Blood In The Snow

He tore his shirt open so she could read the name that had been carved into his chest.

Angry, twisted scars - A name she knew from another life, over and over.

That's why he was tracking them down.

"She left me a parting gift." He growled.

The scar across his throat gave his voice an unnatural rasp.

"But I'm saving her for last."

Flash let her feel the metal even before he’d torn the rest of the shirt away. It was all through him, reinforcements, power sources – just like the automatons at the camps.

He was here for her, but she’d already survived much worse. She’d spent the last three years enduring lingering, murderous prejudice. She'd saved Paige from being lost completely to the thing that had made them both Sanguinem. She’d earned what little happiness she had. There were no guards denying her a name here - no one else deciding when she'd eat or when she'd sleep. And she'd found Alex.

She wasn’t going to let it end here. She wasn’t going to die in retribution for a name that wasn't hers.

The snow at her feet was untouched, they didn't heat the streets this far away from the hub - She’d felt him stalking her long before she’d ever seen him, and she’d led him here, through the alleyways - away from bystanders.

“I was looking for two of you here, but I’ll take just the one.”

She didn’t answer. He was either probing for information, or trying to distract her, she wasn’t sure which.

Eyes still cold, he smiled at her.

“Sorores suas in Sanguine." He spat. "You were too fucked up on neph for conversation back then too."

And then he charged.

His first swing went wide. He was fast, but too committed, and she was able to use his momentum to unbalance him and send him skidding away from her in the snow.

Ordinarily, the impact would have broken his ribs, but the metal under his skin made him much harder to hurt. In her full deployment loadout, this fight would already have been over, but she was dressed for fighting the cold, not enhanced baselines.

He climbed to his feet laughing.

His scar made the noise horrible.

“You know you can’t hurt me.”

Kate ignored him. His second attack was no better than the first. He was too sure of himself, and his arrogance made him sloppy, but she still couldn’t do any lasting damage. He'd had all his joints reinforced, and she wasn’t able to break anything – even in full flash.

His lack of traction let her keep him off balance and at a distance - but he kept coming, and he wasn't getting any slower.

His third attack made contact. It didn't knock her down, but it was hard enough to separate them, and he was definitely strong enough to hurt her.

He laughed again.

"So much for the best of the Aegis."

Then, behind him, there was the sudden crunch of snow, and a familiar voice.

"She wasn't the best."

A metal spike burst through his chest from behind, spattering the snow with blood. He coughed and spat more blood into the snow - annoyed. But when he spun, snarling, to face the attack, his attacker drove another spike into his throat. It was long enough to keep her well outside his reach, and it let her put her full weight into the thrust. He panicked and tried to scream, but she pushed until the spike met air, holding him suspended until she was certain he was dead.

Kate stood stunned."Paige?"

Paige withdrew the spike, letting the body collapse between them.

"He found two."