Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

Disclaimer: I do not own any DC characters or locations. All rights belong to DC Comics.

Rating: T+

Note: The fifth story arc covers Rose Wilson dealing with a lost sense of direction and trying to figure out what kind of life she really wants to lead, after her identity is exposed. It also answers the question of just how far her relationship with Becky will progress.

All Chapters: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic/8/ravager4s-fan-fic-archives/660884/#1

Rose Wilson: The Ravager

Chapter #27

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Day

Standing in front of the stove in her kitchen, Rose works busily to cook up a big breakfast. She'd been careful this time, and managed to keep most of the food from burning. She was really starting to get the hang at this whole cooking thing. She whistles quietly to herself as she cooks, in an astoundingly good mood that morning. Her life is going well right now, though, so why shouldn't she be happy?

This is, of course, mostly attributed to giving up her nightly escapades as Ravager for the past few months, allowing her head to sit on straight and clear out the overwhelming stress she'd been building up during the past year. Also, with the disappearance of 'The Blade' from Silverstone, the local media and police force have been turning their focuses elsewhere. No purpose in trying to chase a ghost, after all. Perhaps she'll put her costume back on again some time, but for right now she's perfectly content living out her life the way it is.

Just as Rose is finishing up the last of her cooking, Holly enters the kitchen and sits down at the table, swinging her legs playfully and waiting to be served. Rose's whistling turns to humming, while she dishes out a nice big plate of food for the girl and brings it over to the table.

Rose: There you go, hot off the stove. Careful not to burn yourself.

Holly rolls her eyes a little and goes through several hand signals.

Holly: I'm not going to burn myself.

Rose: Yeah, yeah, I know. Just finish up quick so we can get going, you don't want to be late for your last day of school, do you?

Holly: I won't be late.

Rose: Alright, I'm gonna hop in the shower real quick, you finish up here and brush your teeth. I'll be out in ten minutes.

Rose quickly heads out of the kitchen and makes her way into the bathroom, hurriedly stripping out of her clothes and getting into the shower. She's brief, but thorough, cleaning herself up in a little over five minutes, then taking another few to dry herself off and get dressed again. Normally, she might linger a little longer in the shower to enjoy the feel of the hot water on her skin, but they're already running a bit later than usual.

When Rose returns to the living room, Holly is already waiting there and tying her shoes. The girl looks up and makes a few signs.

Holly: You're going to make me late!

Rose: Oh I am not. Now come on, finish tying your shoes and let's go.

Holly finishes with her shoes a short moment later, then grabs her backpack and hurries after Rose out the door.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Day

Later that morning, Rose leans back in the passenger seat of the police cruiser, with Becky behind the wheel as usual. As much as she enjoyed driving, for a change, the circumstances were most unfavorable. She's happy with never driving, so long as it means Becky is well and not sitting in a hospital.

Becky: So, the kid's last day of school today, right?

Rose: Yeah, then I have to figure out how we're going to handle the summer. I'm hoping Mrs. Silva won't mind watching Holly throughout the day now, instead of just the afternoons. I asked her about it already, but she couldn't give me a definite answer.

Becky: I'm sure you'll work it out. Besides, what else does that old woman have to do, ah? She barely leaves her house as it is. Plus, she already took care of Holly when you were in the hospital, remember?

Rose: Yeah, good point. It's not like I wouldn't be paying her for the extra time, either.

Becky: The more important question is, what are you going to do about vacations?

Furrowing her brow, Rose glances back at Becky with genuine confusion.

Rose: Vacations?

Becky: Well yeah, girl! It's the summer, kids need to go out, have some fun, cut loose. And I know you got some vacation time saved up, right? Take her camping, or head up to the beach or something.

Rose: I... hadn't really even been thinking about that.

Becky: Ha, Dios mio, you really are clueless sometimes, you know that?

Rose: Hey, I don't try to be. I'm just... still not that experienced with this.

Becky: Ah, don't worry about it, happens to the best of us. Besides, you're pretty cute when you're clueless.

Rose shifts in her seat slightly at the comment, bringing a hand to her hair and clearing her throat casually. Becky immediately smacks a hand to her forehead and shakes her head.

Becky: Oh, mierda, I'm sorry. I didn't mean-

Rose: No, it's fine, really. Don't worry.

Becky: Still, sorry.

Rose: Guess you're not quite over your crush, huh?

Becky instantly turns her face to the side. If her tan wasn't so dark, her blushing might be a bit more noticeable.

Becky: I, uh... guess not. Sorry.

Rose: Oh come on, stop apologizing. I know I'm awesome.

Becky: Not quite the word I would use... but yes, you are.

A brief moment of awkward silence passes between the two, as Rose attempts to think of a way to change the subject.

Rose: So, uh, got anything special planned later on?

Becky: Ha, kind of. Picked up an extra shift.

Rose: Now why would go and do that?

Becky: Gonna be heading up to Vermont for the weekend with my family, kind of a traditional camping thing we do every year. But we leave Friday morning, so I'm working those hours tonight.

Rose: Oh, so I get the cruiser all to myself on Friday?

Becky: Si, so try not to to ruin it.

A short moment later, their radio goes off, interrupting the conversation.

Dispatch: Possible 211 in progress down at the old S.T.A.R. Labs storage warehouse, address 8294 Duster Street. Witness reported a masked individual entering through one of the side windows, need the nearest unit to please respond.

Becky quickly reaches for the radio, pulling the speaker up to her lips.

Becky: Copy that, dispatch, we're on it. Be there in five.

Rose: Someone breaking into a warehouse owned by S.T.A.R. Labs... Doesn't sound good.

Becky: Maybe The Blade's come back, ah? She stole from S.T.A.R. Labs once already.

Rose: Somehow, I doubt that... she only operates at night, right?

Becky: True, true... well, let's go and find out then, shall we?

Ext. S.T.A.R. Labs Storage Warehouse – Night

Becky pulls the cruiser up to the front entrance of the warehouse, shutting the engine off and leaning forward to take a closer look.

Becky: Don't see anything suspicious yet. Let's check it out.

The two get out of the car and head up to the entrance. Rose tries the front door, but it's locked.

Rose: Guess the place is closed today.

Becky: Dispatch did say the suspect was seen entering through a window, right?

Rose: I'll check the left side, you head right.

Moving around the side of the building, Rose carefully inspects the row of windows, but they're all shut tight and locked, too. Except for one, however, which is broken. The only problem is, this broken window is three floors up, with nothing nearby to climb up to it save for a storm drain. Scratching her head for a moment, she ponders if the suspect did indeed enter through that window, and if they did, how did they do it?

Becky: Find anything?

Rose glances to her left to see Becky coming around the corner of the building. She shrugs, then points up to the broken window.

Rose: Only place I can see that they could have gone through.

Becky: What, did they fly up there?

Rose: Maybe... or maybe not.

Stepping forward, she takes hold of the storm drain for a moment, testing its strength. When it doesn't budge at all, she lifts her foot and presses it against the side of the building. Every few feet or so is a small indentation in the paneling, providing very convenient footholds. With her grip firm on the storm drain, and using the footholds to her advantage, she begins to climb up to the window.

Becky: Oy, be careful.

Within a few minutes, Rose makes it up to the window and crawls her way inside. Looking back down, she waves for Becky to come on up.

Rose: You're not just going to stay down there, are you?

Becky's eyebrows lift suddenly, as she lets out a small, uncertain breath.

Becky: I, uh... suppose not.

She glares at the storm drain for a moment, then carefully takes hold of it and starts to climb upwards, though going much slower than Rose did.

Becky: Qué mierda... They did not teach us this at the academy.

Int. S.T.A.R. Labs Shipping Warehouse – Day

When both women finally make it through the window inside, they find themselves in a small, dim office. Rose looks around, then leads the way through the door and into the third floor hallway. She takes her flashlight from off her belt and clicks it on, and Becky does the same. If there is someone here, they don't want to alert the person by turning all the lights on, so their flashlights will have to do for now.

Coming to the end of the hallway, the two head down the stairs and come out to the main storage area of the warehouse, with a tall ceiling and rows of boxes and crates stacked along the room's length. Remaining silent, Rose waves Becky to one side of the building, while she goes the other way, paying careful attention to every dark nook and cranny. If anyone is lurking about in here, they'll find him.

Ten minutes into the search, Rose comes around the corner of one of the rows of crates to see Becky standing there and shining her light across the room, staring intently.

Rose: You see something?

Becky: I thought so... might have just been my imagination, though. I take it you didn't find anything?

Rose: Not yet, but there are plenty of places to keep looking. I'll try the offices.

Becky: Right, I'll keep checking this area.

As they begin to go their separate ways, however, Rose's precog flickers through her head. She turns suddenly and throws herself at Becky, knocking the woman to the floor.

Rose: Get down!

A split second later, a pair of razor sharp throwing stars sail over their heads, embedding into one of the crates behind them.

Becky: Qué me queda! What was that?

Rose doesn't have time to respond, though, as her precog goes off again. Flipping herself back up to her feet, she brings her flashlight up to deflect another incoming pair of shuriken. This time, the attacker follows, jumping down from a stack of nearby pallets with a flying kick. Rose jumps backwards, avoiding the attack, then comes forward with a countering punch that strikes the man across the jaw. Though her blow knocks him backwards, he recovers his balance quickly and lunges in again, this time drawing a sword on his back and swing wildly.

As Rose dodges the incoming blade, Becky is getting back to her feet and taking notice of the current situation. Shining her light on the two combatants, she blinks a couple times in disbelief. Not only is her partner pulling out moves straight out of a Jet Li flick, but the guy she's fighting is...

Becky: I'm dreaming, right? I must be. No way this is real.

But she knows she isn't asleep. She's wide awake and this is really happening. Her partner, Rose, is currently engaged in an impressive display of hand to hand combat with a ninja. Or at least, someone dressed and armed like a ninja. But with the way he's fighting, she wouldn't doubt if he were an actual ninja.

Of course, he isn't the only one fighting that way, with Rose not only matching him step for step, but actually beating the crap out of him. Not once does the ninja land a hit on her, while she in turn repeatedly pummels him back with vicious strikes that send him reeling. Within a short few minutes, Rose delivers a hard shot to the guy's neck, knocking him out cold. Taking in a deep breath, Rose brushes her hands off.

Becky: Madre de Dios... what the hell was that?

Rose: Some doofus dressed as a ninja, from the looks of it.

Becky: No, that I got. But you- and he was- and then you were- where did you learn all that?

Rose: Oh, uh... twelve years of karate? Sixth degree black belt.

Still shocked, Becky just blinks and raises her eyebrows.

Becky: Oh is that all?

Rose: I was... really good at it.

Becky: Well I guess so. Okay, so, we should, uh, probably check the guy for identification now. Yeah.

While Becky holds her flashlight beam on the unconscious ninja, Rose kneels down next to him, inspecting the man. She reaches forward and pulls his mask off, revealing a square face with bushy brown hair and a small goatee. He certainly doesn't look like what one would think of when they think ninja, but apparently they come in all forms. After a brief moment, Rose starts digging through the guy's pockets, because apparently standard ninja uniforms include pockets.

Rose: Well what do you know?

A second later, she pulls out a wallet, complete with driver's license and credit cards.

Rose: I guess ninjas carry around their personal information with them.

Becky: And go running around in broad daylight. So what's it say?

Rose: Jason Higgins, age thirty-five. Lives over on Levitt Street.

Becky: Not really the kind of guy I'd expect to be dressing up like that.

Rose: Or pulling off those kinds of moves.

Becky: Maybe he took twelve years of karate, too, ah?

Rose: Maybe...

Her gaze narrows slightly, as something catches her eye, a small metal chip situated just behind Jason's ear. She glares at it, no larger than a fingernail, then reaches down to try and dig it out of the man's skin, as it's been embedded pretty firmly. Once she gets a good grip on it with her fingers, she pulls at it, hard. The chip begins to slide out, but as it does, she realizes it's connected to something else, a long, thin, needle-like device that punctures deep into his head.

Becky: The hell is that?

Glaring at the strange device in her hands, Rose merely shrugs her shoulders.

Rose: I have no idea. Looks like it went all the way into his brain, though.

Becky: Freaky...

As Rose stands back up, another precognitive flash goes through her head. Grabbing Becky, she pulls both of them back, just in time to avoid another set of sharp throwing stars. Dropping down from the shadows, two more men dressed in similar attire appear.

Becky: There's more?! Ay carumba...

Jumping back up to her feet, Rose readies herself against any impending attack, but the two newest arrivals don't seem too interested in them at all, instead focusing on the unconscious man in front of them. While one of them leans down to pick up Jason and carry him off, the other reaches down to take the discarded device that had been embedded in the guy's head. During this time, Becky gets back to her feet and draws her gun on them.

Becky: Alright, freeze! Hands up!

Of course, the two ninjas don't comply. Instead, one of them pulls out a small round object and throws it on the ground, causing it to emit a heavy cloud of smoke. That combined with the dim interior allows them to make an easy escape. By the time the smoke clears, all three men are gone, with Becky and Rose left wondering what on earth just happened.

Becky: So, uh... do you want to fill out the report on this one, or should I?

