As promised, new chapter. It's good to be back.

Warnings/Disclaimers: All the usual.

The stairs were rickety and loud. A junkie was curled up in a corner of the hallway, and when he spotted Silas, he shriekedat the top of his lungs, jumped up, and shoved past Silas down the stairs, slamming the albino's shoulder into an ancient, empty picture frame that shattered.

So much for the element of surprise.

Abandoning the silence, Silas stomped up the last two stairs and stormed past the first door. His boot connected with the doorknob of the second one, and the entire frame shaking as the door went flying off its hinges.

Metal-working tools littered the floor in a haphazard circle around Saige. When she spotted him, her hands flew down from where they were around her neck, and for a moment Silas panicked until he realized the red tint on her fingers was rust, not blood.

"Saige." Silas took a step forward—and almost dislocated his shoulder as a screwdriver buried itself into the thick leather of his coat sleeve and pinned his wrist to the wall. The girl was already up on the shoddy box that counted as a dresser, catapulting out the window. Swearing, Silas jerked his arms out of the coat and followed her.

He hit the ground hard, bending his knees to absorb the shock of the fall; the building was taller than he'd thought. He barely caught a glimpse of black—she dyed it black now? He hadn't even noticed!—hair turning the corner out of the alley and onto the street. Ignoring the protest in his knees, Silas started after her.

London's streets melded into a blur as Silas ran, keeping an eye on the flash of black that seemed to be hundreds of meters ahead of him. She led him through a street fair, trolley tracks, the subway, two parks and a wharf, and Silas had to stop three times to catch his breath. His just-healed bullet wounds ached, and his head spun as his lungs sucked in far too much oxygen.

"Stop running!" he shouted, bruised lungs protesting, before forcing himself back into motion as passerby turned to look at him. "Saige, stop, please!"

The black shape ahead of him skidded to a stop, and Saige calmly walked into an alley. She was briefly illuminated by a streetlight as she walked under it, and Silas finally noticed that it was getting dark. His pulse pounding in his ears, he slowed to a walk and cut into the alley, his coat swirling behind him in a way that made him think of noir heroes.

Saige was leaning against one of the alley walls, eyes on the smoke curling from one of the chimneys. She looked awful—gaunt and pale under her self-tanner. Her hair, hastily tied back, was escaping its bonds after their mad chase. Her clothes looked like she'd been sleeping in them for years. Suddenly, rage flooded Silas's veins, thick and poisonous—she could've been safe, she could've been healthy, she could've had help, but she abandoned us all and left and—before he could stop himself, his fingers were around her wrists in a bruising grip and he was flattening her against the wall. "Finally. I've got you."

She smirked.

And then she kissed him.

It was rough and harsh and awkward and desperate, because Silas hadn't really kissed before, and one moment Saige was smirking at him from where he had her pinned and the next she was everywhere—her hands around his neck, her chest pressed against his, the smell of cheap beer and cigarette smoke that surrounded her; picked up from the bars she had been hiding in. At first their lips were closed and then suddenly they were open and her tongue was winding around his and Silas could barely keep up because this was new and she was new and the whole thing was just so—

And then it was over and Saige had pulled back, her breath coming in harsh gasps. Her hands had slipped from his shoulders and were pressed against his chest, fisting the soft material of his shirt. Silas's head was spinning. He was gripping her hips hard enough to bruise, and he felt a strange sort of satisfaction knowing that he could finally put his mark on the woman that had been no more solid than a ghost these past few months.

Then, cold steel pressed against his stomach.

Silas's eyes flicked down to take in the knife, and then back to Saige. Her head was bowed, her face hidden—she was crying. "Please don't make me do this."

"Then don't." His answer was startlingly calm.

"Silas, you know I have to. Please. He's going to get Noah. I can't let him have Noah."

"So let me help you," Silas tried, "We can get him back."

Saige shook her head. "I can't let you. I'm going to kill him—you can't go back to killing people."

"I'd kill for you."

Her head shot, the light from the nearby lamppost catching the tear streaks on her face. She shook her head frantically. "Don't say that. Please, please don't say that."

