She traces your scars and rebuilds your world [4/4]
Rating: Maybe a really light M, for this part.
Summary: You are a crumbling building in desperate need of restoration; and this, for all intents and purposes, makes Sam your architect.
Notes: So yes, this is the end. I had a lot of fun with this, but it was always meant to be a transition between the events of Tomb Raider and a hypothetical second game. On that note there are spoilers in here for the 100% collection of the GPS caches!
I will more likely than not write more general Lara/Sam though! Thank you for all your encouraging comments and likes and follows. For a such a small fandom, you all sure provide a lot of love!
Sam tells you she’ll be gone all day, but doesn’t give you details. You don’t think much of it until she returns to the apartment late that night, and her eyes have a sort of wildness to them that you (unfortunately) recognize.
You’re across the room in approximately three seconds, and Sam is in your arms mere milliseconds after that.
“What happened? Who—?”
“It’s not—it wasn’t—” Sam shakes her head, and you feel her take a deep breath into your neck. “I went to visit Roanoke Island today; I wanted to get footage, and I figured people go there all the time so it would be… it couldn’t be dangerous or anything.”
She pulls back and your hands slip up to her cheeks; it’s an odd reversal of positions, but you don’t give it much thought as your eyes search Sam’s face, trying to understand.
“I need you to come with me tomorrow. I need to show you something. I can’t—I’m fine, but I need to show you.”
You swallow back your questions (it takes more effort than anything has in a while) and instead press your forehead against Sam’s, just for a moment.
“Okay, Sam. We’ll go tomorrow.”
The ride to the coast is a bit tense at first, at least for you. But Sam is back to normal, for the most part, and when she turns on the radio, she immediately starts singing along (poorly) to Thrift Shop, and you wonder how she could have possibly listened to the song enough times to know every single word.
(You also find it incredibly ironic that the girl wearing the $500 leather jacket is rapping along to such lyrics, though you don’t mention it).
But it makes you laugh and Sam winks at you as she does a sort of shimmy in the passenger seat.
As you get closer to Roanoke, however, Sam loses a bit of her cheerfulness, but she does offer you a genuine smile when you take her hand in the car, and again when you reach for it after you’ve parked and are walking towards the park’s visitor center.
“You know, when I came here, I thought I was going to at least get to see this ‘Croatoan’ message. Or at least the stupid tree with the stupid three letters carved into it. But no, apparently shoreline erosion or rotting timber or some shit means that all that evidence was conveniently lost hundreds of years ago.”
You nod, the corners of your lips turning upwards at the rant.
“Anyways, since no one told me that, I went to the stupid Visitor’s Center to figure out what the hell I could actually film here and…” Her voice wavers at the end as she loses a bit of her bravado, and you give her hand a squeeze as she pushes open the door to the building and tugs you towards the small display case where a sign indicates that a few artifacts recovered from the site are on display.
You’re still a good ways away when the objects enter your line of vision, and you stop dead in the middle of the walkway, fingers curling around Sam’s hand in a squeezing gesture that probably isn’t at all pleasant.
“See?” Sam asks simply.
You do, but you wish you didn’t.
Licking your lips, you step towards the glass display, dropping Sam’s hand with another squeeze, and then… stop, because you blink once and it’s gone. Stepping forward doesn’t change anything; the objects are easier to make out, of course—a few copper alloy square plates, part of a melting pot, glass beads, a tobacco pipe—it’s nothing extraordinary and that’s the problem, because just a second ago they had been.
“Sam,” you call, because she’s still standing several steps back, staring at the artifacts with the same uneasy look on her face. “I can’t…”
Her gaze lifts, and she steps closer. “You saw it though? No one else can see it, but you did. Right?”
“I did, but now—” You cut yourself off, glancing down at the objects in the display glass, and then back at Sam, before slowly taking her hand once again.
The glass is filled with an electric blue light, and you nearly gasp aloud.
