Disclaimer: I don't own anything that belongs to Ally Carter… or Venice :P

Claimer: I own anything and everything else.

I Need You

"Flight leaves in an hour—gotcha. Bye, Dad."

Kat grinned as she hung up the phone. Currently, she'd taken up residence at Hale's New York house. Only a few weeks had passed since the Cleopatra heist, and she'd decided to stay there so as to avoid Eddie's resentment for some time. Of course he'd still be mad at her for taking on the Cleopatra heist, never mind the fact that it'd turned out successful.

The rest of the crew was out of town as well. Gabrielle had left to meet her new stepdad (who, as she'd said, was bound to last about ten days if she had any say in it). Angus and Hamish were off in Cleveland doing… something. Uncle Eddie was keeping an eye on them—though neither the boys nor Kat were supposed to know that. As for Simon, he was going around the country to several meetings and other mathematical whatnot that Kat couldn't even dream of understanding. She was more of a rough strategy person. She left the details out most of the time.

After all, Kat always said, strategy may be related to numbers, but it is not the numbers themselves.

Speaking of Kat, she ripped the Post-it with the address her dad had dictated over the phone, pulled her just-in-case bag out of the unnaturally large closet, and rushed down the stairs and into the living room.

Hale was, as she expected, still seated in the same spot as she left him. He still had that book in his hands and, Kat noticed, he was still on the same page.

Hale looked up, hearing Kat's footsteps approaching. His small smile quickly melted into a frown as he saw the bag in Kat's hands. "What did he want?"

"How direct," Kat said, plopping down on the seat in front of Hale, the one she'd been occupying only a few minutes ago.

"Kat…" Hale said, still glaring at the bag. "What'd he say?"

Kat leaned back into her seat. "Some interesting things."

Hale raised an eyebrow at her, arms crossed.

"Fine," she mumbled, defeated. "It's just a painting, nothing too important. He said, and I quote: 'contrary to popular belief, sentimental value counts in our world, too.'"

Hale kept silent, just as Kat expected him to. She continued, "He gave me an exact address, it's in Venice. The owners are on vacation, and they live out in the country. I could go in broad daylight and no one would notice."

Kat could practically see the sigh Hale was holding in. "It's a very simple job, Hale. Dad described it as a half-man job, far too easy for me." It was then when she began to grin. "Unfortunately, it's all the way in Hungary. I can't stand day-long flights without company, so I told Dad we'd take care of it. Besides, I wanted to go sightseeing."

Hale smiled at her. "Thanks, Kat."

She returned the smile. "I'm starting to understand the concept of 'learning from my mistakes.' I'm trying to get rid of a bad habit."

Hale grinned mischievously. "Or you simply enjoy my company far too much for your own good."

Kat couldn't help but blush ever so slightly at his words. However, her wit went by unaffected. "I could say the same."

Hale just kept on grinning. "But I, unlike you, am not afraid to admit so." He stood up and walked over to where she was sitting, standing only a few inches from her. "Don't you agree?"

Kat stood as well, reducing the distance between them to a bare inch or two. She didn't remember Hale being so tall. When had he gotten so tall? "If I agree, it would be implied that I enjoy your company 'far too much for my own good' as you put it. If I disagree, I would be denying the obvious fact that you cannot stand a single second without me. I'll just have to refrain from answering."

Kat felt Hale's hand inching towards hers, very slowly as he spoke: "Well we certainly have an issue there, don't we?"

Kat just nodded, suddenly feeling numb from the feel of Hale's fingers grasping hers.

It wasn't as if she'd denied her feelings for Hale to herself lately, she had gotten over that, realizing it only made her mess up more than she accustomed to. Sure, the realization had felt strange at first, ensuing in a rather peculiar behavior, but it slowly came to feel normal, natural even. At some point, Kat convinced herself she'd always felt that way, but always had something else to keep her mind busy, leaving her unable to ponder on this long enough to come into her not-so-newfound feelings.

She hadn't admitted any of this aloud to anyone, however, and so one really can't blame her when she felt her heart beat slightly faster as Hale whispered into her ear: "But I do believe that you can still agree, seeing as, no matter how much or how little you may need me, you still do."

She could see the double meaning in Hale's words. He wanted reassurance of some sort, something to let him know that, whether small or large, he owned a place in Kat's heart.

Kat felt a weight on her conscience once again. Leaving Hale had never been the easiest task, but she'd managed to do it countless times before—just like everyone else. And to make her feel even worse, Hale always forgave her, without her even asking for forgiveness.

She couldn't understand how someone like Hale could care for someone like her, and, contrary to Gabrielle's beliefs, she didn't expect him to return her jumbled mess of romantic emotions. But no one said she couldn't hope.

She leaned close to Hale, their foreheads touching. "I've never been the best when it comes to expressing emotion, Hale. You know me well enough to know that." She thought out her next few words carefully and then spoke: "But that doesn't mean I don't need you, because I do. More than you think, actually. I just… don't… show it." She choked on her last few words: "I just need you in a way you wouldn't expect me to."

Hale took her other hand in his, and asked with a small smile on his face: "And what kind of 'special and unusual' need do I represent?"

Kat had been asked a lot of questions before, some you would never expect a girl of her age to have been asked. She had always known an answer to them, however, whether vague or specific, correct or incorrect.

