By Trackula, for Alexander - Godslayer

Kim leaned back, resting against the wall behind her, her arms crossed at her stomach seemingly for warmth, though in fact they were to hide her trembling. The room was dark and shadowed, the only source of light being from the small windows at the corners and the full moon outside.

She regarded the small slight figure sitting silently across from her. Her face almost completely hidden by the hood of the sweatshirt she wore beneath her leather jacket. Only her small pouted lips were visible, black against pale green.

Her companion gestured vaguely towards the wicker chair across from herself. "Sit, will you? You're making me self conscious."

Kim swallowed and after a moment of hesitation, she took the offered seat. Her body feeling cold despite the tropical heat they were swathed in. With Herculean effort she tried to hide her self-consciousness and uncertainty from her companion but knew it was futile.

She'd always been an awful liar, but that went double for Agni.

"H-how have you been?" she asked, a slight hike in her throat, "It feels like it's been-"

"Oh cut the fucking pleasantries, will you?" Agni cut off harshly, "I'm not some old high school buddy, or distant relative so don't treat me like it."

Kim's mouth gaped as she struggled for a response after the rude interruption. But before she could formulate a response, Agni lowered her head slightly.

"Sorry…" she spoke again, apologetically. "Didn't mean to snap at you. I know I'm a bitch. Nervous, I guess."

She sighed and leaned back in her seat, her teeth lightly kneading her lower lip. Kim felt a well of emotions at seeing the familiar tic again, after so long.

"Agni," she started, summoning up her resolve, "Why am I here?"

The younger girl lowered her head even further. There was a minute's pause before she responded, "Because I asked you to come?"

Kim's eyes narrowed, an old anger starting to come to the surface, "You're right. You did ask me to. Which is really odd. See, I pretty distinctly remember you saying to me over and over again that you never wanted to see me again. Ever."

Though her face was nearly concealed, and already pale as death, Kim could see what little color remained to her companion drain from her face. In her bitterness, Kim couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction at the sight.

"It was one heck of a three-year-anniversary, after all," Kim continued, five years of stored up bitterness spilling out all at once.

"A nice dinner, dancing, seeing a movie, gifts and a breakup from Hell," her voice getting louder and louder as her carefully maintained composure continued to crumble and fall apart.

"Three years we were together, Three YEARS! Then you just blow it all away, break my fucking heart and disappear off the face of the Earth!" she shouted, red faced. "Do you have ANY idea how much that hurt me?! How depressed I was, how long it took me to get back up and get on with my life?!"

Agni's head was ducked nearly to her knees where she sat, her shoulders trembling with each word.

"Your mom wouldn't tell me anything, not even when I begged her to tell me why, why you'd do it. I figured it out pretty quickly though that you'd asked her not to. She knew the reason why, but she'd sworn not to tell me or anyone else." She smiled bitterly.

"I had to tell someone," Agni mumbled, gloved fingers clenched tight enough that Kim could hear the leather strain.

"Had to tell someone what?" Kim glared, her teeth clenching when no answer came.

"What, Agni?! What did you have to talk about with her that you couldn't with me!?" she shouted, standing up.

Again, there was silence. Exasperated and trembling with anger and frustration, Kim stormed away towards one of the windows to look out at the beach, and the Pacific Ocean swaying against it.

"I know we had fights," she said eventually. "More and more near the end, but I hoped we would work through them. I thought there was a chance. You were getting so angry, so easily. Anything I said seemed to set you off…"

She saw Agni nod slightly out of her periphery but remain silent. "But things had started to calm down, and I hoped that anniversary dinner would mark a fresh new start for us. I made sure everything that night was perfect."

"You did a good job, of course," Agni added, breaking her silence finally.

Kim paused, then nodded. "But before we went back home, you just…"

"Exploded," Agni finished, "I know. I'd… been planning to."

"WHAT?!" Kim shouted, whipping around. "You INTENDED to go off on me like that?! For how long?!"