You know the color—it’s horrifically familiar and distinct—it is the shade of the flecks (still) on Sam’s skin, of the waves of energy that had pulsed around her body in an impassible barrier, of the eyes of the Sun Queen as she was reborn.
The artifacts are in fragments—broken and worn down—but they have been pieced together as well as possible, and it’s not hard to make out the path of the glowing blue lines over each plate, bead, and charm, even when there are large gaps missing.
“You see it now?”
“Yes,” you breathe. “But only when I…” You let go of her hand and the glow fades, and it only returns when you interlock your fingers with Sam’s once again. “Only when I touch you.”
Sam swallows heavily. “Lara, what does it mean? Is it—?”
The bright blue image burns at your corneas; three triangles, the tip of each meeting at a central point, and underneath in small, almost block letters, ‘TRINITY’.
But it’s probably not good. Even if it does validate your theories.
At least there’s that.
“On Yamatai, I found these GPS caches all over the island,” you say, once you’re back in the car and driving towards Durham. The sun is setting and it casts a light on Sam’s face that highlights how unsettled she is, and you want to give her a bit more information, if only to add to her knowledge base (which always makes you feel better).
“I didn’t think much of it, but I eventually did find two transmissions mentioning a group called Trinity. Apparently they had been on the island, even as early as World War II, and they were aware, I think, of Himiko and her… unusual abilities, which they referred to as a ‘Star Phenomenon’. The fact that they were somehow connected to Roanoke, and that their markings were not visible to anyone but…”
“Me,” Sam finishes, her lips set in a thin line.
“Yes, or those in direct contact with you. This suggests that some kind of thread exists between Roanoke and Yamatai, even if it only is this group.”
“And me,” Sam says again. “Why—why am I the only one who can see it?”
You remain silent, and Sam rubs at the marks on her hand absentmindedly, before answering her own question. “It’s because of Himiko. She did something… permanent to me. Didn’t she?”
“I don’t know, Sam.” You hate saying the words, but it seems to happen with an alarming frequency now. “We’ll find out though. I promise.”
You always keep your promises to Sam.
In college this had involved attending a number of parties that you had absolutely no interest in (the result of an unfortunately delivered, “next time, Sam, I promise” while your head was in a book) or attending the rare family dinner (“My parents love you, Lara, and they don’t ask how my ‘little videos’ are going when you’re around. Promise you’ll come?”) And now? Now it’s harder (“I made you a promise. Let’s get you home.”), but you still keep your promises.
Which is why it’s four in the morning and you’re slouched over the desk in the study, open books piled around you under the bright but artificial light. Which is why, even though the text in front of you swims in and out of focus as you combat exhaustion, you don’t declare it a hopeless case and head to bed. And it’s why, when Sam enters the room, you don’t notice her until she speaks, voice hoarse with sleep.
“Lara? God, it’s four o’clock! What are you still doing here?”
Sitting back in the chair, you run a hand over your face and stifle a yawn, letting your eyes close, if only for a moment. “I thought I was on to something with Trinity. There was a small branch of scientists from WWII Germany—a group of Nazis connected to Josef Mengele and his monstrous experiments—that was said to have—well, it doesn’t really matter actually. I can’t find anything about it, and…”
Sam is close when you open your eyes again—close enough to push a few strands of hair out of your eyes as she leans over you, and your eyelids flutter at the gesture while a sigh escapes your lips.
“You don’t have to do this, you know.”
“I made you a promise.”
“And you’ll keep it. But it doesn’t have to all come together immediately, sweetie.”
Having tucked your hair neatly behind your ear, Sam’s hands should leave your face, probably, but they don’t, and instead move along your cheekbone, fingers stroking at the (now) soft skin there.
“Don’t do this to yourself, okay? Just come to bed.”
Maybe it’s her phrasing, or the look in her eyes (so incredibly intense) as she stares at you, but you swear that in that moment, Sam wants you as much as you want her.
