First time reading? Start at the beginning here.
Val’s leg muscles burned as if the tear gas had soaked through her skin. She pushed herself to climb the stairs faster, coughing as she sucked in air. She’d lost sight of Blueblood. He had the disc containing the List in his jacket pocket, so he didn’t need her anymore. Now would be the perfect time to cut her loose.
She would know, since she’d been planning to do the same thing to him.
She reached the top floor. To her left was the door to the hallway, but across from it was a smaller door labelled “Roof Access.” Val shoved it open and kept running. The stairs here were narrower and dirtier, but Val didn’t have far to go now. She’d catch up to him. Then she’d slide into the back of the helicopter right behind him with a serene smile on her face, and his face would twitch as he tried to hide how frustrated he was that she’d made it.
Val flung open the door to the roof and squinted in the sunlight. The helicopter was already there, the steady thwup-thwup-thwup of its spinning blades too loud to miss. But where was Blueblood?
The butt of a pistol struck her head, and the sound of the helicopter—of everything—faded away. She tottered sideways, and Blueblood shoved her back against the wall. He’d been there the whole time, waiting by the door so he could get the jump on her. He pushed the barrel of his pistol into her chest, but it was complete overkill. His hand touching her cheek was the only threat he needed. Val cringed, waiting for that icy feeling to spread across her face, but it didn’t happen. He wasn’t killing her—yet.
“—good things come to an end,” he said, as her hearing came back. “I regret this—honestly, I do. I had high hopes for the two of us in the beginning. I thought you were charming.”
“And I knew you were an asshole from the start.”
He smiled tightly. His eyes were red and inflamed from the tear gas, a striking contrast to the blue of his irises and skin. She hoped they stung like hell. He brushed his thumb down her cheek in a mockery of intimacy and then let her go. Her cheek wasn’t cold, and she had to resist the urge to reach up and touch it to make sure. He hadn’t used his powers on her. Why?
“I could kill you now, but that would be a mercy.” He stepped back, pistol still pointed at her chest. “I’d estimate you have about a week left until the effects of my touch spread from your arm to your chest. And unless you can slip past all the cops and agents surrounding this place, you’re going to die in prison.” He backed up towards the helicopter, never taking his gaze or his gun from her. As the helicopter grew louder, he had to shout. “I’ll keep an eye out for your obituary!”
Val tried to sneak inside his mind. She wanted nothing more than to screw with his brain until he turned that pistol on himself, but his mental shields were as strong as before. She reached for the helicopter pilot instead, but he was out of her range. She could try to get closer, but with Blueblood keeping his gun trained on her, she didn’t think he’d let her take more than a step.
Idiot! How could she have been so stupid? She should have never assented to breaking into the DSA. She should have known there were too many things that could go wrong. Eddy was right. She wasn’t careful enough, and she hadn’t learned anything.
Blueblood got into the helicopter and closed the door behind him. The moment he lowered his pistol, Val pulled out hers and started firing. The bullets hit the side of the helicopter uselessly as it rose into the air. The wind whipped her ponytail around and stung her tender eyes. She squinted, lowering her gun after she used the last bullet.
The stairwell door burst open, and Dave rushed out. He looked at her, and then up at the escaping helicopter.
Great, Val thought. Not only had she failed spectacularly, but she’d failed spectacularly in front of Dave. She needed a bigger mask to hide her face in shame. She looked up at the helicopter to avoid his gaze.
And that’s when the dragon showed up.
I think this is my favorite WTF line that I’ve ended a chapter on. Virtual cookies to anyone who comments with a correct explanation for the dragon.
So I saw Justice League this weekend, and it was a lot better than I’d expected. (Granted, after Dawn of Justice, my standards were incredibly low.) I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.