Just a quick thanks to all my reviewers, I really appreciate it. Story might have been a bit actionless, but I promise some action soon. I'll do my best to update as quickly as I can. :)
Now back to the story, enjoy!
Chapter 5, Reunion.
At any other moment Lara would have been worried and do just that what her attacker demanded of her. But the voice of her attacker betrayed who he was and she recognized him immediately. Her nerves and worries faded instantly as she looked up to confirm her suspicions.
Before she even mentioned his name she felt the gun being removed from her head. He too realized there was no need to be cautious anymore.
They just stood there for a moment, staring at each other. Lara felt like throwing herself in his arms and never let go. She didn't know why, but the tomb raider was really happy to see him. Since the day he drove off on her bike she hadn't seen or spoken to him at all. It had been difficult to say goodbye to him like that. There were…feelings she had for him but it wasn't easy. Especially since that day Karel had pretended to be him. That disgusting kiss, and then the horrible assault on her life. It had all been thanks to Kurtis that she survived that, but it had been enough from the Nephilim to make her doubt her feelings.
The train of thoughts that suddenly shot into her head proved that Karel had made her a bit uncertain. What made her so sure this was Kurtis? It could be Karel, and the tomb raider could be walking straight into a similar trap again, only this time there would be no one around to save her. No Lara would not make the same mistake twice, she would need to make sure that the person standing in front of her was actually Kurtis. Her eyes slightly widened in panic as nerves roamed around in her stomach and her gun moved up to Kurtis again.
The American was shocked when he saw the panic in her eyes and the gun aimed at him. The shock was quickly replaced by confusion, why was she aiming her gun at him again? Had he done anything to upset her? Either way, he had already tugged his gun away, Kurtis was defenseless.
"What are you doing?" he asked worried, but gently put his hands up in the air.
"Who are you?" she demanded to know.
Kurtis tried to take a few paces forward, but he stopped in his tracks when Lara increased her grip on the handle with her other hand.
"What are you talking about, it's me, Kurtis. Who else could I possibly be?"
"I fell for that little trick once already, not again." She said, doing her best to stay calm. "Prove to me that you really are Kurtis."
Kurtis shook his head in disbelief. "Come on now Lara, this is ridiculous. If I was Karel I probably would have killed you already." He said, this time deciding not to put another step closer to her.
She seemed nervous to him, something he wasn't used to when it came to the Tomb Raider. Lara was a confident woman, no matter which situation she was in. Or at least she emitted confidence, there was no doubt that she too knew fear, but she would never show it. But now, here, this was different. Lara was nervous and uncertain, it was best not to do something wrong to make her accidently fire the gun.
She looked down, and started thinking. Maybe he had a point. Surely Karel wouldn't try to deceive her like this again. He'd know she wouldn't fall for it twice. Besides, there really was no need for it this time, in her eyes at least. No, this was Karel she was talking about. If there was a way to mess with her head, he would grasp that opportunity with both hands. Lara needed proof from Kurtis, she refused to lower the gun.
"No, it's just not enough, Kurtis. I…I need proof…"
She saw he accepted her caution this time. He looked down, thinking of a way he could convince her it was really him. Who was she fooling, why was she having these doubts, of course it was him, there really was no reason for all this, right?
"A while back we've been to Rome and Turkey together with Kyra to stop her father and Karel."
Why, why did he come with this answer, this wasn't good enough, maybe it wasn't that stupid after all to ask him for insurance. Karel knew this, this didn't prove at all that the man before her was Kurtis. She tightened her grip around the gun, though removing one hand from it.
"No, Karel knows that, I need to know something only we know…please Kurtis…"
She begged him as if already knowing he was the real Kurtis. Yet the gun was still directed at his head. Kurtis knew she needed reassurance, there was no other way for her to relax. Damn that Nephilim, what had he done to a usually so confident woman?
"Alright…" he said, also realizing his first response was way too easy to give. "On the night we said goodbye...I wanted to kiss you, show my feelings for you. But you were not ready for that, so instead I gave you a small kiss, softly…gently…on your cheek."
Shivers ran down Lara's spine, she remembered that moment as if it had happened yesterday. The touch of his lips on her cheek. It had released a certain vibe in her body, but the scars from Karel's attack had still been fresh, she could not give in to that sensation. But now, years after it had happened she still felt that uncertainty, that doubt that made it really hard for Lara to give in to her feelings. The tomb raider refused to dwell into this, to get into another battle with herself. The important thing was that the words Kurtis just spoke was something Karel couldn't know. He 'd been buried and trapped in that chapel, the only ones present at that time had been her and Kurtis.
Lara sighed in relief, never noticing the breath she was holding. The gun lowered to her side while her other hand moved up to her head, trying to clear and calm it from all the worries rushing through it. Her eyes moved down to the hand holding the gun, it was shaking. Lara didn't know why, but she really wanted it to stop. Kurtis was one step ahead of her, he closed the space between them now that he knew he was safe, and moved his hand down to the gun. It was gently removed from her hand and tugged behind his back.
With the gun being out of harm's way, Lara could now safely do what she wanted to do earlier. Without hesitation the tomb raider threw herself in his arms, pulling his body tightly against hers and refusing to ever let him go. A waterfall of emotions exploded inside of her, tears ran down her cheek and Lara didn't do anything to stop them from connecting with the black shirt Kurtis was wearing. Kurtis on his turn held her tightly as well. There was no doubt he could see Lara was hurt, still broken from the nasty experience in Rome. He gave her all the time she would need to get back to her senses.
