She Rises by Paradisical815


Featured Song: "All I Ever Wanted" by the Airborne Toxic Event

Chapter Twenty Nine: Six Seconds

Bits of information registered to her slowly as she drifted in and out of sleep, but what she registered first and most strongly was a knot of emotion twisted in her stomach. She ignored it, and focused on other things- she was on the couch, not the mattress, her head resting on her folded arms on the arm of the couch and her legs tucked haphazardly underneath her. There was a crick in her neck and her back and arms were very sore and she wasn't sure why any of it was happening, for a few minutes, until she opened her eyes and saw Bane's mask sitting on the table.

The memories came back and, with them, a mix of emotions that she was too exhausted to try and sort through. She had abandoned her friends and saved Bane's life and gave him her blood and he'd really looked like he'd been about to kiss her-

She gave a quiet groan and screwed her eyes shut. The knot of tension in her stomach was horribly familiar and terrifyingly new and she didn't want to deal with it.

Unfortunately, though, life didn't press pause just because she didn't want to deal with something, and so she lifted her head off her arms and looked over at the sleeping mercenary on the other end of the couch. He was sound asleep, his head tilted back and his mouth slightly open, one hand at his side with his palm facing upwards and the other resting on his thigh and he was still shirtless and the tension tightened in Katty's stomach. It was not a pleasant feeling.

Something had shifted between them last night- a whole fucking lot, actually, had shifted between them last night. The memory of the look on his face when he'd slid a hand to her neck and the sound of his voice scraping across her memory- "Come here"- raised a very different kind of tension that only made the first one worse.

"I do not want to deal with this," she muttered. It was a sick sort of déjà vu that filled her stomach and it wasn't completely Bane's fault; the old scars were so pale now but there were still there, nestled quietly under the blood and Bane's hands on her skin and she felt them tempering her, the old lessons giving her at least some standard by which to judge the new and she was emotional but she felt critical about it, too, like the thing Bane wanted wasn't her at all, just a set of windows that she looked through.

She put her face in her hands.

"You have bigger problems," she muttered to herself. "There is a bomb about to go off- fix that first."

She pushed her hair out of her face and sat up straight, inhaling deeply, trying to relieve the tension, and she looked over at Bane and for a few moments her mind went blank and she didn't really think at all, and she just studied him.

Whatever she'd expected him to look like under the mask, this wasn't it. He had a handsomeness that was a mix of old paintings and modern movie stars and it felt like a horrible cliché that she found him stunning, but there it was. She'd always had a thing for older guys and his face was fascinating, the straight nose and the ridiculously full lips, the delicate lines fanning from the corners of his eyes, the square jaw and the salt and pepper stubble. She studied the long line of his throat and the hard angle of his chin against the grey light of morning, and she wondered almost absentmindedly what he would look like with hair.

She was immensely glad that he had to wear the mask. She only had so much self-control and it definitely looked as though his was waning, and she was glad that there had been that barrier between them for so long.

Now there was just the matter of drawing lines, and of keeping them, which had always been much harder for her.

"I don't want to deal with this," she said again, ignoring the fact that she already was, and she felt herself steeling.

He was handsome, sure. He was kinder to her then he needed to be and he definitely wanted her physically. But it had always been hard for her to separate reality from manipulation and her brain felt so fuzzy and she had no idea if any of it was genuine or if it was just a game to him and it didn't really matter, anyway, even if it was genuine, because this wasn't just a married man but a murderer.

You've killed plenty of people, said a quiet voice in her head and she ignored it. And you've only got three weeks to live, anyway.

She ran a hand through her messy hair.

You know right from wrong, said another voice, this one much gentler, sounding very much like her mother.

And that voice, at least, was right. If she was going to die in three weeks, she sure as hell wasn't going to spend that time victim to anymore manipulations. Maybe she could change Bane's mind, and maybe she couldn't. But him being handsome and wanting her and her wanting him didn't mean she had to fall into the arms of someone who was about to blow everyone she loved to kingdom come.

She exhaled deeply and rose to her feet, wanting very much to wash off her face and pretend like last night had never happened. She had almost reached the bathroom when she heard Bane shifting behind her on the couch and she turned back to look at him. His gray eyes were open and darted quickly around the room before settling on her, and his face relaxed.

"Kathryn," he said, his voice low and rough and a shiver went down her spine. "Is it morning?"

"Sure looks that way," she said, nodding at the light-filled windows. His brow furrowed- he still seemed slightly disoriented.