"A month," Agni muttered shamefully, "I intended to do it sooner, but you were right. The night was too perfect. I almost chickened out."

"What the hell are you talking about, Agni, why would you ever plan something like that?!" Kim asked, a wave of hurt clutching at her chest at the thought that one of her worst memories was premeditated.

"I had to make it hurt," Agni spoke, turning towards her, her shoulders slumped. "If I just left a note, or left one day, you'd use Wade and your favors to find me in a day. I didn't want to be found. I didn't want you to come after me. I couldn't handle that, not then."

Kim let that confession slowly drift through her. Her anger and frustration gave way to confusion and wariness. She walked back towards her seat and carefully sat back across from her smaller companion.

"Why couldn't you just tell me you wanted to… to leave me…?" she asked softly, consciously keeping her voice from cracking.

"Because I was ashamed," Agni answered almost immediately, "and because I was a complete fucking coward. It's that simple."

"Ashamed of why you… wanted to leave?" Kim asked, struggling to understand what could make the girl from her memory feel so.

"Five years later and I'm still ashamed," Agni confessed, punctuating her confession with a matter-of-fact shrug.

"You're going to tell me why, now," Kim stated. It wasn't a question, it was obvious. "That's why you sent me that letter."

Agni nodded slightly a moment later.

Kim smirked coldly, "I knew it was you. Nobody sends letter anymore except you. At least when it's about something important to you. You never shook that habit."

Agni almost smiled, but it came out more like a bitter grimace.

"So," Kim continued softly. "Why?"

"Because..." Agni mumbled, "I was tired of resenting you, maybe even starting to hate you."

"What?" Kim asked, not sure she even heard right. "But-"

"Don't interrupt," Agni stated firmly. "This is hard enough for me as is, kay?"

Kim slowly nodded, still reeling from the blunt statement.

"I know you don't get it," Agni conceded, "You're the girl who can do anything. But for someone who can do anything, you really have a lot of trouble understanding other people. You have no idea what it's like being the lover of someone as special as you."

She took a deep breath to calm her trembling, than continued. "You could save space stations, fight off demons, capture master criminals, but it was all 'No big'. You weren't being humble though, you really don't see those things as some huge deal like a normal person would. Because to you, they aren't."

She looked past Kim towards the far window, "But whenever I accomplished anything, you'd make some huge spectacle of it. Acting like the things I did somehow out shined you. Even though it was obvious they didn't."

"Saving the whole planet is no big deal and getting who-the-fuck-knows how many degrees isn't a big deal, but I beat one villain, or pass one class and you set off fireworks."

She held up a hand when Kim opened her mouth to respond. "No interruptions!"

"If it was such a big deal for me to struggle to accomplish even a fraction of what you do on a daily basis, it can only mean you didn't see me as your equal. You were looking down on me, whether you knew it or not. The whole time," she scoffed, feeling an old sense of bitterness growing inside her.

"When I was with you, I felt like those kids who ride the short bus. The longer we were together, the worse it got."

Kim's face reddened and she visibly struggled to keep her mouth shut and let her companion continue at her own pace. Five years ago, she would have failed that struggle, Agni subconsciously noted.

"But… I was sure I could work past it," she added, her voice softening. "I felt like I wasn't your equal, and it ate at me inside but… I just l-loved you… so much, I thought I could bear it…"

Kim looked down at the wooden floor, her eyes moistening. She reached up to wipe the budding tears away futilely.

"But then, when you visited me in that hospital… after I killed Doctor Cipher…" her fingers clenched again, gripping her knees.

"You looked at me with such PITY! Poor fucking Agni, had to kill an evil douchebag, oh I'm sure she did her best, right? I could have saved all those people and captured him alive, but she isn't NEARLY up to my level so I understand! Poor FUCKING Agni!"

"I- I never-" Kim struggled, the memory of that awful event coming back to her. She remembered rushing to the hospital to visit her girlfriend after the incident, and the look of hurt on her face… but she never in her wildest dreams imagined it was because of something like this. That this ugliness had been festering in her for so long.

