Title: Never Forget
Author: Tristian Makhai
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 27 June 2009
Rating: Mature, material alluded to but not graphically described
Word Count: 13822
Summary: Where the mind forgets, the heart shall always remember. Set mid-movie, before Endgame but after the détente exchange.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DD09
Disclaimer: DEBS and all related material remain the property of Angela Robinson, Sony, and Screen Gems. No copyright infringement is intended and all texts included are for purely entertainment purposes, please do not reproduce or archive elsewhere without expressed consultation from the writer.
Note: This story began over two years ago, and has sat unfinished on various hard drives waiting for a conclusion I doubted would ever be wrote. I've not written Amy and Lucy in quite some time for a variety of reasons so this marks my first return to them. It may also explain inconsistencies or ill-characterisations…of course, that could also be because I wrote this on a really weird premise. Unexpectedly, I found myself writing another several pages on this and finishing it off in the one night, making it my entry to the FSAC and not the Nikki & Nora piece I'd originally planned.
I hope that this is not too much of a disappointment and that it doesn't suck too badly, but I'm not willing to place a serious wager on that bet. All I can say is, it’s been a long time, I swear I have no skill for the 1st pov, and this was a bit of a rush job. Any and all grammatical mistakes are my own as I had no time to get this beta'd or even check it to my usual standard. So, I do apologise if the mistakes are glaring (I'll be headdesking when I see them shortly, I'm sure), but I have four hours to get sleep before work, and need to shut the hell up already.
In any event, feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks/Dedication: Three people deserve gratitude and credit for this piece, the first being AJ who has been extremely understanding with my tardiness on my entry, even if this is not what you expected. Thank you, a lot. I needed to get something finished, and you gave me the time to do it. And, then there's Diz, who issued the initial prompt that began this...thing. I'm sure you expected to see this even less than I did. Cin gets the extra thanks, however, for fielding my questions, giving it a quick read through, and basically putting up with me. You're brilliant, amazing, and far too good to me. Thank you.
Even when I was just an infant, my parents tell me I was always very quick to wake and took no time in becoming alert to my surroundings. My brother on the other hand, he could sleep through anything and everything from earthquakes, rock concerts, or literally being pushed out of bed. Our dad used to joke that if they'd had only one child, maybe it would've woken normally instead of resembling the dead like my twin, or instantly rising as I tended to.
Waking never took me much time, but as I blinked and gradually tried to focus, I found an uncharacteristic reluctance and distance in my path. It took actual determination the second time I tried, and this time, my eyes co-operated and my brain sluggishly followed as I took stock of my surroundings. The first thing I recognised as something beyond the blurry mess I'd seen before was the very mundane, dimpled, and off-white ceiling that tended to characterise every hospital room in the world. How exactly I was so confident in what hospital rooms looked like, I don't know. I just had the unshakable feeling I did.
I blinked again.
Right. In a hospital. That answered 'where,' at least vaguely.
Why? That was always a very good question, although, the massive white banding wrapped around my head could be a rather big indicator towards that end. Just as the thumping, sick feeling in my skull and pit of my stomach would help in explaining my current surroundings. Of course, each of those provoked an entirely new set of questions like 'what,' 'how,' and 'when?' Raising my hand, I peered at the IV needle taped there and glanced up at the bag hanging from the stand. Any other time and my near perfect vision would've let me read the lettering, but for now, all I could see was a straining blur that made the headache worsen.
Laying my arm back down, I blinked again, as though doing so would help to clear the distortion clouding my head. Christ, it felt like my skull was packed with cotton wool and feathers; everything having that odd sort of distance to my perception that suggested I'd gained more than a simple bump on the head. Head wounds usually meant some sort of risk to memory recall, and that in mind, I began to make sure I still remembered all the important things.
Name? Amy Madison Bradshaw. Birth date? 06.22.1983. That made me, what? Twenty-one. Yeah, that sounded right. Oh, good, I could still do simple maths. Why that was such a positive aspect, I couldn't really say. It just felt like an accomplishment, and at the moment, I'll take what I can get. Hmm. Parents? Yup, two. Oh, right, who? Andrew and Madison Bradshaw. Siblings? One; a brother. What was his name again? Iain, that's right. My adorable little shit of a baby brother. A baby brother that stood six-foot two and dwarfed me. Brat.
Okay, so I at least remembered who I was and that was the most important thing, right? I was Amy Madison Bradshaw, born on the twenty-second of June to Andrew and Madison Bradshaw, twin sister to Iain Andrew Bradshaw. And that really was it. Well, obviously not all I remembered, because I still could remember that stupid Nicky Johnson from the fifth grade owes me five bucks for the time I threw the baseball and hit the fork in the trees when he bet I couldn't. T-ball or not, I was still a better shot than him and I'd proven it too.
And I was rambling a lot, even if only within my own mind. Oh boy.
There was something missing from my memory though; I couldn't say what exactly it was, but it felt...significant. It was a feeling and an instinct, that I was missing something rather crucial to who I was, and it had to be pretty big considering I know I was twenty-one and all but couldn't name my major in college to save my life -assuming I even went to college. Feeling my features draw into a frown, I concentrated, forcing my mind to try to pinpoint the last concrete thing I could recall. My memory was fuzzy though, and there was no clear cut point where I stopped remembering, but the most clearly defined thing that stood out...was my SAT's. Beyond that, things got vague and blurry though I know I graduated and was accepted into university -a fair few in fact- but everything lacked the crisp mark momentous milestones in your life like Prom and Graduation tended to carry. To my great confusion, I also remembered a few more abstract things like plots to take over the world's ice cream factories and secret midnight rendezvous. Buried amongst all my confusion and bewildering memories was the observation the headache I had bore striking similarities to what you’d expect to receive from the concussive blast of a pre-maturely detonated bomb. But how in the hell would I know that?
And furthermore, why on earth was I staring at the door with a profound sense of paranoia, debating the choice between jamming a chair beneath the doorknob as opposed to jury-rigging a complex pulley mechanism from the IV drip, surgical scissors, bedpan, and heart monitor to swing the heavy pot-plant at the door, should it open. And then, there was the frightening plan involving IV fluid, tweezers, the defibrillator, and that box of latex gloves. Normal twenty-one year old college students obsessed with art did not think those things!
It seriously sounded like some demented plan out of a Fleming novel or dreamed up by a MacGyver geek. Although, it was a crying shame I didn't have two paper-clips, seven rubber bands, a bit of string, and four toothpicks, because I tell you, the more I stared at the stethoscope, fibre optics from the endoscope kit, suction cup, forceps, and lancet, the more a plan came together.
Dear god, what in the hell was I thinking?
Forcing the strange thoughts from my head, I wondered at myself and path of my mind. I was reacting -even if only mentally- like some kind of a demented whack-job convinced she was some sort of secret agent captured by enemies. ...But why did the term 'secret agent' sound so familiar? Like it fit with the tight conformity of the gloves I'd been eyeing earlier. It was just too weird. Maybe I was experiencing spontaneously fabricated memories as a result of my injuries or traumatic experience; perhaps I'd acquired all these details and facts from movies and books and was now regurgitating them into some haphazardly formed false memory. Stranger things had happened. Shit, I think that was the plot of a movie too!
As I reached for the call-button to bring the nurse to me so I could demand what sort of wicked drugs they'd put me on, my paranoid instincts went psychotic at the sound of the doorknob mechanism scraping against its inner mechanisms as the metal was manipulated. 'Stupid,' I kicked back at my reaction, trying to get some sort of rationality back into my mind as I figured it was someone coming to do rounds. 'Why did the thought of a nurse scare the hell out of me even more?' I flopped back down, wincing hard at the way my head spun around, and closed my eyes. Reflexively, I tensed; ready to go primal on whoever it was if they tried to touch me. I kind of figured that playing dead -well, unconscious- because the whole steadily beeping heart monitor would make the whole dead ruse impossible. Oooh! There was an idea: rip the sensors off my chest, scare the shit out of the intruder about to kill me, and send the hospital staff running. As it was, the rotters would respond better to a code blue than they would from someone hitting that stupid call-button. Repeatedly.