"Are you alright?" he asked her next, and his voice without the mask was so strange. It was still deep and strangely accented, each word sharp and lilting at the same time, but the mechanical overlay was gone and it was going to take some getting used to. She felt a tug in her chest, the desire to open up and spill, to tell him that she was absolutely not alright, that she was haunted by so many ghosts and so many different touches, that she wanted him so badly she felt like it was filling her up and that there was a very quiet voice wishing that they'd met in another life-

But that road led nowhere good, so she just nodded. "My back's sore."

His eyebrows lifted. "You carried me half a mile across Gotham. I'd be surprised if you weren't."

She gave a shrug, feeling very awkward, and turned back to the bathroom. The water was cool and refreshing on her face and she clenched the edge of the sink, her fingers tightening pointlessly as she tried to anchor herself.

There were too many pathways to walk down and she couldn't see how any of them led to Gotham staying on the map. Panic threatened to overwhelm her and she wondered, not for the first time, if she'd made a horrible mistake in saving's Bane's life, and she ignored the cold feeling creeping up her neck at the thought of him being dead.

You have three weeks, she told herself. Three weeks to stop the bomb. What happens to his soul after that is out of your hands.

There were nineteen days left. She hoped very much that John Blake had a plan, because her last and very desperate idea relied on Bane growing a conscience in nineteen days, and she didn't have much hope that it would actually lead to him releasing the city.

"You're okay," she told her reflection, pointlessly. "You're okay."

She dried off her face and forced herself to take in a few deep breaths, then touched her cross through the fabric of her shirt and bra, and she felt a tiny seed of calm blossom in her stomach.

She gave her reflection a once over, critically examining the dark shadows under her eyes and her lopsided, sleep-mussed hair, and then she gave a loose half shrug at herself, torn between amusement and exasperation at herself that she had presumably three weeks to live, and was worried about how she looked. She missed make-up, and clothes that fit, missed looking in a mirror and liking what looked back. She was thinner now, and pretty in a much more angular sort of way, but the shadows under her eyes were dark and deep and her normally bright lips were pale. She used to look colorful, and now she looked washed out and gray.

Enough, she told herself, firmly, and pushed her hair off her shoulders, held her head high, and strode back out into the apartment.

Bane was standing at the table, one arm extended at an angle in front of him and his right hand pressing a needle with the clear blue liquid into the crook of his extended arm. She watched as the syringe emptied and then he tossed it almost carelessly onto the table before straightening up and looking over at her; she felt a jolt when their eyes met. Seeing his face in the cold gray light of day was different from seeing it illumined in the much softer firelight; he looked like a goddamned painting, with his long straight nose and his full lips and the spider web wrinkles on his face.

Neither of them seemed to know what to say. Katty wished fiercely that she was with her friends but knew with a similar fierceness that being anywhere but here would be a mistake.

"Did the medicine wear off?" she asked, finally. Bane's expression didn't change; he was looking at her as though trying to determine if she was actually there or not.

"No," he said, his voice low and almost subdued, and he hadn't blinked yet. "But it's been close to eight hours."

Her brow furrowed. "What time is it?"

"At least nine."

She wondered how long Holly and Brooklynne had waited for her last night, and her hands clenched into fists.

"Right," she said, simply. Bane was still looking at her, examining her, and it was hard to meet his gaze for more than a few seconds at a time. "Your mask is still busted?"

His lips twitched. "Unless it's developed the intelligence necessary to repair itself then, yes."

"Are you gonna… fix it?"

There was a pause. They both knew what she was really asking; are you going to put it back on?

Please put it back on.

He nodded, and she did too. "Cool."

They stood in awkward silence and Katty tried very hard to think of something to say but came up with absolutely nothing and she twisted her hands together, looking anywhere but at his face, wishing very much that they were back at the old apartment where she had a room of her own to disappear to.

"Kathryn," said Bane, and her stomach jolted and she forced herself to meet his eyes. His gray gaze was serious and surprised and heavy and she felt trapped by it, and feeling trapped made her panic. "How much blood did you give me last night?"

She felt relief that he'd asked a question she could answer. "I don't know. A lot. An hour's worth."

She remembered, suddenly and vividly, giving blood for the first time at high school in the massive, washed out gymnasium- she remembered the sharp prick and the blood immediately beginning to flow and the blood-drawer's exclamation of surprise at how quickly the blood came- and then, as quickly as it came, the flash ended.

His eyebrows lifted.