"You did," Agni stated softly. "I know you better than anyone else, remember. I doubt you realized it, in fact I'm sure you didn't, but it was there."

"Even if that's true…" Kim answered, a strange emptiness to her words, "Why didn't we ever talk about this? Why did you run away instead of us… trying to fix this somehow?"

Agni's eyes were hidden, but she could feel her gaze penetrating the edge of her hood up towards her. "You have no idea how disgusting it feels to feel this kind of resentment or anger towards someone as special as you are. Someone you care about."

She leaned back and crossed her arms, "I really hated myself that whole time. Feeling disgusted at myself for resenting you. Thinking I wasn't good enough since I was always in your shadow. I hated the kind of person I was becoming. And I was sure that telling you would change nothing… You couldn't change who you are, even if I asked you to. And like hell would I ever ask you to."

There was a long pause between them as her words settled in. Finally, Kim broke the silence.

"So you decided to leave. A month before our anniversary."

Agni nodded slowly, "I felt like I needed to. If I was ever going to find myself again, I was sure I had to make a clean break. Just be alone and see what I make of myself there. I spent my childhood locked away, and then all that time after surrounded by you and your friends and family. I needed my freedom to know myself."

Kim's eyes narrowed, "and you breaking my heart into a million pieces and stealing away into the night was your best idea?"

At the very least, Agni had the grace to look ashamed of herself. "I know, it was a really cruel thing to do, and had all the subtlety of an a-bomb. But I couldn't think of a better option for what I needed. Like yanking off a band-aid."

"That 'band-aid' had me in a depression for over two months," Kim muttered, her thoughts briefly going back to that dark time.

"I'm sorry," Agni softly added. As difficult it was for her to apologies in the past, she found it strangely easy to say those words now. "I'm sorry for hurting you like that. I knew you weren't trying to hurt me on purpose."

She swallowed hard, and then forced herself to go on, "I know a lot of this is my fault, and I acted like a fucking retard. I won't ask for forgiveness, but I felt like you deserved to know the truth."

Kim just shook her head, still processing all this.

Another moment passed before Agni added as an afterthought, "I was too young to start dating someone so seriously, nowhere near mature enough. Especially for a first relationship. I was just a dumb city kid."

Kim finally looked up, her eyes red, and she gave a weak smile. "You'll hate this, but that's what Ron and Mo both said afterwards. You were too young."

Agni winced and slumped back, "You're right. I don't like that. Makes my skin crawl to think that doofus and I agree on anything…"

"So… what did you do with yourself for five years?" Kim asked, desperate for some lighter conversation to offset the stress of the situation. She gestured to the small island house they were meeting in. "Seems like you've done pretty well for yourself."

"This shithole?" Agni muttered with bemusement. "I won this place in a poker game. That's all. Love the neighbors though."

"There are no neighbors," Kim drawled.

"Exactly," Agni smirked. "But seriously… well… lots of stuff. Been all over the place. Spent over a year with the Dragons. That was pretty cool. Taught me some awesome moves. Made some Ninja friends."

"The Dragon Clan?" Kim asked distastefully, thinking back on that clan of thieves and mercenaries.

"I knew you'd act like that," Agni scoffed softly. "At least they aren't anything like those Monkey tools. But that aside, just traveled, met people, got into trouble, got out of trouble, tried the hero thing off and on, then the mercenary-thief thing… was briefly courted by those Global Justice douche-bags if you can believe that shit."

"I can believe it," Kim shrugged. "You've always been stronger than you think you are."

"Don't start," Agni groaned.

Wanting desperately to avoid a possible argument, Kim settled back and sighed rubbing her forehead, fighting off a stress headache.

"But… why? I mean… why now?" she asked finally, a question she had wondered since she first received the letter. "Why did you choose now after five years to finally tell me all this?"

She was surprised when Agni suddenly ducked her head down again in the same contrite position as earlier.