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

It seems like just yesterday that Rose was sitting in this same spot on her bed, staring at her display of Ravager gear. Last time, she came to the conclusion that she needed a break from it, in turn giving up her costumed crime fighting for the past few months. She had wanted a clear head, so she could better decide whether or not she should give it up for good. While it would be easy to do, and while she really did want to (after all, her life so far without it has gone along just fine), it seems that there are some things that still require further action.

Random individuals don't just go around dressed up as ninjas, break into storage warehouses, and attack police officers. And even if they did, they wouldn't have other ninjas as backup to come take them when they fall unconscious. That's not even including the strange metal device that was drilled into his brain. A lot of things about what just happened don't make much sense, and there's only so much she can do during the day as a cop. Even if she could properly investigate while on duty, a nagging feeling claws at the back of her brain, telling her that something isn't right about this, something isn't normal.

Guess it's time to suit back up, she concludes, letting out a long sigh.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #28 Preview: Putting on her costume for the first time in months, Rose investigates the recent (and strange) 'ninja' situation. During the process, she finds a new foe,a nd ends up on the run from the police, with her secret threatened to be exposed!

Chapter #28

Int. S.T.A.R. Labs Storage Warehouse – Day

The warehouse is a good place to start, at least by Ravager's estimation. That ninja guy had to have come here for a reason, but she and Becky stopped him before he could finish whatever he was trying to do. If she can find out just what the guy was after, maybe she can start piecing together what his purpose was. And of course, if that doesn't work, she can always go investigate the guy's home and see if she can find anything suspicious there.

Moving through the rows of stacked crates and pallets, Ravager examines each container closely, looking for anything out of the ordinary. It seems like just a normal warehouse full of goods, but then nothing is that simple in this world. With nothing really to lose, she heads over to a random crate and inspects it.

Wonder what's inside...

Drawing one of her swords, she swings the blade horizontally, cutting through the top of it like butter and causing it to pop open. A lot easier than trying to pry the thing apart with a crowbar or something. Leaning forward, she takes a look inside, but only finds what looks like a bunch of old computer parts. Whatever she's looking for, it's definitely not in this one. Putting the lid back on the top, she turns from the crate and moves on to the next one.

She continues like this for the next half hour, looking inside every container she can find, but most of the contents are nothing more than scrap metal or spare parts. She supposes that a place like S.T.A.R. Labs wouldn't leave really important or valuable stuff lying around in a warehouse, but still, what had that ninja broken in here for then? Letting out a small sigh, she walks back towards the front end of the room, away from the rows of containers.

Guess it's time to try Jason's place.

Before she has a chance to leave, however, she sees an attack coming in from behind her, precog once again saving her hide. She ducks low, the spinning bolas sailing above her head and colliding with the far wall. Turning around immediately, she takes a defensive stance in preparation to defend herself against another attack. Standing behind her is man she did not hear approach, or in any way notice before her precog went off.

The man is tall and well built, but still agile in appearance. From his face, she can tell he's from some Asian descent, probably Chinese or Japanese, with his long black hair pulled back into a braided ponytail. He wears a black and white martial artist's uniform, a dragon patch on the shoulder. For the moment, he just stands there staring at her.

Ravager: Hey, buddy, the hell you doing?

Man: Studying you.

Ravager: Uh... huh. And why are you doing that?

Man: I like to learn about my opponents, naturally.

Ravager: So what does throwing a weapon at a person with their back turned tell you, exactly?

Man: That the rumors are true.

Ravager: Alright, you lost me. What rumors?

Man: You are Silverstone's... 'protector', yes? I believe they called you 'The Blade', at least before your sudden disappearance. Yet, here you are now... I find that intriguing.

Ravager: That's hardly a rumor.

Clasping his hands behind his back, the man begins walking forward, still staring at her.

Man: The rumors I speak of are those regarding your skill. I thought them to be exaggerated, but already you have impressed me. You 'see' things, don't you? Before they happen. That's how you are able to evade attacks that you could not otherwise know are coming.

Ravager: Well aren't you the perceptive one? Now, how about you stop with the analysis and tell me who the hell you are, and why you're lurking around in this warehouse at night?

Shao: Ah, forgive me, where are my manners? The name is Shao Shen, and I am here to test myself against you in combat.

Ravager: And you just happened to know where I was going to be tonight?

Shao: After hearing of your earlier victory over one of our lesser members, I had my suspicions that you would return to investigate, yes.

Ravager flinches, her stance faltering. This guy had already figured out who she was, just by hearing about her fighting another one of his 'members' from earlier that day?

Shao: Relax, please. I won't go targeting your loved ones or anything like that; I am no coward. Though your presence in this city could have great complications to our goals, I would rather defeat you in a fair fight.

Ravager: Well gee, how reassuring. Then what are you waiting for, huh?

Shao: To discuss the terms. Firstly, no weapons. I would do this purely hand to hand.

Narrowing her gaze slightly, she reaches back to draw her swords and tosses them off to the side. She's plenty confident in her hand to hand ability.

Ravager: Fine, anything else?

Shao: Yes, actually. When I win, I would have you leave this city, or at the very least give up your costumed identity for good.

Ravager: First of all, when you win? And second, why in the hell would I agree to that?

Shao: Because if you don't, I will simply kill you.

Ravager: Right, sure. Let's get this over with, then.

The two square off briefly, circling each other and waiting for the other to make the first move. Growing impatient, Ravager comes in first. She unleashes a flurry of attacks, punches mixed with kicks, some elbows, and a few backhands... but to her shock, she never hits him. Somehow, he is able to dodge or block each one of her strikes. Baffled, she takes a step back and glares at him.

Ravager: Okay, so you're pretty good.

Shao: Allow me to show you just how good.

Ravager isn't even sure of what happens next. She knows that Shao came in with a series of attacks, and she knows that her precog predicted all of them, and she knowsthat her body reacted to defend herself. And yet... she still somehow finds herself on the ground, staring straight upward with every part of her body aching with a dull, throbbing pain. She could only keep up with the first few attacks, after that everything became a blur.

So... fast.

Groaning, she slowly starts to roll over and push herself back up to her knees.

Shao: That was... disappointing. I would have expected you to at least provide a bit more of a challenge; I didn't even have to try.

Ravager: So you're really good. I get it. But I'm not done.

Shao: Actually, you are.

With a swift blow to the back of Ravager's head, he knocks her out cold, dropping her straight to the floor. Letting out a small sigh, he holds a hand to his chin and contemplates what to do with her know. He knows she won't comply with the terms, it's not in her nature. But still, she'll be an annoyance if allowed to continue her activities, and he really doesn't want to have to kill her. He could control her, but the devices are still in development and might end up killing her, which would be waste. Instead, he comes up with a better solution.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

Becky drives along, alone in the cruiser. Very rarely does she ever work these hours, but since she needs to make up for time she'll be missing on Friday, she doesn't mind too much. It's been a fairly quiet night so far, and her shift is just an hour from finishing up. Then, she can head back to her apartment and get a few hours of sleep before waking up and going back to work in the morning.

It is quite a bit dull, though, without a partner to talk to. As her thoughts fall back on Rose, she lets out a small groan and brings a hand up to her head, shaking it. That had been one hell of a stupid slip up earlier, calling Rose cute. Becky made a point after the initial mishap to try and not noticeably come on to her partner again, especially since Rose herself was not into women. Because of that, continuing to have a crush on her is pointless, and yet at the same time she can't help it. She's never met anyone quite like Rose; smart, funny, strong, caring, sexy, adorably cute, and with ninja skills to boot.

Ay carumba, easy there, Beck, she thinks to herself, taking in a deep breath. Gotta stop thinking like a lovesick puppy. It's never gonna happen.

She's called from her thoughts a moment later when her radio goes off, grabbing her attention.

Dispatch: Attention, all units, we've just received an anonymous tip that The Blade is back again and seen down by the S.T.A.R. Labs storage warehouse. I repeat, The Blade is at the S.T.A.R. Labs storage warehouse. All units, please respond, we're taking her in.

Becky's heart immediately jumps, a surge of adrenaline pumping through her. Sitting up straighter, she flips her sirens on and turns onto a new street. This is what she's been waiting for, a chance to finally take in that masked vigilante running amok around the city. The odd fact that The Blade is down at the same building where she and Rose were earlier that day only passes briefly through her head; her focus is elsewhere, as she mentally prepares herself for the job to come. From what she's heard, taking this person down won't be easy, so it's bet to be ready for anything.

Becky: Alright, espada, we're coming for you.

Int. S.T.A.R. Labs Storage Warehouse – Night

When Ravager wakes up, Shao is long gone, the warehouse now dark and empty. She lets out a long moan, a throbbing pain in the back of her skull. Add to that the pain in the rest of her body and it feels like she got hit by a truck. Then, add to that the fact that a single man did this to her, and through her armored costume no less, and it becomes a thoroughly humbling experience.

Alright... that was embarrassing. Who the hell was that guy?

She emits a sigh and slowly stands up, teetering on her feet for a second before regaining her balance. That's when she hears them; the sirens. Snapping her gaze over to the nearest window, she sees flickers of blue and red light, a lot of it. From what she can hear, there has to be at least half a dozen police cars approaching, already nearly at the warehouse.

Ravager: Sh*t!

Taking off in a sprint, she grabs her swords and then heads for the back of the building, where she parked her bike. She has to get out of here, now!

Ext. S.T.A.R. Labs Storage Warehouse

Ravager bursts through one of the windows at the back of the building, hitting the ground on her feet as shards of glass rain down around her. Instantly, she's off and running straight at her motorcycle, just a short distance away. The sirens are louder now, and the lights bright; the cops are already at the warehouse entrance, she's sure. No time to think, though, just have to act. Hopping on her ride, she puts her helmet on and then guns the engine, peeling out momentarily before flying off around the building towards the street.

The police don't see her coming until she's almost past them, driving up a small embankment and launching herself through the air, right next to one of the squad cars. She can't hear the officers yelling and scrambling to get back in their cruisers to chase after her, but she knows they are. They won't catch her, though, no chance. She's already putting way to much distance between them. Unfortunately, they aren't the only ones she has to deal with.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

A mere two blocks from the warehouse, another pair of squad cars with their sirens blaring and lights flashing come peeling around the corner, hot on her tail. She glances back momentarily and curses under her breath, then begins weaving around traffic. The fact that most of the other cars are already pulling over because of the high speed chase works both with her and against her. On the one hand, she has an open lane to increase her speed and distance herself. On the other hand, the cops have clear sight of her. If she can just lose them, though, she can find a place to hide until the chaos settles down.

She never gets that chance. As she jolts up the on ramp onto the overpass, another three squad cars come up from her side, already waiting for her. They were prepared for her, guessed she'd try to take the highway. There's more traffic here, but nothing she can't work around. She glides around the cars expertly, gradually increasing her speed more and more. The needle hits one hundred and fifty, about as fast as she's willing to push it; any faster and she'll probably lose control and crash. At least she's losing the cops behind her. A little bit more and she can hit an exit and find a place to disappear.

That's when the spotlight hits her. Ravager glances up suddenly to see a police chopper flying above her and keeping pace. Immediately, her heart jumps with panic, as she focuses back on the road. Her throat goes a little numb, a lump forming.

Crap, they're serious about this.

Apparently, the police really want to bring her in. She knows that she's been pretty high on the city's wanted list, but she didn't realize she was police chopper worthy. Then again, she supposes that any high speed chase is chopper worthy. Still, this greatly complicates things. Now, not only does she have to outrun the ground troops, but the aerial support, too. She has her work cut out for her.

Ravager turns sharply, moving from the overpass and heading down a ramp to one of the city's main streets. She doesn't get very far before she sees a wall of flashing lights, however, a police blockade standing right in front of her. Hitting the brakes, she spins her vehicle around, tires screeching as she changes directions. This catches the cars pursuing her off guard, as they suddenly hit the breaks, as well, trying to continue chasing her. She hears two of the cruisers crash into each other, though fortunately it isn't a serious accident.

While getting away from the squad cars is easy enough, the chopper proves to be astoundingly difficult to elude. No matter what side street she turns on, what new path she takes, the spotlight stays on her. It forces her to go faster than she wants to, almost to the point of losing control from the slightest turns. Still, she has to take chances at this point or she'll never get away. Coming back out onto a main street, she changes direction and heads towards the East District.

She doesn't get very far. As soon as she turns onto a second street, another police blockade greets her, approaching way too fast to simply put on the brakes and turn around this time. No, she has to keep going forward, but she can't just drive straight into the squad cars, either. Instead, she lurches the bike to the side, crashing through a chain link fence on the side of the street, rumbling over loose gravel and rocks, and then hitting a small bump on the ground that sends her flying.

Ext. Construction Site – Night

That brief instant lasts a near lifetime to her, as she flies quite literally through the air, her grip on the handle bars slipping and coming free. The bike skids out from beneath her, and suddenly she's airborne with no real way to land properly. The only thing she can do is tuck and roll, trying to reduce the impending injury as much as possible. When she hits the ground, her body bounces, spinning wildly and head smacking repeatedly against rocks and dirt. If not for her helmet, her skull probably would have split open.

When she finally comes to stop, a long moment goes by before she's able to move, her entire body refusing to work with her. She forces herself up into a sitting position, but the pain is phenomenal. It feels like her entire body is one giant bruise, though remarkably nothing seems to be broken. Taking in a deep breath and groaning, she staggers up to her feet and throws her helmet off. She teeters there for a few moments, everything still spinning around her.

