis had hijacked the bathroom in order to wash up after driving throughout the night.
"I think this has broken again."
"Give me that."
Lara was currently sitting upon the bathroom counter, idly fiddling with the buttons on the radio. A huge gash ran across her arm, right up to the elbow, but she was too busy trying to tune into the correct frequency to notice it.
Kurtis took the radio from her, and gestured to the sink.
"You better clean up your arm."
"It's only a scratch."
He raised an eyebrow.
"You fell off the motorbike, Lara."
"And only sustained a scratch…" She shrugged, and pushed herself off the counter. The sound of spray soon filled the air.
"What did you do to this thing?" said Kurtis, after a moment, "It was working just a second ago."
Lara rolled her eyes.
As Kurtis gave up on the radio and began to reload his Boran X, she reached over and retrieved the Periapt Shards from her backpack.
She shook her head.
"I still can't believe I found these."
He smiled: "Well, they must be indestructible."
"But will they still work?"
He shrugged. "They killed the Proto easily enough."
"But the Proto was not a true Nephilim," she said, "We still don't know if they are going to work against the real thing."
Kurtis didn't give an answer to a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, she decided to change the subject:
"What do you think is going to happen now?" she ventured, "I mean, are people going to admit they have a real apocalypse on their hands or not?"
He laughed a little as he latched on his shoulder holster.
"If I've learnt anything, it's that human beings believe what they want to believe." He snapped the chamber of his gun closed. The pounding on the door renewed. "And some people never change."
They were running low on cash; they had been since they had left Slovakia, but she wasn't going to admit it yet. If only she hadn't lost her credit cards back in Paris; she could have had access to as much cash as they had needed, but her situation didn't exactly allow any dealings with the authorities, let alone the time to sit down and fill out the necessary paperwork.
They stopped at a café that morning; they were both starving, but more than anything else she was desperate to see the news, and check if there were any recent sightings of the Nephilim. Their radio had been on the fritz for the past few days.
They passed a junkie on their way through the parking lot; Kurtis took pity on the man, and scattered a handful of loose change at his feet. Inside they found a television, which Lara quickly commandeered and switched onto BBC World, much to the chagrin of the other patrons.
Not surprisingly, the channel was showing constant coverage of the recent events in Prague, and the subsequent attacks which had spread across Europe. One news anchor was trying to discern a pattern, but failing miserably.
Kurtis flagged down a waitress to order some coffee, whilst Lara kept her eyes fixed upon the television. Suddenly, the coverage switched back to the Prague attacks.
"What is it?"
She didn't answer; just gestured towards the screen. Kurtis looked up, and saw footage of the emergency services hauling a body bag out of the rubble on a stretcher. He caught the name 'Lacina' from amidst the chatter.
He was silent for a good few minutes, until the waitress arrived with their coffee, but even then, he still seemed quite detached. Obviously, the guy's death was affecting him, though Lara knew that he would never admit to the fact.
Once again, silence had descended; things were getting tenser between them by the day. Lara continued to watch until the channel switched to a commercial, and then ran a hand across her weary face.
"I just wish we knew where they were leading us," she said.
"I do." He was fiddling with the sugar pot as he said this, and acting so nonchalantly about it that she was sure she must have misheard him.
Kurtis blinked, and looked up at her, repeating it slowly as though she were an unruly child: "I know where the Nephilim are heading."
With a scowl, she snatched the sugar away from him.
"And when exactly were you planning on telling me this?"
He shrugged, and went for his cigarettes instead.
"It slipped my mind. Besides, I wanted to keep track of the Nephilim as badly as you did. The last time we went running off, thinking we had a lead, we ended up in jail, remember? We couldn't risk losing them again."
She was floored.
"But how on Earth do you know where they are going?" she asked, "There's no pattern to their attacks at all."
He leaned forwards, as though he didn't want the other people in the café to hear what he was saying.
"Remember the Strahov prisoner we heard about back at the station?" She nodded. "I spoke to him."
"You mean he survived?"
"Yeah, but he didn't live much longer after I found him. The poor guy was burnt half to death."
He produced a rather crumpled cigarette packet, and frowned as he tipped it upside down, only to find that it was empty.
She rolled her eyes, and pushed the sugar back towards him. He started heaping it into his cup.
"So where are they leading us then?" she asked.
"Lebanon." He sipped at his now sugar-laden coffee. "The Strahov prisoner - he was a site manager in Lebanon. Some kind of archeological dig. That must be where the Nephilim are heading."
She frowned. "A dig? Are you sure? I've never heard of any ongoing excavations in Lebanon."
"Well, from the sounds of it they kept the whole thing pretty quiet," he said, "The dig's been going on for about two years now."
"Two years?" She set down her coffee. "Well, I must have heard of it then."
"Something to do with religious sensitivities, I'm guessing." Off her look, he shrugged, and added: "The dig unearthed that tablet you saw in the Strahov."
"The tablet with the prophecy?"
"The very same."
Once she had finished lambasting him again for not divulging this information sooner – by the act of pouring hot coffee down his trousers - she stopped, and leant her chin upon her hand in thought.
"That does make sense, actually," she said, stirring at her coffee, "I didn't find the time to make a sketch of the tablet, but I do remember that it strongly resembled the art of the Byzantine Empire, which ruled over that area at one time…" Realising that she was beginning to zone out into her own little world, she took a gulp of coffee, and added: "Whereabouts in Lebanon was this dig? Did he say?"
Kurtis shrugged - he was too busy toweling off his trousers to elaborate.
"I haven't a clue. I didn't have the time to ask him twenty questions, Lara."
She pointed her spoon at him.
"Well, you certainly took your time, anyways," she huffed, "I almost left the station without you."
"I was fetching my bike."
"Without bothering to tell me," she growled, "And then you came roaring up on the thing just as the police cars and fire engines were arriving. You're just lucky we didn't get arrested again."
"What can I say?" he said, smirking as he drunk his coffee, "I was never one for subtlety."
She rolled her eyes, and called over the waitress.
"Excuse me? Yes, my friend seems to have had an accident." She gestured towards Kurtis. "I don't suppose you have a spare set of trousers?"
Kurtis was staring bloody murder at her as the waitress shook her head and walked away in bemusement.
Lara raised her coffee cup again, with her own smirk.
Yay! I can't believe I updated so quickly – I rock :D
Lots of talking in this chapter, but then again I missed just writing some simple Lara/Kurtis banter, and there was lots of exposition that I needed to get out of the way. It is now just over three years since I posted the first installment of this two-part story, and I finally feel like I am making some headway.