Dr Harris in hand, she reached the fence at the edge of the institute as she heard the boom from behind her. On the other side, a safe distance away, she could see Chase, in the grip of one of the guys, struggling to break free.
Behind him stood the Resistance members who had come with them, along with every single person who had been inside, plus a number of agents.
Kitty pushed Harris to the ground, arms covering herself as explosion rocked the ground beneath her. When she dropped her arms from her head, she stared at it. In the night sky, Amaris' Cardiff Institute burnt brightly, thick black smoke hanging over the bright red and orange flames. From behind, she heard Chase cry out, heard him sob in relief. Suddenly, hands were on her, pulling her up and through the opening in the wire fence. Someone else dragged Harris out, and she saw the agents stepping towards him, guns in hand and fury on their faces.
"What happened?" she gasped, eyes locking on Mercy. "Mercy, tell me..."
Chase wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly. Gently, she pushed him away, breathing heavily as she stepped in front of Dr Harris, eyes fixed on the agents.
"They refused to shoot us," Mercy explained. "They refused to fight. The rest..." She took a deep breath. "They even fought the other agents, and they helped get us and them out." She gestured to the prisoners, huddled together as they looked around with wide, frightened eyes. Briefly, Kitty wondered how long some of them had been stuck in there.
Still, the agents were advancing towards Harris.
"Leave him!" Kitty cried, turning to them. "You hear me? Leave him! He wants to die! He wanted to die in there and go up with his precious Institute." She turned her back on them, facing Harris instead. He was on the floor, cowering away from all of them. His eyes jumped from one person to another. Each of the Resistance members stared at him and, as recognition dawned, fury and anger appeared on their faces, too.
Chase just stared at him, confusion in his eyes. "I don't get it," he muttered, looking at Harris. "Why did you do it?"
"Let me die," he whimpered. "Shoot me, hang me, anything! Just let me die!"
"No!" Kitty barked, her fists clenched together. "No, God damn it! You can live a full life, Dr Harris, but it won't be happy. You will face punishment for your crimes."
She was surprised by the cheers that rose up from the crowd, as she reached down and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck, yanking him to his feet.
"You will answer to someone! But it won't be God. Not yet." She pushed him towards the agents. "Make sure he gets back, safely, understand?" They nodded, seeming to accept her authority as a few surrounded him. "Come on," she sighed, rubbing the back of her neck. "Let's get home."
X X X
The days seemed to pass by quicker than they ever had before. The rest of the country took their cue from the Cardiff Resistance; they were hailed as heroes, their praises sang out over the airwaves. And with the destruction of the Institutes in Wales, with the release of the information that Amaris were to blame for the blast, the infections, and everything else, things tilted in favour of the Resistance.
Amaris lost their power.
It drained through their fingers like sand, leaving the country searching for a new leader, for a government that could help return people to stability.
They called for the Black Cat to step up.
The vast number of people who knew her real identity also knew she wanted nothing to do with politics. She never had, and she made it clear when they gathered in the museum, weeks after the Institutes had been wiped out.
In essence, she told them, the Black Cat was no more.
She pushed Oli forward, instead.
And they cheered. As Kitty slipped out of the museum, they were chanting his name. Chase followed close behind her.
"What now?" he asked.
She shrugged. "We're still waiting for the test results to come back," she replied. "But Oli...he's going to go to London. He's going to take control of the country."
The Resistance rose up, no longer in the position that their name denoted, but in a position of power, with Oli at their head.
Slowly, very slowly, things were returning to normal. But the evidence of what Amaris had done was everywhere. Even more so now than it had been with them in power; when Kitty and Chase walked through the streets of Cardiff, they saw kids glowing with a strange light, they saw street performers creating fire for the entertainment of others. Kitty had to dodge as people blurred past her.
And everywhere they went, in the places which were slowly coming alive once more, people waved and smiled at her. A few stopped, thanking her. She got presents; small things, but things she clutched onto, gazing at as the evenings drew in, almost crying at the gratitude people showed her.
Daniel Winter had managed to successfully set up a small hospital, employing some of the medics who had served with the Resistance. There, he helped parents cope with the abnormalities in their children, tested people for the same cancer that Jake had had, and dealt with other problems related to the 'infected'. The others he hired dealt with the more mundane stuff, although every time Kitty and Chase went there to see old friends, the place was busy with a multitude of different people.
In agony, they waited to hear the results of the tests.
A fair number of the Resistance were cleared – Oli, for one, was fine. Jay had hugged Kitty when he told her his good news, before adding "Don't worry; you two will be fine." Liza gave birth to a healthy baby boy, delivered by a girl in the Resistance, who decided, after the birth, to become the first mid-wife at the hospital.
With all the good news flooding their way, Kitty couldn't help but feel something was around the corner.
Five months after the mission, she sat in the living room of the house in Cathays they had taken for themselves. Chase was stretched across the sofa, reading a book, while she sat in the armchair, doing the same.