Ravager hears the shouts of the surrounding police officers, as they race towards her location. She doesn't see any of them yet, but they have to be close by. A few moments later, she realizes that she's in the same construction site where she fought Lady Shiva several months before. Though a lot more work has been done since then, the place is still a giant metal skeleton of a building, with a lot of debris piles and shadows to take advantage of. Stumbling farther into the construction site, she disappears into the darkness, evading the incoming spotlight as it sweeps by.

Int. Foreman's Office – Night

Ravager pushes her way inside the transportable office, slamming the door shut behind her and collapsing forward to the floor. She manages to catch herself on one hand and her knees, her other arm coming up to wrap around her side, a sharp pain flaring. But she ignores it, she has to. Crawling forward farther into the office, she makes her way around a dividing wall and behind a chair and desk. Propping herself up against the wall, she takes in deep breaths and grits her teeth, just waiting. As much as she wants to keep running, her body can't take it, not in this condition. All she can do now is wait and hope that they overlook her, somehow.

Several minutes later, she hears voices coming from nearby the office, one officer giving directions and telling the others to go search some other areas. The officer giving those directions then heads up the stairs to the office, opening the door and entering. Closing her eye and holding her breath, Ravager waits, silent. She hears the footsteps approaching, coming around the dividing wall. The flashlight beam sweeps above her head and keeps going, searching elsewhere.

One minute goes by, then two, then three. The officer takes another sweep around the back of the office and then comes to the front again, still closely examining every dark corner. Just when Ravager thinks that she's safe, that the officer somehow missed her, the flashlight pauses and then swings around again, just above her hiding spot.

Keep going, keep going.

But she isn't that lucky. The officer suddenly moves forward and turns the desk aside, shining the flashlight directly on her. Ravager squints, holding an arm up to shield herself from the light. At first, all she sees is a silhouette, the officer standing in front of her with a gun drawn and pointed at her. When she realizes who it is, however, her heart skips a beat and jumps into her throat.

Becky: Got you! Hands in the air, now!

Ravager: Wait-

Becky goes for her radio, clicking the button and bringing it to her lips.

Becky: This is Officer Chavez, I have-

Ravager: Becky, wait!

Her words stop mid-sentence, as she slowly brings the radio down and stares at Ravager. The voice sounds familiar... but it can't be, right?

Becky: How do you...

Swallowing hard, Ravager reaches up and pulls the mask from her head, revealing herself to Becky. Right then, she isn't Ravager, or The Blade. She's just Rose.

Rose: Its me, Beck... Just me.

Becky falters, gun lowering as she takes a step backwards. Confusion flashes across her face, one hand coming to her head while the other holds herself up against the wall, legs buckling. She actually looks physically hurt

Becky: Rose...?

Rose: Rebecca, please... I need your help right now.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #29 Preview: Rose's secret has finally been exposed! At least to her best friend, Rebecca Chavez, anyway. Now, Becky is the only one standing between that secret being kept and going public. But can Becky go against her morals as a cop to help Rose? And what will this do to their relationship? Find out next time!

Chapter #29

Int. Foreman's Office – Night

For several long moments, the two women just stare at each other. Rose swallows again, sitting herself up straighter against the wall and twinging at a sharp jolt of pain in her side. Her crash messed her up a little more than she thought. Becky, meanwhile, appears to be trying to process the information, now knowing that her partner and best friend is actually the Silverstone vigilante known as 'The Blade', who has been acting outside the law and, more recently, outright breaking it.

A sudden hiss of static breaks the silence, as Becky's radio goes off.

Officer/Radio: Officer Chavez, can you repeat that? Didn't get all of it. Did you say you found something?

Rose: Becky, please-

Becky: No, don't, Rose. Don't... don't make me-

Her sentence cuts off, words catching in her throat. The look on her face says it all, torn between her duties as a cop and her friendship (though, more than just a friendship, at least to her) with Rose.

Officer/Radio: Officer Chavez, are you there?

Bringing both hands up to her head, Becky drops herself into the nearby chair, fingers gripping her hair and gaze pointing to the floor. A second later, she grabs her radio and brings it to her mouth.

Becky: I'm here, I-

Again, she pauses, slowly glancing back at Rose. She releases a long breath and mutters something in Spanish, then clicks the button on the radio again.

Becky: -nothing, sorry. I'm just... jumping at shadows. Gonna take another look around this area.

Officer/Radio: Alright, keep at it. If we don't find anything here soon, we'll spread out our search into the surrounding alleys and buildings; there's a chance we might have missed her sneaking off.

Becky: Copy that...

When Becky lowers her radio, Rose brings her gaze to the floor and lets out a heavy sigh. She doesn't dare look up at her partner, though, knowing full well she just asked her to do something she really shouldn't have.

Rose: Becky... thanks.

Becky: Don't, Rose, just don't.

Rose's face goes hot, her heart sinking. Slowly, she glances up. The look on the woman's face is enough to make her physically ill; grief, pain, disbelief, anger... emotions that Becky has every right to feel.

Becky: I... where the hell do I even start? This whole time... it was you?

Rose: Yeah... it was me.

Becky: Hijo de puta... How can you do it? I mean how can you... how can you honestly sit next to me everyday, call yourself a cop, and then go out every night breaking the law? Is it all a big joke to you?

Rose: No, of course not, I just...

Becky: What? Explain it to me, Rose, help me understand, because right now every fiber of my being is telling me to turn you over.

Rose: I just wanted to do good. That's all I've ever wanted with my life.

Becky: And you do that by stealing? By hurting people? By driving like lunatic and putting god knows how many lives in danger? You're supposed to be a cop, for Christ's sake! We don't do enough good?

Rose: It's not- it's more complicated than that. There's only so much I can do on the force, inside the law. Doing this gives me another outlet, another way to get things done, things that I can't do from inside a squad car.

Becky: Puro cuento! All you've done is be a criminal!

Rose: Becky-

Becky: And more than that, this whole time you've been lying! About who are, about being a cop, about being my friend... Has anything you've said been truthful?

Rose: I never lied about being your friend. That's true, that's real. And I am a cop, I just want to do everything I can for this city, and help people every way that I can. I know you might think it's wrong, but what I do in this costume, behind this mask... I'm good at it. I'm damn good at it, and I know I've helped people because of it, in ways that I couldn't have in a police uniform. People like Holly.

A brief moment of silence passes between them. Becky's jaw clenches, her hands gripping her knees tightly as she glances off to the side. Her anger seems to subside slightly, but is instead replaced with a look of pained sorrow.

Becky: But you have been lying about who you are, haven't you?

Another dead silence.

Becky: Is your name even Sarah Walker?

Rose: No...

Becky: Then I guess Rose isn't really your middle name either, is it?

Rose: It's... my first name.

A few moments go by. Rose keeps her gaze lowered, while Becky stares at her. Eventually, Becky stands from her seat and pushes the chair back against the desk, which she returns to its spot in front of Rose.

Becky: I just... I have to go. I'll lead them away from your location and come back when everything is clear. I'll bring a change of clothes, too... Just don't ask me for anymore favors after this, Rose.

When Becky leaves, Rose leans her head back against the wall and squints her eye shut, jaw tightened.

You are... such a b*tch, Rose.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Rose sits quietly at the kitchen table, staring into her full cup of coffee. She had made it because she thought it would help clear her head, or at least soothe her nerves. But she hasn't even touched it, not a drop. Instead, she thinks, contemplates. Becky didn't say a single word after coming back to help Rose back to the penthouse. Rose tried to start a conversation several times along the way, but never got a response. Eventually, she realized that Becky just didn't want to talk, at least not to her.

Couldn't leave well enough alone, could you, Rose? she scolds herself. You just had to put the costume back on. You just had to ruin one of the few good things left in your life, didn't you?

Along with Holly, Becky really is – or rather, was – one of the best things in her life. She was a friend, a partner, and someone Rose actually felt a connection with. Sometimes, she had even wondered about Becky's other feelings for her. Due to her own personal preferences, Rose had initially rejected those feelings... but after what they'd been through together, and how much she cared for Becky, there were times when she really did think that maybe the two of them could have...

Doesn't matter, we'll never find out now, will we? You went and screwed it all up.

Rose clenches her jaw briefly, still staring at her dull reflection in the cup of coffee. Eventually, she can't stand the sight of herself anymore, stomach twisting into a knot. In a sudden outburst, she sweeps her arm across the table and launches the glass mug across the room. It crashes into a cabinet, shattering and spilling the hot liquid onto the floor. She takes in a few deep breaths, calming herself, then grabs a sponge and walks over to the mess to clean it up.

Rose: Goddamn it...

When she finishes mopping up the coffee, she grabs the trash bin and starts picking up the shards of the broken mug by hand, tossing them out. Not the smartest thing she could have done while not really paying attention to her actions, as one of the sharp pieces cuts into her thumb, drawing blood.

Rose: F*ck!

It doesn't really hurt that much, especially when compared to the rest of her sore and battered body, but that's not what bothers her about it. What bothers her is the fact that she had been so careless, her mind so enamored in other things that she can't even pick up some broken glass without cutting herself. For several moments, she just kneels there, sucking on her bleeding thumb and staring at the floor. She doesn't even notice when Holly enters the kitchen. It's not until the girl walks up behind her and puts a hand on her shoulder that Rose turns around and takes notice.

Rose: Oh, Holly. I... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to wake you.

Though apparently still half asleep, Holly can tell something isn't right, that something is bothering Rose. Her eyes soften, and she starts to sign.

Holly: It's okay... what's wrong?

Rose: It's... it's nothing, really. I just... had a bad night.

Holly: Do you want to talk about it?

Rose: I... yes, I do. But not right now. Maybe later. You just... you go back to bed. Sorry again for waking you.

The girl lets out a small breath and nods, then gives Rose a warm hug before returning to her bedroom. Rose continues sitting there on the kitchen floor for several minutes, taking in slow breaths. Eventually, she brings herself to get up and finish cleaning.

Int. Silverstone City Central Police Station – Day

Rose exits the women's locker room and looks around down the hall. Still no sign of her. It's a half hour past when their shift starts, yet Becky is nowhere to be found. It took everything she had for Rose to get up today and come to work, and not just because every time she moves it feels like her body is about to collapse from pain. But she forced herself. She has a lot she wants to discuss with Becky, a lot she wants to try and explain. That is, of course, if Becky will even listen to her. Rose wouldn't blame her if she doesn't.

Heading down the hallway, Rose briefly fixes her hat and then turns to see Officer Stevens walking back. Though she normally tries to avoid talking to him, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Rose: Hey, uh, Stevens. Have you seen my partner around? Haven't been able to find her anywhere.

Stevens: Oh, Rebecca? Uh, yeah I think I heard the Chief mention she called in sick or something, came down with a really nasty bug.

Rose's heart sinks.

Rose: Oh... a bug, huh?

Stevens: Yeah, she asked for the rest of the week off. Guess it was pretty sudden, too, I mean she was fine yesterday, right?

Rose: Uh, yeah... right.

Stevens: By the way, you never got back to me on that rain check. What do you say? You, me, dinner, Friday night?

Rose: I'll, uh... have to take another rain check, I gotta get out on patrol.

Stevens: Wha- hey, wait a second!

But she ignores him, hurrying down the hallway and heading out the door.

Guess I should have seen it coming, her not wanting to see me. Don't blame her. I only went and ruined our friendship after all.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Rose tries calling Becky's apartment later that night. She gets the answering machine. So, she tries Becky's cell phone. Straight to voicemail. For the better part of the night, she continues trying to contact Becky, and with no success. While it doesn't surprise her, each time she gets the answering machine or voicemail she feels her heart grow just a little heavier.

Stupid, you're being stupid, she thinks. You lied to her, betrayed her trust... she doesn't want to talk to you. She probably never will.

Still, she keeps calling. Not just that night, but each day following. Tuesday comes and goes, then Wednesday, and then Thursday. Rose loses count of just how many times she calls, but never once does she get an answer. Finally, sitting at the living room couch, she lets out a frustrated groan and throws the phone across the room. At least she remains calm enough to just lightly toss it, instead of whipping it into a wall and breaking it. Sighing, she leans forward and drops her head into her hands.

Holly, sitting next to her and watching television, turns her gaze and gives a sad look. Rose glances up a moment later, as Holly signs to her.

Holly: I'm sorry about Becky.

Rose: Not like it's your fault. I'm the one that screwed things up... don't worry about it.

Holly: I hope she answers soon.

Rose: Yeah... me, too.

And yet, a small part of her knows that Becky won't answer, no matter how many times she calls. Plus, with her taking time off work now and avoiding the station, Rose doesn't know if she'll ever get a chance to talk to her. She had contemplated showing up at Becky's apartment... but she really didn't want to cause more problems than necessary. If Becky is trying to avoid Rose, going to her apartment would only make things worse.

Rose: You watch some more TV for a while, Holly. I'll be in my room for a bit if you need anything.

Releasing a heavy sigh, she gets up and returns to her bedroom, sitting down at her desk. For a while, she just leans against the back of her chair, staring at the blank computer screen in front of her. Eventually, she reaches forward and pulls up her video conferencing software, making a different call. It connects to another penthouse about 300 miles away, in Gotham. She just hopes he's there... To her relief, the familiar face pops up on the screen several minutes later.

Dick/Computer: Rose?

Rose: Hey, Dick... glad I caught you before you went out.

