As the group of Protagonists moved away from the safe, following Gwen, Dark was thinking furiously. They would need to find new safes and a way to communicate. He limped along, all but falling to the back of the pack with his thoughts. Suddenly he realised he'd seen something. He stopped and turned around, Kaiser all but walking into him.
“Whoa, hey. Something the matter?” Dark didn't answer, his eyes focused over Kaiser's shoulder. Robyn and Minder, a little way ahead, stopped too.
“Kai?” Rbyn said. “Is something wrong?”
“I don't know,” Kai replied. “Dark? What's got into you?”
“I thought I-” he muttered, and moved past Kaiser, back up the street and started hobbling across the road causing a cacophony of swearing and horn-honking from drivers.
“Kai, what's happening?” Robyn demanded.
“Where is he going?” asked Minder. Kaiser shook his head.
“Dark appears to be trying to kill himself. He's just staggered across the road.” he said for Robyn's benefit.
“What! Is he okay?”
“He's fine. You'd better call Gwen. Wait here, I'll go get the lunatic back.”
“All right,” Minder said, as Kaiser set to following Dark.
Dark hurried across the road, the pain in his leg all but forgotten. He was sure, almost certain in fact, that he'd seen Archi walking towards the ex-Safe. But behind, following her... His heart leapt in his chest at the though it might have been her. Oblivious to the curses hurled his way Dark ran up the street. If she was with Archi, she was all right. If they were hear it meant she was looking for him. His heart swelled again as he spotted them further down the pavement.
“Laura!” he called, hurrying to catch them up. “Archi!” At first he wasn't sure if he had been heard, but as he got closer Dark noticed both women had stopped, Archi looking back towards him. He stopped a yard or so away breathing heavily. He had been right – it was her. The silhouette was more toned and the short hair was back to it's natural mousy brown rather than flame-touched as it has been when he last saw her.
“My love!” he cried out, tears springing to his eyes. The woman turned.
Dru turned at the sound of a man's voice behind her. At first she wasn't sure if she was seeing things. Behind her, leaning on a lamp-post sucking in air was Darkliquid. She stared at him, taken completely by surprise.
Breath in. Breath out.
Dru launched herself at Dark, a shrill whistle emanating from her open mouth. Dark was nonplussed. This was not how he had expected the reunion to go. But now, as she flew at him, he noticed for the first time her LitPol uniform. For a spilt second he understood before all the air in his body left him and he doubled over in pain from the jab in his solar plexus she had just given him. He lay now on the ground looking up. There was no mercy in those blue eyes, nothing but flint and ice and hate.
Dark was led on his side, one hand clamped to his chest the other flailing against the paving slabs. With brutal efficiency, Dru saw how she could cause the same amount of pain to him as he had to her. She brought her booted foot down as hard as she could on his grasping fingers and was rewarded by a scream of pain and the sick wet crunching of bone as she ground his hand beneath her heel.
Then there was a blossom of pain at the back of her head.