The doorknob stopped turning before resetting as the hand clutching it was pulled away, the person about to enter my room presumably distracted. Exhaling, I glared at the door, blaming the nasty, vomit-green slab of metal for the adrenaline in my system now. Muttering a few choice words, I crossed my arms over my chest, a petulant expression on my face as I continued to shoot dirty looks, my mind turning over ideas and possibilities.
A few hours and an insane visit where some stranger had tried to convince me that I was the quote perfect spy end quote later, I'd fallen back asleep, the concussion once again taking its sweet time in kicking my ass. I found myself abruptly jolted awake by a very angry, very indignant yell. "What the hell?!" Straightening, I watching with no small amount of pride as the carefully constructed contraptions I'd rigged up with pretty much all the medical paraphernalia I'd been considering earlier sprang exactly as planned. I do love it when things come together.
I watched as the slender, young Asian woman from earlier yelped and jumped to the side to evade the swinging plant. "YAH!" Another cry was pulled from her as the very tall heels hit the liquid I'd liberally applied to the floor; arms pin-wheeling in a spastic attempt to keep her balance, triggering another pulley. The third intruder yelled out a warning to her with barely any time to be of use.
"Dom! Look out!"
She was quick, I had to admit, impressed the woman was that agile as she leaped upwards, still wearing the impossible heels as she braced herself on a chair and the wall. The defibrillator hit the liquid, and hijacked as I'd intended, pulsed a series of times with increasing intervals, electrifying the first few meters of my room's floor. Moments later as the first intruder swung on the pot plant still swaying, using its motion to aid her leap and jump to safe ground that actually proved to be rather dangerous instead. Her feet tripped the elastic tubing I'd found in place of the half dozen rubber bands, triggering the heart monitor to let out a high-pitched squeal that left everyone but me clapping their hands over their ears. The procured cotton wool half sticking out of my ears insulated my eardrums adequately enough.
The dark woman lashed out, hitting the stupid machine to send it crashing into the still electrified floor. Some quite impressive light works later and suddenly the room and the hall outside fell to darkness. It was chaos outside as the hospital staff went insane, panicking over downed instruments and the blown fuses. They really shouldn't have worried. They had back-up generators in place for just this occasion. Okay, maybe the reason wasn't just in case any amnesiatic patients felt the irrational need to set a string of booby-traps up, but they were there and that's what mattered, right? Exactly.
I grinned and snickered as I heard the resulting yelps and exclamations of pain as the next sequence in my series of diversions were triggered; mini, alcohol-soaked, flaming cotton balls flew in multiple directions, the 'ZWAK' of elastic gloves snapped forward with terrific speed, and wet clang of bedpans dropped with lovely, sodden force, punctuating the madness. Amid the chaos and mayhem, I slipped out, a procured set of scrubs on, securing my dignity and escape. That would teach them to feed me a line of bull about being the prefect spy. Perfect, my ass, and if they were so elite themselves, then why didn't they catch those traps. Oh, that was right. They had. In the head. I snickered again, loving to have seen such a beautiful plan come together so neatly.
Yes, it was good when things just worked.
I took only a solitary glance over my shoulder from the darkened end of the hall towards the room that once held me and now contained those claiming to be 'friends' and 'teammates.' Distantly, I did wonder at whether it was my best idea to be slinking out of the hospital when so much was still a massive question to me. Then, I remembered the certainty I felt when the strange woman named after a bit of laboratory paraphernalia fed me that line of bull -the instinctive knowledge it was a straight up lie. What kind of friend would stand by and let a teammate be lied to so blatantly, I found myself wondering. Especially when she had the nerve to say I wasn't acting like myself or in my right mind.
Maybe I wasn't, but I know who in the hell I am, even if I can't remember the last four years of my life. I remember who I was before I met those people, and I know I wouldn't stand for this crap. Sure, I would've changed over the course of the last two years, but I can’t believe I'd blindly follow suit like Max did in there. It's just not in me to be a sheep. Not the kid that was attending protests by the age of eight and chanting the slogans by the time I hit my fourteenth birthday. My parents raised both my brother and I to be free-thinking individuals and to follow our hearts; I didn't need to actively remember the last couple of years to know something was seriously off.
Despite the hours spent in the hospital with people painting me a picture, the image I was given felt entirely too alien. It wasn't even the spy part that I couldn't believe -that half made some kind of demented sense! It was more the line that Petrie had tried feeding me. That my current injury was a nasty side effect of a brainwashing attempt from some so-called arch nemesis trying to make me her lesbian love slave.
Hello, really shitty gay porno storyline there, beaker-lady. No, that was just too preposterous of a storyline, I think. Besides, if I was supposed to be so good, then shouldn't they've conditioned me against such things? I think there must be more to the story than what'd been said, especially if the half-guilty looks from the two of the three behind her -the third simply fiddled endlessly with an unlit cigarette- kept shooting me. Beyond all that though, none of what that woman said matched up with what I knew about my supposed kidnapper.
Yeah, oddly enough, I still remembered everything I'd discovered in years of researching Lucy Diamond. I mean, I couldn't recall this supposed meeting, but everything else I've known, I still knew and none of it supported her spontaneously kidnapping an operative from an agency she was reputed to hate.
No, I definitely couldn't stay here, not while I'm still confused and vulnerable to god knows what. Better to hole up somewhere and try to figure out what in the hell is going on. Firmly decided, I ducked out through a side door and stepped out into the warm summer air, the temperature change and open air immediately helped in clearing my clouded senses and head. It might've been a strange thing to think about a huge city like LA, but as I inhaled deeply, the smells of the metropolis were heavenly compared to the sterile, bleach of the hospital. Forget smelling like death, a closer description was of lies and efforts to conceal or cover things. The city though, in all its human glory and agony was beautifully real. It was a truth I knew, one that no one could ever lie to me over, and as a soothing night breeze wrapped itself around me, tugging at my loose hair with the playfulness of fingers sifting the strands, I smiled, feeling free for what strangely enough felt like an eternity. Standing there, the scrubs evidently enough of a covering -though the lack of underwear was irritating- I felt like I was actually myself for once. Which, considering I wasn't entirely sure just who exactly that was, was somewhat interesting.
I couldn't keep standing there though, someone was bound to come out of this door and I was sure the paper surgical booties weren't enough to conceal the fact my feet were in all fact bare. Even as I contemplated my possible problem, trying to ignore the really big one of just what in the hell I was going to do now that I'd escaped custody and still evaded recapture, a strange solution presented itself.
Spinning around, I glanced about, a touch of wildness to my actions. I was startled to see a young woman as the one hailing me. Paused, halfway out of a classic, teal Cadillac my brother would've given his first born for, she looked like an actress from the days of monochrome and elegance. Dark of complexion, but not of nature judging from the gentleness of her eyes, the stranger simply was gorgeous. Breath-taking really. I felt a keen sense of recognition as she settled her feet and straightened, but when she smiled, it carried with it an impact akin to the kickback of an AW50F. God almighty, she sure as hell was something else.
"Hey." Her voice was soft -warm really- as it caressed the word, making the humble syllable exquisite. "What're you doing out here? Shouldn't you be in bed?" The concern in her voice was sweet, even if I wasn't quite sure how I knew her well enough to garner worry.
"Uh..." I glanced over my shoulder, finding the room I'd been quarantined in with an unerring lack of effort that still caused me some disquiet. There was still an awful lot of commotion there, lights flickering across the window, things hitting the drawn blinds... I could also hear alarms and shouts of panic from inside the building. When I looked back at the dark stranger, her gaze having followed mine, I saw black eyebrows hiked up high.
"Everything all right in there?" she asked me, probably wondering just what in the hell was going on, because from the sound and look of things, there was a full-scale manhunt going on in there. And that assumption wouldn't be too far off. That coupled with my obvious lack of proper footwear, must've made me look like some sort of fugitive. And again, I think that would've been a safe bet.