Dick/Computer: Something wrong? You usually just call my phone.

Rose: Yeah, well... I don't know, I felt like talking face to face, I guess.

Dick/Computer: I take it you didn't call just to chat about the weather. What happened?

Leaning forward and holding her head up with one hand, she breathes outwardly and closes her eye.

Rose: I... I really screwed up, Dick.

A small pause, as Dick goes from standing in front of his desk to sitting down.

Dick/Computer: Go ahead, start from the beginning.

And so she tells him, about running from the police, Becky finding out about her secret, and her subsequent avoidance of Rose. She didn't really expect to feel like such crap when explaining things to him, but just recounting the events puts her in a terrible mood, mostly upset at her own stupidity, her own mistakes.

Rose: And now... I don't know what the hell to do anymore. Seems like Becky doesn't want anything to do with me anymore, and I can barely stomach sitting in that squad car alone everyday. I mean, she was right, who am I kidding? I'm no cop, never was. I'm just a freak in a costume doing whatever I want to do, and I'm not sure if I can even be that anymore.

Dick/Computer: Rose, the most important thing you have to remember is that you always tried to do good. You might have different ways of going about it, but it's part of who you are; you want to help people. And you do.

Rose: But what's the point in doing good if you just end up hurting everyone around you? You didn't see the look she had in her eyes when she found out who I was. She looked so... betrayed. Hurt. I had a life of my own, Dick, a good life. But then I went and ruined it, all because I couldn't keep the costume off.

Dick/Computer: I guess it's because that's another part of you. We do this for so long, and that's what happens. Our other identities become a part of us, and we can't let it go.

Groaning, Rose lowers her gaze and shakes her head.

Rose: How do you do it? I mean, how have you kept it up for so long without going insane?

Dick/Computer: Years of practice, mostly. I've been doing this since I was kid, after all.

Rose: Gee, thanks for your words of wisdom.

Dick/Computer: I'm being serious, Rose. I don't just mean physical practice, it's a lot of mental practice, too. The kind of life we live, it's difficult, stressful, not to mention dangerous.

Rose: And pretty much guarantees you no social life.

Dick/Computer: A lot of times, yeah. But sometimes you find something, or someone, special.

Rose: But how on earth are you supposed to keep that something special without screwing it up? I had that... and now it's gone.

Dick/Computer: Well, for starters, I try never to start serious relationships outside of the superhero community.

Rose: You're still not funny, Grayson.

Dick/Computer: If you really want to know, it takes a lot of care and a little luck to make your regular life work alongside your secret one. Sharing that secret with someone you trust can be a big help, too. Gives you someone to talk to. Plus, it also helps to try and be on good terms with the local authorities.

Rose: Well it's a little late for all that, isn't it?

Dick/Computer: Maybe, but not for certain.

Rose: Dick, let's face it, I'm not really cut out for this.

Dick/Computer: What are you talking about? You're good at what you do, we've been over this.

Rose: No, not that. I mean this. The normal life, the secret identity, the lying, all of it... I was never meant to be a happy person. Ugh, I feel like I don't even know who I am anymore. It's like I'm all the way back to square one. The hell am I supposed to do now?

There's a small pause, as Dick takes in a small breath and taps his fingers against his desk.

Dick/Computer: You still have Holly, right? You're doing a good job with her.

Rose: Save the pep talk, Dick. I know I'm not exactly the best person in the world to look after a kid. Hell, I leave her alone every night with nothing but a suped up security system keeping her safe, while I go and get myself shot at. Social services would have a field day with that.

Dick/Computer: You still cared enough to look after her, to give her a home. A lot of people would have just let her go back into the foster system, but you stepped up. What's that say?

Rose: Either that I have a soft spot for kids, or I like getting in over my head. Maybe both, I don't know. I just... I can't do this anymore, Dick. I'm not sure I even know how.

Dick/Computer: Look, Rose... I can tell you're in a rough spot right now.

Rose: Gee, what tipped you off?

Dick/Computer: And if you keep going about things the way you are, you'll only keep beating yourself up until there's nothing left.

Rose: Your confidence in me is endearing.

Dick/Computer: Rose, I'm trying to help you. Are you going to listen or not?

Rose: Sorry, go ahead.

Dick/Computer: I may not be able to help you get past what you're going through, or make you gain some kind of sudden clarity on what you should do, or how to live your life. But I do know someone who went through something similar a while back. It... might be a bit of an extreme way to go, but she does owe me a favor, if you're interested. She has connections to someone who can help you gain that kind of clarity.

Rose: So you know someone who knows someone who can help me? Isn't that always the way? But what the hell, it's worth a shot. Even if I don't think it'll help.

Dick/Computer: Well, before you agree to it, I should mention that you'll have to travel; you could be gone a while.

A long pause passes between them. Rose sits up a little straighter in her seat, staring back at Dick on the screen. Taking in a deep breath, she presses a hand to her forehead and shuts her eye, thinking. It doesn't take her long to come to a decision, though.

Rose: Yeah, sure, whatever. Not a lot left for me here anyway, is there?

Dick/Computer: If that's what you want, then I'll make the call.

Rose: Oh, uh... just one more favor?

Dick/Computer: What is it?

Rose: Could you watch Holly while I'm gone? She... deserves someone nice looking after her.

Dick/Computer: I'd be happy to. Alfred's great with kids, anyway. Plus, she and Damian are almost the same age.

Rose: Ha, right... I'm sure they'll get along great.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #30 Preview: Now that she knows Rose's secret, Becky has stopped talking to her former friend, upset over the betrayal and being lied to. This apparent dissolving of their friendship leaves Rose at a loss for what to do now with her life, her sense of direction gone. One of her only other friends, however, comes up with a wild suggestion to help get her back on track.

Chapter #30

Int. Rebecca's Apartment – Day

The phone rings, but there's no one around to pick it up. Eventually, the answering machine clicks on, just as it has the last hundred times over the past several days. The only difference is, this time the call waits for the beep to leave a message.

Answering Machine: Hey, you've reached Becky, I'm not in right now. Just leave a message or try my cell, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Gracias.

A second later, the beep goes off.

Rose/Phone: Hey, Becky... it's Rose. I know you haven't been around lately, and you haven't wanted to talk to me... but that's okay, I get it. Look, I... I'm sorry about everything, alright? I never wanted to betray you, or hurt you, or lie to you. I just... I screwed up. Maybe I should have told you about it sooner, or I should have just stopped altogether, I don't know... either way, I just want you to know that I'll always consider you a friend, no matter what else happens. Even if you never speak to me again, that's fine... but I want to thank you. For everything you did for me, for just being my friend... thanks. It's not something I say to very many people, but you deserve it.

A small pause goes by, as Rose takes in a small breath and slowly lets it out.

Rose/Phone: So... listen, I... I need to figure some things out for myself, try to get my life straight after I went and messed it up. I'm uh.... I'm leaving soon. Tomorrow, actually. Not really sure where yet, but I'll find out eventually. I... I could be gone for a while. Maybe weeks, maybe months... don't really know. I've already gone and handed in my resignation at the station, so no worries there...

Another pause.

Rose/Phone: Sh*t what else am I supposed to say? I'm not very good at this kind of thing, you know. I just... again, I'm sorry. I just wish I got a chance to explain things to you face to face before I have to leave.

Suddenly, a figure moves into the living room, slowly. It's Becky, making her way over to the phone and answering machine. She's been listening to the whole thing, not sure if she wants to pick up the phone and answer it. For a moment, her hand comes forward, as if about to grab the phone, but then pauses. Eventually, she lets out a small sigh, bows her head, and pulls her hand back.

Rose/Phone: So... yeah, goodbye, Becky. And take care, you hear me?

A short moment later, the phone and answering machine click off. Letting out a small groan, Becky raises a hand to her head and lowers herself into a chair. For a while, she just sits there staring at the wall, shaking her head. She wanted to answer that phone, but something inside her just wouldn't let her do it.

Becky: Adiós, Rose... adiós.

Ext. Gotham City Streets – Day

Rose takes in a deep breath, staring up at the tall Wayne Towers building in front of her. Holly is next to her, holding her hand lightly and also gazing up at the massive structure. They've been standing there now for several minutes, as if hesitant to go inside.

Rose: Well... this is the place.

Looking towards her, Holly takes her hand back and makes several signs.

Holly: Do I really have to stay here?

A small sigh escapes Rose's lips, glancing back down at the young girl.

Rose: I know you don't want to... If I could take you with me, I would, but I don't even know where I'm going yet.

Holly: Can't you just stay?

Swallowing a hard lump in her throat, Rose kneels down in front of her, at eye level now. She takes in another deep breath and puts her hands on Holly's shoulders.

Rose: I... I want to. I do. But... my head is all over the place, Holly. After everything that happened with Becky, I don't really know what direction my life is going in right now. Kind of soon for me to be having a midlife crisis, but I guess you could call it that... Maybe I'm just stressed, I don't know, but apparently this mystery guy can help me, or something, so I'm going to give it a try. One thing to keep in mind, though: I will come back. I promise you that.

A small, sad look comes over the girl's face, one of distant understanding. She slowly brings her hands back up, signing.

Holly: How long will you be gone?

Rose: I don't know... I hope not that long, but it could be a few months. Maybe longer. If I'm not back by the end of the summer, though, my friend here will get you into Gotham Academy come September. It's a good school, really, you'll learn a lot.

Holly: It won't be the same.

Rose: I'm sorry, Holly, I really am... I promise I'll find a way to make it up to you alright?

Holly: I guess so...

Breathing outwardly, Rose stands back up and takes Holly's hand again, then begins to lead her inside the building.

Rose: Come on, let's go meet who you'll be staying with. They're good people, I promise.

Int. Wayne Tower's Penthouse Suite – Day

A short few minutes later, both Rose and Holly are standing in the middle of the large penthouse. Dick, Damian, and even Alfred are all present and there to greet them.

Dick: Good to see you again, I trust the trip here went alright?

Rose: About as alright as four and a half hours in a car can be. Nothing special.

Turning to Holly, Dick took a knee, lowering himself down to her level and giving her a friendly nod.

Dick: Good to see you again, Holly. Do you remember me at all? We met briefly a while back.

Taking a few moments to study is face and contemplate, Holly eventually nods and holds out her hand for him to shake, which he does so gently. He then stands up and introduces the other two.

Dick: This is Alfred. He's been a good friend to me for a long time.

Coming forward, Alfred takes a steady bow.

Alfred: A pleasure to meet you, Miss... Holly, was it?

Holly nods in affirmation, then holds her hand out again to shake.

Alfred: Can I get you anything to eat? Or perhaps you'd like a drink? You must be famished after such a long car ride.

This gets the girl's attention. She immediately goes through several hand signs to explain what she wants. Lifting an eyebrow, Alfred watches her signs carefully.

Alfred: Oh dear, my sign language is a bit rusty... but I believe you said you wanted peanut butter and jelly? And a glass of milk.

Smiling, Holly nods again.

Alfred: Very good, I shall prepare it for you at once.

As Alfred heads over into the kitchen to fix up a snack, Dick glances back over at the other person in the room, who thus far has been standing off to the side with his arms crossed, just sort of staring at Holly, studying her.

Dick: Damian, you can say hi, you know.

Damian: I could.

Dick: Holly, this is Damian. He's my brother, through adoption.

Holly steps forward and makes a few hand signs, while also mouthing the words. Damian just sort of stares at her with his brow furrowed.

Damian: I have no idea what she just said. What did she say?

Rose: She says that it's nice to meet you. And you'll say the same, if you know what's good for you, twerp.

Damian leans a little closer to the girl, still studying her. He then brings a finger up and points it at her, poking her forehead.

Damian: So why can't she talk? There isn't anything wrong with her, is there?

Before anyone can answer his question, Holly's hand shoots up, grabs his finger and twists it around, while pushing forward. Instantly, Damian recoils, bringing his other hand up to try and yank her grip away.

Damian: Ow, ow, ow! What the hell!

He manages to break free of the hold a second later, shaking his finger.

Damian: Why didn't anyone tell me she could do that?!

Dick: Shouldn't have let your guard down.

Smirking a little, Rose raises a palm, which Holly immediately slaps in a vigorous high five.

Rose: Just like I taught you.

Damian grumbles a little, glaring at Holly.

Damian: This isn't over...

Then, he turns from them and marches back over to the couch. A few moments later, Alfred finishes preparing the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, prompting Holly to go join him in the kitchen, leaving Rose and Dick alone in the center of the penthouse.

Rose: I should probably get going soon.

Dick: No need to hurry. You can stick around for a while, you know.

Rose: Yeah, I know... but if I don't leave now, I might not be able to. My mind is a pretty fickle thing at the moment.

Dick: Guess I can understand that.

Rose: So, this friend of yours I'm meeting, she really knows someone who can help me straighten my head out?

Dick: According to her, yeah. She was in a similar sort of situation a while back, and she had it worse than you. But he helped her figure out her life. I figure he can do the same for you.

Rose: Well, here's hoping.

Dick: She'll be waiting for you at Gotham International. I've taken the liberty of preparing a private jet for you. Oh, and here, you'll be needing this.

Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a small blue booklet and hands it over to her. Flipping it open, Rose sees a picture of herself, as well as a bunch of personal information.

Rose: A passport? Where the hell are you sending me?

Dick: You'll see soon enough.

