A/N: If you've read my other Ridlink fanfiction, you probably recognize the title. A few lyrics to some of my favourite songs slipped in here. Kudos to you if you know them ;).
This is kind of how I imagined them finding Ridley —even though I didn't think it would happen like this. I started this in August, and I feel like it would be a waste not to post this, even if it's a few months later than I would have liked. Anyway, enjoy:
She's on the run.
Ridley convinces people to give her rides and money. It's a little too easy now that she's a Siren again, but that's the way it's supposed to be. She stays with whoever she pick up until they're almost out of gas, then gets them to give her a few twenties for food and disappears. It's a simple, easy lifestyle. She can grab a few more twenties and stay in nice hotels. She could stay in someone else's bed if she wanted to, but she's too tired to waste her time with that anymore.
She's at McDonalds when she sees him. And then she's stuck with the decision of waiting for her milkshakes and fries or running right away.
He's too easy to pick out. No one else at McDonalds is that ripped. Besides, she'd recognize him and his Led Zeppelin t-shirt anywhere. But there's no drumsticks in his back pocket, and he looks like he hasn't smiled in a long time.
Run or wait.
Ridley glances into the kitchen, where she can see her large milkshakes being made. Screw running, she paid for those. She can just avert her gaze and maybe he won't see her. She's wearing sunglasses anyway.
But Ridley really should have found a way to take her pink streaks out, because it turns out he can recognize those anywhere.
Ridley doesn't dare look back until she hears people making irritated noises, like someone's pushing past them and stepping on their feet. And sure enough, he's two feet away and gaining on her. But her milkshakes and fries are just being placed in front of her. Just as she grabs them and turns to run, there's a hand on her shoulder holding her back. She'd struggle, but Ridley knows better than to waste her time. He's as strong as a normal Incubus.
"Shrinky Dink. Let go." She hasn't had a lollipop for ages, but that should be enough.
"Ridley..." Her body shivers involuntarily at the way he says her name, and her memories echo a thousand 'Rid's and 'Babe's and 'That's my girl's back at her.
Ridley whirls on him anyway. She wants to rip off her sunglasses so she can remind him that her eyes are gold and that's who she is. "What are you doing here?" She snarls instead. He shouldn't have been able to find her. Ridley doesn't even know the name of the town she's in.
"I came to find you," He says, but it's almost a whisper and his voice breaks when he says 'you'.
"Yeah, well, you found me. You can leave now." She says, pumping all her anger into that sentence, and leaving out all the hurt and mixed feelings.
"Rid, please. Just...come with me. Lena found a way to make you—"
"I'm not going to be a Mortal again!" She screams; and it doesn't matter that everyone's looking at her, because she's too hot to be crazy and she doesn't know any of these people anyway.
"I didn't say that. Just...just...come with me. It can go back to the way it used to be."
Nothing he can say can make her go. He can tell her that Lena found a way to make her Light, but that doesn't matter. Ridley doesn't want to be Light. She's always been Dark.
And he can talk all he wants, but they both know that they cannot go back to the way it used to be. He's a Linkubus now, and she's learned too much about herself and being Mortal to be her old self again. On the run alone, with milkshakes and strangers is as close as she'll get.
Too much has happened and she left in the middle of a storm and she doesn't want to find out what broke when she was gone. She'd rather just be ignorant; rather have Link in only memories and fantasies. She did all this so they could be together, the way it used to be, but he let her go. And that's one thing that never would have happened in the old days.
"We both know that can't happen, Link." Ridley whispers. And his face breaks because that's the first time she's used his name in a long time.
He offers her a sad, broken smile that makes her want to take the words back. "Just try, Ridley. Just give me a chance. Aren't you tired a runnin'?"
She is. She's so tired it feels like she hasn't slept in days. But she can hear them coming, and she won't stop running. Ridley never wants to be found again.
She really needs more sugar.
Ridley takes a long slurp of the strawberry milkshake, letting her calculating look slip into place on her gold eyes. Even though he can't see them.
"No. I could run for years."
"Rid, please. Be my girl again." Link's eyes are so pleading it makes her want to agree; just to make him happy. But she can't. She's stronger than that.
