by Kathryne

Sala lay flat on her back, staring at the ceiling. She'd been trying to get comfortable in her bunk all night - first throwing off the covers, then pulling them on; lying on her left side, her right side, her stomach. Finally she'd given up and opened her eyes wide, letting the darkness creep through her.

Every time she closed her eyes, she heard Diana's voice accusing her, condemning her.

Don't you care about anything?

And her own reply; it, too, haunted her.

Like what?

The moment she'd laid eyes on Diana, she'd thought there was something different about her. Bravery didn't often impress Sala - usually it was the other way around - but something about Diana's unflinching courage had shaken her unexpectedly. And Diana was such a pretty thing. Sala smiled slightly.

Unbidden, a vision of Diana formed in Sala's mind's eye. She could almost imagine that the other woman was in the room with her, was coming towards the bed with a welcoming smile on her face...

The one of the shadows shifted; the form of that infuriating Phantom appeared, and Diana turned towards him, smiling even more broadly.

"No!" Sala cried, sitting straight up in bed. Diana and the Phantom vanished, the faint light in the room revealing nothing more than a wardrobe and a nightstand. She fell back against her pillows, grinding the heels of her hands into her eyes as if to erase her mental image of Diana.

Oh, she'd found something to care about, all right.

When that filthy pirate had laid his hands on Diana, Sala had lashed out furiously, knocking him away, and had reveled in the thankful look Diana had given her. She'd stuck close to Diana after that, holding on to her tightly as if to protect her, but secretly basking in the warm rush she felt in Diana's presence. "Us girls should stick together," she'd said; what she'd really meant had been "Please don't leave my side."

They had worked so well as a team, communicating with each other as if they'd been doing so for years and escaping the pirates easily. And when they'd been trapped inside the small, cramped space of the submarine, unsure of what was happening or whether they would make it out of the cavern safely, Diana had put her arms around Sala's waist and held on tightly. The resulting hot wave had flushed Sala's cheeks so that she had hardly been able to think straight enough to eventually bring the submarine to the surface.

They'd succeeded in containing the evil of the Sengh Brotherhood, and Drax had disappeared inside the exploding mountain, so she supposed that she should feel proud of herself, or something. Instead, all she could feel was the burning of her hand where Diana had gripped it inside the submarine.

Sala groaned and covered her head with a pillow. Resigned to not being able to sleep, she waited impatiently for dawn. When the morning came, she'd be taking Diana away from the Phantom and back to the States, and for a little while, at least, she'd have that warmth all to herself.


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