Rose: Right... it had better not be anywhere cold.

The smirk that forms its way on Dick's face makes her cringe. Fantastic. She hates the cold.

Dick: Should probably say your goodbyes, then.

Rose: Yeah...

Taking in a deep breath, she heads on over to the kitchen, grabbing Holly's attention. At first, she can't bring herself to say anything, unsure if she can find the right words. For all she knows, this is the last time she'll see the girl for half a year. It's Holly who breaks the silence, in her own way, by smiling and holding up a single hand sign, one that causes a hard lump to form in Rose's throat. Reaching out, she wraps her arms around the girl in a warm hug.

Rose: I love you, too, Holly.

Damn it, there you go getting all sappy.

But she can't help it. She does love Holly. This girl brought out a side of her that she didn't even know existed. She really is going to miss her.

Rose: Goodbye, for now.

Ext. Gotham International Airport – Day

Rose looks around the tarmac, holding an arm up in front of her face to block the bright sunlight from blinding her. It doesn't help that it's about thirty degrees hotter on the sun soaked pavement than anywhere else. Dick couldn't just have his jet hooked up to the terminal, no, he had to go and be all secretive, have her head out onto the tarmac and cook to death.

And then he's sending me somewhere cold. Damn it, Grayson, I hope you're having a good laugh over this.

Hoisting her large duffel bag higher on her shoulder, she marches forward, heading towards the large jet in the distance. By the time she reaches it, sweat is pouring off her brow, her breaths heavy. Letting out a long breath, she marches up the plane's lowered steps and emerges inside the cozy interior. At least the thing is pretty decked out and comfortable, and the air conditioning feels great. She's just found her new favorite way to travel.

Woman: You must be Rose.

Blinking a few times to let her eyes adjust to the dimmer interior, Rose glances to her left to see a woman sitting there in a soft leather seat, holding a root beer.

Rose: And you're... Renee, right? Renee... Montana or something.

Renee: Montoya. Drink?

Reaching over into the nearby mini-fridge, she pulls out a cold soda and offers it up. Lifting an eyebrow, Rose takes the bottle and plops herself down on the seat across from her.

Rose: Don't mind if I do.

Renee: So, I'm told that you're going through a tough time.

Rose: Uh... yeah, you could say that. Most of the good things in my life sort of went and collapsed around me.

Renee: And now you don't know what to do, who you are, or where you belong.

Rose: Something like that. I'm told that you went through something similar.

Renee: That was a long time ago. But yes, I did.

Rose: And this mystery friend of yours can help?

Renee: If you let him. He helped me figure out who I was, who I wanted to be, and I've been on that path ever since. He was my teacher, in more ways than one.

Rose: Well, this teacher of yours, where's he live? I mean, just where are we going?

Renee: Ah-

Smirking slightly, Renee lifts her beer to her lips and takes a brief sip.

Renee: -that's the question, isn't it?

Ext. Somewhere in the Tibetan Himalayas – Day

Rose pulls the heavy jacket closer around her. She can normally handle the cold just fine, she just simply doesn't like it. Hell, she even knows a few breathing techniques to help regulate her body temperature. But this... this is a different kind of cold, the kind that freezes over Hell. Then again, when you're in the middle of nowhere up in the Himalayan Mountains, that's probably to be expected. Exhaling a shaky breath, she watches the frozen cloud of air escape her lips and then trudges through the snow, trying to keep pace with Renee. It isn't that she's slower, she's just miserable. Has she mentioned that she hates the cold? And snow. She hates snow.

Renee: Better hurry up, I'm pretty close to just leaving you behind.

Rose: I'm c-coming, h-hold your horses.

It just had to be somewhere cold. Damn you, Grayson. Just damn you.

Marching up the snow embankment, Renee keeps her eyes on the state of the art GPS tracking device in her palm, carefully keeping track of where they are and where they're going. She learned the hard way the last time she came here, you don't try to find this place without knowing where you're going. Pausing a moment, she looks around and then heads east.

Rose: We almost there? I can't feel my t-toes.

Renee: If you don't have patience now, this is going to be a very long experience for you.

Rose: So sue me.

Their incessant trek through the snowy mountains of Tibet continues for another couple of hours. By that time, Rose is sure her feet are frostbitten. They have to be, with how numb they are. Then again, she probably wouldn't be able to walk if they were. Still, it's not very comfortable. Finally, the two turn the corner around a rocky outcropping to the sight of a large walled city tucked between two mountains. Immediately, Rose's eyebrows lift, her demeanor suddenly changing somehow.

Rose: This... is where your friend lives?

Renee: That it is.

Rose: It's... I mean... wow.

She can barely formulate coherent thoughts just looking at this place. Something about it just seems... calming. Peaceful. Awe inspiring.

Renee: Welcome to Nanda Parbat.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #31 Preview: Rose gets set up in Nanda Parbat and meets Renee's former teacher, but is she ready to begin learning? Meanwhile, Becky comes across a curious mystery involving a dead body that might just put her in harm's way.

Chapter #31

Int. Rose's Living Quarters – Day

Nanda Parbat. It is a place of healing and enlightenment, according to Renee, watched over by the goddess Rama Kushna. The inhabitants are mostly comprised of monks who are in service of Rama Kushna, though there are other residents who have come seeking peace and tranquility. It is a very strange place, and yet very soothing at the same time. To Rose, it feels like a place where maybe she really can start to clear her head.

The first hour after arrival is spent getting situated in the city. The living quarters are small, nothing more than a single square room, and the furnishings are simple; a small bed, a desk, a few baskets, some kitchenware, and an old fashioned stove. There is no electricity, either, only candles. No television, no radio, no computers, no phones, no distractions. Rose drops her single duffel bag on the bed and takes a brief look around; not much to see, after all. She does take a small respite, though, sitting at the desk and taking in a deep breath.

I just hope coming all the way out here is worth it... It seems like a nice place and all, but that means squat if I still can't figure out what to do with myself.

Ext. Nanda Parbat - Day

Rose leaves the room a few minutes later, heading back outside. Though still wearing her heavy coat, it's now unzipped, and she can feel her toes again. Each breath she takes only emits a small, barely noticeable cloud now, instead of a huge white puff. A strange place, Nanda Parbat. Things within the city don't appear to be affected much by that outside the walls. It's still chilly, sure, but the frigid, biting cold she had to endure on the way here is long gone, almost as if the city is in it's own little world.

As her boots crunch through the snow, Renee appears from around the corner of the small wooden hut. She gives Rose a silent wave, motioning for her to follow. Rose obeys, of course, in turn also not saying anything. Words seem to have little meaning at the moment, and she already knows where they're going now. It's time to meet the mystery man, Renee's teacher and the guy who is supposed to help Rose gain clarity. She has her skepticism about it, of course, but she also has her hopes.

The two come to a small snowy field near the very back end of the city, behind a grouping of buildings and just beneath the shadow of a temple situated higher up on a rocky precipice. The space is completely empty, save for a single rock in the center of the field, on which a man dressed in nothing but a tight T-shirt and long pants sits cross legged with his eyes closed and fingers pressed together. The man's brown hair is long and shaggy, coming down past his shoulders, and a big bushy beard covers his jaw. He's an older man, maybe in his forties from the looks of it, but is in remarkable shape, with lean, hard muscle making up his body, and very little excess fat. As the two approach, the man slowly opens his eyes.

Man: I heard of your arrival earlier. It's good to see you again, Renee. How have you been?

Renee: About as good as I can be, Richard. It's good to see you, too.

The two shake hands briefly, and then Richard jumps off the rock to his feet, standing tall.

Richard: Glad to hear it. Who is this?

He's looking at Rose now. She doesn't know what it is, but something about the man twists a knot in her stomach. It's like he can see into her soul or something. Just one look, and she feels like he knows everything about her.

Renee: Don't stand there tongue tied, introduce yourself.

Rose: Right, sorry. It's Rose. Rose Wilson.

She holds a hand out to shake. For a moment, Richard just looks at it, then eventually reaches forward to take her hand.

Richard: Richard Dragon. Tell me, why are you here?

Rose: Uh, well... I was told you could help me.

Richard: Help you how?

Rose: I was hoping you could tell me that.

Richard: You lack direction in your life, is that it? A real purpose, perhaps? Or are you just running away because it's the easy thing to do?

She pauses a moment, gaze narrowing. His expression never falters, hard and serious.

Rose: I just... can't figure out what to do with myself. I made some big screw ups with my life, and now... I don't know. I just have some problems I need to work out.

Richard: Everyone has problems, yet most of us are able to deal with them on our own. I can't make you understand what you're supposed to do, or who you're supposed to be. Only you can do that.

Rose: But-

Richard: However... I can help you find the path that will lead you to those answers. If you are willing to learn what I have to teach.

Rose: Wouldn't have come here if I wasn't.

Richard: I hope you mean that.

Rose: I guess we'll see, won' we? So when do we start?

Richard: Not now. Take a while first, grow acclimated to the city. Learn the customs, the routine, ready your mind, and then come see me again. That is when we will start.

Shifting her weight, Rose gives him a curious look. Seriously? She has to waste her time getting accustomed to this place and learn about its routines and customs first? Sure, it's doable, but why does she have to? What is that going to get her that she can't get by starting right away? But she doesn't voice her opinion on it. Something prevents her, something nagging in the back of her head that tells her to just suck it up.

Rose: Alright... and about how long should I spend doing that?

Richard: As long as it takes.

Rose: Okay... in that case, I'll go get 'acclimated', then. I think I'll start with the local cuisine. Got anything to eat around here?

Richard: I'll have someone bring a bowl of rice to your quarters soon, if you want to wait there.

Blinking, she just stares at him for a few moments, trying to process the information.

Rice? A bowl of rice? Is he serious?

One look tells her that he is quite serious, though. Apparently, the people of Nanda Parbat don't really eat that much. One thing to add to the list of stuff she's going to need to get used to about this place.

Rose: Fine, I'll be in my room, then.

As she walks off back towards her living quarters, Richard folds his arms, watching her disappear.

Richard: I sense she will be a stubborn one.

Renee: Yeah, I got that vibe, too. Try spending fourteen hours in a plane with her.

Richard: It doesn't make a difference, though. I've handled worse before.

Renee: I wasn't that bad.

Richard: Weren't you?

She pauses, giving Richard a sidelong glance.

Renee: Alright, I was pretty bad. But not your worst.

Richard: True. That prize goes to Charlie.

Ext. Nanda Parbat – Night

Later that night, Rose takes a long walk throughout the city, just trying to get a feel for it. She has no idea on how to know when she's acclimated to Nanda Parbat, but she supposes she'll find out eventually. Richard is one weird guy, in her mind, but he should know what he's talking about. At least, she hopes he does. She could do with a little less philosophical-like speech, but whatever; she can't change it.

Hugging her coat tighter around herself, Rose lets out a deep breath and looks up at the sky. A light snow is beginning to fall, the wispy flakes fluttering down calmly in the windless air. At night, the city streets are lit with paper lanterns, which cast long, flickering shadows. Her own shadow seems to dance in the dim light, as she walks down the street with her hands in her pockets, footsteps crunching over the snow.

One thing specifically absent from the streets right now, though, are people. Every now and then she'll pass someone going about their business, but for the most part the place feels deserted. It isn't even that particularly late, either, and yet with the sun down, most of Nanda Parbat seems to have retired for the night. Turning the corner of one street, however, she notices Renee sitting on a nearby bench, sipping from a thermos. The woman looks up, as Rose approaches, and leans back.

Rose: That seat taken?

Renee: Be my guest.

Letting out a small sigh, Rose seats herself next to Renee on the bench and holds her hands up behind her head.

Renee: So, regretting coming here, yet?

Rose: Uh, well no... I mean, should I?

Renee: It's not for everyone, believe me. When I first arrived, I didn't know what I was doing, why I was here. I just wanted to leave.

Rose: But you didn't?

Renee: I couldn't. I owed too much to the friend who brought me here to just turn my back. So yeah, I stayed.

Rose: And it worked out, huh?

Renee: I figured out what I needed to do to put my life in order, if that's what you mean. I'm sure Richard can do the same for you.

Rose: That remains to be seen... So where's that friend of yours now, anyway, the one who brought you here?

Renee: Gone.

Bringing her thermos back up to her lips, Renee takes a small sip. Rose sinks back against the bench and breathes a heavy breath.

Rose: Oh. Sorry.

Stupid question.

For another few moments, they two just sit there in silence. Rose leans forward, staring at the ground with her elbows on her knees. Renee takes a few more casual sips from her thermos, just sitting back and watching the fluttering snowflakes fall from the sky.

Rose: So, uh... how long did it take you? To complete your... learning or whatever here, I mean.

Renee: Months, years maybe. Hard to say.

Looking up suddenly, Rose's eye goes wide in surprise. She expected to be gone a little while, but years?

Rose: That long?

Renee: Don't worry too much about it. Time passes... differently, here in Nanda Parbat. Days, weeks, months, they don't matter. Pretty soon, they'll all start to blend into each other and you won't be able to tell the difference. You might spend half a lifetime within these walls, when only a fraction of that time will pass beyond them.

Rose: So you're telling me that this city is in... some kind of time bubble?

Renee: I couldn't tell you how it works; don't really understand it myself. All I know is that I spent a long time in here learning, training, finding myself... and when I returned to the outside world, it was like I'd never left.