"I'm not anyone's 'girl'. I don't need anyone!"
She's not strong. She's weak. She's a weak little girl inside that no one likes because she has gold eyes. She has no shields, no armour. She doesn't even have a sword. All she has to defend herself is the ability to make people do what she says. It's not even working now, and Ridley wonders if that's because she could never really use her powers on him.
Link reaches towards her hesitantly, and she feels like this is a last chance. That if she runs one more time he'll never chase her again.
But it can't just be over. She knows it can't. Ridley can see that in his eyes. Maybe she doesn't wear sunglasses just to hide the gold, but to hide her feelings.
"Come back to me. Please."
She's tired of running. But she can't just stop.
And before she knows it, his lips are on hers and she's melting.
Why can't she go with him? Why can't she stop running? Why can't she just stay with him (and his incredible lips) forever?
Sarafine and Abraham and herself are the only people in the way.
And before she knows it she's the one holding his face to hers. Ridley finally lets go, sighing against his lips. She's forgotten how great that is. How much she really wants him.
"Stay with me." Link says, stroking her hair. And she finally nods in agreement.
Link takes a milkshake and her hand, leading her to the Beater. Sometimes Ridley really hates this car, and she already hates that she's not running anymore: that she gave up so easily. But she loves the way she can eat fries and milkshakes in the old leather seats and he won't care if she spills everywhere. And she likes that it always smells like fast-food, even if it sometimes makes her sick and usually makes her hungry.
Ridley hops straight into shotgun, leaning the seat as far back as it can go. Link guns the car and she leaves her sunglasses on and sees if she can fall back asleep.
"Rid?" Link asks. She's not sure how long she's been asleep or what town they're in now.
"Why did you decide to come with me?"
Ridley scowls. This is not a question she wants to answer. She doesn't have a good enough lie yet. All she has is the truth.
"Maybe I was just tired of running."
"That's not what you said." Link's looking at her sideways and she's glad he can't see her eyes.
He's quiet for a long time. Not quiet enough for her to fall asleep again, though. She skims through the CDs in his car, pulling out a new Holy Rollers track. When he sees her slip it into the player, his eyes light up.
"Here, this one's my favourite." He skips until he gets to number six, and a song she's never heard before comes on. That somehow annoys her. Usually she has all the good songs memorized before he puts them on the CD.
Ridley's about to ask what it's called, when she notices something different about the song. Usually all his tracks are rock, but this one's an acoustic. And it actually sounds...good. Ish.
"'So I said, Run Away, Runaway; I know you'll come back to me someday; It's a, long drive to nowhere; but I'm half-the-way there.'" Link sings as he drives, and his voice almost sounds like honey without her manipulating everyone's ears.
Ridley pushes her sunglasses up so she can watch him without the garish tint she sees the world through. In the sunlight his face looks sculpted and beautiful, and she doesn't care that once upon a time he wasn't Dark like she's always been (even if only a small part of him is— a part that he hates). Right now Dark and Light and Mortal and Incubus don't matter. There's only Link and Ridley and a song and a road that leads to nowhere and everywhere.
"'And she packed her bags, asked if I was coming too; asked if I'd join her for more than just an afternoon.'" Link's eyes close when he sings, and she'd be worried about crashing if his voice wasn't so perfect and they weren't in the middle of nowhere. "'But I don't have a ticket; looks like I'm stuck in this town without you; without you.'"
He pauses for the instrumental solo, and just as he's about to open his mouth to sing again he catches her looking at him. Link looks surprised, like maybe he forgot what her gold eyes look like. Or maybe he expected her to be done with him, despite the kiss; so gone that no amount of beautiful songs could bring her back. But it's funny, because Ridley feels like a song. Like she's immortal, and this moment and this song will go on forever, and she'll be stuck in the same spot for eternity.
Link's eyes flick back to the road, and she feels a little strange about not having them on her. It feels like he's been watching her forever —not just a year and a handful of months.
"Link," She breathes.
He glances back at her. "Yeah?"