"Maybe," I tried to sound innocent, I honestly did, but glancing from side-to-side in a pretty lame and shifty manner probably didn't help my case much. "I might have caused a little trouble," I admitted slowly, trying to keep the grin from showing as I lifted a hand to sheepishly scratch the back of my head reflexively.
"A little?" the woman laughed, the sound rich, warm, and full. It made me want to smile and join her. It made me feel safe and warm and it was so damn familiar. But I couldn't remember her and just by looking at her, I knew she was one of those people that even if you had to be told every single day of your life who you were, you'd never forget her. Some things, you just never forgot. The more I stared at her though, the more she felt like something I should know. That I did know, if only subconsciously.
Then, despite the rush of familiarity still flooding my system, something occurred to me that should've ages ago considering just sort of things I knew, despite recent head injuries. That was all I could blame it on; that the time it took for me to make such an obvious connection was because I'd seriously got my clock cleaned. "You're Lucy Diamond," I said, not awe in my voice but instead a very matter of fact tone.
The woman in question paused and gave me a curious look, as though we'd been through this before. "Yeah," she drew out slowly. I continued to stare at her, trying to think of what I should say. She saved me from figuring that out though as she frowned and asked, "Amy?"
I looked back over my shoulder, at the building, the fear that someone might come looking this way for me pushing me into action as I stepped over towards her. "Uh, I really don't know how to say this without sounding like some kind of complete nut, but there are people searching for me and I'd rather not be recaptured."
Her head canted to the side in a curious expression before she gave a little half-nod that seemed familiar for some strange reason. The other response she gave to me was to walk around to the other side of the car and open the passenger side door. "Hop in and I'll make sure they don't find you until you are good and ready," she promised.
"Thank you." I ducked my head, resolutely ignoring the fact that I was willingly getting into a car with someone that a few hours ago I'd been told had tried abducting and brainwashing me. While I could claim honestly that I was not in my most rational of minds, and might even be able to say I had lost it, that wasn't the real truth. My memory was fragmented at best, yes. I might not know exactly who I was in that moment, yeah. But the reason I chose to go with her, to trust this person who felt everything like home, was that she felt right. I couldn't explain it, not even if my life depended on it, but some times, you don't have to understand something to trust it. Not when it's your instincts.
We'd been driving for several minutes before I noticed something on the seat between us. Looking down, I was mildly surprised to realise it was a bouquet of flowers made from the strangest arrangement including daisies, a singular white lily, and collection of tight orange rose buds. Huh. I liked orange roses and daisies, if I remembered right, signified an innocent love. And the lily? I'd always been told is meant death but recently someone had told me it also meant 'I dare you to love me.' Not that I could remember who told me that though; damn memory.
"Why do you have flowers?" I asked her curiously, looking up at this mysterious and incredibly magnetic woman who'd rescued me.
Dark eyes blinked as she glanced over at me, a sudden nervous tension leaking into her body as her hands fidgeted on the wheel. "Uh, doesn't one normally bring flowers when they visit their girlfriend in the hospital? Or was it a teddy bear? Damn it, I asked Scud if it was chocolates, flowers, or plushies."
My eyebrows shot up as I stared at her, caught on a single word. "Girlfriend?!"
"Yeah," she drew out again, looking from the road to me. "Okay, I know that's a little up in the air with your friends doing the whole Romeo and Juliet thing on us, but...you didn't break up with me. ...Did you?"
Hearing the way the last words were curved up in a broken pitch and watching as the charming smile slowly faded as doubt set in, I felt rather rotten for some inexplicable reason. My response though, was to blink. "Romeo and Juliet?" And ask stupid questions, it seemed.
"Yeah, you know, the really depressing play about the two idiots stupid enough to actually kill themselves when they were supposed to just pretend? Every school kid is tortured with it."
"I know the play, but what do you mean about 'my friends doing the whole Romeo and Juliet thing?'" I asked, not so much staring in surprise at her, but more curious as to what the hell she was on about. 'Girlfriend?' ...Oh hell, maybe that Petrie woman was onto something with the gay thing. Well, that's new. I guess a lot does happen in four years.
She stared at me for several moments, and I was deeply thankful we were currently waiting for the red light to turn green. Something seemed to occur to her as she tilted her head to the side a touch and asked, "How hard did your head get cracked, kiddo?"
The impromptu nickname made me smile and brought with it a warm rush of fuzzy feelings in my chest, like I were cuddling a kitten...naked. "I don't know," I finally admitted honestly, reaching up to gingerly rub the left side of my head that bore the brunt of whatever impact I'd taken skull first.
"You remember your name?"
I gave her a droll look. "I've been through all that already. I'm Amy, my mom and dad are Andrew and Madison, and my younger brother is Iain. I was born on the 22nd of June, 1983, and they've had to've put me on some seriously wicked drugs. It's that or those crazy-assed people really were right and I am some kind of spy."
"Actually," Lucy said, laughing as she gracefully navigated a turn, flashing a grin that grasped my heart. "You aren't just any spy; you're kind of 'the spy.' Literal poster child material and all." I stared at her; god, don't tell me she was another of the nut jobs trying to convince me I was some kind of super spy. I really wanted to like her and the thought of her feeding me the same lie...
It didn't seem as though she was lying to me though. Not with the soft shake of her head she gave, navigating the late evening traffic with beautiful skill. Of course, I swore everything about her was filled with grace and majesty. As I stared at her in complete disbelief, she glanced back over and commented, "I'm guessing from that expression you don't really remember the DEBS thing?"
"Deb... My name's Amy," I corrected, glancing around as she pulled the car to a stop, parking in a spot outside what looked like a really nice bookstore cafe fusion.
Closing her eyes, Lucy put her face in her hand and snickered. "DEBS," she stressed the plural, removing her hand from her face. "Discipline, Energy, Beauty, and Strength," she tried again and still I showed no sort of recognition. "Super secret government agency training the next generation of female spies?" Nothing. Lucy's face fell as she stared at me. "You seriously don't remember the obscenely short plaid skirts and big-assed guns?"
"Since when do spies wear plaid?" I demanded at the absurd notion, deliberately ignoring the rest of her words and question.
Lucy shrugged. "Damned if I know. Personally, I always thought black was better, but, well, I'm kind of..."
"A villain?" I supplied helpfully.
"Hey, I'm reforming. I promised you I would," the currently in criminal-rehab ex-diamond thief protested.
"Why would you promise something like that? You're Lucy Diamond, stealing shit and being a criminal is what you do," I pointed out. "The world without Lucy Diamond doing criminal things is like...I don't know; peanut butter without chocolate. You could do it, but why would you want to? And why did you promise me...oh, this has to do with the girlfriend thing, doesn't it?" I trailed off with another half-sheepish look.
Lucy watched me closely for a moment, one dark eyebrow slowly creeping up in an arch. "Until four days ago, you never ate chocolate with peanut-butter. I was the one that did that until you gave it a try." She peered at me again, her eyebrow descending only to draw near its counterpart in a faint frown. "You sure you don't remember anything?"
I shook my head, and as she watched me, the more flippant and sarcastic lens through which I'd been viewing my world through shifted as I began to glimpse something of what I'd lost. Up to that point, it hadn't really sunk in that I was missing something so big or vital. Not until I had this gorgeous and sweet and amazing woman sitting beside me telling me that she'd given up everything for me. And I didn't even remember her. Something of my thoughts must've shown on my face because she was moving before I could register her shifting.
"Hey, hey." Her hands were warm against my face as she touched my cheek and turned me to face her, unbuckling her seatbelt and sliding across to gently pull me against her, wrapping warm arms around me. "Shh, you'll get it back. You'll remember."
God, it just hit me so hard and suddenly, what I'd lost. Before it had been a bit fun and amusing, rigging up the traps and heeding instincts I didn't understand. Now though, as it began to sink in, it wasn't a matter of not remembering being a spy or secret agent. If this wonderful woman running a soothing hand through my hair, careful to avoid the swelling on my skull, and literally lending me a shoulder was evidence enough, I'd lost something vital.