Rose: I see...

It's like the freaking Twilight Zone in here...

Rose: Anyway, nice chat, but I should get going. Gotta work on getting 'acclimated' to this place, after all.

Renee: You'll get used to it eventually. Took me two weeks before I finally understood what I needed to.

Rose: Right... thanks for encouragement. See ya around.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Day

It's a rainy day in Silverstone, and hot, too. The kind of rainy day that causes a sudden kick in the humidity once the sun hits again. Officer Rebecca Chavez takes in a deep breath and wipes some of the water from her brow, then takes a closer look at the dead body in front of her that she's investigating. The poor sap is face down in a dirty alleyway, dressed in nothing but his boxers. The cause of death is obvious enough. Judging from the massive bruising and the odd angle of his head, his neck was snapped. Of course, the medical examiner will take a closer look later.

She doesn't touch anything, of course, or tamper with the scene in any way. Can't go making life difficult for the crime scene investigator. Instead, she just stands there, looking at the corpse. It had been pure chance that she stumbled upon it, noticing the body behind a few trash bags as she was driving past on patrol. She put the call out immediately, and now waits patiently for the forensics team to get there.

The large white and blue van pulls up just a few minutes later, followed by another couple of squad cars and an unmarked vehicle. The forensics team, more patrol officers, and the detectives assigned to the case, most likely. Becky moves away from the scene, ducking back out of the barricade tape she had set up in front of the alley. The two men in suits from the black car are already there to greet her.

Kubrick: Officer Chavez, I'm Detective Kubrick, this is Detective Riggs.

Becky: Right, yeah. I think I've seen you two around the station before.

Kubrick: I understand you're the one that found the body?

Becky: Uh, yeah, just a little while ago. Followed standard procedure, secured the area, called it in. No witnesses in the immediate vicinity to take statements from.

Kubrick: And tell us again how you found the body.

Becky: Was just driving past on patrol, like normal. Happened to look over and there he was, face down and dead.

Kubrick: And was there anything unusual about the scene?

Becky: You mean aside from the dead guy in his underwear? Nothing I can think of, no.

Kubrick: Alright, in that case why don't you help us canvass the area, interview some of the people in the neighboring buildings, see if they saw anything? Give us any statements you get, then you can head back to the precinct and fill out a report.

Becky: Yeah, sure. I'll get right on it.

The two detectives nod to her, then move past her to the crime scene itself. Becky watches them for a couple moments, eyes narrowing at them. Something about that conversation just felt... weird. But she can't put her finger on it.

Qué mierda, calm down, girl. You're just paranoid. Take a deep breath, settle your nerves, and do your job.

As she makes her way back to her squad car to get her notepad, however, Detective Riggs, the silent of the pair, looks over his shoulder briefly to give her a hard look, eyes narrowing. By the time she turns around again, his attention is elsewhere.

Int. Silverstone City Central Police Station – Night

Becky lets out a long yawn, leaning back in the desk chair and stretching out her arms. Exhaustion is starting to set in, but then that's what she gets for working another double shift. Seems like all she's been doing lately is working, ever since Rose left a week ago. But the work helps take her mind off other things that she'd rather not be thinking about. Like Rose.

And yet you're still thinking about her, estúpido. Get over it.

Releasing a long sigh, she rubs her eyes and finishes filling out the last of her report. That's one of the few things she hates about being a cop, the paperwork. They never quite covered just how much of it there would be at the academy. And with double shifts comes double the paperwork, naturally. She just hopes that some of this is useful, especially her report on the John Doe from earlier. The statements she took from some of the people in the buildings next to the alley were... interesting. Some didn't see or hear anything, others thought they heard screaming, and others still claimed they saw some guy dressed in all back leaving the alley. Yet none of them bothered to notice the half naked man lying face down in a puddle.

Becky: Weird...

Whatever the case, she's about ready to head home and get some damn sleep. She only has to be up in about five hours to do it all again tomorrow. Yawning, she flips off the desk lamp, then gets up to leave.

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

Another long yawn leaves her as she heads down the sidewalk. Her apartment is just a couple of blocks, within walking distance. Helps save on gas money, at least. Shoving her hands into her pockets, she keeps her gaze pointed down and tries not to nod off in mid walk. Maybe she should take a day off soon and just take a nice twelve hour nap. That might do her some good.

Turning down the corner of her street, she doesn't notice that she's being followed. The figure peers around the edge of the alleyway, watching Becky near her apartment. Several moments pass, and then the figure scales the adjacent building in an astounding display of acrobatic prowess. Within moments, the figure is gone.

Int. Becky's Apartment – Night

Becky glances at the clock. Two thirty in the morning. Well, it's about what time she figured she'd get home, give or take a few minutes. Just another late night in the world of Rebecca Chavez. It's not going to be easy to get to sleep, though, not when it's this muggy. All she has is a small little table fan to keep herself cool, and short of sleeping in the buff, she can't can't really do anything else. She'll manage to fall asleep by four, if she's lucky.

Turning the light on in her bathroom, she takes a few moments to brush her teeth and wash up, then heads back to her bedroom. She yawns again, undressing down to her underwear and just plopping herself down on the mattress, eyes closed. She's already starting to sweat.

Dios mio, I hate the summer...

That's when she hears it. The sound is only slight, but she knows it well. One of the floorboards in the kitchen is a little loose, not by much, but just enough to creak ever so slightly when you step on it. The fact that it's creaking now has her suddenly wide awake and scrambling to her feet. Whoever else is in her apartment apparently realizes that the creaky floorboard just gave away the element of surprise, because suddenly she hears harder footsteps racing across her apartment.

Becky lunges for her bedside table, pulling the drawer open and pulling out her home handgun. By the time she turns around, the figure is almost upon her, so fast. She gets off two gunshots before the dark mass hits her, feeling a hot sting across her arm. The two collapse to the floor hard, knocking over the end table and lamp. For a moment, Becky just lies there, grunting at the combination of the pain on her arm and the weight upon her. Eventually, she pushes the person off her and rolls away, breathing in deeply and clutching the bleeding wound near her elbow.

Becky: The hell?

She gets a good look at the intruder, now. Clearly female, judging from the smaller frame and the ponytail sticking out from beneath the head mask. And the breasts, of course. But the woman is dressed up the same as those strange men that she and Rose had encountered several weeks ago at the warehouse, like some kind of ninja. Reaching forward, Becky flips the woman over with her good arm, then sighs, hanging her head.

Well, she's not getting up any time soon. Jueputa.

Two bullet wounds bleed freely dead center in the woman's chest, her eyes wide open and staring blankly forward. Her cold grip holds a long knife, the one used to slash open Becky's arm. After taking a brief moment to wrap up her wound, Becky sits on the edge of her bed and grabs the phone. She won't be getting much sleep tonight after all.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #32 Preview: Rose finally begins her training with Richard Dragon, but finds it to be a lot more challenging than she anticipated. Also, Renee attempts to teach her the finer points of meditation, much to her chagrin. Back in Silverstone, Becky continues to investigate strange occurrences around the city.

Chapter #32

Int. Temple of Rama Kushna – Day

Three weeks. It takes three weeks before Richard Dragon starts training Rose. At least, she thinks it's three weeks. Just as Renee had said, time doesn't have any meaning in Nanda Parbat. Minutes flow into hours, hours flow into days, days flow into weeks, all in the blink of an eye. Trying to keep track of how much time passes is utterly pointless.

Rose lets out a pained grunt tumbling backwards and crashing to the floor. Holding a hand to her cheek, she sits up and glares up at her new teacher, already starting to wonder just what she's supposed to be learning here, other than getting her ass kicked. Richard stares at her, doesn't offer a hand to help her up, just waits for her to make a move. In a quick motion, she flips up to her feet and lunges in with a vicious kick. He sidesteps it easily, pushing her leg to the side and delivering a palm strike to the chest that sends her stumbling backwards again.

Richard: You're starting to get wild, sloppy. You're giving in to your anger and your frustration.

Rose: It's not my frustration making me sloppy, I have no depth perception right now. You try fighting with one eye and nothing to compensate for it.

She's really beginning to hate this temple, where he's been training her. According to him, it's protected by Rama Kushna, who disallows all outside powers, abilities, strengths, or whatever. Within these walls, all those who enter are on equal ground, unpowered. That means, her enhanced strength, agility, reflexes, speed, even her precog, it's all gone in here. She just has her skill and her body. That also means she has nothing to compensate for her missing eye.

Before, her precog and reflexes more than made up for her blind side, but now... now it's like she's missing a part of herself. She can't tell what's coming from her left and her depth perception is shot. It's like she's trying to fight while crippled. That matter isn't helped at all by the fact that Dragon is good, real good. Like, Shiva good. Maybe better, though it's really difficult to tell with her current handicaps.

Richard: You rely too much on your enhancements, and not enough on your skill. What happens when those meta abilities of yours are a non-factor, such as now? Then what to you do?

Rose: I get my ass handed to me, clearly. This is stupid, I didn't come here for you to beat the crap out of me, I came here to learn.

Richard: And I am teaching. If you could look past your clouded mind, you might be able to see the lesson.

Rose: What lesson is that, huh? That I'm next to useless without my enhanced attributes?

Richard: You must figure it out on your own. Until then, we continue. Come at me again, and this time actually try to hit me.

Ext. Nanda Parbat – Day

Walking slowly down the long set of stone steps leading down from the temple, Rose holds her side and groans, a slight limp in her stride. Some lesson. All she learned is that she's barely passable as a fighter when her abilities are taken away. It isn't because her skill is lacking that much, but rather her missing eye severely limits her effectiveness. Fortunately, she doesn't really ever have to worry about her enhancements suddenly disappearing, not outside that stupid temple. Outside, like now, she's already back to normal.

And it feels really good. Don't know what you have sometimes until you lose it.

Of course, the bruises aren't just going to suddenly disappear. Those are still there, and they still hurt. At the very least, they'll be mostly gone by tomorrow, now that she has her enhanced metabolism back. The question remains, though, what exactly is she supposed to do now? It isn't that late in the afternoon, and Richard already concluded their training for the day, saying that she needed to contemplate the lesson more, instead of looking past it.

Right, because that'll happen.

Upon reaching the bottom of the long steps and walking back into the main area of Nanda Parbat, someone is already there waiting for her. Renee stands in front of a nearby building, arms crossed and watching her approach. Rose gives an odd look, then stops in front of her.

Rose: What?

Renee: Nothing. Just thinking.

Rose: About?

Renee: How hard Richard must have kicked you to cause a limp like that.

Narrowing her gaze, Rose stands straighter, trying not to favor her leg.

Rose: Don't know what you're talking about.

Renee: Of course you don't. Now, come with me. Your lessons aren't over today.

Rose: Wait, so you're going to teach me stuff too now?

Renee: Good question. Am I?

Rose: You're not making sense.

Renee: I mean, are you willing to learn?

Rose: Oh, that again... Let's just get on with this.

Int. Ice Cave – Day

Rose glances around at the shimmering, reflective walls of the cave, all coated in a thick sheet of ice. The ice has been smoothed over, too, making them appear as mirrors. Everywhere she looks, she sees herself staring back at her. She's not sure she likes it. A circle of candles are set up in the center of the cave room, quite a ways from the entrance, adding to the almost surreal atmosphere.

Rose: This place is... weird.

Renee: That's one way of putting it. Come here, sit.

Renee has already lowered herself to the cold floor of the cave, sitting cross legged in the center of the candle ring. In front of her is an empty space just large enough for Rose to sit down in the same manner, and so she does.

Rose: Alright, so what the hell are we doing here?

Renee: Here is will you will look into yourself and learn what you want most. That lack of direction you feel? That sense of doubt? This is where you find the source, eventually.

Rose: Looking into myself... so all the mirrors are supposed to be a metaphor? Real cute. But if this is where I'm supposed to figure out the problem, then what's Richard teaching me?

Renee: And that's the question.

Narrowing her eye, Rose folds her arms over her chest and lets out an annoyed sigh. She's starting to get a little tired of these ambiguous answers. Why can't these people just tell her what she needs to know and let that be the end of it?

Rose: Okay, so how am I supposed to do this then?

Renee: Have you ever meditated before? I don't mean contemplated a problem on your own time, I mean true meditation; retreating into your mind to gain a true understanding of yourself. One of the many things I learned while I was here.

Rose: Meditation... right. Tried it, didn't like it. Not my thing.

Renee: Well, now you're going to make it your thing, because that's what we're doing here.

Rose: Swell.

Int. Silverstone City Central Police Station – Day

Becky quickly sifts through the long cabinet of folders, her eyes scanning the case titles. She hears a sudden noise near the door and looks over, but no one's there. Uttering a breath of relief, she turns back to the drawer to find what she's looking for. Finally, she spots the proper folder and takes it. Then, she stuffs it in an empty folder of her own, closes the drawer, and hurries out of the file room.

She really shouldn't be doing this. She isn't a detective, she's a patrol officer. This isn't her case. And yet... too many weird things have been happening lately for her to ignore it. Ever since she found the John Doe last week and was then attacked in her apartment, things around the station haven been off. She can't tell exactly what it is, just that it's... off. The dead body in the alleyway she stumbled across was the body of one Francis Baldoni, suspected family crime boss. While no one would judge that weird on its own, a Jane Doe surfaced a few days later. Emilia Marconi, another suspected family crime boss. The day after that, it was the body of Colum O'Malley, believed to be the head of the Irish Mafia in Silverstone.