You stand so abruptly, your chair is knocked over (but you don’t pay it any mind).
“You’re right. Bed. I’m—tired. Let’s just… go to bed.”
Sam leans back, and you think her expression is knowing.
It’s a tidy metaphor, but:
You are not the Great Pyramid of Giza.
You are not a crumbling monument.
You are not made of water and clay and stone.
You are made of blood and flesh and bone.
You are a human being
You are Lara Croft.
And when it comes to rebuilding, there is a fundamental difference between the reconstruction of a building and that of a man.
A building cannot play a part in its own restoration.
A man must.
Because in the end, for you, it is a choice.
It’s not so much about loving Sam—not exactly.
It’s about no longer keeping yourself from doing so. It’s about not letting past experiences—past loses—dictate the course of your life. It’s about recognizing that, just because you loved your mom, your dad, and Roth—just because you loved all them and they were still taken from you—that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love Sam, or whoever else might become a part of your life in the future.
For the most important part of being restored is contradictory to what the passive term implies.
The most important part is accepting the possibility that you may be torn down once again, and then opening yourself up to it anyways.
Actually doing that though is fucking terrifying.
Even the thought of doing it is, and you find yourself standing in front of the door to your apartment on a random Wednesday night, pressing the key in between your thumb and index finger so hard that leaves an imprint of lines and grooves, trying to gather your courage.
You’re not quite successful, but you shove the key in the lock and bust through the door anyways. You nearly run back out immediately after, of course, because Sam’s standing there, in the kitchen, looking at you with raised eyebrows and you remember that this is your best friend—the person who has been there, at your side, for a good five years now—and if you mess this up, you will lose everything.
Thankfully, Sam is in her climbing clothes (those goddamn climbing clothes) and they’re quite effective at clearing your brain of any thoughts not related to doing all sorts of things to said best friend.
“I want to kiss you.”
You breathe in, sucking the air into your lungs fully (because this isn’t how this was supposed to go at all).
“In fact, I’ve wanted to kiss you for a while. I actually can’t stop thinking about you and it’s becoming something of a distraction in my research and so I thought I ought to rectify that.” You take another breath. “For…science.”
Sam is not a person who hides her feelings well, but you’re unable to decipher the emotion on her face at the end of your burst of confidence. Maybe because it’s a rather blank expression, and that scares you enough to continue speaking as you step closer, around the counter and into the kitchen.
“But not just—it’s not just that. God, Sam, I’m—you know I’m not—I can talk all day about the decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and how Gibbon got it wrong but also right, or of the reorganization of the kingdom of Cusco under Pachacuti, or on the numerous forces that drove the Viking expansion, but I can’t—when I think about how I feel about you, there’s—I feel like there’s nothing I can—”
You freeze because you’ve been rambling and Sam—Sam who is normally so full of everything—is staring at you with a countenance of absolute calm, like she’s just been waiting for you to—
Two steps and you’re in front of her—right in front of her—and it feels like you’re five years old again and you’ve made your very first find. It’s there—right in front of you—gorgeous and undiscovered and all you have to do is reach out and—
You press your lips to hers—just briefly—just a touch—but when you pull back, Sam is grinning and there’s so much in that smile and you think maybe you feel every single bit of it.
Somehow you feel it all.
“I told myself I wouldn’t say ‘finally’,” Sam quips. “But—god—finally!”
And then you’re laughing because how else can you express how amazing you feel? And you are, maybe, that much more restored.
Sam’s hands grip your biceps, and it’s smooth skin brushing over raised scars, but you forget to care (to worry) because Sam’s lips are back on yours—less gentle and more insistent—and you can’t remember why you were ever afraid.
Being with Sam (being with her in a sort of couple way, that is) should probably seem strange, but it doesn’t—not really.
Mystifying, perhaps, because even after a while of being able to kiss Sam whenever you want, it still feels like something you shouldn’t be permitted to do—like you’re breaking some unspoken rule by being so content.