"They think the damage was to my declarative memory and in particular the area dealing with episodic recall," I told her as I sat half curled on the two-person sofa we'd claimed almost an hour ago in the cafe. It was indeed a really nice little bookstore-cafe mix, and I'd been amused upon entering to learn that Lucy was something of a regular. After I calmed from my near-break down, Lucy had given me a heart-stealing smile and gently pulled me from the car, telling me she thought I might like real food or at least something warm to drink.
Now, my long legs folded half-beneath me as I sat beside her on the comfortably worn lounge, I had to admit she was really right. I'd passed on food, still too nauseated from my concussion, but agreed to the idea of hot chocolate. And was still marvelling at the fact that Lucy Diamond harboured a hatred of marshmallows that very nearly rivalled her dislike for DEBS. Except me, of course...which I still found so weird.
"They used terms like 'lacunar amnesia, and 'source amnesia,' because I don't remember being a spy, but I know things I shouldn't." I continued to explain what the doctors had told me upon waking the second time as my fingers idly fiddled with the hem of the hoody Lucy had told me to put on instead of the over-sized scrubs top. Her explanation along with the shoes she gave me was that people would think me more a med student just off shift than an escapee. As she'd turned away to let me slip the shirt on, and other one off, I had to admit she was right...and still incredibly sweet.
Who honestly would've thought it? Lucy Diamond was incredibly cute and sweet.
"I know how to disassemble an AK-47 in seconds and on another side, you see that safe over there?" I subtly gestured to the one I meant, visible though a half-curtained doorway. "Forty-five seconds, tops, to break it...and that's also dismantling all three alarm trips on it."
"Three?" Lucy's eyebrows rose, impressed. "I only caught two."
I simply smiled mysteriously. "But I can do that, right? Only I have absolutely no memory of being taught it. Then, they start throwing around terms like 'memory distrust syndrome.' They think the damage was to my declarative memory and in particular to the episodic as opposed to semantic memory. My procedural memory for all intents and purposes seems intact because I still retain the 'how to' knowledge and everything through the last four years; just nothing concrete about being a spy or any of that."
"It's like I know these things and at the oddest of times will think things like 'escape and evade pattern Alpha-Charlie-Kilo,' think of people as 'hostiles,' and have 'mission objectives.' But I've got no reason to be using those terms. It's like..." I mulled over my words, trying to find the apt phrasing to say what I felt. "I feel as though some big part of me is missing; only the weird part is..." I looked at her, wondering if she'd understand before figuring she was probably one of the scarce few capable of comprehension. "I don't actually feel like I'm any less of myself not knowing."
She watched me quietly as she had several times since I'd run into her so unexpectedly; then, she smiled and laughed softly to herself. "You know, if I were even half as evil as everyone claims me to be, I'd probably be sitting here convincing you that you don't need to know any of it." She shook her head again. "But I never would. Do you know why?"
This time, I shook my head.
"Because I love you and all that you are," Lucy said with simple honesty. "You're not missing it because it's not all that you are. It's a part of you, yes, but you're also so much beyond being the perfect spy. And," she smiled at me, sending a rush of warmth through my entire body. "No matter what ever happens to you, Amy, you will never be 'less.'"
I think I'd lost track of the amount of times she'd charmed me, but this time it was different. For Lucy, flirting and being absolutely charismatic was a matter of habit. I'd even go so far as to bet that half the time, she wasn't even aware of what affect she had. A fact that only served to heighten her allure, of course. This time though, sincerity and genuine brown told me these were not words spoken because they sounded pretty; they were spoken from a place where only truth dwelt.
"Thank you," I murmured, looking down as I felt a soft blush suffuse my cheeks, reddening them. "It still feels weird; not missing what's missing."
Lucy's fingers were warm as she reached over and touched my face for the second time that night, this time lifting my chin so that she could see my eyes again. "You're gorgeous when you blush and you should never feel like you have to hide." Her words were as soft as her skin against mine, both caressing me in ways I could never imagine as possible. These were simple words spoken by so many others, yet how could they seem so extraordinary now?
"I'm also just telling you what I honestly feel." Her smile showed me that this was just as nerve inducing for her, as it was me. Armed with that knowledge, I returned her smile and settled in, comfortable to spend the night with this woman I barely knew and was more familiar than my own skin.
"No, what's criminal is the cost of girl scout cookies! Have you seen what they charge? And they have the audacity to call me the thief? It's highway robbery!"
I had to laugh at how indignant Lucy could get, even though I knew it was all for show. "True. Girl Scout cookies are a bit of a racket."
"Okay, fine, they are insane," I laughed again and hastily reworded my reply. "Does that still warrant -how much money did you say it was?"
She wouldn't look at me, mumbling something that no matter how good my hearing was, I couldn't catch. "Were you ever a Girl Scout?" Lucy opted to change the line of the subject in preference to admitting how much she'd pilfered over the years from the GSA. "I wouldn'ta minded buying cookies off you." The brunette sent a leer my way that was all show and play, making me smoother another laugh.
"Sorry to burst that fantasy, but no."
"Not even a brownie? Have I mentioned I looove brownies?" Her grin was of a purity even the Devil didn't possess.
"Nope. Though, technically I was a Boy Scout."
Her look of utter, dumbfounded confusion was hilarious as she stared at me, her mouth open a little, and the tiniest of frowns marring her brow. The strangest part was, it reminded me of someone, but I couldn't place who. "Ya wanna run that one by me again?"
Giving into the need to laugh, I grinned at her, somehow knowing this was something I'd done many times with her before. It wasn't something I could really explain very well, but over the course of the two or three hours we'd spent in that cafe, I felt the frequent brush of familiarity. As though laughing with Lucy and sitting curled up with her for hours was something I always had done.
"It's this group called the 'Explorers,' and technically, they are part of the Boy Scouts of America. I even had a membership card." I grinned proudly. "Rubbed it in my brother's face growing up as he didn't even get out of the Cub Scouts."
Lucy watched me for a moment before shaking her head. "And they call me evil? I never had any siblings to torment."
"That's different!" She tilted her head at me, before just giving me a mysterious little grin as she had all through our time. I don't really know they meant, just that they would catch me off-guard and make me feel as though, suddenly, the hoodie was too hot for me. I noticed though, that despite her near proximity being maddening to my senses, she left a careful distance between us so's not to crowd me. The gesture incredibly sweet.
Both of us were quiet, almost as though we were each waiting to see who would break the silence between us first. I know I was half smiling, just as it was mirrored on her lips, our eyes locked as we each tried to wait the other out, and yet were still content to simply share the moment. As I exhaled, my lungs expanding in full against the cage of my ribs, I felt the same constricting band around my throat and brush of warmth.
I think I was falling for her, in that quiet little cafe, surrounded by the scent of books and coffee and something familiarly exotic.
"Oh, come on, you have got to admit, it's romantic."
"It is not! They die! How the hell is that romantic. It's tragic. If they really loved each other, they would have found a way to beat even death."
Again, I found myself laughing as we made our way to her car, finally kicked out of the late night cafe at some god-awful early hour of the morning. "Oh, really?" I challenged, completely comfortable with Lucy in a way I'd given up trying to examine or understand hours ago.
"Yes, really," she returned, unlocking and holding open my door for me. As she climbed in the driver's side, she picked up her thread. "Say I found myself an epic, grand sweeping romance, I sure as hell wouldn't let anything like death stand in the way! I'd look death in the eye and tell him-" she slanted a look at me before deciding on different phrasing. "Well, let's just say it would be something really rude."
"They didn't want to be separated from each other, so they chose to spend eternity the only way they could," I protested more out of enjoying her impassioned responses than for any true view on the subject.
