She should have forgotten him, left him to rot in prison and carried on with her life, facing forward, head high. She should have, and she didn't. Lana had never been very good at leaving people.
And the shuffling, muttering noise of the visitation room couldn't break Damon's silence, the stare Lana could feel on her skin without ever seeing it. She crossed her ankles under the bench, laced her fingers tighter. A tremor of courage let her look up at him -- prison garb screamed orange and he was no different at all.
"You look well," Damon said, serene as morning, "Have you been swimming?"
Lana knew this man but she knew the monster too, saw them both every day for years until their faces blurred together. Sometimes, if she searched hard, she could remember not hating him.
"This facility isn't so bad, in case you were wondering," Damon went on. He tugged slow at his hair. "The guards are pleasant, for the most part, and I have been meaning to catch up on my reading anyway. It's really quite relaxing."
"I ... should have realized."
He stared. Lana looked back to her hands, memory rising bitter in her throat.
"Maybe you should have," he finally wondered. There was no dark, knowing note to gouge at her anymore. "If you had been thinking clearly at the time."
What a fool she was -- trusting him, even when she knew exactly why she couldn't trust him.
"She's all I have," Lana muttered and let her brow furrow, let a frown harden her, "You know that. You've always known that."
"No, no, I don't mean that it's a bad thing."
She could imagine wistfulness in that tone. She could imagine tall, guardian presence at her back, a hand's dampened warmth on her shoulder and that was when realization jarred -- Lana was looking at Damon's hands, tracing each wrinkle. No gloves now.
And the old feelings pitched sudden, the faith, the partner's loyalty, everything she thought had died on that stormy night. Lana met Damon's calm stare and couldn't grasp any names, no one he had mentioned fondly. She would have remembered that, wouldn't she? People her partner held dear? People he would suffer and lie for?
"How ... could you use me like that?"
His apartment echoed loud in her thoughts, sparse-furnished and lifeless because he hardly bothered to go there. His every look flickered past -- friendly, considering, wickedly pleased and god, was Lana the only one who cared? Her voice dried, and shrank.
"H-how could you? I thought ..."
"You thought we were partners?"
Everyone needed someone, Lana thought as she met his grave stare -- everyone did, the world depended on it.
"It wasn't specifically you," he said, "It never was. I would have taken any opportunity that presented itself, any person at all."
He hadn't paused. He hadn't needed to calculate, or bend anyone to submission with his gaze -- Damon told her this as simply as a case's cold detail.
But there were no cases here. He wasn't Chief Gant the Legendary. The secrets had long since gone and her feelings knotted, hopeless, and Lana sat across from a friend, from a duty. She pressed her lips. It didn't matter, but she needed to know.
"Are you sorry?"
Damon smiled gentle. He laid a hand over hers.
"I'm afraid not."
Of course he wasn't. She jerked away from that touch, stood, felt cold and shook anyway. If she wasn't surprised, why did it hurt?
She was steps away already -- she stopped, and looked back. Damon watched the empty air where she had sat, thought drawing his face until the lines showed.
"My dear, you had best not come back." Not a threat -- none of those anymore -- just stating a fact. He closed his eyes, cat-slow. "And you may want to forget about me."
She should have. She didn't.