Aside from the simple fact that highly watched, suspected heads of organized crime families are starting to show up dead all of the city, there's the inconsistencies in the investigation, from what she's heard around the station. No leads, no forensic evidence, nothing to give them a hint on who the killer is. Or killers. It doesn't make any sense. There's always evidence left behind, that much she knows, especially considering the poor ways in which the bodies were dumped and handled. Whoever had killed them didn't bother to cover up their tracks, and yet the crime scene units never found any evidence at all? No, she doesn't believe that.

And then, there are the detectives in charge of the investigation, Detectives Kubrick and Riggs. Something about those two men... she can't place it, but something about them is just wrong. Call it a woman's intuition, but she gets a bad vibe from them. The way they've handled themselves at the crime scenes hasn't been what Becky has come to expect from detectives, at least not the ones she's dealt with in the past. Whatever is going on, she intends to find out.

Sitting down at one of the empty desks, Becky places the folder down in front of her and slowly opens it. The first couple pages are just basic background information on the case, nothing interesting. The details is what she wants. Taking in a cool breath, she flips the pages over, getting into the meat of the case file. And when she does... she suddenly freezes, glaring in confusion. At first, she thinks it's a mistake, so she goes onto the next page. And then the next one. And the next one.

Qué diablos? They're all blank...

Now she's convinced. Something is very, very wrong. Closing the folder again, Becky stands up and looks around. A few of her fellow officers are in the immediate vicinity, going about their business. Nothing out of the ordinary... But has someone been tampering with the case files? Is it just an honest mistake, or is something more sinister going on here? Can she even trust to bring this information to anyone?

Calm down, girl, calm down. Take a breath.

The Chief, she can bring it to the Chief. If she can trust anyone in this station, it's him. Hurrying quickly down the hallway, she heads for his office. Before she can get there, however, a voice stops her, calling out.

Stevens: Hey, Rebecca!

A small groan escapes her lips. She could have gone without running into him right now. Or at all. Turning around, she breathes outwardly and tries to remain as calm looking as possible.

Becky: Uh, hey look, I'd love to talk right now and all, but I'm kind of in a hurry, so-

Stevens: Ah come on, no need to be in a rush. I just wanted to ask you a quick question.

Becky: Alright... and what would that be?

Stevens: Well, I was thinking, we're both single, we know each other pretty well, so why don't we go out some time? We can grab some dinner later.

And sometimes, she wishes that she had already come out. It would save her from having to deal with frustratingly annoying men like Stevens.

Becky: Sorry, really, but I'm pretty busy later. Uh... rain check?

Stevens: Man, what is it with you women and rain checks, huh?

Becky: Couldn't tell you. Now, I really have to get going...

Stevens: Alright, just one more thing in that case.

A small sigh leaves her throat.

Becky: Yes?

Stevens: See, we've been watching you for a while now, Rebecca. We know what you're doing.

A small twinge of nervousness goes through her. She stiffens up, taking a slight step back and glaring at the man. What the hell is he talking about?

Becky: Come again?

Stevens: You're getting too close, Rebecca, and we can't have that. So I'm afraid I have to say goodbye.

That's when his hand goes to his belt, starting to draw his gun. In the first instant, Becky almost doesn't react, but once she sees his arm coming up to point the weapon at her, she snaps her own hand out to grab his wrist, pushing it away. The gun goes off, bullet ripping into a nearby desk, as Becky turns to the side and brings her knee up into the man's gut, doubling him over. He tries to rush forward at her, but she's already gabbing her taser. With a swift motion, she clicks the button and brings the prongs up into his chest, causing him to twitch and flop to the floor like a dead fish.

By this time, the other officers and personnel in the building are springing into action to find out who just discharged their firearm. Rebecca takes another step back, lifting a hand to her head and brushing her fingers through her long brown hair. Her heart is beating a hundred times a minute, it feels. As she leans back against the desk behind her, trying to steady her breath, she swallows and gazes down at the unconscious Stevens.

He... he just tried to kill me! Why? And what was he talking about? They're watching me? Who's watching me? Jueputa, what the hell is going on?

Int. Ice Cave – Night

Silence. That's all she hears. In this cave, all sounds from the outside world seem to vanish, separating it into its own, quiet void. And yet, it doesn't help her concentrate. Though Renee spent the better part of the last three hours trying to teach her the details of meditation, she just can't seem to 'get in touch' with herself. Grumbling, Rose opens her eye and stares at the large reflective ice wall in front of her. She doesn't like her reflection right now. It's her face, yes, but beyond the appearance, she doesn't know anything else.

Who is she really? What is she supposed to be doing? Where does she belong? These are the questions she came here to get answered, and yet she's no closer to figuring it out than she was when she arrived. She's now beginning to doubt that she ever will. Maybe coming here really was a mistake. Leaning back on her hands, he exhales a long breath and uncrosses her legs.

Nope, definitely not feeling it. How the hell is this supposed to solve my problems?

Finally, Rose stands up from her spot on the icy ground and marches back out tunnel to the entrance, using an oil lantern to light her way.

Ext. Nanda Parbat – Night

When she makes it back outside, she looks up at the night sky, watching the moon for a few moments as it floats high above her head. Apparently, she had been in there a lot longer than she thought. Again with the whole time warp thing; it's really starting to creep her out.

Renee: So, make any progress?

Glancing to her left, she notices Renee standing there, leaning back against the rocky wall and sipping hot tea from her thermos.

Rose: Depends. Is no progress still progress?

Renee: You'll get it eventually, just takes time.

Rose: Somehow, I'm not so sure.

As the two begin to walk down the trail to the main part of the city again, Rose holds her hands to her hips and lets out a heavy breath.

Rose: I just... I keep asking myself the questions. Who am I? What am I supposed to do? Over and over again... and I come up with nothing. I don't think this place is helping much, either.

Renee: As an old friend of mine would have said, those are the wrong questions to be asking yourself.

Rose: Of course they are... Then what's the right question?

There is a small pause, as Renee hesitates to answer and takes another sip from her thermos.

Renee: Who do you want to be?

Rose's gaze narrows.

Rose: How is that any different?

Renee: You'll figure it out. Eventually.

Rose: At least one of us has confidence.

Releasing a frustrated sigh, Rose brings her arms up over her chest and stares at the ground.

Renee: Let me ask you something, do you have anyone special back home? Anyone you regret leaving behind?

Rose: And what's that have to do with anything?

Renee: Call me curious.

She hesitates a response, giving Renee a sidelong glance before finally shrugging her shoulders.

Rose: Yes. I mean, maybe. Kind of. I don't know.

Renee: Sounds like it's pretty complicated.

Rose: It is. I think. I just... ugh. It's hard to explain. I mean, she was probably the closest friend I had. Ever had. And we'd only known each other for like half a year, but hell, she was a fun one. She added a new dimension to to my life.

Lifting an eyebrow, Renee slowly curls her lips into a knowing smirk.

Renee: Just friends, huh?

Rose: I don't kn- well yeah. Sort of. I mean, she... I didn't know she thought more of me, not until she made a move... that was awkward.

Renee: And you didn't feel the same way?

Rose: No. I mean... not at first. I don't think. We were close, yeah, but I'm not... I mean, I've never been into women. But she... look, it's complicated. Why are we even talking about this?

Renee: Like I said, I'm curious. So what happened between you two, anyway? Something tells me you wouldn't be here if things were still good.

Rose: Oh, you know. She just found out that I'd been lying to her during the entire time I've known her. When she found out my other identity... it wasn't pretty. She wouldn't even talk to me after that. I wanted to try and explain things better, but it's hard to do that when the other person shuts you out completely.

Renee: Sounds like you miss her.

Rose: So what if I do?

Renee: Then I'd say you're already a little closer to answering the question.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #33 Preview: After spending the equivalent of years in Nanda Parbat, Rose's training an enlightenment of herself is progressing to levels she couldn't have imagined. However, her precog power develops even further during a meditation session, prompting a sudden return to Silverstone City to find Becky, also learning that only a month and a half has passed in the outside world. When the two women meet again, can they patch up their damaged relationship? Or will they drift apart forever?

Chapter #33

Int. Temple of Rama Kushna – Day

How long has she been here now? Months? Years? She can't tell. Time has even less meaning now than it did before, and that's saying something. All she knows is that it's been a long time, much longer than she intended to stay. And yet... she knows she isn't done. She's getting there, but she hasn't quite figured out everything she needs to figure out. One thing she does know, however: she's better. A lot better.

Richard comes in at her with a powerful set of blows. His actions are hard, precise, and blindingly fast. But Rose sees them coming, and not because of her precog or enhanced reflexes. No, it's her skill that matches him, deflects his punches, blocks his kicks. Even with her missing eye, blind side and lack of depth perception all, she goes toe to toe with Richard Dragon. He still lands a couple of strikes on her, but she gives back just as much, delivering sharp strikes to his torso and kicking him backwards.

Her actions are reflexive, instant, newfound muscle memory the likes of which she never even imagined. The training that she's gone through under Richard's tutelage has taken the potential that Shiva saw in her and not just nurtured it, but brought it out full force. She can feel it in the way she fights, the way she thinks, the way she acts. She's a far more capable fighter now than she has ever been before. And she likes it.

As for the lesson that he's been trying to teach her all this time, she finally understands that, as well. She doubted herself for the longest time, maybe not always out in the open, but deep down it had always been there. The incident with Becky brought out that self-doubt and had her so unsure of herself that her entire life's purpose folded in around her. But just as she relied on her enhanced abilities as a crutch, she relied on the people around her and the material things in her life to define her. When one of those crutches was kicked out from beneath her, she toppled like a house of cards.

It's time to start trusting in herself, who she is, who she wants to be, to determine how she wants to live her life, just as she has come to rely now on her skill, not her attributes. As for just who she wants to be, though... she still hasn't quite discovered that yet. But she's getting there. Even her meditation sessions with Renee are making progress, somewhat. In spite of how long she's been at this, the finer points of meditation still escape her.

She's ready to grasp it, though, this time for sure.

Int. Ice Cave – Day

Rose sits there on the floor of the cave, just staring back at her reflection on the walls. She still can't see who she is beyond the appearance, but God be damned if she doesn't figure it out. Taking in a deep breath, she pulls her legs in, going cross legged and holding her palms together. Her gaze stays locked on her reflection for another brief moment, and then she closes her eye.

Come on, Rose... just think. Who do you want to be? Where do you belong?

For the next three hours, she sits there motionless. Her mind concentrates, breathing steadies, heart slows... and then it happens. It feels like her precog, and yet it's something so very different... so very more. It isn't just a bunch of images flashing through her head this time, her entire consciousness leaves her body, goes elsewhere... or rather elsewhen. She's seeing the future again, of that she's sure, but not just a few seconds or even minutes later. Instead, she's seeing... well, she doesn't really know how far, just that it's in the future.

Rose opens her eye and looks around, expects to see the cave around her. But she doesn't; she's not in the cave anymore. She doesn't really know where she is... but everything appears hazy and washed out, as if in black and white. A few tools are scattered around the small space, which seems to be a shed of some kind, some hanging on hooks and others fallen haphazardly on the floor or on tables. A few boxes here and there, some barrels, a broom, and... blood?

Getting to her feet, Rose moves forward and inspects a large dark blotch on the floorboards. It's fresh, still wet. Her attention is suddenly drawn by a sharp cry, coming from farther within the structure, beyond a door on the far wall. She cautiously heads towards it, easing the door open and looking inside. The square room is mostly empty, with a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. In the center of the room are two people, a man and a woman. The woman sits on a chair, bound tightly to it with thick rope, and a handkerchief gagging her mouth. Her head hangs forward, stringy hair veiling her face.

The man paces around the chair, a steel pipe in hand. For a few moments, he rests the pipe on his shoulder, just tapping it against himself. Then, abruptly, he turns and swings the pipe, beating it across the woman's shoulder and eliciting a muffled scream of pain. Rose flies immediately into action, lunging forward at the man.

Rose: B**tard!

But she goes right through him, stumbling to the floor as her momentum carries her forward. Right, this isn't real... it's just a vision. Not a brief flicker of precog, but a full blown vision of the future. But a vision of what?

Man: Should have just left well enough alone. You'd think after the first couple of times we tried to stop you, you'd get the message. But no, you just had to keep digging.

He takes another swing, this time cracking the pipe across the woman's arm. She screams again, her strained voice muffled behind the gag.

Man: Who else did you tell about us, huh? Who else knows?!

An uppercut swing this time. The tip of the pipe caroms off the woman's jaw, sends her and the chair flying backwards and crashing to the floor. She barely moves, taking in deep breaths and sobbing lightly, the pain flaring through her body being excruciating. And that's when Rose sees the woman's face. Rose's heart seizes up, her body going numb.

Rose: Rebecca!

Just as the man starts moving in again to make another strike, everything around her starts to flicker out of existence and fade away. Her consciousness returns to her, and suddenly she's back in the ice cave again. Releasing a panicked breath, she snaps her eye open, multiple reflections of her face staring back at her in the mirrored walls. Only, this time it's not just her face that she sees. There's a second one beside it... and right then, she realizes something. She's finally answered her question. But that isn't any cause for celebration. Her precog is never wrong, and with something as extensive as she's just seen...