"You were bleeding a lot," she said by way of explanation. "And there was no way I was letting you die after hauling your ass halfway across Gotham."

He actually grinned and she stared at him because his gray eyes were crinkling up and because his lips were pulled back to show surprisingly white teeth, because it was a real smile and she had no idea how to respond.

"Something I'm still impressed you managed to do," he said, still grinning and she felt thoroughly disarmed. "Some of my men couldn't have done it."

"Well," she said. "I guess I'm just better than them."

His smile had softened and there was legitimate, honest-to-God affection in his face. "Indeed you are."

Aaaand fuck.

The affection remained but his face became more serious and he took a step in her direction.

"Kathryn," he said, and she took a step back because he was shirtless and beautiful and he wanted her and, God help her, she wanted him.

"You need to go to the hospital," she said, her voice shaking slightly. "And make sure that's everything's alright. With your-" she made a gesture to her side, "- and with the blood. Sometimes people's bodies reject o-negative blood, it's weird."

His eyes were dark, and he nodded. She had no idea if it was true or not; she knew she'd done fine patching him up, that his ribs would heal normally, and that if he hadn't gone into cardiac arrest already, he was fine. But he was looking at her like that and she couldn't stand it, she couldn't stand not being able to meet his eyes and she missed Holly and Brooklynne and Caroline so fiercely that it was physical.

She inhaled, deeply, through her nose, her hands clenching into fists.

He moved away from her, slowly, back to his cot and then he knelt down and was sliding his arms into another black shirt and she watched the muscles under his skin shifting and her fists clenched tighter as he straightened back up to look at her.

"There will be a guard," he said, his eyebrows lifting slightly. "Are you going to try to escape again?"

She met his eye then and she held it and for a few seconds both of them were trapped there.

"No," she said, her voice quiet. His eyebrows lifted slightly more and she realized that he was completely unrecognizable without the massive jacket and the mask- she knew him, of course, she had long since memorized the slope of his shoulders and the shape of his neck and the scarring across his knuckles, counted the wrinkles around his eyes, but the people on the street… Gotham wouldn't recognize him.

"You aren't just going to the hospital, are you?"

He faced her, his bare face honest and his gray eyes dark. "No. There will be much to see, after last night."

"You aren't afraid someone will notice you?"

"Two people have seen my face in the last twenty years," he said, evenly. "And one of them is in this room. No, I am not afraid."

She loosened and re-clenched her right hand. "Well. Alright then."

They stood, and she awkwardly avoided his gaze, biting the inside of her cheek, feeling very much like a thirteen year old girl talking to her crush and very much like an animal backed into a corner by a creature that hadn't yet decided whether it wanted to eat her or not.

He gave her a slow nod, grabbed a gun, and the door clicked shut behind him.

Katty sat down, slowly, on the hard wooden floor, and stared at the mask that was sitting on the table.

"Fuck," she said, somewhat dazedly. "Fuck, fuck, fuckfuckfuck."

000

She thought about the army.

It hadn't been an army, at first- it was people who burned or people who wanted to, people who wanted away to melt the ice encasing Gotham and they'd recognized a similar flame in Katty and were drawn to it. It started with feeding them, with giving people blankets and medicine and weapons and it became two hundred people gathering in parking garages and organizing raids. It would have gone somewhere had she not been taken, she had no doubt of that, but she pulled herself away from the what ifs because she knew they'd consume her.

She thought of her friends. Brooklynne and Harvey Dent, living underneath Gotham- her stomach wrenched at the thought of the stories she might never get to hear, at the thought that she might never see Holly or Brooklynne or Caroline again. She thought of her family, too, of John Blake and Barbara Gordon-

She didn't let herself think of Bane. She tried not to, anyway, but at some point it became inevitable and she gave it, curled up on the couch and staring at the door.

Lust was a weird thing. Lust didn't know when it wasn't wanted; all lust knew was that it wanted, that it wanted in irrational and consuming ways that left Katty feeling like she'd lost her mind. It'd been a long time since she'd wanted anybody as purely and as badly as she wanted him and honestly, it was probably the first time ever she'd wanted anybody like this but she'd been refusing it to herself for so long that a shred of denial came with it even now.

She'd wanted to kiss him. She hated herself for it, but she wanted to and she had to remind herself over and over that whatever else they were, they were a man and a woman and wanting each other was natural.

She exhaled slowly, clenching her hair.

"This is leading nowhere productive," she told herself firmly, staring at the ground. "Stop daydreaming."