"True, and if that were literally the only way to be with the person, then I agree; better that then a life lived without the love of my life. But before then? Mountain, man, and death would not stand in my way." Something in her eyes told me this was the truth for Lucy, that she would fight until she could give no more, and even then, she'd still find the tenacity to keep going. "But for me, I think it would be because they are someone I can't survive without." If she realised she'd switched tenses then she didn't show it and I wasn't about to point it out. "They'd be someone I could easily see myself living the rest of my life with; that I would give up everything for and even that which I don't have would never be too high a price for her."
"How would you ever know she loved you the same?" I asked quietly.
"It's not about loving someone the same. How much doesn't matter," she looked at me then. "You don't put an amount on love. It just is. That's what matters. It's not about who loves who more or who gave up the most. It's just about love."
"I definitely don't think I had you pegged as a romantic," I commented, a bit of wonder in my voice.
Lucy flashed a grin at me and started up the car. "No one ever does. It just doesn't quite jive with the whole 'badass master criminal' thing," her grin broadened as she put the car in gear and gave me a wicked look.
"True. But you would seriously do all that for love? Give up everything and do unimaginable things in the name of it?"
She paused in the middle of pulling the car out from the parking space. "Wouldn't you?" was her simple response.
The question made me glance down at my hands in my lap as I softly replied. "I don't know. I'd like to think I would, but I honestly don't know." I gave her my truest answer, admitting the reality I feared. "I mean, everyone likes to hope that they'd be all sacrificing and completely selfless in their love, giving up it all and doing the impossible in the name of love, but how many people really can? With all the fairy tales to live up to, how are you really supposed to measure up?"
By now, the car was on the road as we departed the cafe, headed only where Lucy knew, and I was content enough to let her lead. "Maybe the answer lies in not even thinking about it. Don't try to live up to all the great stories of sacrifice. Maybe they were just like us; mere mortals and pretty ordinary people just trying to do what they felt they had to. They probably didn't even think what they were doing was all that extraordinary," Lucy replied with a quiet sense that actually seemed solid. "Maybe the answer is in not thinking about it and just feeling. How many times has something gotten screwed up because you thought about it too much?"
"Um...more than enough then I really want to remember," I half muttered, gaining myself a lopsided grin in the process.
"Exactly. My first heist was an unmitigated disaster because I was over-thinking. Then, as it was all coming down around my ears, I told my head to shut up and just went with my instincts. Things smoothed out and I managed to cover it all up. No one knows how badly I nearly screwed it up." As I laughed and gave her a clearly disbelieving look, she glanced over. "What, you don't believe me? Just ask Scud! Oh, wait, I kinda swore him to secrecy and thermonuclear wedgies." Lucy grinned again and just winked.
"The thing is," I spoke up again as we drove in the quiet for a few minutes. "I've never really known when I've been in love." The thought wandered through my head, wondering if I'd had this conversation with her before or if it had been something I'd kept silent about. "I always thought that maybe I was, but I never really knew for sure; somewhere in the back of my mind, I always thought that maybe I only thought I was in love. And then, when it never worked out, it just made the doubts stronger the next time."
"For what it's worth, you told me this time's different." She finally spoke up, voice quiet and resonating in the cool night's air as she still confidently and carefully navigated the dark streets. Though I knew we were near the coast, I'd still be buggered if I knew our destination or location.
Glancing over at the thief, I regarded her quietly. "How do you mean?" finally, I asked, curious, but also truly wanting- no, needing- to know.
"Because..." Smoothly, Lucy directed the Cadillac from the road to a gravel drive way. "You said this time you felt alive. All the other times, you were going through the motions, trying to feel what you thought you should." The car came to a rest, Lucy switching off the ignition and engaging the hand-break. She turned to face me, her dark eyes never once leaving my lighter gaze. "You told yourself what to feel, and for a while, believed it. This time though, you didn't have a lot of active choice in the matter. Your heart didn't take a moment to consult your brain and that's how you knew. And that's how you'll always be true to who you are. Hell, it's probably why you're even here with me tonight."
"I don't even know who I am," I protested. "I don't even know if I'll ever remember because the doctors said that was a very real possibility. How am I supposed to act if I don't know who I am?"
She looked at me, inscrutable brown eyes containing a thousand secrets. "Stop thinking about what you should do and just do what feels right. That's where you went wrong all those times before. Stop thinking and just...feel."
"I can't do that." She made it sound so easy, and I knew it couldn't be. Life was never as simple as 'stop thinking, just feel.' I might not know myself, but I knew that much.
"And why not?" Lucy pressed, actually leaning forward. "Why can't you just tell your brain to shut up and just go?"
"Because the things everything else is telling me to do, I can't do!" I stared at her, wondering why she couldn't just accept that. Mind, she was probably still trying to figure out what in the hell garbled crap I'd just said. Concussions did nothing for coherency.
"The only one...the only thing stopping you, is you, Amy," she replied with irritating simplicity.
God, she could drive a person crazy with her wonderfully uncomplicated vision and sense of priorities. The problem was I couldn't simply write them off as the self-absorbed point of view bred by an extravagant, hedonistic life style. It matched too closely to my own ideal. I don't want a sense of duty. I want to simply give into my heart and dreams. She was not helping my constitution on the matter, all but goading me into just giving into her way. My way.
"You're worried about not remembering?" Lucy returned my gaze, refusing to back down. "I think what you're really frightened of is remembering, because if you do, then you have to do that stupid 'right' thing. You know your memories mean your responsibilies come back. That you have to go back and be Miss Spy."
It made too much sense and poked at uncomfortable places, provoking me into verbally retaliating before I could think otherwise. "Isn't it better then for me to not remember? Isn't it better for both you and me if I never remember who or what I was before, because then, at least I don’t remember being your enemy?"
"It doesn't work like that, Amy. You can't just ignore an entire chunk of your life or more importantly a crucial part of who you are," Lucy responded with an intensity that resonated throughout her entire slender body. "Trust me, I know. I've tried to deliberately ignore a part of who I am, and it doesn't work. It will always come up. You can't hide from who you are, no matter how hard you try. That's what I've been trying to tell you all along."
Lucy was pushing and prodding me, trying to incite some sort of reaction in me and I knew it. She wasn't deliberately trying to simply rile me up, but she had a reason and that reason drew my curiosity. "Why does it matter so much if I remember?"
She ran a hand through her hair and looked at me with an expression of intense exasperation, dark eyes alight and her strong jaw set in determination. "You hesitate, because you think you don't know who you are -and I mean this not just now, but also before you lost your memory. You think you can't go for what you want because of all the crap like 'responsibility' and 'duty' and 'the right damn thing' swirling about in your head. You think you can't take the things you want in life because that's not who you are, who you're allowed to be. Only now, you don't have that clouding in your head and you still hesitate. You're still holding yourself back."
I felt my head tilting to the side as I watched Lucy intently, thoroughly engrossed by both the way her fire emerged from beneath the cool surface and the inner workings of whatever this conversation was. "Why is this so important to you?" I asked, my voice now calm and quiet where it was frustrated before.
She stared at me as though I'd grown a second head or at least sprouted bunny ears and a wiggling nose. "Why?" Dark eyebrows hiked up. "Why wouldn't it be?" Lucy seemed genuinely baffled at my question. "I know you can't remember but..." Releasing a sigh, Lucy's head dropped for a moment, her dark hair falling forward as she closed her eyes and gathered her thoughts before rising again, dark gaze never once wavering as she held mine. "It's important for me to see you happy," Lucy said softly. "It's important because the only thing I really want in this world is for you to have it, to have the world and all its wonders. Because in a single week, I fell completely and irreversibly in love with you, and even if you choose to go back and be a DEB, if that's what you want, if that's what makes you happy, it's all I can ask for. I love you, Amy, in ways I'm still figuring out. It's important -essential- because you've become everything and the only thing that matters to me. Even if I can't be with you, I at least need to see you alive, see you truly living and feeling and following your heart's desires."
I was quiet for several moments digesting her words and letting them sink in fully. Dear god, did she have to be so charming? Did she have to be so utterly sweet and wonderful and gorgeous? Did she have to be absolutely everything I'd been searching for but never known? Did she...have to taste so fucking good?