Lurching from her spot on the ground, she takes off down the tunnel back towards the mouth of the cave in a hurry. She has to find Renee, has to get of Nanda Parbat.

I have to get back to Silverstone. Now!

Ext. Silverstone City Streets – Night

Twenty-eight hours later...

A steady rain falls from the night sky, soaking the quiet back street of Silverstone. A taxi cab pulls up outside the small apartment building, allowing its passenger to get out. Rose quickly hands over money for the fare, then pushes the door open and practically sprints up to the front door, which she finds locked, of course.

Rose: Come on!

In her current state, it takes her a few moments to realize that she has to press the buzzer for the proper apartment and request to be let in, since she isn't a resident here. Taking a moment to calm herself, she takes in a deep breath and presses to button.

Rose: Rebecca? Are you there? Becky? It's... it's me. It's Rose. I... listen, are you there? I want to talk... I need to talk to you.

Come on, be there... please be there.

But she receives no response. She buzzes in again, but ten minutes later and there is no sign of Becky. In frustration, she gives the door a solid kick and then takes a step back, her hand coming up to brush back her wet hair and wipe the rainwater from her eyes.

Rose: Sh*t!

Is she too late? She can't be too late... She can't lose Becky like this, not because she was halfway across the world, too busy running away from her problems again. Uttering another angry breath, she beats her fist against the door, then bows her head, trying to think. Maybe Becky's just out right now, maybe she's working. Maybe she's-

Becky: Rose?

Spinning around, Rose sees Becky standing there, wearing a long raincoat and holding an umbrella. The woman blinks a couple of times in confusion, wondering what the person who left a month and a half ago is doing standing outside her apartment building now. Breathing a sigh of relief, Rose comes forward and throws her arms around Becky for a brief moment.

Rose: You're alright...

Becky: Uh... I'm fine. What are you doing here, Rose?

Rose: I... needed to talk to you.

Becky's eyes slightly narrow, giving a hard look.

Becky: So talk.

Rose: Okay, look... I know when I left before, things between us weren't... good.

Becky: You lied to me, betrayed my trust, and had been acting as a criminal on a nightly basis. 'Not good' is a bit of an understatement.

Rose: I know. You're right. And not just about that... everything. I lied to you. I betrayed you. I hurt you. But damn it, I never meant to. I never wanted to.

Becky: It's a little late to change that.

Rose: Maybe... but I want to explain things first. Everything. I lied to you before, about who I was, what I do... a lot. So now I'm going to be completely honest. Who I am, where I come from, what I've done, everything. No matter how you feel about me now, I don't want to keep these secrets from you anymore.

For a long moment, Becky doesn't respond. She sucks in a deep breath through her nose, just staring back at Rose and softening her eyes a little. The only sound is the pattering of the rain around them, and the occasion car driving by. Eventually, Becky simply pushes past, heading to the apartment entrance and unlocking it to walk inside. Clenching her jaw, Rose bows her head, staring at the ground. But Rebecca doesn't close the door behind her, instead turning around and holding it open.

Becky: So are you just going to stand there and catch cold, or are you coming up?

Int. Becky's Apartment – Night

The tension within the apartment is thick enough to cut with a radial arm saw. Rose sits quietly on the couch in the living room, while Becky heads over to the kitchen. They haven't said anything else since entering the building, not since they were outside. Shifting her weight uneasily, Rose holds her hands in her lap and takes in a deep breath.

Becky: So, can I get you a drink or anything?

Rose: Oh, sure. Water's fine.

Pouring a glass of water, Becky walks over to the living room and hands it off, then takes a seat in front of Rose. She crosses her arms and stares, tilting her head to the side.

Becky: Alright, so explain.

Rose: Well, for starters, my name isn't Sarah Rose Walker. But then you already knew that... my real name is Rose Worth Wilson. I grew up in New York City with my mother, until I was fourteen. It was a good childhood... a great one. My mom had me tutored privately, only the best for her little girl. She also taught me to defend myself... yeah, those twelve years of karate I mentioned? More like an entire life of martial arts. My mother... she was the best. I loved her more than anything, up until the day I lost her.

Becky listens carefully, but she doesn't say anything, doesn't even move. Letting out a deep breath, Rose bows her head and continues.

Rose: And then I met my father and his side of the family... that's when things got bad.

And so she explains everything. It takes the better part of two hours, but she doesn't leave anything out, covering her entire life: her father's half-brother, Wade DeFarge kidnapping and torturing her. Her mother's presumed death. Her first stint on the Teen Titans. Her time as Lian Harper's nanny. Wade DeFarge coming back and killing her new adoptive parents. Slade taking her in and training her, followed by her subsequently killing Wade and taking over his Ravager identity. Her father drugging her with his serum and controlling her for his use, leading to her carving out her own eye to prove her loyalty to him. Finally breaking free of his control and returning to the Teen Titans. And everything else, up through getting Bart Allen killed, causing her to leave the team for the umpteenth time and eventually arrive in Silverstone.

She explains about how she found Holly, how Batman set her up with a new identity as a cop, how she was forced into crime for Jeremiah Belmont in order to keep Rebecca safe, and of her time in Nanda Parbat, where she finally realized that she needed to stop doubting herself and take charge of her life. When she finally finishes the account of her life story, she takes in a soft breath and slowly glances up at Becky for the first time since starting. What she sees surprises her.

Sitting there on the edge of her seat, Becky leans forward, arms wrapped around herself and soft, sympathetic eyes gazing at Rose. For a brief moment, the two just stare at each other, but eventually Becky's hand comes forward and rests on Rose' shoulder.

Becky: I had... no idea how much you've been through. No girl deserves that much pain in her life. And the whole time I thought you were a criminal, you were just... you were protecting me? Dios mio, now I really feel like a b*tch.

Rose: Well it's not your fault... you didn't know. I... didn't tell you. I should have told you.

Becky: I guess it couldn't be the easiest thing to do, though, revealing your secret... your life, to someone.

Rose: Yeah, well... now I have. I'm sorry I didn't tell you all of this sooner.

A small smirk comes to Becky's face.

Becky: Would have saved a lot of drama, ah?

Rose: Yeah... anyway, that's all I came here for, to tell you that. I'll go now, probably don't want me hanging around your place any longer than I need to. So... goodbye.

As Rose gets up to leave, however, Becky stands, too, reaching out to gently grab hold of her arm.

Becky: Now hold on there. Who said I don't want you around?

Rose: I... just figured, considering everything that's happened...

Becky: Ay carumba, Rose. You might be trying to take charge of your life, but you're still one socially awkward woman, you know that? Look... we both acted a little loco. It happens. But now that you're back and being yourself, your real self... I'm not letting you walk out on me again.

Rose swallows, her posture relaxing. She turns fully towards Becky now, looking back at her warmly.

Rose: Well if you don't want me to leave, then I'm not going anywhere. Not this time.

Taking in a deep breath, Becky's hands come up to Rose's shoulders, her touch soft, gentle. She hesitates a moment, looking off to the side briefly. Then, she just shakes her head.

Rose: Something wrong?

Becky: I want to do something right now, but the last time I tried... it didn't end so good.

Rose breathes outwardly, her expression softening and a small smile coming to her face. Her hands come up and tenderly turn Becky's head towards her, their eyes meeting again. With her hands pressed gently against Rebecca's cheeks, she comes in for a kiss, her heart beating at what feels like a thousand times a minute and her body is warm... hot.

Their lips come together for several seconds, before Rose finally pulls away. Becky blinks and stares half in disbelief, half in elation. Swallowing, she brings her hands down to Rose's waist and comes in closer.

Becky: And here I thought you didn't like women...

Rose: I don't.

Becky: But you-

Her words go silent, as Rose's finger presses itself against her lips.

Rose: I like you, Becky. Just you.

Becky: Cáspita... you really know how to make a girl blush.

Rose: I try.

Becky: And you really mean that? You're not just... I don't know, being nice? You don't have to do anything just for my sake.

Rose: To be completely honest, if you didn't want anything more, if you never had a crush on me, I'd never even consider it. But let's face it, you've been crushing on me hard ever since we started working together.

Turning her gaze to the side again, Becky smiles slightly, even if she does looking quite a bit embarrassed.

Becky: Okay... yeah, maybe a little.

Rose: And you do want something more. I think deep down, I've wanted that with someone for a long time... and right now, I wouldn't rather it be with anyone else.

Becky: Well in that case-

She suddenly turns towards Rose again and moves in, locking their lips together. This time, she's a bit more aggressive, pushing Rose back down to the couch and straddling her lap. Rose emits a tiny breath of surprise, as she's suddenly forced down into the seat, powerless to do anything to stop it (well, okay, if she really wanted to stop it, she could do so no problem. But she doesn't want to). Becky holds the kiss for a few more seconds, before finally pulling back and smirking.

Becky: -we have a lot of catching up to do.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter #34 Preview: With her life now planted firmly back in Silverstone, and now officially involved with Rebecca Chavez, Rose returns to her identity of Ravager, working alongside her cop girlfriend to unravel a dangerous, growing mystery that threatens to consume Silverstone for good.

#1 Posted by Time_Phantom (539 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow this is like reading a trade now. Excellent all around, good to see Rose and Becky's relation ship eased into and it feels so natural +1000 beastly writting points for you. Looking forward to Ravager and Shao's rematch. (if she'd even want to with everything else she stands to lose now)

#2 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@Time_Phantom: ooh, are beastly writing points better than regular writing points? *puts those points in the bank* And yeah, I figured this would be a better way to organize all my writings. It'll also let me release each new arc about a week apart now, instead of coming up with a new chapter everyday. Hopefully that will let readers digest the last chapters a little better before the next one crops up. The next collection will be up probably next week, about 5-7 days or so. Depends how many chapters end up in the arc and how much I feel like writing on a daily basis. Thanks again, and keep enjoying!

#3 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

bumping

#4 Posted by primepower53 (5591 posts) - - Show Bio

HOLY SH*T THIS IS AWESOME!

#5 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@primepower53: An all caps response of praise? I must have done something right!

#6 Posted by primepower53 (5591 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4 said:

@primepower53: An all caps response of praise? I must have done something right!

with this fan fic you certainly did! :P

#7 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@primepower53: Hurray :) and thank you. Anything in particular you thought was cool, or more specifically, anything you thought wasn't? I'm always looking to improve.

#8 Posted by primepower53 (5591 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4 said:

@primepower53: Hurray :) and thank you. Anything in particular you thought was cool, or more specifically, anything you thought wasn't? I'm always looking to improve.

Not much, actually...to tell you the truth, I'm pretty crappy at suggestions/grammar and punctuation and correcting mistakes...unless you write like Bendis, of Fraction or someone like that, I love the work.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Chapter 29 overall was my favorite, though.

#9 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@primepower53: Ha, the day I start writing like Bendis is the day I stop.

#10 Posted by primepower53 (5591 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4 said:

@primepower53: Ha, the day I start writing like Bendis is the day I stop.

truer words were never spoken :P

#11 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

friendly bump

#12 Posted by feebadger (1445 posts) - - Show Bio

What you are doing with this series is really pretty amazing, Ravager. The scope, the work, the commitment is truly impressive. Well done to you. I look forward to many, many more (and i have no doubt that they'll come!).

#13 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@feebadger: thank you very much! The next batch of chapters should be out later today, too :)

#14 Posted by batkevin74 (11215 posts) - - Show Bio

Okay I'm so far behind on your stuff, can't remember where I'm up too

#15 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74: well, the last one you commented on was chapter 22, if that helps at all? Dunno if you read anymore than that.

#16 Posted by batkevin74 (11215 posts) - - Show Bio

Part 27: Nice! Best bit "I guess ninjas carry around their personal information with them" I shall eventually catch up :)

#17 Posted by batkevin74 (11215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: Ooh part 28! Shao Shen is very cool, I do like when new villians pop up and clean the clock of the good guy (happens all the time, seriously in comics the first appearance of most baddies has them winning on their first outings KGBeast, Bane, Electro, Stilt-Man even) And the cliffhanger ending...nice work man

#18 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74: Well, you do have to make them look strong if they're going to be taken seriously, ha. A villain doesn't look veryt good if he shows up for the first time and gets his ass kicked =P

#19 Posted by batkevin74 (11215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: But it does get a tade predictable...I wouldn't mind the occassional newbie ass-kicking or even a new bad guy turning up and KILLING a hero on their first run...that'd be nice. Anyways back to you Part 29: This is awesome! You do an amazing job, it reads like a trade and should be! Great job

Becky: Hijo de puta... How can you do it? I mean how can you... how can you honestly sit next to me everyday, call yourself a cop, and then go out every night breaking the law? Is it all a big joke to you? (Best bit)

#20 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74: lol, true enough. perhaps I'll make a throwaway villain in the future, ha

#21 Posted by batkevin74 (11215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: No make them a proper villain! Gives them purpose for revenge, just on that day they got stomped!

#22 Posted by batkevin74 (11215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: And part 30! Renee Montoya, an answering machine break up...that was a bit sad, nice tug of the heart strings with that. I honestly thought she was going to meet Richard Dragon initially but then boom Nanda Parbat. This is getting better, great work

#23 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@batkevin74: thanks, glad you're enjoying :)

#24 Posted by batkevin74 (11215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: You're right I'm up to 31!