Last chapter... !
The red digits of the alarm clock were glowing lightly in the darkness of their room. Almost two a.m. That wasn't very late, not by their standards, but they were both exhausted. Their clothes had been tossed on the floor carelessly, weapons and bullet-proof vest on top of them. Tomorrow they would decide from which ones the blood could be washed out, the riffle and the vest would get back to the basement they belonged in, the .380 would be hided again in the nightstand... But tomorrow was another day.
"I'm calling in sick to work." Karen mumbled into the blanket.
She had stepped out of the bathroom a few minutes ago, with only her sleep pants on and her hair slightly wet from her shower, had dropped face first on the bed and hadn't move an inch since. Ugly purple bruises were forming on her pale skin.
She lifted her head.
"No shit, Frank. You don't really look like someone who could do a physical job right now."
He had been barely able to walk by the time they exited the warehouse, to the point he had accepted Matt's help without much of a fight. Karen swallowed the lump in her throat as she recalled stitching the wound – it was deep and still oozing.
"Have seen worst."
Though I would rather not.
Frank shifted a bit, ignoring the protestations of his cracked rib, and reached to her shoulder.
"Come here, Karen."
"Don't wanna move..."
"It's too cold to be on top of the blanket."
She grumbled and straigtened herself up, sitting back in the middle of the bed. She ran a hand through her hair, exhaled slowly, looked at Frank.
"That... that was..."
The words died on her lips.
"That was one hell of a night, yeah."
Karen nodded absent-mindly, then she finally proceeded to ease herself under the blanket. She laid down her head on her flexed arm, facing him.
"I love you." She whisper, so low that he almost didn't hear it. "I have been so afraid that... that maybe I might lose you..."
There was a tremor in her voice – she sounded like she was on the break of tears.
"Sh, sh, Karen, it's okay. I'm okay. I'm here."
Frank brushed his thumb accross her cheek, then closed the space between them. Her lips were soft against his. When they broke the kiss, neither of them moved appart, and her breath was warm against his skin. He closed his eyes.
At that point, Karen's gaze felt on her left hand, a few inch apart from both their faces, and she propped herself up on one elbow. Under his puzzled gaze, she took off the ring on her thumb and handed it to him.
She was scanning his face for any reaction, but it was unreadable. She smiled awkwardly, then hold back a sigh of relief when Frank finally reached out for the jewel. He looked at it for a few sec, turning it over in his fingers, then eyed his mutilated hand. The sight of the bloodied bandage made Karen's heart sink and she fought back the urge to look away.
"I don't know if you still want to wear it, or..."
She trailed off, bit her lower lip. His gaze met hers.
"Of course I still wanna wear it."
He finally put the ring on his right hand – the good one -, then his lips twitched in the shadow of a smile. Karen tried to smile back, felt something give away inside her and she began to cry. She wasn't sobbing or anything, she stayed very still, looking at Frank through her blurred vision, as the tears felt down her cheeks. He seemed shocked at first, then his expression softened. He opened his mouth, closed it, at a loss for words – as always – and finally he just grabbed her hand and squeeze it. Her grip tightened as she noticed the cold of the right against her fingers.
"That... that was my fault."
Her voice was shaking.
"You... getting injured... because of me..."
"Ya know, I'm good at it all by myself." He tried to joke, to make her feel better.
She let out a sad laugh.
"That's why you really didn't need that, after... after all."
"I've put you in danger more than once, Karen, so that's more than fair."
"You didn't had the choice." She insisted. "I... I could have backed up... leave this story alone..."
"No offense, sweetheart, but we both know you can't do that."
She pulled her hand away from his. The silence stretched out between the two of them. There was just the distant noises on the city – the whailing of sirens, some tires screeching in the street below their flats, even in the middle of the night. New York never slept.
Karen had stopped crying.
"I killed again."
She kept her eyes locked on a point of the sheets, not daring to meet his.
"I didn't even know how many men I shot today."
She paused for a long, long time.
"I always thought it was the line, that you were a psycho when you stopped counting."
She looked up at him and suddenly her face twist in... in something Frank had hoped to never catch on her pretty features. Fear. Disgust.
When he laid out a tentative hand in her direction, hoping he read her expression wrong, she pushed the blanket away and got up. Hell, that hurt much more than any physical injury he could get.
"Do you know how many men you've killed ?"
He didn't even bother to answer – she knew damn well he didn't. He had always thought counting was what drove you crazy.
Karen ran a hand through her hair.
"Do you think that makes me a bad person ?" She said.
That was when Frank realized, in a flash, that the person she was afraid and disgusted by was, not him as he had thought, but herself. Oddly, that wasn't really conforting.
"No, Karen, of course not."
He tried to get closer to her, but a shot of pain running though his leg told him otherwise.
"Don't you dare think that, don't you dare. You heard me, Karen ? You're the best person I've ever met, the one with the biggest heart... And I'm not saying that because I love you. God, I love you because of that. Because of your light."
She was staring at him, speechless.
"But you're not naive, you know what this world is. You know you have to fight to not let it snuff out your light. And that was what you did today."
"I... I don't really know if that's the truth, but... thank you."
She slipped back under the blanckets, so close that he felt her heat. Then her arms slipped around his body and she hugged him.
"I love you." She said again, the words escaping her lips almost like a prayer.
Her shoulders were shaking and he wondered if she was crying again. Her grip tightened and he couldn't help but let out a wince of pain. She began to pull back.
"Sorry, I f-"
Frank only hugged her harder.
Thanks for sticking with me that long, that really means a lot 3
As I said before, this was my first attempt at writing a multi-chapter fanfic, and it had been a cool journey ! Thanks to the ones who read, reviewed or followed, you help me go through it to the end !
And I'd love to hear your thoughts now that the story is over :)
(Btw, sorry if there are any mistakes, English isn't my mother tongue and I'm trying my best !)