A/N: WOW! Look at this! An update! I don't know if anyone will actually read this, but I thought it was worth a shot. Please enjoy!


I was aware of the heat of the fire, but I could not feel its warmth.

Walker sat a good distance from me on one side of the fire, facing me. Vanya was refusing to turn her back in my direction. She sat far enough from Walker for personal comfort, but it was obvious that she was stiff with simmering ire as a result from the previous events of the day.

I smiled and ducked my head, tuning my gaze to my bare feet, curling in the faded grass. Although once we'd entered the woods Walker had been visibly furious, I had yet to be punished, aside from being bound.

My smile widened as I recalled the experience.


Walker had said nothing, his grip on me rough as he ripped off the makeshift headpiece and gloves, and then reached to lift the shirt he'd given me over my head, but his fingers brushed across the skin of my bare stomach.

He flinched, freezing for a fraction of a second that must have seemed an eternity for him, his fingers still lightly grazing my skin. His eyes widened, staring straight into mine, searching. An instant blush crept up his neck and colored his cheeks.

I returned his gaze. Then I smiled.

Walker blinked rapidly, and then jerked his hands back. His brows drew together darkly.

"Take that off," he said awkwardly, refusing to look in my eyes. He meant the shirt.

I complied, and slowly eased the shirt over my shoulders. I held it out to him, working hard to keep a grin off my lips. He snatched it, frowned, and then tossed it away.

Walker sighed, glanced at me once, then walked around me, grabbed my wrists and pinned them behind me, wrapping a thin cord firmly around them.

"We're staying here for the night, all right? You're staying here. Just…" he trailed off and I turned to look at him as he secured the other end of the cord to a slim tree nearby.

He failed to finish his sentence, and gave me one last lingering look, and then turned sharply on his heel and stalked back to where Vanya and Adelenia were clearing an area for their camp. I watched his hands clench and unclench erratically.

I raised my brows, the feeling of his warm fingers against my skin still etched into my mind.


And still the feeling stayed.

Hours had passed, and the sun had long since set, much to my relief. Being tied to a tree was much more favorable to being accosted by the sun on any account.

Adelenia was huddled at the trunk of a tall Oak all the way across the small clearing, smoothing dirt away from one of the roots that protruded from the earth, murmuring quietly to herself.

Odd little thing.

I frowned in her general direction, then returned my gaze to the fire, watching the colors dance within the embers beneath the thick slices of smoking wood.

Vanya sensed that I was looking her way, and she turned quickly to look at me once, and then turned her head again. She leaned close to Walker and whispered in his ear. The strains of her voice sounding angry, her body stiff, fists tight at her sides. Walker didn't turn to look at me, nor did he acknowledge whatever Vanya was saying, choosing instead to rub his hands together, gathering the warmth of the blaze before them.

I allowed myself a soft chuckle, then sighed and leaned back against the tree to which I was bound. I closed my eyes, tracing the feel of the rope around my wrists with my fingertips.

I'd never thought about what it might be like to be in captivity before. Now that I actually was in it, I wasn't sure what to expect, or how to behave. I knew I should be angry, but this whole business of ruining the already shaky relationship between Walker and Vanya was turning out to be… entertaining.

Now that I thought about it, I could probably use this entire situation to my advantage, if I could.

And I knew I could. I had done the same thing with Ancilla and Fernindad, hadn't I?

This time my laugh was louder; I couldn't help it. The idea was just too exciting.

I hadn't played a good game in a long time.

This game just might turn out to be the most fun I'd had in decades.