Title: The Dance They Do
Pairing: Kate/Ed Mars
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. They belong to someone else.
Summary: She runs. He chases. It's the dance they do. Five times Ed Mars could have arrested Kate, and one time he finally did.
She's at the grave.
He's not surprised.
Sleet seeps in icy rivers down his back while he watches her and waits for his chance.
(He pretends he'll take it when it comes.)
Kate's mama gave her up, yet here she is, bowed over the stone with sunshine-yellow hair that doesn't suit her at all getting soaked in the rain.
Impatience wears away at caution, bringing him closer step by step. His approach straightens her back, but even as he watches, she doesn't twist around.
She already knows it's him.
His letters brought her home before, home to an antiseptic hospital room and all the hell that followed. Maybe it was a trap or maybe it was true, but in the end Kate ran away and all that was left was a little toy plane and a marshal's hands colored red with that poor doctor's blood.
The letters didn't stop.
He tells himself it's for the job, a chance to wash away his past mistakes. He tells himself that the tears on that freckled face are just the rain and that guilt always comes too easily when you're standing over graves.
But when he looks at his hands, he still sees the blood and knows those are tears running down her face.
By the time she stands and raises her arms in mute surrender, all that's left of Edward Mars are tracks in the snow.
Somehow, she knows.
It's time to run.
She runs. He chases. It's the dance they do.
The calls come night after night. Part of him wants them to stop. Part of him likes to hear her beg.
He drives to New Mexico.
He crouches in a car parked two blocks down in the late afternoon, sipping coffee that was cold by mid morning. It's stifling hot, but he keeps the windows up as sweat soaks his back and his thumb brushes over his badge. Everything she wants is locked inside that box.
It doesn't take her long.
She enters alone, but he waits to take her; watches while her plan plays out. She's dressed up with makeup on and she could be any other woman asking for a loan. She's good at this. He checks his gun and fingers his cuffs. They've both gotten good at pretending.
She's inside only minutes before some poor guy she must have conned makes his way in as well; his eyes darting all over the street. Everything about the guy screams liability, and Edward can't help but smirk. He's not surprised to find him bleeding out on the tile hours later.
He never makes a move to stop them.
She exits alone, quick but not too fast. She's careful and calm and she scans the cars on the street before she walks away. She pauses for one impossible moment, and he feels the jolt of her eyes on his face before she turns away. She starts her car with the little toy plane clenched in her palm.
He tucks away his badge.
He lets her go.
She runs. He chases. It's the dance they do.
The diner she chose is open all night, its yellow light casting a sickly glow in the parking lot and an even more pallid wash over everything inside. She waits in the shadows before he arrives, making sure he's honored his word and come alone. She can't explain it, this need to see him face to face.
It is what it is, they are who they are, and she waits in the shadows.
He arrives on time, and she knows he's alone. No other cars, no other men, and she watches from a distance as he leaves his gun under the seat. He shuts the car door in the quiet lot and spins around in a mockery of a dance with his hands raised and a smile on his face. He knows she's watching.
Thirty minutes later, she follows him inside, removing dark glasses as she enters. The place is almost empty and he waits for her alone, two cups of oily coffee already on the sticky table. The slow lament of a country singer mingles with the smoke in the air. She takes her seat across from him without a word and wills her hands not to shake.
"You left quite a mess back at that bank," he greets, taking a long drink from his mug and waiting for her to speak. She chooses not to answer, eyeing instead two night shift cops passing the time in a far corner. "Lot of blood left to be cleaned up. I'm curious, Kate. How much of it was your idea?" He leans forward with half a grin.
Still, she's silent while recounting the number of footsteps to the door.
He sighs and leans away, stretching one arm casually against the back of the booth. "Course, you got what you wanted. Left those other boys high and dry. That's how you do things though, isn't it, Kate? No such thing as honor among thieves."
"I'm not a thief," she whispers into her coffee.
"Oh that's right," he smiles knowingly. "You're a murderer."
"Son of a bitch," she hisses, but before she can stand, his hand pins her wrist to the table.
"Easy, Kate. Wouldn't want to make a scene." His eyes travel purposefully to the two cops in the far corner. "All I do is hold up my badge and point to you and everything ends. You didn't really think I'd come here all alone, now did you? Diner like this always has some half-assed lazy uniforms sittin' in its booths. I did my homework too, Kate."
She relaxes in her seat and grips the coffee tighter while his hand pulls away.
"Now, I agreed to come here. Followed all your little instructions. Left my gun in the car, got no one to back me up. Are you gonna tell me whatever it is you want to say?"
"I-" She's cut off by a waitress who appears with too-red lipstick and an oversized smile. Kate waits while Edward calls her a darling in a syrupy voice and orders a plate of the house special.
"And you?" The waitress cocks her head across the table.
"Nothing for -"
"She'll have the same thing I am," Edward orders for her with a smile. "Thanks, honey," he adds with a wink. With a curt nod, the woman leaves and Kate remains silent.
Alone again, he looks at her and laughs. "Know why I keep chasing you, Kate?"
She glares at him without a word.
