It had been a bad idea to come here. Grace realised that now. It was supposed to be romantic, the two of them sprawled out on the grass, surrounded by ruins, just them and the stars, the crickets playing their night time orchestra. But the ministry had eyes everywhere—someone on the road, perhaps, or a curtain twitching inside an occupied high rise—and now they were surrounded. Seven strong, well-trained officers to the two of them—Lena could only take one, and while Grace could take out a group of bandits with minimal effort, these were better trained—faster, stronger.
Grace moved in front of Lena, protecting her. If she got taken that was it for them, and while she worked, her body was vulnerable.
Lena closed her eyes, took in a deep breath. Grace could feel something pushing against her mind, testing the boundaries there, and she pushed back. She didn’t want Lena in her head, ever. But it wasn’t her head Lena was trying to get into. As the officers advanced, one faltered, stalled, and as Grace prepared herself to fight anyone and everyone, she saw the officer whirl to the side, hitting out at his fellow men with his full strength and ability until three were down and two more were fighting against him.
Another came at them, though, undistracted by the fiasco behind him, and Grace leaped at him, knocking him down, rolling with him. She scrambled away, but the officer grabbed her, twisting her arm up behind her back, pinning her down. This was it, then, for her. The officer had ten years’ training and about forty pounds on her. But maybe Lena could get away. Then it would be worth it.
Grace breathed in dirt, and everything seemed very quiet now, narrowed down to just the crickets and the creak of the officer’s uniform jacket. Then the weight pinning her down was gone, and Grace scrambled up to see Lena’s officer battling with her own in the mud. This was it then, their chance. Grace ran towards Lena, grabbed her around the waist and hoisted her small frame over her shoulder. Lena couldn’t run by herself, her mind disconnected from her body, only the basics functioning.
As they reached the walls of the old ruin and passed them, out into the wide fields beyond, closing in on the edge of the forest, Lena gasped a breath and Grace stopped to let her down, and then they were running side by side. The officers would be following soon, assuming both were still alive, and they couldn’t stop.
It was daybreak before they did, the sun just beginning to filter in through the trees, the ground still damp and cold. They’d slowed to a walk some miles back, had come to a stream and followed it, and in the distance Grace could hear the sound of rushing water crashing down over rock.
It wasn’t long before they found the source—a great waterfall cascading down from above and tumbling over a ledge down farther still. The spray misted the air, dampening their skin. Grace turned to see Lena smiling, watching the water foam and rush away. It wasn’t something she saw often, Lena’s expression more usually a frown, occasionally a sarcastic raised eyebrow. Grace pulled Lena to her, kissed her mouth, wiping the smile from her face as she did so, as Lena kissed her in return. Once, she’d thought herself Lena’s saviour. But time and time again Lena had saved her, and she knew now Lena had saved her that first time, too. Without her, she’d still be in the factory, a good little worker with nothing to her name. Now she had her freedom, and she had Lena, two things worth fighting for, worth dying for. And that, really, was all she needed.