Lara had no idea how much time passed. But after surrendering herself to her emotions, she now felt a wave of relief running over her body. She'd never been one for showing her emotions, but this felt good, as if a terrible weight had left her shoulders. The tomb raider pulled herself free from the embrace and moved her eyes up to Kurtis. Their eyes met as Lara finally found courage to speak.
"I'm sorry, Kurtis." She said softly.
"It's alright Lara, I understand."
Maybe this was what Lara needed, a shoulder to cry on. She had cropped up her feelings over the last few years, never talked to anyone about the nightmares it sometimes still gave her, not even to Winston. The tomb raider felt ashamed by it. Of all the things she had seen and done in her life, a trick from Karel and then an attempt on her life would give her nightmares and not some Supernatural monster guarding a relic she had been looking for. It was stupid.
But for some reason, Lara felt empty, refreshed. Perhaps it was only a momentum, but at least for now Lara was glad she was no longer controlled by fear and doubt.
"I Just had to know…" she said, taking a step backwards.
"I completely understand Lara, don't worry about it anymore." He answered.
The tomb raider nodded, she wasn't completely to blame for this. How could she possibly know Kurtis would be standing on the other side of the door? He hadn't been present at the manor when the Priest came to warn her about Karel.
"But from all the people, I really didn't expect you to stand on the other side of that door." She said. "How did you know Karel escaped?"
Kurtis immediately looked away, his back was turned to her as if he felt ashamed about something. Wondering why he turned away from her, Lara stepped next to him and searched for his eyes, she saw guilt in them. Why would he feel responsible for Karel's escape?
"What's wrong?" she asked him.
Kurtis sighed deeply and frustratingly ran his hand over his head, that still held inches short hair.
"Since the day I left your manor, on your bike, I made it my mission to keep an eye on the prison. I came by every day to make sure Karel would stay locked inside the ruined chapel."
"Really?" Lara said a bit shocked. "You didn't trust Kyra's word?"
"Oh I trust Kyra." He said "I just don't trust Karel."
"Fair enough." Lara replied, understanding his reasoning but not agreeing with it. However, this was an issue to discuss another time, he had probably felt compelled to do this as the last remaining member of the Lux Veritartis
"But why do I see guilt in your eyes?" She continued, still wondering why he felt guilty.
Kurtis shook his head, his hand moved over his head again. What could possibly make him feel this guilty about Karel's escape? As Kurtis looked up and struggled to keep eye contact, Lara knew she was about to find out.
"Like on any other day since his imprisonment, I went to the chapel. It was a rather busy, had to worm myself through the crowd, almost knocked over an arguing Chinese couple."
Lara narrowed her eyes at the last few words. Arguing Chinese couple, he must be referring to the woman Lara found dead earlier.
I didn't think much of it obviously, who would, but then I reached the chapel and found it empty, with the shield gone."
Lara knew where this was heading. "You found the woman's body, and recognized her from the run in you almost had with her and her husband." Lara predicted.
"I did." He replied nodding. "The woman must be somehow responsible for his escape, intentional or not. Karel killed this woman and assumed her identity to escape without drawing attention to himself."
"And you tried to find him and stop him." Lara asked rhetorically.
"As quickly as I could, but there were a lot of people around that day. It was hard to find him, but I knew I had to, or that man would be Karel's next victim."
Kurtis remained silent and approached the door where the two friends had run into each other not that long ago. He pushed the door open completely and stepped inside while he shook his head. Lara understood he wanted to show her something so she followed him. Her eyes immediately connected with a bed, on top of it was the lifeless body of a man. Lara understood now why Kurtis felt so guilty.
Had he been there a bit earlier that day, he would have been able to prevent Karel from escaping and this man and his wife would still be alive. Two completely innocent people who were spending their holiday together in Turkey, have had their lives taken from them because they happened to be at wrong place at the wrong time. Karel proved once again how dangerous he was and that he needed to be stopped. There still was one mystery though, what was the woman's connection to Karel's escape. What could she possibly have done to break the prison Kyra had created?
But Kurtis would probably be just as clueless about it as she was. After all he arrived at the scene after Karel had escaped and she had been murdered. First things first, Lara had to make it obvious to him that the death of this couple had not been his fault.
"They should be in here, find them!"
The tomb raider was apparently not allowed to talk some sense into Kurtis, voices that came from outside the hotel room interrupted the conversation she was about to start with him. Kurtis noticed the voices too, they were coming from outside. He walked over to the window and used two fingers to push up the blinds. The Lux Veritartis didn't hesitate for a second and immediately pulled away from the window again, holding a panicked look on his face.
"Shit…" he said.
"Trouble?" she asked, but the look on his face already answered that question.
"About a dozen of men, heavily armed." He answered with a nod.
"Bugger, we need to get out of here."
They both looked up to the body, fleeing a murder scene was probably not a good idea. But chances were that these men were not working for the government. They both had a pretty good guess who had sent these men over, Karel was trying to clean his tracks.
"Let's get out through the back, I've got my bike parked there." Kurtis said as they both headed for the exit of the hotel room.
"You mean my bike?" Lara joked.
Kurtis looked at her and smiled. "Yes, your bike, thanks for reminding me."
The two friends started their escape and exited the hotel room with Kurtis up front. The least he or Lara expected was for more goons to stand on the outside of the room. So when Kurtis had barely set a foot outside he was surprised to hear the safety being removed from a gun. He froze in his tracks as the cold metal was pressed firmly to the left side of his head. Kurtis could only hope these men were ordered to take them in alive, or he would only be split second away from his death.