Seeing his face sure as hell didn't help- who even had a face like that? He made her want to spout poetry, want to explore every single line and curve of his face with her fingers and her lips-

"Kathryn Ivey Sherman," she said, very loudly. "Stop it right now."

There was a knock on the door. She sat up very straight, very quickly- Bane sure as hell wouldn't knock and although he'd already been gone for several hours, he'd stayed out for much longer before.

Her eyes flashed to the gun that was resting next to Bane's mask on the table.

There was another knock, firm but delicate, and she rose to her feet, crossing to the table and putting her hand on her gun. The door opened and she grabbed it, flicking off the safety without even thinking about it-

And Talia al Ghul stepped through the door. It clicked shut behind her quietly, and the two women stared at each other.

"Well," said Talia softly, cocking her head slightly as her lips curved up into a smile that did not reach her eyes. "Look who's still around."

Katty said nothing, and she didn't put down the gun. Talia's eyes were fond, the same kind of fond that crossed a snake's face right before it caught a mouse.

"How are you, Kathryn?"

"You really want to play with me?" said Katty quietly and flatly, and Talia raised her eyebrows.

"I wouldn't dream of it, my dear. I wanted to talk to Bane."

"He's not here."

Her smile widened. "Then why don't I talk to you?"

"Oh, please," said Katty, her voice dripping with quiet sarcasm as she gestured dramatically with the gun. "Won't you? I have some questions I'd just love to ask."

Talia's eyes hardened, almost imperceptibly, and she gestured to the chairs. "Why don't we sit?"

They both sat, Talia gracefully and Katty carelessly, setting the gun on the table with a loud clunk, and she left her hand on it.

"What do you want to talk about?" she asked the older woman, unable to keep the anger out of her voice. As quickly as it had appeared, the hardness in Talia's eyes was gone and Katty's hand clenched into a fist on her knee, and Talia's eyes fell on Bane's mask, resting on the table. Her eyes slid slowly to Katty, who just raised her eyebrows.

"What have you done to him?" she asked, softly.

"Saved his life," said Katty, her voice quiet but hard. Talia drew in a slow breath, her hand clenching slightly on the table and as her curls fell around her face, Katty realized something- Talia was not a fighter. Bane's knuckles were scarred and rough and Talia's hands were very smooth; this was a woman who fought with words and with power, not with physical strength.

She filed that away, just as Talia opened her mouth.

"How are you?" asked Talia, smiling, cocking her head slightly.

"Really?" Katty asked, her voice quiet and flat. Talia lifted her brows.

"Just dandy," said Katty, no change of inflection in her tone. "You?"

"Quite well, thank you."

"No, don't thank me." Her voice was shaking. "If I had my way you'd be doing really fucking badly."

"Well. How you've changed from the naïve young girl I first met." She was still smiling.

"When I met you I had no idea what you were," said Katty bluntly, leaning forward in her chair as her hand tightened on the gun. "I guess I should've, though- it's pretty damn obvious that Bane's the one being manipulated here."

Talia's eyes flashed and Katty felt a dark, burning triumph. "You think he's being manipulated?"

"I know it when I see it," she said, with a confidence she did not entirely feel. Talia's eyes were now very hard.

"How long have you known that we are working together?"

"About three weeks."

"And yet you did not tell your co-conspirators. Why?"

She thought, for a second, not taking her eyes off of Talia's. "Because there… was a chance that it might end badly, but that Bane might not know I was involved. If you were brought into it, though, if he knew someone had told them… there's only so many people who could, and it wouldn't take him long to figure out."

"Brains and beauty," said Talia, softly, a subtle venom coloring her accent. "No wonder he likes you."

Katty didn't respond but her stomach tightened.

"What would you have done, had the rebellion succeeded?"

"Gotten a hair cut," said Katty without really thinking about it. "Ordered take out. Have a sleepover with my girlfriends."

"Shame, that you won't be able to."

She stood up abruptly, grabbing the gun again, and Talia rose to her feet too.

"If you don't want something," said Katty, fighting very hard to keep her voice under control, "then you need to get out. Now."

"Where is Bane?"

"How the fuck should I know? He's my keeper, not the other way around-"

"-if only we both believed that to be completely true."

"Jesus Christ- why the fuck are you here, Talia? Is this about you and me or you and Bane or what, because all I want is for your goddamn bomb to go away- whatever this couples' spat is that you two are having, I don't want any part in it, you hear me? I want my home back."