Ridley's bottom lip trembles. She shouldn't be doing this. This is a terrible idea. She should jump out of the car right now and pretend he never convinced her to stay with him. "Do you love me?"
Link looks like he slapped her. He doesn't say anything for forever, and the car swerves off the road. Ridley doesn't even scream.
Hot Rod drives the Beater back onto the empty highway, fixing his eyes on the road. "Yes,"
"'Yes' what?" Ridley asks, because she has to be sure he still does. If he doesn't, she'll get out of the car and run and change her name and hide so well no one will ever find her. Maybe she'll go to Minnesota, or some other crappy town. Maybe she'll go to Canada. Anywhere but Gat-dung. Anywhere he can't find her.
Link just watches the road. Her mind is running like a movie, and she's seeing the first time she saw him: at the pathetic little grocery store with the basketball team. He'd known she was trouble the second he saw her, but he didn't care.
Then there's the dance and New York and the party for Lena. And suddenly he looks shocked and betrayed and he's telling her she doesn't have to be the way she is. But the truth sunk in and she ran and never looked back.
Link turns the music up beside her.
Then there he is at the Dar-ee Keen and her heart is aching and boiling like a volcano that's trying not to explode. And she can't stop herself from saying she misses him. But he rejects her.
And then there's the fair and that look in his eyes. He still can't believe she's back. He's mad but desperate and honestly, she's not much better.
"Hiya, Hot Rod. Wanna take a ride through the Tunnel of Love?" But he'd said no, hadn't he? So she'd run again.
But then she needed their help to save Lena. And she was lying all the time (mostly to herself). Most of the time she was angry —at him, at Sarafine, at Lena, at Abraham, at herself. The rest of the time she wanted to kiss him hard and pretend nothing was different, that she'd never be Mortal and he's always be hers.
And she kept getting him and losing him, over and over again. Stuck in the same place. Like one of Lena's poems: Running to stand still.
"Yes, I love you."
Ridley glanced up sharply. Link was staring at the road, but he'd said it. She tried to say something, but her heart was pounding so hard she couldn't speak. And she felt like a stupid little girl that believed in love and fairytales and forever.
Shrinky Dink glanced over at her, one eyebrow raised. There was a comment bubbling inside him and it would probably be bitter.
"I love you too." Ridley spat out, before he could say something that would end them forever.
Link looked mildly surprised. Ridley was shocked, though. What had happened to being incapable of love?
Then she remembered that she had thrown that out the window a long time ago. She'd stopped lying to herself. She'd tried to get him to run away with her, to join the Dark side.
"I love you too, Link." Ridley repeated, making sure it was still true: savouring it on her tongue.
'So Run Away, Runaway; I know you'll come back to me someday.'
Link pulled off the road and turned off the Beater. He stared at her silently. Ridley stared back, afraid to break the silence.
But she was done being afraid.
'Run Away, Runaway...'
She was done running.
"I love you," Ridley said again, meeting his eyes as she said it so he knew it was true. Link kept gazing at her, but something in his eyes had changed.
"Okay," He said tentatively. Ridley couldn't tear her eyes away from him. She let her stare rove across his face, re-investigating his eyebrows and his cheekbones and his lips without touching them.
Link sighs and unlatches his seatbelt. Ridley takes hers off too, scooting closer to him.
"Why did you leave?" Link asks. He's staring at his hands but he tentatively meets her gaze.
"Because I had too." Ridley says, but mostly she just ran because she couldn't see another option. He didn't want gold-eye Ridley anymore. And she'd made a deal with Abraham to get her powers back. She couldn't just stay.
Link picks up one of her hands, gazing at the chipped red nail polish with an intensity she can't name. He shakes his head. "No, you didn't. You could have stayed with me."
Ridley bites her lip. All her answers will just drive him away. So she doesn't say anything. Link leans his forehead against hers.
"Don't leave me again," He says, and it's a plea and a command at the same time. Ridley knows she'll end up running again sooner or later, but right now she just wants to stay with him. So she kisses him, and pushes all her 'I promise I'll stay's against his lips.
'I know you'll come back; I know you'll come back.'
I know you'll come back.