Not that you let that stop you. Especially when you see stupid Chad coming down the hallway and can’t help but press Sam into the doorway to your apartment and press your lips to hers. You’re not fooling anyone (not yourself, Chad, or Sam), and it’s probably a regression of hundreds of years in terms of civility and such.
But Sam kisses you back (hard), and fumbles with the door handle behind her, so you don’t worry too much about it.
You’ve had sex before.
That’s what you’re thinking when Sam shoves you through the door to your bedroom, lips still attached to yours, hands already removing layers of clothing belonging to both you and her, and pushes you onto to the bed.
And it’s not fireworks. It’s never fireworks in situations like these; not even when Sam whips off your undershirt and her lips latch on to your pulse point and then slide upwards, until her teeth are scraping along your jaw, and capturing the lobe of your ear. It can’t be fireworks because that would be clichéd, not to mention inaccurate.
(Fireworks—Of Han dynasty origins, most likely; approximately 200 B.C.—likely first developed out of chunks of bamboo—for when thrown on the fire they would sizzle and then the air would expand and then burst through the hollow reeds—and it would cause—)
An explosion. You don’t think it’s an explosion either. Surely not. Not when you reach up to remove Sam’s bra and she leans back down to press her lips to yours and her lower lip gets caught in between your teeth and she makes a noise in the back of her throat and lets her hands move across your skin. Not then.
(An explosion—or explosives, such as gunpowder—invented by Chinese alchemists—at first they were comprised of sulfur and charcoal and saltpeter—potassium nitrate basically—but this was dangerous—the smallest of mistake could result in—)
Sparks. Maybe it’s sparks; sparks that skid around your skin wherever Sam’s hands roam, and when they trace along the scar on the side of your abdomen, the sparks catch and so does your breath.
(Sparks—an essential and ancient tool—created through various means—wool and a battery—flint and butane—electrical resistance and tinder—steel and quartz—and of—course—the age-old method of—)
Friction. It’s definitely friction—the way Sam’s body slides against yours—the way her thigh presses into and moves right where it should—and when your hips jerk and a moan escapes you, you push further into her .
(Friction—using friction—the force that resists relative motion—motion of objects or surfaces—moving against each other—the rapid grind—grinding—of two pieces of wood—against—each—other—will create—)
Fire. It is fire when Sam’s hand traces your scar to its end and continues downwards, catching on your hipbone and then—then lower. And when Sam looks at you, breath coming in short gasps—there’s fire there too—in her eyes, and god—god.
(Fire—rapid oxidation—exothermic reaction—products of heat—and light—and carbon di—oxide—it is simply—)
Combustion. Oh, god—it’s combustion—you’re combusting. Does that make sense? But when Sam’s fingers tease at your entrance and then slip through and then move and press and curl and hit just the right—
When you wake in the morning, you are wrapped around Sam’s warm body, and you are happy.
It’s honestly as simple as that.
“I should probably get back to my research sometime.”
Sam hums against your neck, and you have to catch the hand that she starts to run down your body, bare under the sheets.
“Sometime soon. As in, within the next half hour.”
“Mmm, it can wait.” The statement is punctuated with a kiss on the skin behind your ear, and you try not to shiver.
“We’ve been lying in bed for, like, three days, Sam.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Sam says, her eyes sparkling. “I don’t just lie there, Lara Croft, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“Your tone says this is a movie or television reference, but that’s all I’ve got.”
With a shake of her head, Sam sighs. “When are you going to let me educate you in the finer things in life? Though… I suppose we can move on to TV later, because for now, I’d much rather…” Her free hand starts to wander, and you laugh at her cheeky smile, before flipping her over to straddle her waist.
“How about you let me do the educating? I’ve been told I’m rather knowledgeable about numerous subjects.”
“Oh? Do tell, Miss Croft.”
“I prefer a more hands-on approach, actually.”
