Beta'd By: My dear friend and Bobbette, Erin *holds tightly*

Disclaimer: The usual. I don't own anything. Not even my sanity. Well, maybe Sabine, but that's not much, considering.

Note: Inspired by the prompt (given through an LJ community): "I'm listening"

Note 2: It's meant to be read as a one-shot so, even if it feels like there's more to it, there will be no fanfic-continuation (I hope), so don't ask for it, please?

-|- ... -|-

She's escorted to his office, no longer trusted to roam on her own, and he barely receives her. He doesn't even throw her glance as he keeps his eyes on the papers on his desk.

"Leave us." Her escort leaves the office, closing the door behind her.

His voice is still as soft as she remembers it, just as strong and it's stupid to believe that she has missed it. Doesn't she hate him? Didn't she purposely betray him? She knows that the answers to those questions are a clear yes, but she also knows that those answers have become a myriad of complications after she fell in love with him. It's maddening to think she had entered this world trying to kill him and only a few weeks ago she had kept Blade from taking him from her.

The moments pass on and he doesn't say a word. He is still punishing her — in his own way — and she has decided that she won't take his treatment without a complaint. She's never been the silent one.

"We need to talk." The anger in her tone is apparent, but controlled.

"Do we?" He's still not looking at her, his voice calm and uninterested.

"Fine then, how about I talk and you listen?" Regardless of what she has put herself through these past few weeks, she hasn't lost herself and she never will. It's a lot like being on the battlefield, landmines may be blowing up all around you, but you still stick to the plan. You survive.

This finally brings his eyes to her as he leans back with casual interest. Could it be that he's missed her too?

"I'm listening."

She walks to him, putting her hands over his desk as she leans forward, keeping her eyes strong. "I'm tired of being a prisoner so you either ash me or find something else to do with me, but you can't keep me locked in forever."

He contemplates her, making her feel self-conscious all of the sudden but she doesn't let it show. It's his fault — under his orders — that her room has been stripped bare as to avoid any of her own suicidal attempts. It also made what she wore every day his choice. With Marcus it was always a nightgown, a white nightgown. She had thought he preferred black.

"What would you have me do with you?"

She hears the hidden meaning in that question though she wonders for a moment if it's just her own delusion.

"Let me go."

It's not what she really wants, but it's the only one he's likely to honor in comparison to the rest.

His eyes harden, his lips twist into a bitter smile, "So you can join Blade?"

She hears the resentment in his voice.

"What is this really about, Marcus? Betraying you to Blade or that you lost me to him?" She shoots back, not ready to let him win. This argument has been building for weeks, ever since he first confronted her and tortured her for information. She hasn't seen him since then.

"You can't lose what you never had," he says coolly, but she sees something in his eyes. It's interesting how well she can read him now.

"Is that what you really think?" She challenges him, moving away from his desk now.

"Isn't it the truth?" His eyes are cautious, but wondering. When it comes to her, he's always wondering. She is his weakness, he knows this and he should've killed her for it, but he can't. He probably never will.

"It's too bad you'll never know." When she turns around to leave, he doesn't stop her and she doesn't wait for him. She wants to stop just as much as he wants to stop her, but neither of them do what they really want as they both dance a dance drawn by the mistrust of love and hate.

He's trying to hate that which he loves and she's trying to love that which she hates.

It's quite a complicated dance that neither of them is willing to end.