But to this question, she truly didn't know an answer. At least, not one she could deem close enough to what she meant. Words, Kat had long since known, could not aid mankind in expressing absolutely everything. That's what music and art and the like were made for.

However, Kat was no artist, and she was certainly no musician (not a good one, anyway), so she opted for this other means of communication Gabrielle had been pestering about as of late—she kissed Hale.

Kat wasn't particularly sure of what she expected, but after her last try of doing something of the sort (which, in case you were wondering, turned out quite awkward) she certainly didn't expect to feel Hale kiss her back, or to feel his arms wrap around her waist, pulling her closer.

Another thing she didn't expect was to suddenly lose all sense of willpower (or all sense overall, actually) and to feel her hands work their way up to wrap around his neck.

Neither of them made any attempt to deepen the kiss, they didn't try anything, really. They just stood there, enjoying a sensation both had longed for during quite a long time.

A moment later, Kat's senses came back. She pulled back awkwardly, not knowing what to say.

"I... I-I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that," was the first thing that came out of her.

Hale studied her carefully, noticing how she refused to look at him in the eye and how her hands refused to meet his. "Why not?" he asked a moment later.

Kat was a bit surprised by his answer."It's not... I mean... you don't..." she trailed off, internally cursing herself for stuttering like that. She never stuttered. She rolled her eyes and sighed. "I suck at this emotion thing." She gathered her courage (what little of it was coming back to her, anyway) and tried to look at Hale in the eye. "I'm sorry—I know you don't… err… I know you don't feel that way. Sorry."

Hale stared at Kat for a total of eleven seconds before raising an eyebrow at her. And then he snorted and let out a laugh.

A whirlwind of emotions went through Kat in that moment. Why was he laughing? Was that his way of rejecting her? After all she went through, after that ridiculous internal battle she went through to gather her courage and tell him how she felt (albeit a bit indirectly)… he laughed?

Hale noticed the look on her face, which Kat imagined must've been monumentally stupid, and shook his head. "Kat, you're stupid."

Kat started to get mad. What was going on with him? First he rejects her and now he's calling her stupid? "I'm… stupid. What?"

Hale started to smile and he clutched one of Kat's hands tightly. "Let me get this straight for a minute. You mean to say that you're under the impression that I don't, as you put it, feel that way?"

Kat wondered if he wasn't confusing himself with her in being the stupid one. "Um… duh." It came out more as a question.

Hale nodded a few times to himself, thinking. "Then yes, Kat, you are stupid." He took her other hand in his. "My God, Kat, you mean all this time you didn't know? I thought Gabrielle always…" something seemed to click in his head. "Kat, I love you. Really. I thought you knew me well enough to know that."

Kat stared at him. Then she stared at him, and then she stared some more. Then, finally, that unusually slow brain of hers started to catch up with the conversation. Her lips followed suit, stretching into a smile so wide that her cheeks started to ache a little. And then: "Oh."

Hale chuckled. He brought up his hands to eye-level, still clutching Kat's, and then he pressed his forehead against hers. "As interesting and—dare I say it—enlightening this conversation has been, I would like to return to the matter at hand." He paused for a moment, a smirk beginning to grace his features. "So, I hear you need me in ways you can't explain?"

Kat laughed. "Indeed. I think we left that clear."

"Hmm." Hale leaned closer. "Really?"

"Yes, Hale," Kat said with another laugh. "Really."

"I don't recall," he said. "Help me out here."

Kat laughed one more time. "You're enjoying this way too much," she said. She closed her eyes and let Hale kiss her. She was acting uncharacteristically and she loved every moment of it. She wished she'd listened to Gabrielle. She wished she hadn't listened to herself.

In fact, Kat took up a resolution in that particular moment. She shouldn't listen to herself—not all the time, anyway. Taking that into account, she pulled away from Hale and said: "I love you."

And then her brain came back and she suddenly wanted to go hide in a closet.

But why? She asked herself the same thing about three times before she realized she had no answer. Why was she so afraid of emotions? Well, no, not emotions… just… afraid of love. How come?

Hale pulled her out of her reverie. "Hey," he said, tilting her chin with two fingers so she would meet his gaze. "Stop thinking for a minute. No, wait. Think, Kat. Did you mean that?"

Kat tried to avoid his gaze to the point of closing her eyes, but Hale just pulled her eyelids open with the tips of his index fingers. She finally relented. "I meant it."

"Good," Hale said. "I love you too, and that's that. Don't think too much into it."

Kat pondered that. Don't listen to yourself so much. "Yeah." She looked down at her just-in-case pack, still lying on the floor, waiting for her. She looked back up at Hale and smiled. "Okay."

Three hours later, the pack would still be lying on the floor, still waiting for Kat. Unlike her flight.


Aww… a bit OOC, I know. But still cute.

This is my first try at the Heist Society fandom, tell me how I did :P I'm thinking about a multi-chapter story sometime in the future, so keep an eye out!. In the meantime, though, c'mon people! Get writing! Tell your friends! Do it for the sake of the Heist Society fandom! :P

Thanks for reading, hope you liked it, and check out my other stories if you have the time (I have PJO, MR, HP, and GG) :P

See you sometime... whenever I post any other Heist Society fics!


Edited: 1.3.2013