Sam loses her cocky grin pretty quickly after all.
You finally get back to your books, and in the days following you return to a similar schedule to what you’d kept before.
For the most part at least, because Sam insists on breaks, and you can’t really resist her. You wonder what happened to your self restraint, but then realize you don’t much care.
“Another dead end?” Sam asks, a hand running through the hair that you have, in a rare moment, left down.
“Yeah. I can’t figure out how to connect all the things we know. Croatoan, Trinity, Falk, the key, the spear, the woman—I can see all the pieces, but the lines between them…”
“Let’s just go there.”
“Let’s just go to Croatoa—Hatteras—whatever. Enjoy the day on the beach—maybe even a couple of days. You’ll get a feel for the place that these dusty books will never be able to deliver.”
“Sam, I don’t know…”
“Come on! No books, no indoors, no stress headaches—just you and me and the ocean, the sand, some string bikinis, a secluded tent in the middle of some sand dunes…”
You’re not too proud to admit exactly where your mind goes at that, but if Sam’s rather wicked expression is anything to go by, she doesn’t need for you to say anything at all to know where your thoughts have taken you.
Especially when she takes your book out of your hand (placing it gently on the desk, you have to notice appreciatively) and straddles your lap, wrists crossing behind your neck.
“So? What do you think?”
You surge upwards to kiss her, and feel her smile against your lips.
Sam insists on taking the ferry to Hatteras Island, and so you do.
The wind whips her black hair about and she practically glows as she clutches one of your hands in both of hers, looking out of the water with big Gucci sunglasses in place. And you think that it’s possible that, as much as you need Sam, she might need you just as much, because you’re not sure that you could have imagined that either of you would have made it here—happy and healing— during that moment, just a few months previously, when you had carried her down the mountain that should have been the resting place of you both.
You lean down to press kiss to her cheek, just because you can.
The beginning of the day is spent finding a campsite. Alongside the water and secluded were Sam’s two requirements and the way she followed the words with a lavish wink made it very difficult for you to leave the tent once you’ve set it up, but you’re helped along by the arrival of more campers, one group of which set up in the site next to yours (Sam nearly groans aloud at the sight), and you head to the beach shortly after.
Sam films you as you talk about shoreline erosion and currents, and you try not smile too much when she watches you on her screen with a level of interest that you can’t quite understand, but love nevertheless.
But then you take a fifteen minute break that turns into a five hour one, and then you’re lying on the beach, watching the sun set with Sam’s head on your shoulder, thinking about how damn lucky you are. And it’s abundantly clear who’s responsible for that.
“Thank you.” The words aren’t enough—not nearly enough—but you desperately need to say them. “After Yamatai I never thought—I didn’t think I’d be able to feel like this again.”
Sam lifts her head and shakes it slightly. “Sweetie, you don’t have to thank me. Jesus, Lara, you—after everything you did—everything you’ve done. You don’t have to thank me.”
“Well, I—you should still know.”
With a kiss on your cheek and a smile, Sam turns back to the sunset, and you realize you still have more to say.
“I love you—you know that right? I really just… love you.”
It’s an extended and intense stare that follows your statement, and you feel your heart pause, before Sam grins and breaks the spell. “I can’t believe a family of four just happened to pick the camp site next to ours. Because I really want to make sweet, sweet love to you right now.”
You laugh (and blush). “You have such a one track mind, Samantha Nishimura.”
“Well, you know, when one has an incredibly sexy British woman professing her love for them, it’s to be expected.”
Her expression softens. “I love you too, Lara. In case that wasn’t insanely obvious.”
It probably had been, but having Sam actually say it is probably the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
“You know, it’s possible our neighbors have vacated their campsite in favor of the beach. So if we hurry…”
Sam grins, leaping to her feet and pulling you up with you.
“I like the way you think, Croft.”
When you return to your campsite, the next door family of four is nowhere to found.
You swear you hear Sam whisper ‘hallelujah’ before she pulls you into the tent.
