The Heart, The Heart, The Heart
by TangledAria

She says, "I never want to be alone," and the city lights flash by, running over the pale skin of her face like a thousand setting suns, a thousand different possibilities.

He says, "I'll never leave your side," not because it's her request, but because it's her demand.


She says, "They'll never take you back now" and "You're damaged goods, broken in ways that no one wants to fix."

He says, nothing, because there's nothing he can say, and because her lips are on his, pushing hard enough to bruise.

She breaks away, eyes half-lidded. "When was the first time you slid off that razor's edge?"

His eyes are staring sightlessly ahead, not at her, not at the over-turned table, or the broken glass on the floor. Still, he manages to lift his head slightly; if it's death he's facing, he'll face it head on. "And how long have you bloodied your hands trying to climb on top of it?"

She rears back like a snake, and strikes just as quickly, because he's not playing the game right. She hits him, hand open across his face. "Don't you remember the rules? Tit for tat." She smiles, and settles back on her folded legs, sitting in front of him. "After all, they're your rules. And what a wonderful game you've created for us."

She kisses him again, and this time he doesn't fight it.


She says, "I dreamt we killed a hundred men together, you and I." Her hands on his, long, cold fingers clutching his. "You helped me, Bobby."

And, Never sits on the tip of his tongue, a vehement denial. But is it really that far from the realm of possibility? After all, he thinks, we're all capable.

Outside, he can hear the wind, rattling the tree limbs, howling like a voice, screaming like a madman.

Her voice, soft, fading. She says, "You will help me."


She says, "You were born for this" and "They're expecting it of you, watching your every move. They know what I know, what you should know by now: the world is waiting for you."

He says, "I'm not like that," and then her hand is under his chin, bending him back over the chair, exposing the pale curve of his throat.

She says, "You're wrong," her voice hissing in his ear. The plastic ties are cutting into his wrists, his arms and neck burning with the strain of her hand forcing him back.


She cuts him off saying, "I'm enjoying seeing you like this" and then, "You think I haven't noticed your cruelty, and maybe you haven't even noticed it yourself." Out of the corner of his eye he can see her, blonde hair like spun sunshine. She leans closer, whispering like a lover into his ear. "The way you hunt your suspects, the way you break them in that city-sanctioned interrogation room." A note of victory creeps into her voice. "You're no better than I am, Bobby."

His throat is dry, his voice rough. "And who are you breaking now? Me or your father?"

She smiles, her teeth glittering in the strange light. And then there's a pressure against his throat, and a pain, sharp and cold and terrible. She lets go of his chin and he can feel something hot and sticky pouring from his neck. And she's still smiling even as the world fades around him.


He wakes on the cold floor, hands unbound. Someone is crouching over him and he can tell from the perfume that it's Eames. And isn't that funny, how sharp his mind suddenly is?

She says, "Oh God," hand fumbling at his wrist, feeling for a pulse.

He says, "Eames" through the numb pain of his throat, and her eyes find his.

"Bobby," she says, soft and sad, before she calls over her shoulder, "Where the hell is that ambulance?"

He asks, "Where's Nicole?" and he doesn't mean it like she thinks, but he can see something breaking in her eyes anyway.


She says, "She put something in your coffee, or rather, her girlfriend did. We grilled her for 12 hours straight before she gave it up, and that was only after Deakins threatened her life." She's looking out the hospital window, at the muted TV, at anything but him.

He says, "I'm glad you found me."

She says, wistfully, "Really?"


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