Chapter six

"Why the hell didn't you ever tell me you had a sister?" Bruce growls, slamming the door with enough force to shake the room.

"As they say, leave the best to last..." I murmur, shrugging my shoulders. The light in the room is dim, flickering occasionally. It's just a store room.

"You should have told me," he growls softly.

"Just calm down, okay?" I sigh. "There's no point in getting worked up over spilled milk."

He scoffs. "This is more than just spilled milk, okay? Yo - you're dying, you have a sister and now there's this bad guy involved? You told me you'd tell me the rest in private. So tell me."

"They're out there waiting for us," I grumble and try to move around him.

Before I can reach the door, he grabs me and pushes me against it. It doesn't hurt but he's more rough than I was expecting. His eyes are beginning to burn brightly.

"Just tell me what the hell happened. All of it."

I nod jerkily and raise a hand to his face. The slight brush of stubble tickles at my palm. "Okay, I'll tell you - but you have to calm down, okay?"

He swallows slowly and with obvious effort. His chest heaves slightly as he nods, his eyes calming - just enough. "Start talking."

I take a deep breath. "Okay, so obviously you remember about my parents, right?"

He nods.

"Okay, so basically, one day I met this guy. He wasn't any older than you and I - but he promised me things. He showed me how powerful of a telepath he was - he told me that he could find my dad and that he could make him love us again," I pause and close my eyes, the sudden memory almost bringing my to tears. "But he made it so I had to do a deal with him."

I take a deep shuddering breath and I have to stop speaking for a moment because the words are like shards of glass sticking not only to the insides of my throat but in my chest as well. I swallow and continue.

"He said that if I followed his instructions directly, that my father would come back and make my mother happy again. It was all I cared about. I mean, I cared about you too but..."

"But not as much."

"It's not as simple as that! He promised me it wouldn't affect you!"

"You know what was the funny part? They actually brought in a telepath to pretty much rip the answers out of me because I wouldn't admit that I did it," he pauses and swallows. "I never would have thought you'd use your power on me."

I can feel the tears swelling now, sitting at the back of my eyes, threatening to pour. "I didn't think anything would happen to you. He told me the authorities would never find out! Obviously I know he lied now - I've known for a long time that he lied. But that doesn't mean things went any different. I believed him at the time."

"So you fed me to the wolves."

"No! I am sorry! He told me he needed the jewel. That it would boost his powers... and it did, you know. It didn't make him amazing or anything, but it made him just that much more powerful."

He pauses, chest heaving as he struggles to control himself. "So let me get this right. You used your damn powers of persuasion to force me to steal a diamond worth millions of dollars, for this bad guy 'Viktor' who fed you crap, caused me countless weeks of questioning and constant stares - not to mention the years that followed of constant questioning... just because you wanted your mom and dad to get back together?"

I shove him backwards. He stumbles back a step.

"You don't understand!" I bark furiously. "Sure I told you sometimes about how bad things were at home - but never the true extent. My mother was a god damn alcoholic - do you even know what that implies? She used to hit me, if I did anything wrong. She once slammed a bottle over my head because she finished it! But you wouldn't remember this because you were on holiday. You came back so damn happy that I didn't want to tell you and ruin your fun! So I kept it in. And I never told you when things got really bad. My mother needed my father. She's not like me - I don't need a man to keep me happy - she did! And without him... our family was nothing."

On the final word, my anger breaks and I let out a small, soft sob. The light decides to flicker out entirely now and we're suddenly plunged into darkness. For a moment, the only sound is my heavy breathing and soft gasps.

His hands suddenly cup my face, surprising me and causing me to let out a soft gasp of surprise.

"Don't cry," he murmurs.

I bite my lip hard. "Why?"

"Because I always hated it when you cried."

His forehead presses against mine as I lie my hands over his arms, holding him close. A warmth emits from him that makes me feel safe and content for the first time in so many years. I close my eyes, my breathing slowly shallowing out.

"I'm sorry," I whisper.

He pauses and for a moment, I don't think he's going to reply.

"I won't say it's okay and that I forgive you, because I'd be lying... but I understand what you did and why you did it," he murmurs, his warm breath fanning my lips.

I pull back, away from his warmth and his hands drop. "Thank you."

"Should we go back out?"

I take a deep breath. "Yes."