Hunter drove the car into the small, private airport she had directed him to. The tires skid as he braked, shutting the car off and turning to look at her.
Her hand whipped out and held onto the dash to keep herself from flying through the window. “Jesus Hunter. I would hate to die by flying through the windshield of a car after all of that.” She inhaled sharply. “That’s it.” She pointed to the small plane. “That’s the one that is going to take us home.”
Nodding, he got out of the car and ran around, opening the door for her to get out.
Pursing her lips, she nodded to the nervous man standing in the small hangar. “Go on, tell him we are all set to go and we will be on our way.”
Hunter’s brows creased as her looked her over. “Why don’t we go together?”
She could feel the blood pooling in the seat beneath her. She didn’t think she would make it onto the plane, she knew for sure she wouldn’t make it home. She would be stuck here, in the country she had tried so hard to escape and worked so hard to never return to.
At least she was out of Refuge.
The look on his face made him want to tell her. She had never been the kind of person to sugar-coat things for people. She had always been upfront, not wanting to waste time. She should just tell him she wasn’t going back, she would sit here in this car until Aleksandr figured it out and showed up just in time to see her slip away, completely out of his grasp.
It would be her last triumph over him. Within reach but unable to ever be caught by him again. All these years plotting and searching, wasted.
“Hey, come on. Let’s go.” He looked at her. “You look a little banged up. Let me help you.”
She swatted his hand away. “I don’t need your help.” She told him.
“Then get up,” He countered. “Because I am not leaving here without you.” His jaw was set as his eyes bore into hers, challenging her to make him prove it.
Letting out a deep breath, she tried not to snarl at him as she forced herself out of the car. She leaned back on it for a second before slowly pushing herself to walk towards the anxious man who waited for them. This was her last fight, fighting to get onto that plane.
“As you requested,” He was practically shaking, her threats repeating themselves in his mind from the moment she met him.
Nodding, he gestured for him to go ahead of them. “We have to get going. They should be here soon. The last thing we want is to be shot out of the sky.”
He ran ahead of them, only turning back when they all got onto the plane. “They won’t really shoot us out of the sky, will they?”
She ignored him and pushed him back so she could get to the small bathroom.
“We will be leaving in five minutes.” He yelled after her, turning to awkwardly look at Hunter before joining the pilot in the cockpit.
Hunter walked back as he heard the engines starting, the door closing. “Hey… I still don’t know your name.”
Annoyance rocked through her as the bathroom door opened and he stared at her with her top off as she fumbled with a needle and thread and a blood covered bottle of whiskey.
His eyes went wide. “Where did you get that? What happened to you?”
“I got shot.” She said flatly as the small bathroom started to spin around her. Leaning back, she clutched the counter before biting her lip and sticking the needle through her skin again.
“Is that even sterilized? Where is the bullet?” He ran his hands through his hair as all the questions seemed to flood through him. “You… you… ugh, I don’t even know your name.”
“I don’t have one.” She snapped at him, unable to beat around the bush as she struggled to stay conscious and stop the bleeding.
His brow furrowed. “You don’t have a name?”
Closing her eyes, she let her head roll back as the pain washed over her. She felt as though she were slowing dipping below the surface of the water, waves washing over her, holding her under as she tried to break free, swim up. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the counter with all her strength.
Her mind was reeling. At the front of her mind, she could hear Hunter, she could see the look on his face as he worried about her while still trying to figure her out. In the back of her mind, she could feel the plane speeding down the runway, lifting into the air as she momentarily felt weightless. All the while, her she counted. Counted the seconds until she was out of this country and anywhere else.
Nausea rocked her, light-headed, she struggled to keep her eyes from rolling back into her head.
Blindly running her hand along her abdomen, she could feel the bleeding had stopped, she had sewn herself up enough to keep whatever blood she had left inside her.
She was no doctor, but she knew there wasn’t enough left in her to survive her final escape from refuge.
Her knees buckled, and she felt herself falling forward.
Arms closed around her, holding onto her as she felt herself being lifted, carried.
Something soft surrounded her, covering her across her shoulders that were still bare, her shirt a bloody mess on the bathroom counter.
“Jesus Christ!” The cockpit door opened, and the owner of the plane stuck his head in to look at them. “What the fuck happened to her?”
“She’s been shot!” Hunter’s frantic hands moved over her abdomen. “She’s not bleeding anymore.”
“Look at her. Does she have anything left to bleed.”
She wondered what they must be looking at, a ghost of who she was. Her skin must have been pale, her lips dried and chapped, sweat slicking her brow. She was moments away from death, she could feel his cool arms reaching out to her.
“We just got in the air!” His voice was panicked. “We still have over 8 hours left until we return to Canada.”
“Is there anywhere we can stop.”
“No.” She intervened. “We don’t stop. Dead or alive…” She trailed off. Summoning the strength she needed, she opened her eyes and looked at the man she had threatened for use of his plan. “We don’t stop.” She repeated.
Nodding, he returned to the cockpit.
“Christ!” Rolling his eyes at her, he bared his teeth. “It’s really difficult to yell at you without using a name.”
Her brow furrowed, her breath becoming shallow. “That sounds ridiculous. I’ve yelled at a handful of people without knowing who they are, or their name.”
Running his hand along her forehead, he looked down at her. “You went through all this trouble to avoid me, you made me stalk you for weeks before you agreed to spend a night with me, where you barely said anything. Then you come across the Atlantic to rescue me. Someone it didn’t even seem you cared about. Why?”
“If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have been there in the first place.”
“And that’s reason enough.” He thought for a moment. “I don’t know a lot about you, but while I was there… back wherever I was there was a man who told me a bit about you. He said you believed you were the hands of justice, a vigilante.” Covering her chest, he did his best to try to make her comfortable. “When I was a child, I had this obsession with Greek Mythology. I borrowed every book I could find from the library, had my parent buy me limited edition hard copies of all the legends and myths. The more I get to know you, the more you remind me of someone. The perfect name for someone who doesn’t have one. “Athena.” Looking down, he looked at her face to judge her reaction to the name he had chosen for her.
Her eyes were closed, her face lax as her head was slumped against the pillows on the fancy bench seats. Her arm hung lifelessly at her side, dangling an inch above the floor.
Reaching over, he tapped her cheek lightly. “Athena?”