Silas's hands slid up to her shoulders and gripped tightly. "I would kill for you. I would kill anyone for you, and I would never feel guilty for it or look back."

"Shut up!" Her cry echoed in the narrow alley. "Don't say that! You don't mean it!"

"Why can't you, for once in your life, let someone else save the day?" Silas shouted, his eyes flashing with rage. "Why don't you ever let anyone protect you?"

"Because," she screamed back, "The last person that promised to protect me ended up with a bullet in his face!" She sucked in a deep breath, her body trembling and her fists clenched at her sides. "I don't need anyone, and I never want to make anyone go through that. I'm perfectly fine on my own."

"I want to help you!"

And suddenly, she changed tactics. Saige scowled. "I don't need your help. Why the hell would I want help from you? I've been saving you since day one!"

"You said I saved your life," he reminded her.

She scoffed. "As if I couldn't handle my father! Why the hell are you following me like a lost dog, anyway? Run back to Aringarosa!"

Hurtful things—mean, cruel, vile and underhanded things—spewed out of her mouth, and every time she spoke anew Silas had to remind himself that it was all an act. For every harsh word she spoke, Silas could see that she didn't mean a syllable of it. He waited for her to finish. "You said you loved me."

"Fuck you!" she cried, her voice echoing through the alley, "I lied! Get it through your thick skull, Silas, I don't want you here! The only reason I even looked twice at you is because you look like him! You look like Sylas, and that's all I've ever thought of you! I'm a horrible, horrible person—a selfish, cruel, murdering bitch, okay? I don't love you, but I was willing to say it to get what I wanted out of you. I only ever saved you because you looked like a dead guy I once had the hots for and I figured I could use a new fuck-buddy! That's it!"

"If you really thought that, then you would run me through," Silas told her calmly, "You wouldn't be standing here yelling."

Saige looked down at the knife in her hand, and for one horrible, terrifying moment Silas wondered if she was really as grounded in the concept of 'them' as he was, but before either one of them could move, a voice shouted from the front of the alley, "Oy! Is everything alright back there, mate?"

Startled, Silas turned. Two men stood at the mouth of the alley, silhouetted by the lamp-light. Silas cursed his luck. "Yeah. Everything is fine."

One of them frowned, stepping into the alley, his friend following. "Things don't look fine." He looked closely at Saige. "She's crying. Did this bloke make you cry?"


Neither one of the men looked convinced, and Silas realized that's what she wanted. "I promise you two, nothing is wrong," he tried to assure them.

The other man shook his head, advancing slowly. "That ain't what it looks like." His eyes wandered down to where Silas was still gripping Saige's hips. "Looks like you're squeezing the lady a bit hard." There was steel in his voice now. "You might want to let go."

Slowly, Silas pulled his hands back and showed them to the men, who quickly stepped between him and Saige, pressing the monk into the wall. One of them turned to face him but spoke to Saige. "Honey, why don't you go find a phone while Hank and I have a chat with your friend."

"You two are real gentlemen. I had hoped it wouldn't come to this."

Hank looked back at her, exchanging a glance with his pal. "What're you talking about?"

Saige looked at Silas as she spoke to them. "I appreciate what you're trying to do, but you don't understand. Please step back, because I don't want to hurt you."

Hank put a hand on her shoulder, confused. "Hurt us? Don and I are just trying to help!"

Saige put a hand on Hank's forearm, and Silas flinched. Don shot him a warning look. The girl continued, her eyes never leaving Silas, "And I think that's wonderful. I hope this doesn't put you off helping people in distress. There are few people like you in this world. It makes me sorry for this."

Hank's mouth opened, but before he could say anything, Saige swung her fist down on his elbow, bending it and pitching him forward into her raised knee. Don stepped away from Silas as Hank's nose started gushing blood, but Saige was already kicking his knees out from under him. She was out of the alley before either man dropped to the ground.

Jaysus. It only took 30-odd chapters for them to make the fuck out. Hopefully there shall be more next week. Pray to the homework gods for me and Vi!

Also, reviews would be lovely.