"If only you could get what you want-" she took a step closer, her eyes frigid, "- no, little Kathryn Sherman, Gotham will burn."

There were no three words she hated more than she hated those.

Katty swung the gun up and Talia twisted away before grabbing Katty by the still healing wrist but Katty had trained with Bane and expected that- she used Talia's own grip to pull the older woman close to her and then she aimed a punch at her stomach with her weaker left hand- Talia looked at her, surprised, and Katty wrenched out of her grasp and took a few stumbling steps backwards and then the two women glowered at each other, both panting and slightly hunched over.

She didn't hate Bane and maybe she was only realizing that now because here was someone who she really did hate- maybe she had hated him once but that had been tinged by pity but Talia- Katty hated her. She wanted to hear her scream, wanted to feel her blood on her hands because that was a stain she would wear as a badge of honor- Talia al Ghul stood in front of her, cold and tall and smirking and all Katty saw was something that wanted to destroy everything she loved.

"How dare you," she said, her voice quiet but still shaking. Talia raised an eyebrow.

"How dare I what, darling?"

"You come to Gotham," spat Katty, trying in vain to keep her voice under control. "And you murder, and you lie, and you turn this place into a war zone- and you think you can pass judgment on us?"

"The judgment was passed long before my time." Talia's voice was soft, and she gave a shrug. "I'm merely carrying out the sentence."

"Executioners. That's all you are."

Talia's eyes flashed.

"I know about the League of Shadows," said Katty, and Talia's eyes tightened and she heard the danger in her own voice, felt the power behind her eyes and it was intoxicating. "And I know this goes back years… how old are you, Talia? Twenty-seven? This wasn't even your plan to begin with, was it?"

"Clever girl," said Talia, her voice quiet and heavy with warning but Katty couldn't stop- she took a step closed, feeling herself burning with the weight of all the knowledge, all the lines and connections that were clicking into place.

"Bane said that this was ten years in the making- and, it's funny, but you know what happened ten years ago? The Batman showed up, and then there was that- that thing with the toxin and they blamed it on Crane, officially, but everyone knew it was too big for one guy like him, and that was you guys, wasn't it?"

Talia's eyes were frigid and the words were spilling out of Katty.

"So, what? You come back ten years later to finish the job, only this time you have a nuke and it's personal, isn't it? Who'd you lose?"

Talia swung and Katty and hit her square in the face- Katty's head snapped around and she felt blood forming on her lip as she looked back at Talia, and she grinned, feeling more than a little deranged.

"Well," she said, much more softly, tasting blood in her mouth. "That answers that question. You know what, Talia? Whoever they were, they had it fucking coming. Just like you do."

"Little Kathryn Sherman," said Talia, her accented voice taunted. "Who do you think could give it to me? You?"

Katty just raised her eyebrows.

"You've been with Bane for over three months now," said Talia, her eyes like ice, "and you haven't managed to hurt him. What makes you think you could hurt me?"

"I saved his life," said Katty, quietly. "And, what was it you said? 'No wonder he likes you'?"

She let the words sink in between them.

"Something tells me I've already hurt you, Talia."

"You are a foolish girl," said Talia, "who has no notion of the things in which you are meddling."

Katty said nothing and her hand tightened on the gun.

"But it doesn't really matter, does it?" said Talia, taunting, her head tilted as she took a step closer. "We both know your meddling harms far more than it helps. Tell me, do you see their faces every time you close your eyes?"

She still said nothing, and her mind went to the cross that was pressed against her chest.

"I see you," Talia all but hissed, stepping closer, her lips pressed into a thin line. "And I see all of your failures, trailing behind you like blood. You have killed more people in Gotham than I have."

Shut it down, said a voice in her head.

She knew better than to strike first- even before Bane drilled it into her, she'd seen it in movies and books- but that didn't matter. For the first time in years, red clouded her vision, and it didn't matter whose blood it was.

She struck first and she hit Talia square in the sternum, forcing her backwards with a gasp and then she hit her in the stomach and Talia doubled over and Katty, without thinking about it, brought her knee up to meet the older woman's face. Talia stumbled farther back, and when she looked up there was blood on her face and fire in her eyes.

"I see you," Katty said. And Talia charged.

She'd never been in a real, honest to God fight before, and Talia clearly had, for all that Katty was right- Talia could fight but she wasn't a fighter. She had the tactical advantage of ten times Katty's training and at least four inches on her, but Katty burned and Bane had taught her better than he'd probably realized and she more than held her own- she dodged more hits then fell on her and she landed more hits than Talia could dodge because the anger sharpened her mind and everything felt slowed down.

