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"Lock," Arsyn says, but Cat already feels her power working on it, same as it's been working on every computer on this floor - same as it's been working on, say, the beams that keep this building upright.

Happy thoughts, Cat.

If Arsyn's going to stick around (one happy thought) and keeps wearing that outfit (two happy thoughts), at some point, it's probably going to spontaneously unravel (three).

The lock sputters and dies, and Arsyn gives her a look a girl could get used to.

"You were saying?"


The way Cat's power works is: it breaks things. All the things, all the time.

"I should warn you, I've never been in a relationship for longer than three months," Cat says.

"Funny," Arsyn says. "Neither have I."

(Cat figures the TV in her hotel room's probably never going to be the same again, and she has her doubts about the coffee machine, too. The bed keeps standing, though, both their best efforts notwithstanding, and the coffee table stays in one piece, and all of the lights still turn on and off when they're supposed to, which is somewhat of a small miracle.)


"Let me put it this way," Lucky says, blowing smoke that vanishes into nothingness. "You're a powder keg, she's a spark. You're dry wood, she's a forest fire. No way, no how this partnership thing's going to result in anything but a whole lot of fireworks and shit blowing up."

(Cat feels her power reaching, straining; the air conditioning in Lucky's office is a thing of beauty and complex engineering, and the only even vaguely technological thing within fifty yards besides.)

Arsyn grins, smug and cat-like, and Cat wants to take her back to that hotel room all over again, give really wrecking the place another try.

"Then again, maybe you're just cancelling each other out." Lucky looks thoughtful. Lucky knows everyone who is anyone, and a few someones who are no one besides - rumor has it, she's got a hand and a say in everything that goes on in this city, legal or illegal. "Hotel's still standing, after all."

Arsyn's grin slips (and Cat will look back at this moment later and think: this was it, then - this was when).

This was when you made up your mind that you were OK with me breaking anything at all except you. This is where you drew the line.

(And the funniest part is: she gets it. Now.)


The thing about Arsyn's power is: it's not this out of control firestorm everyone seems to think it is.

"Look," Welvin says, "I'd love to help you ladies out, really, I would."

For a man who's been known to refer to himself as 'Da Great', his security is less than impressive.

Arsyn's on his left, standing; Cat's to his right, sitting down. (There's a gun in a drawer of his desk that used to work, and a computer on top of it that's died the moment Cat walked in or possibly three seconds after that, when Arsyn fried the motherboard by way of announcing their arrival.)

Welvin's gaze keeps going back and forth between the two of them until he either gives up or picks Cat as the one most likely to be in charge.

"Sadly, I'm just a businessman. I don't know anything. You say these people you're looking for are somewhere in London? News to me."

"I say we start burning people until someone squeals," Arsyn says. "Starting with him."

Cat feels Arsyn's power push against hers. Nothing too aggressive or forceful, more like a kitten butting its head against your leg. (You can indulge the kitten or ignore it; it's really not the kitten's call.)

"Sounds like a plan," she says.


Cat doesn't ask, after, Would you really have gone through with it?.

It's fair enough, in a way; Arsyn doesn't ask, Would you have let me?

They find a cheap hotel in a bad neighborhood, and when Cat wakes up, half the room and most of the hotel is on fire. (Not the half that's between the bed and the door, and not the bit that's between their room and the exit; like Cat - or possibly more than Cat, Arsyn is a professional).

"Feel like getting some late night coffee?" Arsyn asks. "I know a place."

Cat just shrugs, by way of saying Sure.

She's not really expecting the flicker of heat against her lips by way of a quick kiss, or for the place that Arsyn knows to be Arsyn's place.

It's been four months.

Any moment now, something's going to break.

At some point, Cat figures she's going to have to stop telling herself that.

Maybe tomorrow.