2007-08-19: DF: "Do You Love Me?" "Do I //What?//"

Starring:

DFKate_icon.gif DFPeter2_icon.gif

Summary: For two years she's lived with him, fought with him, starved with him. Two years her bed is his. If that's not love, what is?

Dark Future Date: August 19, 2008

"Do You Love Me?" "Do I What?"


Old Safehouse

One would think hunting a serial killer who happens to have a veritable surprise buffet walking around the country would be easier. Peter's spent a moderate amount of the last few days, on and off, traveling around the city invisible, or in various states of disguise. Still, the killer hasn't struck again, as far as anyone can tell. The streets are certainly not quiet, but the biggest threat is someone… he honestly doesn't feel is much of a threat. Even if his wife, who finally awoke from her coma, is practically hysterical with what they might do— he seemed pretty cold in comparison. And he had work to do, he'd say. A serial killer to hunt down. Which is what he was doing when the broadcast interrupts regularly scheduled programming in a bus station that he's scouting out. As he watches the beginning of it, he glowers. The screen of the television cracks and breaks, and he vanishes in a swirl of air, only to teleport to the location that she broadcast from. One he recognizes. One of their old safehouses.

"…I will be alone. You're welcome to shoot me if I'm lying." Kate feels Peter's presence before she ever hears him. She looks left, and doesn't see him, then right. Oh, shit. She leans forward to shut off the camera and end her broadcast. "Peter," she breathes out in a startled breath. She rises to her feet and takes a step back. "I- I can explain…"

"What are you doing?" Oh, Peter's furious. He looks towards the camera that she used to send this broadcast and then makes a haphazard gesture and it goes flying off of the table and into the wall. Someone's definitely having a bit of a tantrum today, and with him, this could be bad for her. But maybe she can calm him down.

Kate's eyes get wide and she flinches when he sends the camera flying. She takes another step back. It's been a while since she's made him this mad. "Peter, please! I had to do something! They cut off Nathan's finger!" She rubs her own hand absently, still feeling the lingering effects of her vision. "I can't… can't just let them-" She presses her lips together, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"They have healers good enough to get it back, I bet," Peter growls angerly, not quite looking at her yet. And when he does look back, he sees the tears. This usually softens him a little— but right now… he stalks over and he raises his hand and actually slaps her across the face. Not hard. Hard enough to be felt, but she knows his strength by now. This was a baby-touch in comparison. "This is your fault." He states clearly. "If you'd have told me, or anyone else, about what was going on with Nathan, this could have been avoided. Instead, you allowed me and everyone else who cared about him to believe he'd disappeared and become a monster. No wonder they cut his finger off."

As soon as he begins to move toward her, Kate's eyes grow impossibly wide with panic, and she cries out, "Peter, don-" The slap cuts her off and she fights not to reach up to touch her stinging face. That was tame compared to what he's capable of, but the reason hurts more than the blow. "I know!" she sobs. "That's why I have to tell Jack!" Her whole body trembles with fear of what's to come. "I have to save him, Peter!"

"After all these months— and months— of people wanting to kill him… You choose now to try to be a hero," Peter doesn't slap her again, but her does keep his hand raised, only this time it's balling into a fist. "Yes, they cut off his finger. And telling them would have probably stopped it, may keep them from killing him, but it may not. The damage is done, Kate. After all he's done— I bet he'd rather die than go back and do more." He says that as if he knows it from experience. It's her desperation that makes him ask this, thickly, something he's avoided asking for the last two years, even if he's probably thought it a million times over, "Are you still in love with him?"

Kate's eyes shut tightly for a few moments when Peter makes that fist and her whole body tenses, listening to him speak and bracing for impact. When he asks his question, however, her eyes open again and she stares bewildered at her husband. She begs, "Don't ask me that," and insists, "I gave my heart to you."

The hand lowers, and Peter spins away from her for a moment, stalking towards the wall. Could be he's fully intending to punch it, but he doesn't. Instead he turns back around and responds, "You married me. But you can't bring yourself to share anything of yourself with me. Not unless I force you to, not unless you're cornered by it." A month ago these words would have been much harsher, but then he got cornered by his own lie and had to confess to it. "I kept one lie— you've kept so many more. So how do I know where your heart actually lies."

"I have never lied to you!" Kate's hands ball into tiny fists at her sides, nails digging into her palms and drawing bloody half moons in the skin. "I don't perhaps share everything with you, but I have resolved never to lie to you. I used to love him, Peter. The man I fell in love with died so long ago." She swallows a lump in her throat and reaches up to wipe away her tears, but leaves a smear of blood in their place. "I'm beginning to wonder if the man I married is dead, too."