But your laughter over it doesn’t last past you zipping the tent closed behind you.
You wake early, excited to explore the island.
Sam isn’t quite as enthusiastic as you are at that time in the morning, but you make her a pot of coffee over the fire and she quickly comes around not long after throwing back a cup of the beverage (that you happen to dislike immensely) lacing her hiking boots and grabbing her camera case as you pack a bag for the day.
“Adventure time?” She asks with a lopsided smile.
“Yeah, but let’s take it easy. No putting those cliff-scaling skills to use yet, alright?”
“You’re just afraid that I’ll be better than you now.”
You scoff, and apparently, this is the wrong reaction because Sam slugs you (none too gently) on your arm.
“Ah, bugger! I meant, ‘of course you will be, Sam.’”
“Better.” She takes your hand and tugs you towards the beach, and you follow along without complaint until you’re walking along the shoreline, heading north in a way that almost feels purposeful.
“Where are we going? I wanted to take a look at those partially submerged caves south of here. It’s low-tide so we might be able to do a bit of scouting if we’re careful.”
“Let’s just—let’s go this way for a while.”
“Sam, I’ve looked at maps of this island until my eyes have felt like they’re bleeding. Trust me; the only caves in this direction are more rock outcroppings than anything.”
“I know—I mean, I know you know. But, I have this… feeling. So, trust me, okay? Let just—give me an hour, okay?”
With a shrug you agree quickly. “Okay.”
The pleased smile Sam shoots you is more than worth the slightly brisk walk down the shoreline that takes you about a mile or two out of the way. Explore all possibilities, your father used to say, and maybe it’s about time you started taking his advice to heart. Still, you’d rather explore all logical possibilities first, and the caves you’d had in mind would likely be underwater in a couple of hours, so…
But then Sam freezes.
You see the reason immediately, and your fingers reach for the knife you’d stored in the outside pocket of your bag, not an hour earlier.
It’s a child.
That is, at least, the simplest definition of what you see, but there are a few problems with it. One, children do not normally carry thick wooden spears, larger than they themselves are, with an air of indifference. Two, children usually possess innocence or naivety—not ageless understanding in eyes with enough depth to make you feel like you’re drowning. And three, children, typically, do not glow blue.
“Hello,” the girl says simply. “I have been anticipating your arrival.”
“Well, we hate to be rude.” Sam takes a step backwards, pulling you with her. “Especially after you’ve been waiting, but now’s really not a good time for us, so…”
“I called you here, Samantha Nishimura,” the girl cuts in. “And it is good you brought Lara Croft with you, as I believe you both will want to hear what I have to say.”
You have a lot of questions, crowding up the space in your head and making it difficult to organize your thoughts properly, but one nudges to the forefront. “Who are you?” What are you, is maybe the more accurate phrasing, but the child answers the question without pause.
“No, I do not suppose you would recognize me. No one would. Ironic, with how many times I have been depicted.” The girl pauses and you think there’s something almost mocking in her expression. “I am Virginia Dare.”
“That’s… not possible.”
The girl spreads her arms out, as though asking you to take a better look, and the electric glow surrounding her intensifies (and negates your statement quite effectively).
“Virginia Dare was born in 1587. You can’t—”
“And when was Himiko born, Lara Croft?”
Sam’s reaction is immediate and violent, and so is yours. Her hunting blade is out of her pocket and fully extended in about the same amount of time it takes you to pull yours from your pack. Had it been a different situation, you might have exchanged looks of almost amusement, because you certainly hadn’t known Sam had been carrying that around, and you’re pretty sure she hadn’t known about your safety net either.
“Do not mistake me. I am not like Himiko, even if the thing that fuels us is similar. But it is a tool, and tools are not used for a single purpose. Much like the knives you both draw—you cannot call such a thing ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in its innate state.”