"'Cause you just keep on running." He stretches his legs under the table and his knee bumps against her thigh. It stays there just a second too long. "I'd lay my life on the fact that you know how many steps it is to the door." He grins silently at the sudden flicker of her eyes. "If you'd stay in one place a while, I might just get tired of watching you."
"Then leave me alone. I'll stop running if you leave me alone."
There's an urgency in her voice that catches him off guard. He looks at her for a moment before slowly whispering, "No, you won't. You like it too much. The chase. Being watched." He leans in closer, and his words are deliberate. "We need each other, Kate. And you'll never stop."
When the food arrives, she only stares while he puts on too much pepper and asks for another glass of water. She excuses herself for the restroom and walks down the row of booths while he sops up the gravy with his last piece of bread. He finishes his coffee and she never returns.
He smiles to himself when he finds his tires are slashed.
They need each other. And she'll never stop.
"Well, hey there, Kate."
She hadn't seen him standing there, just in front of the scarred wooden door of her motel room. She'd climbed the bowing stairs to the second floor balcony with her head kept low and eyes downcast, watching the ground pass her by.
He's slumped with one shoulder against her door, watching her with eyes that glitter like an animal's in the light of the moon. She jerks to a stop only feet before him, but there's no surprise in her expression, and she doesn't speak.
"Aren't you gonna ask me in?" With a slow smirk, he pushes off from the wall and stands before her. She doesn't back away. "It's only polite," he adds, motioning with a sweep of his arm toward the door.
Removing the key from her pocket she inches closer to the door, to the room, to him. He doesn't move away. She smells the whiskey on his breath and feels the moist heat crawling down her neck while her fingers fumble with the lock. He steps in after her to the dark room and the door is closed behind them.
He's a quiet drunk; controlled and steady, but his movement comes lightning fast when she reaches for the lamp.
"Leave it off." The sharp command comes while his hand circles her wrist like a vice, then relaxes and travels up her arm. She keeps her eyes on the shadow of the TV screen while he looks over her form.
"I followed you for days, Kate." He spits out her name like it's bitter in his mouth. "Watched you all the time in this town, always looking over your shoulder. But you never saw me." His hand travels over her shoulder, brushes her cheek, and slides slowly down her back.
"Then why didn't you arrest me?" She knows she's tempting him, baiting him, but his hand only trails lower with his fingers slipping inside the back of her jeans.
He pulls her close against him and twists her face around to meet his eyes. "Always the impatient one," he mutters and leans in close.
The kiss is smoke and whiskey and she has to force herself to close her eyes, but somehow doesn't push away. His tongue is in her mouth and suddenly he's over her on the bed with his fingers circled gently around her wrists.
She doesn't fight him. She doesn't run. She kisses back.
He's hard against her and everything is spinning, slipping away and she stops him for a moment, looks steadily into his eyes. "I did see you," she whispers harshly; it's her own bitter confession.
His expression registers confusion, and he lets her roll him to his back while she takes off her shirt. Her eyes never leave his face. "When I was looking over my shoulder," she bends down against his bare chest and weaves her fingers in his hair, "I was watching you."
He wakes in time to pull aside the curtains and watch her drive away.
He finds her long before Ray Sullivan ever walks into the post office and pauses in front of a familiar face. He flies to Australia and follows a Canadian named Annie from town to town and farm to farm until a widower with only one arm takes her in.
He finds her long before she does all this, and still he waits.
Annie works the farm and hides her wages in tin cans and Ray Sullivan always talks about her when he comes to town, like she's some kind of prodigal daughter come home to stay.
Edward buys him a beer one day and agrees that Annie must be one of a kind.
He takes a room in town and waits out the days and drinks away the nights passing word that he's looking for an American named Kate. The lone photograph on a post office wall goes unobserved for weeks while he waits for her to run. He never doubts she will.
No one knows this American named Kate, but Annie he watches every day.
Then Ray Sullivan recognizes a face.
Tin cans and trucks and fires and the blast of a driver's horn.
(He thinks this is how it ends.)
"Just had to run, didn't you Kate?" She shivers in the cold, sterile office while the metal cuffs cut away at her wrists. "Couldn't stay in one place. That old farmer back there trusted you. Wouldn't have turned you in if you hadn't already been itching to go."
She stares straight ahead, not meeting his eyes.
"You were planning to leave, weren't you? Sneak out in the middle of the night?"
He shakes his head. "That's the problem with you, Kate. You just can't keep your promises."
"And you do?"
He laughs. "I'll let you in on a little secret, Kate." He stops pacing the room and pulls a chair beside her, lowering himself too near her face. "I watched you for over a month. Waited you out 'cause I knew you couldn't do it. You'd have to run. I could have had you on a plane back to the good old U.S.A. weeks ago."
She glares at him, fighting against her surprise.
"Oh, you're good, Kate. But not that good. You couldn't blend in and disappear. You like the chase. You like to run."
She sits in silence and he shakes his head at her defiance before standing and throwing two tickets on the table before her. "Oceanic 815. Should have done this weeks ago."
Her eyes fall over the tickets.
"You can't run forever, Kate. This time, it ends."
Eight hours later, they crash to the ground.
There's no one left to follow.