"You know that's not true," Peter's anger remaining heavy on his face. "Not being honest— not telling me things of importance— is lying to me. Don't use fucking semantics." Yes, he's angry enough to curse. It's rare even in these days that he'd do that. "You don't love him anymore? He's already dead? Then why are you risking your own life to get him back. To save something that's already gone? Because you love him." Now it's an accusation. The man she'd married had been notoriously insecure, always living in the shadow of his brother, always needing some kind of reassurance. "If I'm dead— then you're the one who killed me."

Kate actually finds herself at a loss for words. She looks down at the floor and then looks at her hands, and the blood. "I…" She lifts her head again and she asks, "Peter. If you could go back and change it… Make it so you never married me… Would you?" Meeting her husband's past self left the question lingering on her mind, but she never felt she had to ask it until now. Much like he never felt he had to ask her if she still loved his brother. The kind of question one's afraid of the answer to.

In any other relationship, this sort of question would be dismissed as rhetorical. Completely baseless. But they both know that this isn't a relationship where that sort of thing is simply responded to. It's possible. As opposed to impossible. It pulls Peter up short, the blood on her face and hands catching his attention, though he knows they're not his doing. Not this time. "There's many things I would change. Including things with you. But I wouldn't cut you out of my life entirely."

"Oh, God." Kate moves to sit down in her chair again. "I told him that you were the best thing to ever happen to me." She buries her face in her hands, heedless of the blood there. "I said I wouldn't change a thing if it meant losing you." A low, miserable whimper escapes her lips and she just pulls her knees into her chest and hides her face against them.

As usual, Peter could read her mind to figure out what she's talking about… but he doesn't. Instead he walks over and— stops midstep. "Maybe in a different world, things would have turned out better," he says, glancing towards the ceiling, then the wall that he smashed her camera on. Whatever wires she used to broadcast on a government band… he doesn't want to bother with it. "Go have your meeting. Save him, if that's what you want. Maybe once you're done with that, you'll decide to save me, too." Instead of teleporting out, this would be the first time he actually moves to use the door in a very long time.

"Maybe you can save me," Kate responds quietly. She doesn't lift her head, but she turns to rest one cheek against her legs and stare out at the room unfocused. Her eyes roll skyward. "If I thought there were anybody up there to pray to, I might."

"What do you think I've been trying to do for the last two years?" Peter asks, hand resting on the door. "You're stronger than this. I know you are." It's hard to tell, with how she's curled up right now, but he does glance back at her, watching her for a moment, "When you've helped save him… you know where I'll be. You're the only one who does." The newest safehouse hasn't been revealed to anyone except them. With a pause, he opens the door.

"I'll come back to you just as soon as the meeting's over, Peter." She always comes back. Kate gets up from the chair and quickly approaches her husband. "But… Kiss me goodbye, though. Just in case." It's a dangerous world they live in, now more than ever, and she doesn't want to part on angry terms.

The door remains open, but there's a hint of hesitation. Then a sigh and Peter turns around to face her and looks over her blood streaked face. There's another pause, before he reaches up and touches her cheeks, leaning forward to kiss her. Not impassioned, and more gentle. It lasts for a time, and when he pulls back, the pain in her hands has faded. The lingering stint on her cheek, however, will not. Partial healing has always been how it goes with this… It chose the worst injury first. The cheek won't even bruise. "It's not goodbye. Because there is no 'just in case'." He says that as if he's sure she'll come back, or maybe it's just something he has to believe in.

"I love you, Peter." With the cuts on her hands healed, she reaches up to touch his face, pulling him back in for another kiss. He may not feel it has to be so impassioned, but she's always been an emotional sort. Some things just never change. She's scared. Whether it's scared that she may die without seeing him again, or scared that he'll just leave and she'll have nothing to return to. When she breaks off that second kiss, she just leaves her forehead resting against his. "I'll be at the Deveaux building. If I'm not back by nightfall, start there."

"If you're not back by nightfall, then Derex and the Saints won't have time to blink before they're missing a lot more than their fingers," Peter says darkly, voice cold and threatening. That kiss didn't warm him up too much at all. They have something to fear in him. That's for sure. Then again… sometimes his own wife does these days. Protect what's yours. Avenge it if you can't. Isn't that the way it goes? "I'll see you tonight," he adds, releasing her face and stepping back. Though he'd been walking out before, this time he does just disappear, the familiar shifting of the air as he teleports from one place, to another.

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