She wanted to kill her. She wanted to kill her. She knew she shouldn't, that it was morally wrong and that she should forgive and that she was still human but none of that mattered. Talia al Ghul deserved to die and Katty wanted to be the one to kill her.

It came very, very close.

Talia lunged for Katty's throat and Katty, in a split second, decided to let her- Talia's hand closed around the column of Katty's neck and then Katty slapped a hand on Talia's wrist and twisted, hard- she released Katty's throat and then twisted as Katty yanked her arm up behind her back, hard, and then she slammed her so that Talia's head banged against the table and then there was a gun in her left hand and her finger was already on the trigger.

Both women breathed heavily and Talia eyed Katty from the table, her mouth open, her eyes icy.

"He trained you?" she said. Katty didn't respond. "He trained me too."

Her finger tightened on the trigger. She wanted to see this woman's blood pooling on the table, wanted to pour the hatred in her veins into something real- like a bullet.

Talia smiled. "Are you going to kill me? It won't stop the bomb."

Katty leaned in so that her face was very close to Talia's and hissed, slowly, "I don't care."

And, for just a second, there was a flicker of fear in Talia's eyes, and Katty regained control.

She held her breath and stepped back, releasing Talia's arm and taking her finger off the trigger of the gun in the same movement and Talia straightened up slowly, locking her eyes on Katty the entire time.

"It's a shame we met in this life," she said softly. "What a team we might have made in another."

"Leave."

Talia stepped forward. "You have po-"

"I said," said Katty, very quietly, "get. Out."

Talia closed her mouth and, for a few seconds, the two women just looked at each other, before Talia turned on her heel and strode out the door.

Katty stood very still for a long time, her hand tight on the gun, her body aching- she knew that some bruises were forming and, sure enough, when she finally looked at her knuckles, they were red and bruised and swollen. Her wrist was aching too, sharp, jabbing pains that became stronger as the adrenaline wore off and Katty made herself absorb it, hoping it would numb the strength of the emotions coursing through her.

The people she'd killed before had all been out of necessity; she'd never wanted to kill and she'd certainly never ached for it, but she had wanted to murder Talia just then. And, more than that- she'd wanted her to suffer.

She sat the gun on the table and sank into the hard chair, her fingers pressed to her temples.

"What the fuck," she whispered to herself.

The door opened again and she knew without looking that it was Bane, that Talia hadn't returned for her, and she couldn't bring herself to look at him.

The door clicked shut.

"Kathryn?"

She took a deep breath and looked up at him and there was the jolt at the sight of his bare face and she watched him as his eyes roved over her, taking in the messier than normal hair, the bloody knuckles, the split lip and swelling cheekbones.

"Hi," she said.

"How?" he asked, simply, moving closer to her and sitting gracefully in the other chair; he didn't blink, his eyes never left her face, and she felt like she was caught in crosshairs.

"Talia came by," she said, and she was glad that her voice sounded light, if somewhat toneless. "Turns out, we have some fundamental disagreements."

For a moment he was silent. "Who struck first?"

"Who do you think?"

He lifted one eyebrow. "I taught you better."

"Yeah, well, I was a little irritated and not exactly thinking clearly."

He lifted one hand, slowly, and very gently brushed a thumb over the swelling on her cheekbone.

Do not, she told herself firmly, not exactly sure of what she wasn't supposed to do but knowing that whatever it was could lead to nothing good.

"Understandable," he said.

Move away, she told herself. She didn't move, of course. She didn't think she could.

She'd read somewhere or been told by someone that when people make eye contact, without blinking, for more than six seconds straight, it means they either want to kiss each other or kill each other.

She counted out the six seconds, the six wordless seconds, and at the end of it she still had no idea where they stood.

To Be Continued


A/N: HOW IT DO, FRIENDS? LONG TIME NO SEE!

As I'm sure you registered, London was busy and incredible and the best three months of my life, so the story took a back burner. I think I worked on it about four times when I was overseas and my life has been insane since getting back too.

I'm hoping to post a chapter about once every three weeks until the story is done- which will be pretty soon. There are probably around seven, maybe eight chapters left (they'll span a longer time length once the occupation is finished) so the end is in sight!

Thanks for sticking with me throughout the long wait! I can't WAIT to hear what you think!

(also if anyone wants to follow my instagram/ real life blog, shoot me a PM and I send it to you!)