"Yeah?" he muttered, glancing up at her.
"Why do you think my results are taking so long?" she asked, biting her bottom lip as she fixed her eyes on him. Chase's own results had been returned the week earlier; all clear.
So far, none of those who had been given the results back had been diagnosed with cancer. Yet she knew, from visiting the marketplace and seeing others around, that there was a number of them who had yet to hear at all.
"Daniel's busy," he replied. "Like, really busy. He's not long set up the hospital, Kitty. Maybe it's just taking him a while."
But the look in his eyes told her that, as much as he wanted to, even he didn't fully believe that. That night, when they went to bed, Chase wrapped his arms tightly around her, drawing her close to him. She could feel his breath on the back of her neck, and knew he was just as scared as her.
Days later, they raced across the city until they reached the hospital. Communications were still a bit rocky, although they had their ways, the same techniques they'd used as the Resistance. A couple of the engineers who had ended up fighting for the Resistance had duplicated the device she'd used to talk to Springbok, and now, when it beeped, it was more likely to be Daniel than the South African.
When she reached the hospital, the girl at the reception desk asked her to sit.
"He's seeing someone else, at the moment," she explained, giving her a small smile. Kitty moved to the chairs, glancing around. For the most part, the people in the waiting room were in good spirits. No one couldn't be, even if things weren't back to normal. With jobs only for the most skilled, people, for the meantime, were operating on a more favour-related form of economy.
Luckily, what she'd done as the Black Cat was enough for people to happily give her and Chase food, for now. Either that or Chase would help rebuild something for them, or Kitty would put them in contact with others who could help with bits and pieces.
The door leading off to Daniel's temporary office swung open, and out stepped two teenagers; the guy had been in the Resistance, the girl had been one of the Infected they'd pulled out of the institute before they had burnt it to the ground. Apparently, they had hit it off.
And apparently, it was to be a short-term romance.
The guy's arms were wrapped tightly around her, as the girl sobbed softly. The whole room went quiet as they stared at the pair. Suddenly, Kitty forgot about the good work the Resistance had done, the way they had practically wiped Amaris off the map and returned to the country to good hands.
Instead, she was reminded of the rage that had driven her to bomb the Institutes in the first place.
The boy lifted his head, spotting Kitty and Chase. He nudged the girl, whispering something in her ear. Her eyes snapped to Kitty and, through her tears, she smiled. As the two teens walked towards them, Kitty and Chase stood.
"Hey," the girl muttered, sniffing. "Nice to s-s-see you, again."
"Yeah...are you okay?" Kitty asked, tilting her head to one side as she pushed away the anger, filled only with sorrow instead.
The smile grew smaller, as the girl took a deep breath and shrugged. "It's...they're trying to get the treatment...Dr Winter is trying to get a treatment program up and running but he has no idea how long it will be before..."
Kitty reached for her hand, holding it lightly as she stared into the girl's eyes. "Anything you need, let us know."
"No, no I couldn't," the girl muttered, shaking her head. She tilted her head downwards, avoiding Kitty's eyes. "After everything you've done..."
"Katherine Maddox," the receptionist called. Kitty looked up, sensing everyone's eyes on her as the receptionist smiled. "Dr Winter will see you now."
"Are you ill?" the girl asked, frowning.
"She's getting her results," Chase muttered, his hand on the small of Kitty's back. "And, seriously, anything you need." Suddenly, words had escaped Kitty. She let Chase guide her towards the door, let him push it open for her and usher her inside.
Although the waiting room had been quiet, silence drenched her as the door shut behind them. It engulfed her. She began to shake, as she turned to Chase and clung onto the edges of his jacket.
"Chase, I can't..."
"You can," he replied, gently peeling her fingers away and leading her down the corridor. Soon, they were at the office. It felt like the energy had drained out of her. She almost fell against Chase as he knocked.
"Come in," Daniel's smooth voice called. When they entered, he smiled weakly at them before gesturing to the two chairs on the other side of his table. "Kitty. Nice to see you again."
"Oh, fuck," she groaned, unable to avoid the curve of his mouth, the look in his eyes and the shaking of his body. She covered her face in her hands, as Chase wrapped his arm around her, holding her as she sobbed.
The End A/N: Yeah, for some reason...I couldn't do a happy ending. I just couldn't. Anyways...a huge, huge thank you if you've read this far. Even bigger thank you if you read the other two books in the trilogy. And that's it, the trilogy is complete. If you haven't read the first two, please, check them out and let me know what you think. (Into the Night and Back to Hell)
Reviews appreciated, decent-length ones returned. Please check out the poll on my profile page and, if you're interested, I have a blog – link is on the profile page.
A/N: Yeah, for some reason...I couldn't do a happy ending. I just couldn't. Anyways...a huge, huge thank you if you've read this far. Even bigger thank you if you read the other two books in the trilogy. And that's it, the trilogy is complete. If you haven't read the first two, please, check them out and let me know what you think. (Into the Night and Back to Hell)