I don't know if I surprised her or if she expected the sudden impulse I gave into, grasping her face and kissing her with a bruising intensity I'd not planned. Oh god, I whimpered against her mouth, the strange familiarity hitting me hard and twisting tight in my gut. When I moved, I don't know. All I do is that one moment I was leaning across to kiss her and the next I'd somehow come to slip over, straddling her hips, hands buried deep in her hair as my tongue sought quickly granted entrance.
Like liquid velvet, she was hot and glorious, stealing what breath I hadn't, and making my heart thunder like never before. I think I knew what she meant in that moment about it being different, about feeling alive. Like nothing else had before, it was as though all my senses were ignited, sharper, each touch of sensory impact beyond all belief. The smell of her -something I could never name, but was so sensual, so mysterious and exotic like a spice I'd tasted once and had to have again- mixed with the heady scent of leather both of her jacket and the seats. The heat of her body pressed so close and hard against my own, her palm flattened against the skin of my back, searing against my flesh. Her taste though, that was my undoing. That was what fractured the dam; the taste of liquid passion, of chocolate, of sin, of lust and everything that was sensuality. It was too much, and not enough.
With a gasp and considerable effort, I pulled back, reluctantly tearing my mouth from Lucy's. Not going far, I pressed my forehead against hers, eyes tight shut against the cascade of memory and image. "Is that feeling enough, Lucy?" I asked, my voice rough and throaty.
"Maybe," she replied, her lips brushing against mine as she stroked a hand through my hair, the touch soothing as the other along my spine where she'd slipped it beneath the borrowed shirt inflamed. "Do you regret it?"
"Not on your fucking life." The groan barely got out before my mouth was once against crashing against Lucy's. For so long she'd been my refuge; long before I'd actually known her. And against the torrent of recollection and memory, she held me, most likely mistaking my sudden fervour for simple arousal. "You sure are something else, Lucy Diamond," I murmured, short of breath, into her ear, seconds, minutes, hours, later, smiling sweetly at her.
She pulled back a little, letting her focus and search my blue eyes, looking for what lurked behind my tease. "Amy?"
"Making a girl fall in love with you twice in as many weeks? You sure as hell are good," I grinned, returning to the mouth I'd been longing for since my forced separation.
"You're remembering." It wasn't a question so much as a perceptive statement gasped out. I nodded against her shoulder where my head now lay buried in the juncture of her neck and shoulder. Her non-verbal response was to run a soothing hand across my back and suddenly tighten her arms around me fiercely. "Thank god. Bet it's all a jumbled mess though, huh?"
Nodding again, it took a moment to sort through enough to reply. "It's mostly you at the forefront, but every thing's spider webbing outwards from there." I squeezed my eyes shut tight, a tremble I loathed running through me. "God, I am not in the best place mentally," I exhaled in confession as much as I wanted to ignore it and simply give into the increasing demand of my skin to seek hers.
"Talk to me, tell me what's going on," Lucy urged, her voice that wonderfully soothing timbre that sent a shiver of an entirely different nature through my body again.
"Well, there's the fact that the swelling in my head from the concussion means fluid is pressing between my brain and skull, putting me seriously off kilter. Add to the fact that I've now a front row seat to the last four years of my life playing all in tandem through my head," I quipped with a now familiar flippancy.
"And?" Her question was leading.
With a heavy sigh, I kept my head where it was, quite happy to remain tucked into her smaller frame for as long as I could. "I would've mentioned this earlier had I actively remembered it, but unfortunately it was something I only learned in the last four years."
"What's that?" She asked, her hand running down my spine in a motion intended to sooth and comfort.
"Well, the real problem is that some jackass forgot to look at my medical file when prescribing my meds." I was being evasive, I knew it, but I hated admitting this. I hated that I hadn't the control to prevent it happening.
"What do you mean?"
"They shouldn't've put me on narcotics," I murmured, my lips brushing against her warm skin. "I have a slightly adverse reaction to them." That was more than a bit of an understatement as I'd proven over the course of tonight.
"What kind?" She was sweet, keeping her voice level, despite the worried tension I could feel in her body.
"I go mildly -if psychotically- paranoid," I grinned against her neck. "I'm also known to have the odd...uhm...psychotic episode." I admitted, barely keeping the laugh contained.
"Uh-hum. And might one of these episodes occurred earlier tonight, back at the hospital?" Damn, I think that tone was dryer than the Sahara.
The snicker got out that time. "Possibly. It's a really bad thing, having a half-amnesiatic patient with heavy espionage training go paranoid," I said, giving a lopsided grin before burying my head in her shoulder again. I'd decided that I really liked it there. "I don't think Max or anyone else will be forgetting about my reaction anytime soon."
"My god." Lucy gently pushed me back so she could see my face. "What'd you do to Rambo?"
I laughed at both the nickname and memory of what I'd done. "Oh, just what any agent does, thinking they've been captured by hostile forces and left with a number of tools. I might not've actually known I was a spy, but my instincts sure as hell acted like I was."
"And coupled with the paranoia...you laid traps." She shook her head, groaning at me as she realised what I'd done. "You're insane, girl." Lucy murmured, pulling my head back against her shoulder, much to my delight. "How bad is it when you crash?" she asked, illustrating another reason why I loved her as much as I did. No one else had given a fuck about that part.
"Pretty bad," I admitted, opting for honesty. The truth was, no one really knew how bad it got for me, especially when coming down. People just generally knew I was prone to profound mistrust and anxiety attacks when exposed to narcotics. "It starts out as paranoia, then there's a period where it sort of seems to level off or is at least handleable, coming down is the bitch though. Some shaking, I shift between breaking out in a sweat and being freezing, but the really nasty part is the panic attacks. A sudden rush of anxiety and it just feeds on itself." What I didn't say was it's worse when I'm alone, because then, if I have nothing to act as a counter-balance, I risk a greater paranoid episode, or worse -a psychotic break.
"And they forgot this?" Lucy did not sound impressed, in fact, she sounded quite livid. "Christ, if this is how they treat their own, it's no wonder they never caught me. Is there anything that will help clear it out of your system sooner?"
"I don't know if there is much point," I replied honestly with a shrug. "I've been off whatever it was they gave me for a number of hours, and it should only take a few more to work out, I suppose."
Her arms wrapped tighter around me and I felt her lips press against my temple. "It really sucks that you have to go through this."
I kind of shrugged. "It's actually not my major problem at the moment."
"Oh?" She sounded intrigued.
"Yeah. The real one is the fact that my memories mean that now I remember the last time I saw you, we were rudely interrupted."
Lucy laughed. "Ah, yeah. That was a bit frustrating."
"A bit?" I pulled back, outrage showing. "Couldn't they've held off for another minute or five at least?" She laughed, pulling me against her in a hug I was willing to sink into. "So yeah, how's it feel to have a mildly paranoid, half amnesiatic spy who could spontaneously go in into a panic attack without warning and just really wants to rip your cloths off, sitting on you?"
Lucy's hand splayed across my lower back. "Honestly? Like heaven."
"Charmer," I accused and she didn't even bother denying the charge. A shuddering convulsion worked its way down and across my body, drawing a growl of frustration from me.
I felt her move to look down at me a moment before she patted my hip and softly said, "Move over for a moment, babe."
Doing as she asked, I shifted to the side, ending up in a half-folded crouch, unintentionally appearing vulnerable as the barest hint of anxiety brushed me. Damnit, I hated that the most, not having my normal function of control while still in the grip of the drug. Lucy smiled and reached out, softy brushing her fingertips through my hair, careful against the swollen bump from where I'd taken the impact. She didn't ask me to trust her or tell me it was all right. She didn't say anything, just smiled softly, and once she was out of the car, held a hand out to me.
I didn't even hesitate as I took it and let her pull me from the vehicle. A few minutes later, she returned to my side after circling around to the back of the car to retrieve a knapsack and couple of heavy blankets. She pulled her boots and socks off, leaving them in the car as she motioned down to the beach. "We have a few hours, I think, and we can watch the sunrise."