That doesn’t exactly make you relax, and a quick glance at Sam reveals she is of a similar mindset, but you do fold your knife and slip it into your pocket (keeping it within easy reach).
“The colonists—you had something to do with their disappearance. Why?”
“It was necessary. Our existence was threatened. I will tell you more, if you come with me.” Her fingers run along the side of the spear she carries, and understanding flashes through you.
“Sie ist der schlssel,” you whisper. “Not ‘it is the key’.”
“Lara…” Sam begins, her tone wary.
“It’s ‘she is the key’. Falk saw her. She is the key.” Your eyes flicker over to the luminescent girl watching with a calm smile, and then back to Sam. “And so are you.”
“Yes,” the girl—Virginia—says. “You are unique Samantha. You have been touched. Power has been passed to you.”
You take a step forward at a diagonal, instinctively overlapping Sam’s shoulder with yours. “No. The Sun Queen is gone. She’s gone. And so is everything she possessed.”
“The Sun Queen is gone, yes. But Samantha is very much alive. Did you think there would not be consequences of her sharing a body with the soul with Himiko, even if you eventually overpowered her?”
“No. She’s fine.” You look to Sam, whose eyes are wide, but whose hands do not tremble. “You’re fine.”
“Of course she is fine. She is better. She is touched. You will see.”
A small step backwards brings you in contact with Sam’s front, and you feel a degree of calmness rush over you. “We won’t be seeing anything. We’re leaving.”
Sam’s hand slips into yours and she starts to tug you away, but Virginia calls out—softly, but the sound carries directly to your ears, as though she is speaking on another wavelength entirely.
“You will never uncover the secrets buried here, if you do not come with me now.”
That stops you, but only for a moment (only for the time it takes for you to remember Sam’s hand in yours).
“I don’t care.” You see Sam sigh, almost sadly, in the corner of your eye, but you also catch the nod that follows. “We don’t care.”
“Trinity will come for Samantha,” Virginia calls again. “You know they did not want the power the Sun Queen possessed to ever be released.”
“We’ll fight. Better to face an enemy you know is coming for you than one posing as a friend.”
“Wise words, perhaps. But Lara Croft, you underestimate Trinity. Which is unfortunate, as you have first-hand knowledge of their clout.”
Virginia is but a girl in appearance, but her voice is ancient, and it sends shivers down your spine.
“What are you talking about?”
“I speak of your parents. Who else but Trinity could be behind the disappearance of two such explorers of the mystical?”
You think your hand is probably crushing Sam’s, but perhaps not, because her squeeze back is equally as tight.
“You’re lying. Their plane—it went down—it wasn’t—”
Virginia smiles. “If you both come with me, I will tell you all I know. Do not make hasty judgments without knowing all the facts, Lara Croft. Is that not what you were taught? And Samantha Nishimura. I know you have felt it—the stirrings of power. I know you crave answers of your own. Do not deny yourselves; for I swear to you, no harm will come to you by my hand.”
You hear Sam’s swallow and turn to her, baring your back to Virginia, in what is surely a foolish move. But you need to see all of Sam—need to see every flicker of emotion across her face when you take both of her hands in yours.
“I don’t like this, Sam.”
“I don’t either, but I don’t know that we have any options. What if she is telling the truth about your parents?”
What if Trinity really does want Sam? you think instead, and nod.
“I won’t let anything happen to you,” you vow.
Sam smiles weakly and brushes her lips against yours. “Please, you think I’ve been doing all this training for nothing? I’m not going to let anything happen to you, Croft.”
“Okay,” you breathe, dropping one of Sam’s hands to pivot towards the eerie figure before you, who is watching with a shrewd smile that does not fit her features. “Okay.”
Virginia does not speak, but you think her slight glow intensifies as she turns and head towards the seemingly innocent, small rock outcropping behind her.
You take a deep breath and hear Sam do the same.
“To our next adventure, then.”
Sam’s fingers shift and interlock with yours, and you think you might be ready for whatever lies ahead.
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