"W-well…," she muttered, "It's… something happened recently, and it got me thinking about my life, okay? That's all."

"Will you tell me what that something is?" Kim asked carefully, worried about her companion's sudden change of mood.

"Argh… simply put, I got involved in something recently," she answered back, "a bit of an adventure, I guess. Would make some awesome Hollywood drivel. But the details don't matter. Well… except for one."

Kim nodded, not wanting to interrupt, a strange sense of uneasiness building in her gut.

"I can't think of a way to say this that isn't dramatic, but here goes;… I almost died," Agni stated simply, wincing at the sudden gasp from her companion.

"Oh my god, are you okay?" Kim quickly asked, instantly crossing the distance between them and grasping Agni's hands in hers. She gasped at how hot they were in her grasp. She knew Agni's body incredibly well; they should not have been nearly this hot when not using her powers. "Agni, what is…"

Agni sighed and pulled her hands away. "As to your question, if I'm okay… I don't know."

She reached up and slowly pulled her hood off, and removed a pair of near-black goggles Kim hadn't been able to see up until then. Kim stepped back and covered her mouth in horror.

Agni's face was covered in a web-work of crack-like scars branching from her eyes, each glowing faintly as if some inner energy was trying to push through, as if eroding away at its fleshly barrier. But Kim hardly noticed the scars, severity notwithstanding. It was Agni's eyes that had Kim's full attention. They were solid spheres of blinding green light cascading from her eye sockets. Kim had to wince and look away until Agni fixed her goggles back into place, cutting off the light completely.

Kim clutched her shoulders and looked into the dark lenses in concern and horror, her mouth gaping impotently as words escaped her.

"It's not as bad as it looks," Agni mumbled self-consciously. "It doesn't exactly hurt…"

"But… what…?!" Kim struggled.

"I was put into a position where I had to push my powers further than I'd ever had before," Agni answered, "way past the point of being able to worry about my own safety. Stupid self-sacrificing bullshit in hindsight but I learned some bad habits from this one redhead…"

She backed away from Kim's grasp and looked away. "I could feel my glow slowly eating away at me as I kept pushing it. I had to. There were a lot of people who would have died if I quit. So I kept going until everything started to fade, I could feel myself just… drifting away."

She shuddered, and this time allowed Kim's hand to rest on her shoulder rather than pull away. "I could feel it, and I think for just a moment, I really was gone."

"Gone?" Kim asked softly, the fighting the implication, "You don't really mean-"

"I don't know," Agni cut off gently, "I didn't understand any of it. Except one thing. When I was gone, all I could think about…"

She may have blushed, but her scars made it impossible to tell, "I remembered you, just you. I remembered how much you meant to me, and it somehow, someway… pulled me back."

She looked down at herself and smiled humorlessly. "A bit worse for wear, admittedly. But back all the same."

Kim hazarded a response, "Agni, are you saying that…"

"I don't know what I'm saying," Agni scoffed. "Just that a near death experience may have given me a bit of a new perspective on things. Made me reconsider my priorities and decisions. People I love, and people I hurt."

She stepped back from Kim and reached a hand into her jacket, and pulled free a card scrawled with penmanship. Taking Kim's hand, she placed it inside. A brief glance at it was enough for Kim to realize Agni was giving her contact information.

"I don't know how much I could have changed in five years, if at all…" Agni started, seeming uncharacteristically shy. "Maybe nothing has changed and I'm just feeling sentimental from having almost turned into a fucking big green sun… but, if you want to stay in contact with me… or visit me, I dunno… something…"

She looked up into Kim's eyes, her own concealed by black plastic, "I'd like that."

A long moment passed, before Kim curled her fingers around the information and smiled softly. "I'd like that too."

Author's Notes: This was a gift for my best friend, Alexlayer's birthday. He wanted a one-shot featuring a Kim/Agni pairing, and while I don't personally like the pairing, I love the big guy so this is what I came up with. I posted it at his request, and it is unedited. Enjoy.