Watching her, I wondered at what strange forces had worked to bring her to my life. In the end though, I abandoned the puzzlement, getting the impression it was a mental path I'd wandered before. Taking the proffered hand in my own and shouldering a blanket as soon as I'd shed my own shoes, I let her lead me down to the sand and waves, content simply to keep following her.
There couldn't've been a safer place in all the world then where I some how found myself. As strange as it might appear, curled up on some nondescript Californian beach, with blankets and the worlds most disreputable villain wrapped around me, my instincts were pleased and I was content. She spoke to me, her voice soft but just loud enough in my ear to hear above the surf, regaling me with adventures and stories of past exploits. I returned them, which was different to the last time I'd been in Lucy's company, slowly remembering the last time I'd spoken of being a spy other than the grand 'I don't know if it's right for me' sense. Now, we talked of all that we'd avoided before. It was almost as though I wanted and needed her to have every part of me.
"-and that was the last time we heard from her," she finished, her voice luxurious in my ear, like drinking chocolate.
"She sounds like a right piece of work," I commented softly, tipping my head back to look at her.
"Oh, she was." She smiled down at me, rocking me a little as she did. "But Shay wasn't all bad, to be honest," Lucy admitted. "She was what I needed then. I'd just lost both my parents, was the last locked in a blood feud, and my family was being slaughtered around me. I needed to be crazy-violent. I needed someone near the end of it who understood that black rage I was in and Shay did. I didn't need someone to save me yet, I couldn't stand the light anymore. After the hatred, death, and dark, she made me feel alive."
Listening to her as she spoke about a woman who'd broken her heart hard and done some of the things she had, I found myself in the strange position of actually understanding what she meant. "I think I get what you mean, about feeling something finally."
She smiled down at me again before glancing out over the still dark waves. In the distance, the horizon was gaining light from the approaching dawn, but night still kept its grasp for the time. "Yeah. She served a purpose, one that I needed, but eventually, it became a case of out growing her. Out growing the anger and hatred. Reykjavik was about...it was about reclaiming all the parts of myself I'd cut off in the process."
"And now?" I didn't even think about it as I reached up to tuck a lose lock of dark hair the wind was playing about with behind her ear.
"Now, I'm the closest to whole I've ever been in my life." Her dark eyes were open and guileless, holding no deception or false truth to trick me. In all my life, I swear I'd never seen a gaze as dark and honest as hers, presenting not a window to her soul, but exposing the depths of her heart and I felt the rush of expansion in my chest threatening to completely rend me frozen and captivated. Then, the paralysis broke and as my breath shuddered in my chest, I surged forward with only one need. I feared I could never be close enough, that nothing would ever be enough and the distance would be too great but as I pushed up and shifted in her lap, my mouth seeking hers, I found relief and refuge in Lucy. God, she tasted so damn good, like cinnamon and cloves, smoky sin and spice exotic like nothing else in the world. Heat suffused my entire body as she responded to my touch, rolling us over until her slender form pressed into me, the combination of her smell, taste, and weight a heady mixture that sent arousal thundering through my veins.
Instinct drove me as my hand tangled in her hair and my other found her waist, pulling her ever closer in need and desire, my fingers digging into soft, rounded flesh. "Lucy." Her name was a gasp and a plea, whispered against her lips as I panted into her mouth, my body arching beneath her as she blinked down at me. Her own breath came fast and deep, her chest pressing into mine with each exhale as arousal and desire darkened her already impossibly black gaze. Concern and worry threatened to right themselves within her as she opened her mouth to offer an apology, thinking she'd somehow instigated how we now lay.
Tugging on her neck, I shook my head and murmured against her mouth. "Don't. Don't say you're sorry or blame yourself for something I want," I said, pressing relatively chaste kisses to her lips. "Please." I don't know for what I asked, I don't know why I offered up the plea, only that I felt as though I had to. Things had stopped making sense a long time ago, long before I'd tried to cave the side of my skull in, but here, with her, something felt right. Lucy felt like truth and salvation, even if she shouldn't and I knew I wasn't exactly in my right mind, but damnit...she felt too right to be wrong. In all my paranoia and fear, in all the confusion and disorientation I was lost amid, I knew this much: I loved Lucy and with her body pressing into mine, with her heart sheltering mine and her mouth so close to my own, threatening to drive me absolutely wild, she was home.
Something must've been coherent for there was a shift in those dark eyes and the anxiety ebbed until something more steady took hold as she continued to watch me. Then, she gradually relaxed until comfort demanded she rearrange her long limbs and as her manoeuvring pressed a thigh against my groin, I couldn't stop the groan, my head tipping back as arousal tore through my body with terrifying intensity. How in the hell she could do so much to me with so little, I don't know, only that she could and quite readily did.
"Hell," she exhaled and started to move before my hands tightened on her hips, halting her and shamelessly keeping her where she was. "I'm sorry," she breathed out her apology.
"Mmm," I gave a laugh that startled me with how breathless I sounded. "Don't be," I added, clearing my throat from its sudden thick constriction before I wryly continued with a smirk. "Though, I'm sure having sex on the beach after recently escaping the hospital and going on the run isn't really recommended."
Lucy's laugh was low and hit me square in the stomach, causing it to flip more than once. "I dunno," she drawled, letting the lighter mood wash over us. "Never really been one for doing the 'right thing,'" my thief confessed.
My response slipped out before I could think better of it, the filter between 'private thoughts' and 'out loud words' obviously out of commission. "Then why are my clothes still on and you're not naked?" While my forwardness did startle me, I wasn't about ready to take back the question considering I couldn't find a single valid reason for regret.
She blinked at me, more than a little surprised judging from the expression on her dark features. "Amy... You..." She shook her head and fought with her words, trying to phrase something either correctly or even put into words. "You were never this forward. You're not acting like yourself and I...I don't want to take advantage of that in any way. Of you."
I had to laugh softly, unable and unwilling to stop the rush of affection for the thief in my arms who couldn't stop being -well- honourable, really. "Lucy, think about something. I may remember things from the last four years, but it's all a jumbled, chaotic mess. I'm not acting like myself, or maybe I am. Maybe in my disorientation, I don't have my usual guidelines to tell me how to act or what to do, and maybe because I'm confused as to how to do 'the right thing', I'm finally being myself. I'm not being the person everyone else wants me to be, and for once, am being me. Not the perfect spy, not Amy Bradshaw, Sector One DEBS Star recruit."
"I'm finally being someone I never knew I could be. So, maybe I am acting out of character and not being the self everyone thinks I am, but maybe that's because the person everyone else sees is...not me. A lie or a mask. You've made me question everything that I am and everything that I'm doing. You make me ask why and who I am and you throw the rulebook away. You don't make sense as far as my world is concerned and you defy any sort of logic because I shouldn't want you, I shouldn't crave you and I shouldn't love you, but I do. I want and love you more than I can ever say and it might not make sense and it might not seem like me and maybe Max was right; the Amy she knows wouldn't fall in love with a criminal mastermind, but...maybe no one really knows me. Because I sure as hell don't."
"I know I'm not exactly in my right mind, whatever the hell that means, and probably making little sense, but whether it's an effect of the concussion or the drugs in my system, or maybe I've finally had a psychotic break, I don't know. All I do know is that...I am feeling more genuinely than I ever have in my entire life. I'm being more honest and real and...and damnit, you make forming coherent words and thoughts impossible," I expelled in a sheepish rush, offering up a half smile and a shrug. I meant it though, all of my ramblings and the thoughts in my head that just seemed to tumble out heedless of filter or censor. Maybe it was a little like being drunk and having fewer inhibitions, but something, some instinct I was fast learning to rely more on than the fractured, traitorous thoughts in my head, said it was Lucy that made all the difference. I was safe here, and while the drugs and concussion took the edge of control from my fingertips, it was her being here that let me release the rest. My grip might've been loosened, but just being near Lucy made me want to let go completely.
"You always surprise me," she murmured, her voice low and soft but still steady as she stared down at me. "I never know what to expect from you." Her eyes continued to watch me, dark and fathomless. I'd always been a sucker for blue eyes, but something about the inky black tinge to Lucy's brown-hued gaze captivated me. There as a naked sensuality and seduction to her eyes, of raw, honest emotion I found myself in wonder of and under threat of becoming lost in. "Just when I think I know what you'll do or how you'll move, you...you completely surprise me."
"I surprise myself," I responded truthfully.
"So, where do we go from here?" Lucy asked quietly.
There were a lot of responses a girl could offer to that question, and I considered giving her a few, but repressed the urge in favour of leaning up, my teeth nipping at her chin playfully. "Why don't we finish what started?"
Her chuckle was pure, liquid sin, I'm convinced of that, because my god, the things she can do to me with a simple sound. "Amy, you're-"
"Not in my right mind, I know, we established that. But didn't I also establish that maybe that's a good thing, that maybe my right mind is wrong and what's really right is you?"
"I'm going to pretend that made sense," she snickered; her eyes alight with electric mirth and dancing affection.
My only response was to stick my tongue out at her in what was undoubtedly an extremely undignified and extremely immature gesture, but as the warmth in her eyes shifted to an unfurling heat, I drew in a sharp breath. Oh boy. Her gaze shifted to my mouth and I couldn't even think to contain the whimper catching in my throat. For a moment, her eyes flicked back to meet my own, and I swear to god I saw eternity and absolute rapture in that heated gaze for the raw want contained in a colour so brown it risked becoming as black as shadow, sin, and night. I thought she might pull back, and try to reign in her reaction out of some misguided idea of what she shouldn't do, but instead, she closed the distance between our mouths, returning the wet heat of her tongue to mine. As heated arousal exploded in my stomach to flood my veins, I swore I'd blow more raspberries and rudely poke my tongue out more often if it meant I got to taste this. Taste her.
I groaned deep and heavily into Lucy, my arms pulling tighter around her smaller frame, needing to feel her closer and this time, she didn't resist and let me draw her into my body. Christ, this was where I was supposed to be. This was what felt right and true, and they were right, you do know what to do when the time comes, when to make the decision that would define you. One arm wrapped around her shoulders, my other sketched a hasty but no less thorough path to the hem of her shirt before I found the hot silken skin my fingers craved with an intensity that left me dizzy and wanting. Intoxicating didn't even begin to cover what Lucy did to me.
"Amy" she offered as a moan, her forehead resting against mine as she stared down at me, torn between what she wanted and what she doubted.
Leaning up, I pressed my lips against hers briefly before craning my neck further to find her ear. "Don't think. Just feel." Her groan was deep as she dropped her head to my shoulder, finding the skin of my neck to rip a gasp from my lungs. "Trust me. Trust me to know what I want." I pulled back from her just enough to look into her tanned features, even if I nearly had to cross my eyes to focus. "Trust me to know I want and need you more than anything I ever have before."
We shared the same breath for a timeless moment as she deliberated, and then she was kissing me with an intensity that left me delirious and aching with a need left unsated for far too long. "I do," Lucy replied against my lips. Moving, she straddled my hips thighs now, and as she sat up, her hands pulled me with her until I too was upright. An arm wound itself around my shoulders as the fingers of her other hand tucked into my hair, sifting and caressing. My own hands fell to her hips, only to migrate of their own desire, one sliding once again beneath her shirt, to splay against the skin of her back, even as the other curled over the swell of her ass in a forward move that even I was startled by. Well, I would've been more startled had I given a damn in that moment but as my fingers flexed and I felt the rush of possession and heat, I surrendered all pretence of decorum or decency.
"I trust you, and it terrifies the living hell out of me." I blinked, more than a little stunned and had my mouth half open to say something stupid like 'nothing terrifies Lucy Diamond' when she continued. "I trust you where I've never trusted anyone else before, Amy. I trust you with my heart and my soul, and that's more than terrifying. You can't be the person I've been and actually trust anyone. I gave that up when I lost my parents, when my innocence was taken from me. I gave up the possibility of ever trusting or truly loving and thought I'd never get it back again. I thought I couldn't be capable of it." Her fingers moved to trace my cheek as her eyes held mine, offering to me the final understanding I'd missed all along, and that this was just as daunting and new for her as it had been for me. She just hid it better. Her palm curled to the contour of my jaw as her expression softened with adoration and warm fondness. "You're not the only one discovering who you are or what you're capable of."
"Why didn't you ever say before?" I questioned softly, without rancour spoken with sweet curiosity.
"Because when you let go, you need someone to catch you and never let you go."
And it was then that I understood. It was then that comprehension hit me square between the eyes and I felt like the true ass that I was. And from the way she smiled, fond and indulgent if tinged with a sadness I'd caused, Lucy knew I'd finally got it. "Yeah," she nodded. "You let me go."
"Oh, Lucy." The sorrow and anguish was palpable and heartfelt as I finally understood the woman in my arms, my head falling forward in shame. She confused me though -not that it's particularly hard to cause in my current state- when she pulled me close and chuckled, pressing her lips against my forehead in an affection I was grateful for if bewildered by. "I'm sorry. I-"
"Shh." She brushed a kiss to my forehead again before her hand lifted my chin so she could see my eyes again. "Don't. You had no more an idea then I did. Hell, you probably had less of one." Her fingers scraped a maddening trail down my throat, igniting my senses again as something in her turned to wicked. "And I didn't hold on any better than you did," she admitted even as her touch turned to soothing again, though it did little to ease the ache she'd set aflame yet again. As I watched captivated, Lucy's expression changed again, sincerity and sober contemplation taking hold for a moment. "But then, it takes losing something to finally know it's worth keeping."
The corner of my mouth lifted into a half smirk as I stared up at the woman I loved and who with every breath, taught me more about myself and the goodness of the world I'd fought to protect but never understood. "And sometimes, it just takes almost losing it," I added with a tilt of my head.
In the morning, I left her, but this time, she knew why, this time she let me go knowing I'd make it right. Endgame and Graduation held too much significance to ignore, and I had to see things through if I'd ever make peace with the last four years of my life. I had a few more answers left to find, but I couldn't come by them at her side. Though I hated to do so, and though it tore at every fibre of my heart, eventually I pulled myself from Lucy's body, and gathered the clothes we'd finally managed to shed. My mouth lingered on her skin several times as I dressed, silent promises and an oath I'd keep, and even though it asked far too much of her to let me go again, she did. Lucy let me walk down the beach and place a phone call that would return me to the fold of a family she pretty much detested.
As I sat in the sand and waited for someone to retrieve me, my unfocused blue eyes surveyed the surf sightlessly, half-heartedly listening to the rhythmic crash of waves upon the unyielding beach. I knew she'd be where I'd left her, more than a few kilometres away, and yet, I could still feel her skin upon mine, her mouth tasting and taking what was freely given. I could still taste the salty slick of her skin and body and the heavy arousal that burst still upon my tongue. It was something I would NEVER forget. I could still remember the moment my world had contracted until there was only Lucy and then, I'd witnessed the universe reborn. Most of all though, I knew her, the feel of her beneath and around my fingers, of that moment when she gave me the world in her release.
There was so much I finally understood and it struck me it had taken losing nearly everything I knew, everything I'd believed in to finally find myself. I didn't know when I'd return to Lucy's side, but when I did, I knew I'd never leave. But as the crunch of gravel signified my teammates' arrival, I tucked Lucy away into my heart, stood, and spoke only two words to my former squad leader and best friend. "Narcotics, Max." The horror and understanding soothed some of my anger and I released the rest of it, instead climbing into the backseat of the Bug to collapse exhaustedly.
My last thought before I let sleep claim me left a faint smile on my lips as I remembered the last words I'd spoken against Lucy's skin. "Never let go."
And I knew she wouldn't, because as there are some things you can never forget, there are others you can never truly give up.